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Themebot Back Online

At 7:47 AM on March 1st, the hosting account for Themebot was disabled due to resource usage issues. Considering the traffic levels that Themebot has grown to, this did not come as a surprise. Actually, it is amazing that the site was still running on a shared hosting plan with more than 1,500 visitors a day. Kudos to Site5 for not overcrowding their servers. All in all, they have been a good hosting provider over the past year and despite numerous site optimizations, the time had finally come to upgrade to a more robust server. Currently, Site5 only offers shared hosting through their website.

Enter Liquid Web. Themebot has found a new home. The decision to go with Liquid Web was based on many hours of research, comparison shopping and calls to sales reps. I have been recommending them to clients who need more power than a shared hosting plan. Also, my colleagues and I purchased a dedicated server for a project we are currently working on. Now it was Themebot's turn. I have enabled server uptime monitoring with Pingdom to find out if Liquid Web can truly deliver 100% uptime as guaranteed.

You can't keep a good Bot down. Within 24 hours of being offline, enough donations had come in to purchase the first month of service for a VPS 1 Plan with Liquid Web. It is kind of sad that the site earns more money when it is offline :(

I immediately purchased the plan and got started creating backups. Once the account was activated, I did all the necessary server tweaking and preparations. Thanks to SCP protocol (Secure Copy) the entire site backup was transferred over to the new server in a matter of minutes. Compare 15 minutes vs. 16+ hours! The old method I had used before was this:

  1. generate site backup
  2. download backup with FTP
  3. check to make sure archive didn't get corrupted during download
  4. transfer backup to new server with FTP and sluggish DSL upload
  5. go to the nearest internet cafe for a usable internet connection while waiting for backup to upload.
  6. pray that upload continues without interruption
  7. once complete, pray that archive didn't get corrupted during upload
  8. finally begin restoring site

I can't believe I have used this funky, ignorant method of migrating sites from one web host to another for so long now.

It is not a big deal for small sites, but for large sites it is insane to do things this way. I will write a full tutorial on SCP soon. Being a web developer is a constant learning process. The complexities and amount of information to absorb is mind-boggling.

Thank you to everyone who has chipped in so far! Sponsors who chip in $10 or more will be listed on the Themebot sponsors page. "Sponsor a Server" is going to be a yearly fundraising event to cover the most important operating cost - a good hosting plan. Once the target has been reached, the fundraising prompts will be removed from the site until it is time for the next fund drive. Even if you can only chip in a dollar or two, it helps. Your sponsorship helps keep Themebot from becoming cluttered with pay-per-click advertising, or as I like to call it "Click or Treat Advertising". It seems that many of the sites using pay-per-click ads are more concerned about tricking their visitors into clicking an ad, rather than providing quality content. Themebot doesn't do Click or Treat and nearly all of the featured services that are promoted are actually used by the Themebot staff.

Most of the debugging was finished up late last night. Thank you to the excellent Liquid Web staff for their true 24/7 heroic support. If you find any problems, please Contact the Bot.

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