September 16, 2011

I'm sure some of you have noticed that the forum has been up and down like a yoyo over the last few days. So what's been going on with NiceGuy's Land of the Losers then? The answer, is that we've moved to a new web host. Sadly, our previous web host, despite initially being quite good, was recently bought out by another company who appear to be milking them for all they're worth - the speed of the service they are providing has taken a dive off a cliff and I seriously doubt it's going to recover. Consequently, the loss of speed caused Google's search algorithm to punish us severely in their rankings, and for a small site like this, it's something we just can't afford, so we had no choice but to leave. Fortunately, our new host is signficantly faster than our old web host ever was, so I'm looking forward to a swift recovery, and a better experience for both forum members and readers.

Another thing that's changed, is that the site was previously using Cloudflare as a Content Distribution Network and Web Application Firewall. That is no longer the case. Basically, the site content was distributed across numerous data centres around the world, which was (in theory) supposed to decrease load times and reduce total server load, as well as providing extra security for the forum to prevent attempts to hack the forum database and block spammers. Unfortunately, I'm left with a less than positive impression of their service. While load times improved slightly for some users, the big kicker was the incredible rate of false positives for security alerts no matter how low I dialled down the security settings. Trying to administer the forum without their software getting in the way was next to impossible! Cloudflare responds to users it detects as "threats" by asking them to pass a Captcha, and of course nearly every user that tried to upload an image to attach to their post or topic was getting Captcha'd! Not to mention that it was severely interfering with users trying to copy and paste HTML content into their posts. The most hilarious part though, was that as far as I can tell, Cloudflare's service only actually accurately detected a single forum spammer. When they were challenged though, they passed the Captcha and breezed on by, managing to post an advertisement in the "Trouble Registering" forum before the offending account was removed by the admins.

In any case, we're back online now, though it might take a little while for the notification of the change of host for NiceGuy's Land of the Losers to actually propagate around the net. If you're reading this though, then you have nothing to worry about - the change has already reached you. In which case, welcome back!

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