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Alternatives for this site's future

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Thanks to Abenakiregion for focusing me on the fact that some contributors remains unable to post and thus cannot give their thoughts on the migration. I invite any contributors who are unable to post to e-mail me their thoughts, to dave1111116@gmail.com,and I will post in this thread for them.

Here is the relevant text of abenakiregion's e-mail:

"I'm posting this now while I can still read the 'site alternatives'. I am in favour of a full migration with Glen as moderator, and will contribute when I'm able to gain access to the site. At present I still cannot log in on any search platform on my PC, Android phone, or tablet . . . I think an announcement needs to be made with an email address to respond to for those of us who are being asked to "give our thoughts on the site migration" when we, obviously, cannot log in or post those thoughts."
 

Zac

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This summer of tribulation has affirmed to me that the community here is full of great people. Every time I've logged on to check for updates (my ability to log on was never interupted, windows 10, chrome) I've had a horrible feeling that I would be reading about the end of the site. Today all of that concern has passed.

I think it's very important to have the site continue to host uploaded, high-res images, to prevent another photobucket moneygrab from ruining years of content. Losing the 'archives' would be a tragic loss felt by the entire online canoe enthusiast community.

From what I have read, it sounds like Glenn has found a great solution.

THANK YOU Robin, Doug, Dave and Glenn. You should all be very proud of what you've done to keep this community together.

I'll be behind ya'll through anything, and I've got $20 for the site any time.

Zac
 
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Thanks Glenn for doing the research and finding that option. Like others, I'm amazed that the migration is so affordable -- apparently we are not the first and the path is well trodden. If it were only a partial migration there would be a case for muddling through and trying to fix the remaining problems with vbulletin, but at this point doing so would probably cost more than making the change, and longer term a supported, specialized hosting situation with a better forum package should result in less downtime and fewer surprises. I'm sure there will be a few bumps on the way, but the future looks bright.
 
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I had made mention of Xenforo in a post somewhere here in the recent past. Advrider.com uses it: 400 000+ members; 1 000 000+ discussions; 39 000 000+ posts. And the cookie management is such that it can be configured to remember exactly what you have read/not read making it very easy to pick up where you left off. I really like it. It's welcome news that the migration fees are so low, but not really a surprise. As far as IT projects of this nature go, migration fees are where the client has some leverage. As such, it is in the best interest of the vendor to make it as slick as possible - I wouldn't be surprised if they have scripts to migrate clients from each specific board platform/version. But for ~$500 and the time constraint, it seems like a no-brainer to me to just go for it. Thanks for taking it on, Glenn.
 
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Support the migration and willing to donate. Thanks to all, past and present, who have worked this through to what appears to be a solid solution!
 
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We have enough of a consensus for me to be comfortable proceeding with initial steps. I plan to put a check in the mail today for $600 to Glenn to cover the start up costs. I will also contact Siteground today about the migration.
 
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A gmail message, in relevant part: "I’m in favor of Glen’s proposition of full migration & will contribute to canoetripping. Forest runes"
 
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Another gmail message:

"I am glad that the site moving to a better place.
Please let Glenn know that most all of us that can not post will be behind him as the new administration.
He might want to give us a email address that we can send our direct support & a snail mail address we can send financial support as well.
.............Boreal Birch"
 
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Thanks for all the work you guys are putting into this.
Sounds like full migration is the way to go. I will send $ support from Alberta when needed. I don't post much but spend a lot of time 'researching' from old info for when I do get to head out on the water. I also survive the long winter by living vicariously through photos posted of far flung places, dreaming of ice out and dipping the paddle for the first time in the spring....although everything seems to be on fire up here right now.
Happy paddling
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Everyone:

Dave and I are going forward with the full migration plan with Ken Payne of Driven 2 Services. It can be done before our $720 September payment is due to the current webhost, Siteground, if we work swiftly. Dave and I have to do some technical and legal stuff behind the scenes, and Driven 2 obviously has to slot us into their work schedules. Then, I'll have to learn some admin basics while the site is down in a test bed for no more than a few days.

I appreciate all the enthusiasm for a full migration and the offers of financial support. My preliminary thought is to have a Site Resurrection Fund Raiser sometime in September after the new Xenforo site goes live and we know all the final costs. At that point, I'll post a methodology to make donations.
 
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I'm very pleased that the site (and its archives) will be preserved. Let me know when/where to send cash... IMO it's well worth it & I'm pleasantly surprised that it's not far more expensive for a full migration. Thanks for all the work and I'll look forward to seeing all on the other side.
 
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Another gmail mail, in relevant part:

"As I stated in the last post I had posted, I appreciate and support the site, and will continue to, in the upcoming changes.


I've gotten a little lost in trying to follow everything, but the full migration sounds far and away the best option. My thanks to Glenn too, for stepping up into his new role. I'll donate if/when asked; looks like there's nothing established yet for that."
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Just to keep you all informed about the migration process:

The beginning of the migration procedure is to give Ken Payne at Driven 2 access to the new Xenforo license, which I have bought today and given to him. Then, Dave has to give Ken access to the data archives on our current Siteground web hosting account, the vBulletin license, and the domain name account. At least the first of Dave's three steps has been done. When Driven 2 has all the accesses and Ken can see everything technically, I expect he will provide a schedule for the migration, which he will work on with me.
 
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I support the move to new site and new tech support. Of course, I will help with funds.

I've always disliked group projects. It takes effort to communicate with a group, effort that could be spent on the project. That said, sometimes projects are too big for individuals to tackle on their own. Is the admin work previously done by Robin, Doug, Dave and now Glenn something that is too much for one individual? If it is, I'll volunteer to help.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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sometimes projects are too big for individuals to tackle on their own. Is the admin work previously done by Robin, Doug, Dave and now Glenn something that is too much for one individual? If it is, I'll volunteer to help.

After migration, I expect there will be lots of questions about the Xenforo features, how to do things, and how to solve problems with Xenforo. Initially, I won't be in any better position to provide answers than anyone else. Nor will Dave, Doug or Robin because their knowledge is about administering vBulletin not Xenforo.

I plan to have forum for Xenforo features, how-to-do-its, and problem solving. And I'm going to encourage members to engage in some self-help, self-experimentation and self-research before they ask me. I'll post links to the Xenforo manual and the Xenforo support forums, which is exactly where I would go to find answers. Motivated others can do the same things on their own and share their findings or solutions. No one has to have any official status for that, and that will be a big help to me, though I will consider official positions if it does become overwhelming.

Thanks for the offer, Chip.
 
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Glenn

Your plan sounds good. Just one thing, I spent a bit of time looking at the various hosting options and the $39.95/month plan. Two things caught my eye, I see "from" in a few places which lead me to think that is a base fee for additional charges based on bandwidth usage and storage amounts. All the cloud hosting packages offer 8gb of storage buy say nothing about bandwidth usage. If 8gb includes all the forum discussions and images stored in the Media section 8gb will get burned up real quick. I also find it hard to believe you get unlimited bandwidth for that base price (even my GoDaddy hosting account claims "unlimited storage/bandwidth" but there is an asterisk and if you really dig deep the unlimited isn't actually true. You do get a lot of space/activity for the base price but when you go over the charges add up (I've never gone over but my site is completely static and very low traffic).

Do you know roughly the size of the site in it's current state?

I hear a lot online about "cloud" hosting packages, once constant is that the nebulous "additional charges" can be substantial in some situations. Makes me wonder if the big price difference between the existing plan and the new one might in the end not be so different. None of this in any way negates your plan, I only post for budgeting considerations.

Probably no need to tell you but a text only site can be huge and not use much storage/bandwidth but once you start adding user uploaded rich media (images, video etc) it will skyrocket very fast (it's ONE of the reasons MYCCR.com limits images to 800px wide).
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Recped, I have always been somewhat confused and skeptical about the amount of computer horsepower one gets under any of the plans from various companies, including the $39/month plan we're initially signing up on with Driven 2. After all, I have a 64 gb card in my phone and about 500 gb SSD in my 8 year old laptop.

As I understand it from Dave, we are currently on a cloud host program with Siteground, which was recently bumped up from an $80/month plan to a $120/month plan.

My understanding is that Driven 2's 8gb is a storage allocation just for "attachments", which in our case is probably almost all photos. Here's how Ken Payne responded to some of my questions, which I don't fully understand. Perhaps you or someone more technically savvy can translate.

**************

"The server setup is pretty fast. We don't oversell server space, whereas some companies will often pack as many virtual machines on a server as possible (Godaddy is particularly bad about this). Plus I don't set them up with default MySQL database and Apache web server setttings. I apply numerous optimization tweaks to both which on average cut page response time in half."

***********

"The 8GB storage displayed is mainly to give you a more realistic understanding of how many attachments you can store, rather than the actual space allocated. You actually would have 25GB of space.

"Here's why I display 8GB, versus for example a traditional hosting service with 25GB of space. Their 25G includes the space used by web server logs for your site, disk space used by your database, backups space, your forum installation including attachments, etc.

"But with the Xenforo specific hosting we have, if you were to have 8GB of attachments the database might be another 1 to 2 GB and a few hundred megabytes for logs and Xenforo for a total of roughly 10GB. Factor in backups and it'll be about 20GB used.

"Its not a hard set limit, and its there mainly to prevent someone from thinking they can signup a massive forum for the smaller plan when it would be overuse of computing resources. I'm not certain how much you are using now, but most forums I migrate of your size might have 1/2 to 5 GB of attachments. There were some which had far more, such as a photography forum, but they are the exception."

****************

In any event, we can upgrade a long way before we reach the $120/month Siteground fee, which does not include any Xenforo service. Ken Payne being a Xenforo guy, all of his plans include free Xenforo service in addition to the hosting.

We'll find everything out, eventually.
 
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