Update: WE ARE BACK ONLINE! The Forum has been RESTORED! See announcement here. If there are any problems or issues, please report them in the announcement thread. Note: Unfortunately I was not able to import the posts made after the crash (on Sept 18) into the restored forum. However, I exported all the posts submitted after the crash into a Word file, so you can download it, find your posts and re-post them. Download the posts here. Thanks for your patience and welcome back everyone!



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ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

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Winston
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ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Winston » October 10th, 2019, 1:13 am

ANNOUNCEMENT:

The Forum has been RESTORED! We are back online! If there are any problems or issues, please report them in this thread.

Important Note:

The forum was restored from a backup from September 13, five days before the forum crash on September 18. All posts made after that were unable to be restored. I tried to import the posts and tables from the database that were posted after the Sept 18 crash, but it would not work for some reason. I contacted phpbb support forums and they said it was not that simple but a messy process to try to do that. The only way is to merge the two databases, but I cannot even get the scripts to run and no one knows why. So for now, if you submitted any posts or topics after September 13, you will have to repost them. Sorry about that. I tried my best to fix it, but to no avail. (If any of you have any idea how to import posts or tables into the database of the forum, let me know)

However, I did backup all the posts made after September 18 into a Microsoft Word file. So you guys can download it and use the search function (Control F) in a word processing program (such as MS Word) to find your posts and use copy and paste to repost them again. The file is on my server. Here's the download link:

http://www.happierabroad.com/phpbb_posts.doc

Any posts you made after September 18 should be in that file. The file is like a big blog of text though, so you will have to use the search function to type the words that were in your posts, to find them.

As to the posts made between Sept 13 and 18 though, I'm afraid theres no way to get them back.

Also, to prevent this type of crash from destroying the forum again, I have installed a third party extension to backup the forum database automatically twice a week. So that if this happens again, we can restore the forum from a recent backup.

Anyway, hope the forum is back to working order again. If there are any problems or issues, please report them in this thread.

WELCOME BACK EVERYONE!

Happier Abroad Admin
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Shemp
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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Shemp » October 10th, 2019, 2:03 am

You need some DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack protection. Whether or not it was Vegas is Good behind the attack or not, clearly those 500 or whatever logins from one location in China were malicious. Anyone can pay to have DDOS done very cheaply. Chinese hackers are typically used simply because authorities in the USA can't go after them in China. But any other foreign country would also work.

Sorry, I'm long retired from computers so don't ask me how to get DDOS protection. Cloudflare seems popular.

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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Cornfed » October 10th, 2019, 2:21 am

Shemp wrote:
October 10th, 2019, 2:03 am
Cloudflare seems popular.
Although Cloudflare has been deplatforning politically incorrect sites. Bitmitigate is a less politically correct company.

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Winston
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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Winston » October 10th, 2019, 6:21 am

I cant use cloudflare anymore because my advertisers said it interfered with their ability to track clicks from my site. So i had to deactivate it. Is there another way to prevent DDOS attacks? Ill research it.

Btw how often should i automate a backup? Every week? Twice a week? Every 3 days? I installed a program that will make automated backups. Hope it works.
Check out my FUN video clips in Russia and Female Encounters of the Foreign Kind video series and Full Russia Trip Videos!

Join my Ukrainian/Russian Women Dating Site to meet thousands of legit foreign girls at low cost!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne

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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Yohan » October 10th, 2019, 4:59 pm

Winston wrote:
October 10th, 2019, 1:13 am
ANNOUNCEMENT:

The Forum has been RESTORED! We are back online! If there are any problems or issues, please report them in this thread.

-----

However, I did backup all the posts made after September 18 into a Microsoft Word file. So you guys can download it and use the search function (Control F) in a word processing program (such as MS Word) to find your posts and use copy and paste to repost them again. The file is on my server. Here's the download link:

http://www.happierabroad.com/phpbb_posts.doc
Happy to see that the forum is restored, and it seems to work OK again.

However I cannot open this microsoft word file, it seems to be empty... no files inside - only one line with garbled characters.

fdiv
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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by fdiv » October 10th, 2019, 6:30 pm

Yes! Congratulations Winston and thank you for your tireless efforts!
options in the US: maybe have a shot at a angry bluehaired landwhale and then, prison :roll:
options abroad: limitless 8)

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Winston
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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Winston » October 10th, 2019, 7:58 pm

Yohan wrote:
October 10th, 2019, 4:59 pm
Happy to see that the forum is restored, and it seems to work OK again.

However I cannot open this microsoft word file, it seems to be empty... no files inside - only one line with garbled characters.
Did you try sliding the scroll bar to the right? Theres garbage text on the left but if u scroll right you will see the posts. Did you open it in Microsoft Word? If you open it in notepad then select wordwrap.
Check out my FUN video clips in Russia and Female Encounters of the Foreign Kind video series and Full Russia Trip Videos!

Join my Ukrainian/Russian Women Dating Site to meet thousands of legit foreign girls at low cost!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne

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Winston
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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Winston » October 10th, 2019, 8:00 pm

Btw everyone, if you're looking for any posts made from Sept 13 to 18 well I'm afraid those are lost and I have no way to recover them.
Check out my FUN video clips in Russia and Female Encounters of the Foreign Kind video series and Full Russia Trip Videos!

Join my Ukrainian/Russian Women Dating Site to meet thousands of legit foreign girls at low cost!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne

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Winston
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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Winston » October 13th, 2019, 12:42 am

Update:

Good news. I've gotten the automated backup program I installed to work. It seems to work fine so far. I've set it to make a backup of the forum every 3 days, and store a total of 3 backups in the server. I guess that means that each new backup will overwrite the oldest backup on the server. That would be a logical assumption. This way, if the forum were to crash and lose all the posts again, I can restore it using one of the three backups stored on the server. And should the most recent backup occur right after the crash and loss of data, thus rendering it useless, or I find out about the crash too late, there will still be two other backups that I can restore from from 3 and 6 days ago. I think that's a good system to follow, don't you all agree?

So this is good. I don't have to take the burden and responsibility of having to make manual backups every three days, which I don't have time for, since modern life contains so many distractions and neverending lists of things to do, especially while you're traveling. Instead, this program will do it automatically for me, based on the settings I give it, and store it in the server safely and securely. That way we can make sure that a recent backup is available in the worst case scenario. Cool. I will send a donation to the developer of this program.

It also solves the problem I mentioned before about how our hosting space is not enough for enabling automated backups of my site, via my webhost panel, because it would backup the whole site, not just the forum, and that would take way too much space, requiring me to purchase additional storage space. With this third party backup tool, I can just backup the forum database, rather than the whole site, because that's all I need really, since the rest of the site consists of static pages mostly that I have a copy of offline.

Plus, this backup tool I'm using also compresses the forum backups into a gzip file, so that each backup only takes up approximately 150 MB of space, which is quite small, and so I can easily afford to store 3 backups of such a size, using up only about 450 MB of storage space.

Also, I found a way to reduce the size of the forum database significantly. By deleting the native search index, and using the SQL search index instead, it reduces the database by about one entire gigabyte! That's a lot. I never knew that the search index backend using native text, took up so much space. The developers told me in the support forum that using the SQL search index is just as efficient and takes up far less space than the standard native text index. So I did just that and now our forum database is a lot smaller now. This means the forum is a lot easier to backup and store too, without trouble or time outs from handling big files. So that's another definite plus.

Anyway, I hope all is smooth sailing here from now on, and we can all rest assured and sleep better knowing that this forum has regular stable back ups from now on. I guess we learned a lesson from this crash after all, about how to protect data properly, especially on a board as large as this one. :)

Btw if any of you have a phpbb forum too and want to use the backup tool I mentioned above, here's the link to download it: https://github.com/david63/autodbbackup/archive/3.2.zip
Check out my FUN video clips in Russia and Female Encounters of the Foreign Kind video series and Full Russia Trip Videos!

Join my Ukrainian/Russian Women Dating Site to meet thousands of legit foreign girls at low cost!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne

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Shemp
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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Shemp » October 13th, 2019, 5:22 am

You need to test this new system. A real test, even if it means the forum is down for a while again. Do a backup the old way (which you know works, since you recently restored from that), then practice with the new type backups. In fact, maybe continue testing monthly after confirming the new system works.

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Winston
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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Winston » October 13th, 2019, 8:44 am

Shemp wrote:
October 13th, 2019, 5:22 am
You need to test this new system. A real test, even if it means the forum is down for a while again. Do a backup the old way (which you know works, since you recently restored from that), then practice with the new type backups. In fact, maybe continue testing monthly after confirming the new system works.
No I restored the forum from a backup created by Bluehost tech support remember? I'll try to report their letter to me below.

Later on though, I screwed up the backup by trying to merge another database into it by importing it, which replaced it. So I had to restore again using a backup I made of the restored database, which I downloaded directly from my webhost panel after it was restored earlier. As you can see, it seems to have worked.

Actually I don't think I need to test the backups created by the automated program, because in the phpbb.com community, that backup tool is considered very reliable and has been tested by many people already and is well vouched for. So I'm not worried.

I can test backups easily though, but restoring them into a test database, and then pointing the database in the config.php file to it, to see if it works. That should be easy and involves editing one file only. Then I can revert back to this database when I'm done testing.
Check out my FUN video clips in Russia and Female Encounters of the Foreign Kind video series and Full Russia Trip Videos!

Join my Ukrainian/Russian Women Dating Site to meet thousands of legit foreign girls at low cost!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne

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Winston
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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Winston » October 13th, 2019, 8:50 am

For reference purposes, here are the emails that were sent to me from Bluehost case managers about the reason that this site and forum crashed simultaneously, based on their investigation. Does what they say indicate a DDOS attack? If so, how can one block or counteract or prevent it in the future?
Hello,

Thank you for your patience while we worked to investigate your server issues . We certainly regret your recent experience as well as our delay in reaching back out to you.

At this point in time we are showing that your server and control panel is functioning properly and all services are u p and running.

We would like to note that we are showing that there was a heavy increase of traffic of IP's belonging to http://huaweicloud.com which appears to be a hosting provider in Beijing. It appears that this increase in traffic ended around 4:50AM UTC on the 19th which translates to 9:50PM on the 18th.

Additionally we have been able to repair all phpbb_search_wordlist and phpbb_posts tables on all 3 of your PHPBB databases without error. If you are still experiencing any problems however please provide additional information so that we can continue our investigation.

In the meantime, do not hesitate to reach back out to us if you have any additional questions or concerns. Also, please feel free to take the survey by clicking the button at the bottom of the email. We would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Thanks,
Richie J.
Hello Winston,

Thank you for reaching back out to us. We sincerely apologize for the troubles that you have been experiencing with your forum. We attempted to call the number on file, and were told you were not available.

When we began our investigation on the 20th it was unclear as to the scope of your problems beyond the error message you were receiving inside your control panel, and the crashed tables.

By the time we started looking into the matter on the 20th there were no crashed tables and the forum appeared to be functioning as it should when we visited http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/. We do truly regret that tables crashed leading to the loss of content. It is tragic to have lost the data you and your visitors had put into the site.

It appears that your server is not currently configured to make backups. You or your administrator might have chosen to do this due to the lack of space on your drive, which is understandable, however, does leave your sites to this type of risk.

The crashed tables were most likely precipitated by the heavy server load caused by the increase in traffic you have been receiving as of late. We actually noticed really heavy server loads during our investigation. Having been able to monitor your server during this heavy load, we were able to see the same thing that was reported in our last email to you.

You can see an example of your server's heavy loads from today below:

Sep 20 (UTC) runq-sz plist-sz ldavg-1 ldavg-5 ldavg-15
10:10:15 AM 379 1211 400.04 341.91 214.05
10:20:07 AM 407 1045 403.36 395.73 303.37
10:30:05 AM 380 1202 400.98 408.51 354.46
10:40:04 AM 402 1220 408.10 410.69 381.83
10:50:06 AM 417 1050 397.55 405.69 393.50
11:00:05 AM 378 1203 399.75 333.34 339.02
11:10:07 AM 296 1180 408.75 395.73 369.91
11:20:08 AM 334 1216 399.81 390.75 379.24
11:30:03 AM 415 1052 411.46 408.97 394.52
11:40:23 AM 348 1212 403.19 404.69 398.78
11:50:06 AM 217 1232 409.11 404.19 400.63
12:00:01 PM 8 426 205.68 352.08 385.23


The site was receiving thousands of hits to your PHP service, primarily from IP's beginning in 159.138.*, which comes from what appears to be a Huawei hosting company. We blackholed this IP range on your server for a period of time to allow for the server load to go down. The server returned to normal levels though it did cause some for your tables to crash again, which have since been repaired.

We removed the blackhole in the event that you are expecting this traffic from these ranges of IP's. If you feel this traffic to be malicious in nature you can request that we block the IP range, or additionally you can also blackhole the IP range by running the following command as the root user:

root@server.happierabroad.com [~]# ip route add blackhole 159.138.0.0/16

As you mentioned in your recent contact with us you are looking to restore your database from a backup. As you or your administrator had the backups disabled, there are no server generated backups to restore from.

If you have any manually created backups to restore from please let us know right away and we would be more than happy to assist you in getting your database backup restored.

Going Forward we strongly urge you to either add additional storage to be mounted to /backup so that you can start utilizing the automatic backups provided by your server's cPanel software -or- manually backup your databases and files periodically, downloading them to a local location.

You can easily download a backup of your databases from within your control panel:

User-added image
User-added image

If you do decide to purchase additional storage you can enable your backups from within your WHM panel:

User-added image

Once enabled to can set your configuration:

User-added image

We have scoured through your server to find any random backup you might had made at some point prior to the table crash. We were unable to find any to speak of. Again, in the event you have your own backup we would love to help you in any way we can to help you restore your database.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact us if there are any additional questions or concerns There is also a survey at the bottom of the email.

Regards,
Richie J.
Later they resolved the case with this email, fortunately:
Hi Winston,

Thank you so much for reaching back out to us. We are so grateful for your patience while we worked to recover a backup of your database, happier2_HappierAbroad.

Though typically not possible nor feasible for us to recover backup images for our virtual private servers, our system operations team has gone above and beyond and spent the past 3 days looking for any remnants of a backup of your server's image from before September 18th.

We are pleased to report that they were able to find a backup from September 13th and extract your happier2_HappierAbroad database from it. This backup is currently imported into a database called happier2_phpbbbackup on your virtual private server. There is also a backup found at /root/happier2_HappierAbroad.tgz

We temporarily modified your /home/happier2/public_html/forum/config.php file to connect to the happier2_phpbbbackup database and your posts appeared as they should. Feel free to connect your PHPBB installation to the new database to restore your posts.

We do strongly advise either downloading manual backups of your sites and databases on a frequent bases. Alternatively you could also remove any content from your drive that is not needed or purchase additional storage and mount it to /backup to take advantage of the automatic backups afforded to our VPS and Dedicated customers.

You can purchase a drive by using the addons tab of your control panel:

Once purchased please take advantage of our support to assist you in getting the drive mounted and your server's backup system configured to help you avoid being put in this situation in the future.

In the meantime, do not hesitate to reach back out to us if there are any other question or concerns you have. Please also feel free to take the survey mentioned at the bottom of the email.

Thanks,
Richie J.
Check out my FUN video clips in Russia and Female Encounters of the Foreign Kind video series and Full Russia Trip Videos!

Join my Ukrainian/Russian Women Dating Site to meet thousands of legit foreign girls at low cost!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne

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Shemp
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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Shemp » October 13th, 2019, 12:49 pm

I'm not going to pester you about this, but experienced computer/datanase systems administrators know that it doesn't matter what other people say about backup/recovery, you have to test everything yourself. That test database idea sounds okay, but make sure you actually do it.

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Yohan
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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by Yohan » October 13th, 2019, 7:30 pm

Winston wrote:
October 10th, 2019, 7:58 pm
Yohan wrote:
October 10th, 2019, 4:59 pm
Happy to see that the forum is restored, and it seems to work OK again.

However I cannot open this microsoft word file, it seems to be empty... no files inside - only one line with garbled characters.
Did you try sliding the scroll bar to the right? Theres garbage text on the left but if u scroll right you will see the posts. Did you open it in Microsoft Word? If you open it in notepad then select wordwrap.
I tried various programs, and later on changed the *.doc to *.txt and finally got the posts but all is just mixed up, to separate it is very time consuming, anyway, I was only interested to try, I do not really need those posts.

Has anybody successfully open this Doc-File? Which operating system and which program did you use?

E Irizarry R&B Singer
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Re: ATTN: The Forum has been RESTORED! Report any problems or issues here.

Post by E Irizarry R&B Singer » October 13th, 2019, 8:00 pm

Yohan wrote:
October 13th, 2019, 7:30 pm
Winston wrote:
October 10th, 2019, 7:58 pm
Yohan wrote:
October 10th, 2019, 4:59 pm
Happy to see that the forum is restored, and it seems to work OK again.

However I cannot open this microsoft word file, it seems to be empty... no files inside - only one line with garbled characters.
Did you try sliding the scroll bar to the right? Theres garbage text on the left but if u scroll right you will see the posts. Did you open it in Microsoft Word? If you open it in notepad then select wordwrap.
I tried various programs, and later on changed the *.doc to *.txt and finally got the posts but all is just mixed up, to separate it is very time consuming, anyway, I was only interested to try, I do not really need those posts.

Has anybody successfully open this Doc-File? Which operating system and which program did you use?
I used Linux using LibreOffice 5.x in order to open the .doc file. No sweat, no frills. More specifically, use LibreOffice's Write (the poor man's MS Word app) to open it, and to see it in spreadsheet view, export it to a .xlsx formart that you can open that export in LibreOffice's Calc (the poor man's/cheap ba.stard's version of MS Excel).

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