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  • Hosting environment, backups, and another license question...

    Hello,

    I'm impressed enough with this community, the staff, and everything else I've seen about the product to be willing to buy my first license. My questions:

    I have been with a small, family owned Linux-friendly ISP for a long time and plan to have them host my new, expanded web site and forum. When I asked the owner if he could host vBulletin, he described some details of his PHP configuration that might affect it. This is what he said:

    One thing somewhat unique about our environment is that PHP actually runs as the user not as the web server UID; this is more secure but some software packages make assumptions.

    Another thing I've seen on some packages is while the website might just state that PHP is required, they might actually require a specific PHP module, usually one that makes no provision for changing to the users ID the way we have ours setup and thus one that isn't accomodatable without ruining security. But from the docs supplied I can't tell if this is or is not the case with this particular package.
    So I said I'd ask Jelsoft about it, and so I am! Is there anything in his description that raises a red flag, folks?

    Second question, inevitably, is one more variation on where and how a test server can be set up...

    I have several machines here in my home, any one of which I could readily set up as a testbed with apache, php, and mysql. I've got a local network connecting them, and all share an internet connection via an ADSL modem that's attached to the network switch.

    So I install my new copy of vBulletin here and tinker with it until I'm confident I can import my archives, do at least a first cut at configuring and customizing things, and hopefully make most of my mistakes where it won't hurt anybody.

    Then, I can FTP the software to the host servers (2000 miles away), work with tech support there and at Jelsoft until it's working in the production server environment, and presumably take it live at some point.

    There are two parts to the question, licensing and technical.

    From a licensing standpoint, can my testing system stay here, so long as it's never visible to the wider net nor serving pages except in local testing?

    On the technical side, is there any reason I would not want to do it that way, that it might be difficult or impractical compared to a separate, password protected board, sitting on the production server?

    Lastly, say I'm paranoid... err, responsible... and want to do daily backups of my forum database to a hard disk here at home, a weekly burn to DVD, storage off-site, etcetera... and the database gets to be a few gigs... What mechanism can I use to do incremental updates of my local copy to keep it synched with the production version, to avoid repeatedly downloading huge numbers of records that won't ever change?

    This may be as much a Linux question as a vBulletin one, but I'm sure it's a pretty common concern. I'm still pretty early on the Linux learning curve, so please be fairly explicit on what the tools are and what they do.

    Thanks, very much. You've got an impressive reputation. Hope I'll be able to join the customer base.

    Mike D.



  • #2
    First question, should be fine on the web hosting

    Second question, as long as the test forum setup is private for you only it's find from licensing point of view

    Third question, this i'm not 100% sure on as i never done this myself but there's variety of ways to do this and would also depend on if the local pc test bed is of same operating system i.e. windows local pc and linux live server etc

    You could use WinSCP and SCP on linux http://winscp.net/eng/index.php to synchronise the files http://winscp.net/eng/docs/task_synchronize_full and http://winscp.net/eng/docs/faq

    haven't used it myself so only going by what i read
    :: Always Back Up Forum Database + Attachments BEFORE upgrading !
    :: Nginx SPDY SSL - World Flags Demo [video results]
    :: vBulletin hacked forums: Clean Up Guide for VPS/Dedicated hosting users [ vbulletin.com blog summary ]

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for your reply George.

      You write:
      Third question, this i'm not 100% sure on as i never done this myself but there's variety of ways to do this and would also depend on if the local pc test bed is of same operating system i.e. windows local pc and linux live server etc
      They would both be runing linux, so I'd expect them to get along pretty well together.

      Back to the second part of my second question, is vBulletin sufficiently independent of the environment that there won't likely be a lot of operational differences between the Sun hardware running Linux at my host and the Intel PC running Linux at home?

      Would there be times that I'd have to take the production board offline to do upgrades or configuration changes that I wouldn't need to if the test board were on the host machine?

      Thanks, George. I'm encouraged.

      Be well,

      Mike D.

      Comment


      • #4
        for linux SCP to linux SCP

        http://www.shadlen.org/sl/linux/remote/scp.htm

        or rsync http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~plinich/security/rsync.html for directories

        google for rsync probably give you more info

        As to platform for vB operation, Sun hardware would work fine running linux we have a few vB customers doing this. But you'd more likely get more in depth assistance and help online and on our forums with intel or amd based hardware running linux as more folks would be using such hardware.

        Only times to take live forums offline would be

        1. if you have millions and millions of posts and want to reindex the search engine, you would reindex alot faster with the forum closed rather than open. You can reindex when forum is open just will take longer. Reindexing won't need to happen unless you empty the postindex (which stores your search data) i.e. if you want to change the min and max characters allowed to search for.

        2. if you have database corruption severe enough to require closure of the forum until repairs are done... i.e. http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/showthread.php?t=69803 note MySQL 4.0.26 and 4.1.16 no longer have that threads issue but the procedure to deal with corruption is same.

        3. Upgrading vB 3.5.x the actual upgrade scripts automatically turn off the forums from public access when run and turn back on after completed

        HTH
        :: Always Back Up Forum Database + Attachments BEFORE upgrading !
        :: Nginx SPDY SSL - World Flags Demo [video results]
        :: vBulletin hacked forums: Clean Up Guide for VPS/Dedicated hosting users [ vbulletin.com blog summary ]

        Comment


        • #5
          For backups, you can now get a MySQL database connector for your PC which may allow you to backup remotely.

          Alternately, there are FTP scripts you can write which, if you have an FTP server running on your PC at home, will create automated backups and actually connect to your home PC and upload the files every night. You could also set up an automated backup script that puts the files somewhere on your website and then point some kind of download manager to that page to automatically download any new backups on a daily basis. Lots of options. I consider SSH/Telnet a last resort only because it's beyond the skills of most users.

          Comment


          • #6
            Gentlemen, thank you.

            It sounds, then, like there will be many good ways to configure backups and make them quite automated. That'll be excellent to have working!

            With my test setup on my home machine, any time I make configuration changes and test them there, will there just be some configuration files that need to be uploaded to the remote production server to modify the public version of my board? Or is there some other sort of scripted process that takes care of doing that. If so, will it work across the net?

            I'm just trying to be sure that I'm not creating extra problems with that arrangement.

            Originally posted by Feldon
            I consider SSH/Telnet a last resort only because it's beyond the skills of most users.
            I'm a relative newb with Linux, especially administration, but I've dinked around with SSH and shell accounts for several years, keeping a clunky prehistoric list server working. At least if I have to work from a command line, it won't be as terrible as it might have been when I was REALLY GREEN...

            Thank you,

            Mike D.

            Comment


            • #7
              What kind of configuration changes?

              The "look" of your forum aka the forum style can be downloaded from your test enviroment as an xml file which you can then import to the live server. Takes a second to do besides uploading any related graphics to the right place.

              File changes are "mostly" uncessary in vb3.5 due to the extensive "hooks" that let you can write modular scripts to take advantage of. Plugins and Products as they are known can be exported and imported in a similar way to the style. Vbulletin.org has some good info about this.

              If you mean just changing around basic stuff like the name of a forum or the description of something, ... well thats only a second or two to edit around in the live site since its all web based.
              Plan, Do, Check, Act!

              Comment


              • #8
                include/config.php is the only bonafide configuration file. It should change rarely if ever. Every other setting is controllable from the Admin control panel.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It shows that I don't have the advantage of knowing how the program is used in order to phrase my questions sensibly!

                  You wrote:
                  The "look" of your forum aka the forum style can be downloaded from your test enviroment as an xml file which you can then import to the live server. Takes a second to do besides uploading any related graphics to the right place.
                  I think you're answering my question, but let me be sure... If I've made and tested a bunch of appearance, behavior, whatever tweaks and am satisfied with the results on my testbed here at home, I can "export" all the settings to this xml file, which would be saved somewhere on the testbed machine. Then I would login to the production forum's admin control panel via my web browser and use controls there to upload the settings in that xml file en masse? And vB takes care of its own housekeeping well enough to not choke while enabling all those changes on the fly?

                  This would include such things as defining new user groups, changing their permissions for some part of the board, or other things that are related function rather than style sheets for appearance?

                  Again, I have no doubt things work when you do as you're told ...

                  Hopefully I've understood you right, which would mean I really shouldn't have any problem with the test system being separated from the production system.

                  Excellent attention to all our questions. Thank you very much for it.

                  Be well,

                  Mike D.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think you're answering my question, but let me be sure... If I've made and tested a bunch of appearance, behavior, whatever tweaks and am satisfied with the results on my testbed here at home, I can "export" all the settings to this xml file, which would be saved somewhere on the testbed machine. Then I would login to the production forum's admin control panel via my web browser and use controls there to upload the settings in that xml file en masse? And vB takes care of its own housekeeping well enough to not choke while enabling all those changes on the fly?
                    Yep, just be careful with how you use absolute paths to images and such. VB has variables you can use as a substitute where needed.

                    This would include such things as defining new user groups, changing their permissions for some part of the board, or other things that are related function rather than style sheets for appearance?
                    No, thats something different. You would need to go into the production server and make the change there directly but its all configurable via the admincp and its usually very simple to do and not something you will really be changing all that often.

                    vb allows you to use multiple usergroups and permissions for almost everything can be inherited from a parent forum or group, etc and customized from there.

                    You really shouldn't have any problems having a seperate test system. If it reassures you in any way, I usually do my changes directly to the live site.
                    Plan, Do, Check, Act!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thank you!

                      I think any further operational questions ought to wait until I'm delving into the user's manual and setting up my test board.

                      Barring any problems at my hosting service, I will be placing my order soon.

                      Mike D.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hello again! I'm resurrecting my first thread to ask what should be the last question I will have before ordering...

                        I've spent the last few days (while waiting for payday to arrive! ) setting up my linux PC here at home to run apache2, mysql, php4 and getting it to pass the vb_test.php script. That's been quite a learning curve, but it has given me a lot more confidence I can do this stuff!

                        I've also tested the script on the hosting server at my ISP, and it passes with one exception:
                        Code:
                        open_basedir        Failed
                        I uploaded the script to my public_html directory and access it via a url that looks like:
                        Code:
                        http://www.myhostisp.com/~mdevour/vb_test.php
                        I see that this is in the "Recommended Settings" section, so it's not a deal-killer for vBulletin, but I would like to know what it doesn't like and whether it would be possible and desirable for me to fix the problem.

                        Thank you!

                        Mike D.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by feldon23
                          For backups, you can now get a MySQL database connector for your PC which may allow you to backup remotely.
                          I'm on the MySQL mailing list and I always wondered what the Connector does. So, configure this on Dev machine (Localhost) and it'll connect to the online version and bakckups can be performed?

                          Taking board offline for stability?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mdevour
                            Hello again! I'm resurrecting my first thread to ask what should be the last question I will have before ordering...

                            I've spent the last few days (while waiting for payday to arrive! ) setting up my linux PC here at home to run apache2, mysql, php4 and getting it to pass the vb_test.php script. That's been quite a learning curve, but it has given me a lot more confidence I can do this stuff!

                            I've also tested the script on the hosting server at my ISP, and it passes with one exception:
                            Code:
                            open_basedir        Failed
                            I uploaded the script to my public_html directory and access it via a url that looks like:
                            Code:
                            http://www.myhostisp.com/~mdevour/vb_test.php
                            I see that this is in the "Recommended Settings" section, so it's not a deal-killer for vBulletin, but I would like to know what it doesn't like and whether it would be possible and desirable for me to fix the problem.

                            Thank you!

                            Mike D.
                            open_basedir only affects uploading of attachments and there's setting in vB 3.5.x that can workaround this so no probs
                            :: Always Back Up Forum Database + Attachments BEFORE upgrading !
                            :: Nginx SPDY SSL - World Flags Demo [video results]
                            :: vBulletin hacked forums: Clean Up Guide for VPS/Dedicated hosting users [ vbulletin.com blog summary ]

                            Comment

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