As you no doubt know, the site was down for a period of around two weeks. Why? I hear you ask...
Firstly, this was not due to maintenance or system upgrade of any nature, so don't expect it to suddenly be faster. YET!
The site hosting company took it upon themselves to change the IP address for the DNS nameservers. Why is beyond me. Straight away that means that our domain points to an invalid (out of date) DNS by the domain provider (different company than the hosting).
I registered the new DNS with our domain providers and they screwed up, without explanation. They constantly told me that the change was made correctly and that I needed to contact the hosting company. The hosting company constantly came back to me with a report showing the site was still being pointed to the old DNS details and that I needed to contact the domain providers. This went on day... after day... after day!
Knowing the DNS problem lay with the domain people, I opened a support ticket with them to fix the issue. They were painfully slow to respond to each reply I made. I'm talking two days or more at a time and also coupled with the fact that they had major outages lasting days that they were also trying to fix at the same time (possibly the reason why my DNS changes got corrupted after I hit submit).
Eventually, after them telling me it was done, and allowing sufficient time for the changes to be propagated globally, there was something still not right. So I did several live chats with them, being told their tech team were closed (they're in Australia since before the Society inherited the site). So after three days of live webchats they tried to make the changes themselves only to receive errors.
Yesterday morning I received an email saying that the change has been made by them again and that it would take up to four hours to be propagated globally. Finally, it was working!!!
This issue has seriously annoyed the hell out of me and one of the Trustees. Our domain is up for renewal soon and we are enquiring about moving it to our own developer at that time. Also, as we've had major problems with the hosting on and off for months, we are also working on moving the hosting to our own developer come the spring, when that is up for renewal. When the hosting is moved we will hopefully be moving to a solid state (SSD) service which will result in the site running faster. We are also getting an SSL certificate, which should have been done by the domain company ages ago, and wasn't.
I'm sorry that the site was down for everyone. It was a total head-wrecking stressor for me, at a time when I could have done without it. It's important you keep in mind though that this was at no point the fault of me and neither was it anything to do with the Society. We have not changed any of the site's service providers since we inherited the site from Andy. We are planning improvements to the running speed and site stability in the future, improving backup features, and keeping as many aspects as possible unified and local.
Thanks for reading.
The Carnivorous Plant Society