Hi all, I'm logged into the admin account right now because it carries a bit more formality with it. It's still me, honest.
If you tried to access the site at around 5pm last night you would have been met with a 403 error, which translates to "access forbidden". Quite simply, our friends at Site5 decided to block access to the part of the site that powers almost everything.
Apparently, the MediaWiki end of MSO was using so many resources that other Site5 customers were experiencing issues. After some investigating, they found we were to blame.
Basically, if we don't want to get kicked off their system (which we don't, not yet anyway, because we've got nowhere else to go to), we need to make sure we're living within our means. I have made quite a few behind the scenes changes to improve the performance, but at this stage it's hard to judge how successful they've been.
Until we know how big a problem we've got for sure, I have locked the site so that no-one can make any edits or uploads, as editing a page strains the server by much more than just loading one. Hopefully this will only be necessary for a few days whilst I bring other aspects of the site under control, but it's too early to say for sure. They haven't mentioned these forums, which run independently to the rest of the site, so I've kept quiet about them.
I have also cleared all the edit logs and removed the view count that each page has. These are likely to be permanent changes as it is things like updating the view count every time a page is loaded that create unnecessary strain. The photo on the home page won't update as often. Although I doubt people will really miss these things, you might be looking for them and wonder what's happened.
Looking forward a bit, the obvious solution is to look for another provider. The main attraction with Site5 is that they have given us a lot of resources for very little cost. While we could look for a similar package (with the benefit of hindsight that I didn't have five years ago), it's not worth it if we're going to have the same problems a few months later. Right now I think our options are downsize a bit or make a big investment - any middle ground option is likely to land us in the same problems a few months later.
Site5 can move us on to our own server (where there are no other websites to upset or steal the duvet from), but if we choose this the costs of running the site will increase by - prepare yourself - 5000%. Obviously there is no way I can support this myself, so we will have to head down the path of donations and advertising. I will be interested to hear what other people have to say about this. It could only be a last resort, surely.
(Other providers will offer virtual severs too, but I'm quoting Site5's prices because I've just been negotiating with them)
If we have any further problems this week, then I'm sorry but it's the same issue coming back to haunt us.
Finally, while I'm trying my hardest, I don't really know what I'm talking about and would be happy to be put right by any IT experts.
This account is used only for administrative issues.