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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Your website is not reachable from many ISPs
Your website is not reachable from many ISPs
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132 posts
Dec 06, 2021
10:46 AM
I am in IT , I tell you for years your website is not reachable from many ISPs from different countries.
If you do not care , No profit involved then fine otherwise you should talk with your host.

As I am a technical person and I can use VPNS, shadowsocks, etc and I have servers in different countries I always reach but not others :)

If you need help let me know
7018 posts
Dec 06, 2021
12:54 PM
I think they’re aware this is an issue. I remember a few years back it came up that especially people outside the USA had trouble getting on the site.
I don’t know what happened but I expect it went into the “too hard” basket.
10376 posts
Dec 06, 2021
2:55 PM
Hi Frankie. Yeah, unfortunately this is a known issue. Our web host hosts a lot of smaller pages and most of their clientele just kind of run passive groups where they let anyone join. The other sites were getting inundated with spam posts so their solution was to block huge regions where most of the spam was coming from. We hand approve all our members and are pretty aggressive about weeding out spam, so for us it's a pain and we know it means a lot of people can't reach us. Unfortunately, the forum is hosted on proprietary software. A few years ago we looked into migrating to better hosting software but since the software here is proprietary there wasn't an easy and affordable option to migrate all of the old forum posts, which we felt was important.

We do have work arounds where we can whitelist individuals, but obviously that only works for people who know the site exists and it is a real pain to do on our end (we have to send you a little piece of software that traces your IP path to us so that our hosts can whitelist it and it doesn't always work. It usually takes a month or so to do.) Some people use VPNS and Tor browsers. Ironically, most of the spammers are technical enough that they use them now too.

Since we are just one site and the majority of our hosts sites find the blocking helps keep spam down it's not something they are going to change and apparently it's not something they can apply locally to one of their sites- it's all of their sites or nothing.

Ideally we'd find a way to migrate to better software but that's just not in the budget since it requires custom plugins and all of that.

A lot of the same people hang out on the FB version of the page, although it's not quite the same thing. We looked at cross-integration there too but couldn't get it to work.

If you have any suggestions on how to work around it you can email us though. I can be reached at the membership email so both Adam and I can be reached from the contact page.

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First Post- May 8, 2009

Last Edited by nacoran on Dec 06, 2021 3:03 PM
135 posts
Dec 07, 2021
2:18 AM
Blocking the whole country is not a solution . I suppose this is not a shared hosting? Because if a shared hosting does that it would have very bad rating . A shared hosting plan that blocks that many ISPS for spam is the most terrible choice, that means they do not know what they are doing so It seems you are using a VPS . If you are using a VPS then you need to install CSF firewall and in etc/csf /csf blocklists you have some options like

# Stop Forum Spam
# Details: http://www.stopforumspam.com/downloads/
# Many of the lists available contain a vast number of IP addresses so special
# care needs to be made when selecting from their lists

etc .

That can help however your community forum has some issues as well.

1. you allow using HTML ( not a good idea)
2. I also see any body can edit his past posts even posts that has already been answered . that means I can find my past post and then edit them and do a lot of harm.

I am not sure what forum software you are using but if it can not be updated there must be other ways to control spam.

Many years ago I used old phpbb and there were some mods I could use to disallow posts that have been already answered to be edited and many other mods to fight spam.

10378 posts
Dec 07, 2021
5:57 PM
It's not that we can't control spam... the problem is that most of their other customers, I think, only run small local sites and they don't have much in the way of options to customize the software- aside from setting up the rules for joining (everyone can join vs. hand approve) it's all one size fits all. We asked them if they could turn it off for our site specifically and they said they couldn't.

This site went up in 2007 or so, and the software has only been updated slightly. They fixed an issue with slow access to the database, and two small back end security vulnerabilities that I found, and made it so we could 'delete all' when we find a spammer (it literally could take a couple hours back in the day to delete just one spammers posts because they'd post 200+ spam posts in 10 minutes but, for instance, if a spammer does post, just to delete them I have to go to the database of all our members which is sorted in groups of 50 by alphabetical order and guess roughly where they were listed, go to that page by page number and then refine my guess based on whether I'm too early or late in the alphabet. (On the bright side, each guess only takes a few seconds now... at one point it would take 15 minutes to load each page).

As for the forum allowing HTML I agree that's a bad idea, but every time they try to fix a security issue it breaks something else. For instance, there was a problem with the password system ad one point where an admin could see people's passwords (and since we can also see their emails and some people use the same password in multiple spots... so I got them to patch that, but we still had access to change their email field and the password reset still sent your original password, so theoretically a malicious admin could change someone's email to one they control, request a password reset and get the current password sent to them. When I had them fix that they broke the automatic password reset, so for the last few years I've been manually resetting passwords for people when they need them. (On the bright side, that actually gave us a new 'feature'... when we need to put someone on timeout we can change their password on them and the autoreset won't let them back in.) But that's roughly the level the software is running at. It is old and creaky. I suspect if we requested they fix the HTML issue we'd lose the ability to share active links and videos and such. For the longest time our captcha wasn't accessibility compliant. I ended up sending them articles on ADA lawsuits to try to get them to get into compliance, although overall the site still scores pretty low.

Our hosts are MacWebsiteBuilder.com. If you click their link they have a free 10 trial where you could see what they are running. There is probably more we could do. We looked at switching to better forum software a few years ago but there wasn't a plug and play way to migrate all the old posts.

As for the editing the posts... yeah, we had problems with a few people starting arguments and then editing them to make it look like they were the good guys in it. I learned to never trust an edited comment and to screenshot things.

If you look at the numbers of posts per day in the archives you can see the forum used to get more traffic. The FB group is still growing steadily, as are both of Adam's YouTube channels. I spend most of my admin time on the FB group now. It's a shame, because FB has it's own disadvantages. There is a huge amount of knowledge and harmonica culture stored in our old comments. I've joked with Adam that if I ever win the lottery I'd hire a real web guy to code a site from scratch for us and pull all the archives over.

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First Post- May 8, 2009
136 posts
Dec 07, 2021
7:40 PM
OK, I fully understand what you are saying because I have used , created and managed forums all my life :) .

The way you are going will have to change. You can't do this all your life. The software is old and yes there is no way you can migrate all those posts to a new software but one reason is because from start you did not choose a popular forum software with a lot of plugins out there.

Sooner or later you need to change your forum and oh man I can track about 30 other websites using the same hosting on that ip address and I noticed one website is doing business so if they know all those ips are being blocked they would become so upset :)

What you need to do and believe me some day you have to do it is to

1. Install a new forum software , one that is popular and gets updates in your website<

2. Archive all these posts and put some notice explaining the situation for your users asking them to sign up in new forum

Yes this is pain but before you are completely out of business and get into mess this is what you need to do.

If you need help let me know.
7021 posts
Dec 07, 2021
8:53 PM
Needed to happen long ago but AG vetoed it as I recall, because he thinks people like this old fashioned format etc. and the forum has been steadily growing less active. I don’t know how much business the site gets generally but the forum is like Jurassic park.
137 posts
Dec 07, 2021
10:10 PM
It will be difficult to convince people to sign up again in another forum. If you have all email addresses you could use an external email service upload all users email there and contact them about the new forum and the forum could be installed as a wordpress plugin or some thing. I also noticed that people can not search their own posts so I had to use search engines to look up my own posts . Not sure if google is properly indexing all these and old posts either.

If the forum is not generating any money and it is not that much active then better to stay this way . It is too much work and man these days people use facebook and other social media a lot so unless the forums are constantly keeping updated probably it is better to keep it this way .

Surely this is an easy to use forum , A few improvements on this could be much better .
10379 posts
Dec 08, 2021
7:55 AM
Adam had me look into it but it was more complicated than I could handle.

I think Adam relies on YouTube more these days, and the FB page is doing really well (although not monetized in any way). I've actually got to start preparing the FB page for are 20k member contest.

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First Post- May 8, 2009

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