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myff admin

6th Anniversary for myff

We have now been running forums for 6 years.

As a prelude to writing this post I read last years message:

http://forum.myfreeforum.org/about19078.html

Last year we had gone through one major change having invested in new servers, moved to a UK datacenter and entered into an agreement to host for Switch Concepts and work with them in their advertising server business.

There was a fear as to where that would lead time wise, but also a recognition that we needed the financial stability that would come from not just relying on forums.

I think it is fair to say that I was reasonably on the ball in these considerations.

Forums were a rocky business for much of last year, we are again in the black on forums but the advertising market from where the revenue for forums comes has been a tough one. I'm glad we have the new partnership even if it is also advertising related.

That partnership has gone very well, it has gone very strangely in some ways!

We were meant to be hosts, we started out with 2 new large servers and have now 6 we own, but now there are 4 others including 2 in our own datacenter rack that Switch own, basically as hosts we went into too much debt buying hardware and so the burden has had to switch to Switch   This would all be very odd if we had acted as simply hosts, but we have been pretty instrumental in the development of Switch leaving me not employed by Switch but nonetheless being "technical director" or some other job title of convenience as the need arises. Basically the companies have ended up very intertwined.

On the development front, the Switch advertising project has gone from the part time efforts of 2 or 3 people to 3 full time development staff, 2 close to full time contractual staff, a large proportion of my time and still considerable technical input from Tom the guy this all got going with a year ago. Plus of course Switch has a whole infrastructure of other people in various roles.

So what has all that got to do with forums? Well basically the two core things are that :

1) The forums end up financially stable.
2) Since forums run on advertising and now we are a growing player in the advertising arena itself, we can ultimately get better paid advertising and need less of it.

Meanwhile what have we achieved on the forums front itself in the last year.

I think first out of the box is that we have had another year of solid unhacked and close to 100% uptime and asides from some blips due to attacks by spammers we have provided very fast forums.
We have also increased the speed of most forums using a new proxy system.
Development of new features has been slower this year, mostly this is because of pressure of work from Switch, but it is also true to say that we can't do very much on the phpbb3 front whilst it is still in active development, and on the phpbb2 front I think we have an exceedingly good system that really does everything 99% of users really need out of a forums system.

A lot of the improvements we have made have been spammer related and it is because of spammers that I can't sensibly quote what members and posts we have achieved as a forums system, at one stage in the last year we were getting 1 spammer a second signing on to vulnerable forums, ones that were not using our CAPTCHA  system or were using a broken phpbb3 CAPCHTA system
We have largely cleaned house and suspended forums that have run to spam, but to give leeway to admins to reclaim their forums those forums are still mostly on the system and distorting the numbers

So what about the future? I'm hesitating to make too many promises as things are still happening at a frenetic pace, but one thing I would point out that happened last year was we contracted out the redesign of the myff web page to Switch, e.g. we work for them, but they also work for us in quite a few ways. So even if I'm busy on their work, there is every potential for some of the myff workload to move over to the Switch developers. We have already gone to a joint source management system!
Of course I think the key thing for most our members is to have confidence that there will be a year 7, year 8 and so on. Most web free forums systems do crash and burn. On that score we have a long record now and are going into the next year in our strongest ever position.
Bravo

can hardly believe it's another year gone by  
myff admin

I'm glad I noted our rather decent uptime record, as I write this Skype is down, I still have no PS3 network, and the Amazon cloud is only a few weeks away from having days of downtime!
Ask Mr. Religion

As one of your very satisfied customers (3 years as of July 2011), I want to say how much I appreciate the dedication and the service of the MYFF team. I wish you the best of success in the coming year and may you have many more to come.



AMR
Sandman

A big thank you to all involved at M.F.F.

The service we get is second to none.
myff admin

Just doing one one my random internet searches for forum related stuff and came across a thread from last year on a business advice site asking the viability (and plainly having created) a free forums system.

As ever what was being asked was can you make money? You just don't get people asking whether they are competent to run a system, or what the technical challenges actually are  

Not surprisingly the links to that free forums system are now dead, I wonder how many weeks or months it lasted?

We had one particularly laughable case on here a few years back, when one joker unhappy with our service, as I recall he objected to us objecting to fraud   insisted he could set up and run a free forums server (oh and please could we give him all our code   ) I don't think that one got into the double digits in terms of weeks alive.

One problem is that you can buy "free forums scripts" that can get you up and running as a free forums system with almost no technical ability, you can even get as far as producing what looks like a professional system on "virtual" hosting that costs less that a dollar a day  

But it is much like putting a 10 year old in the pilot seat of a jumbo jet heading down the runway, you might be able to get up to speed and pull a stick back and be in the air, but you really would not want to be a passenger or even the "pilot".
myff admin

I am now down to 4 servers out of 107 or so servers that need configuring for one particular update to the systems, the good news is that is it the configuration what will enable a lot more updating to be more fully automated.

But it does highlight the current problem of the pace of development, it is leaving me and everyone else pretty much tied down to system admin duties, a new NAS arrived today that is still in the box, as I have yet to find the time to configure it.

The good news is that a lot of the work is on automation, you can't hope to deal with hundreds of servers manually.
Ask Mr. Religion

107 servers!

Must be some whopper of a electricity bill each month!

AMR
myff admin

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
107 servers!

Must be some whopper of a electricity bill each month!

AMR


We use virtual servers, so that is really a mere 20 or so "real" devices.
Gosu71

Gratz on the 6 years @ admin. Long may MFF continue

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