|You can always contact me direct with this type of query as several fellow members have done.
> Shared webhosting delays at peak traffic times
As we have our V8BB webhosted on a shared server to keep the webhosting costs low and within our available funding, at peak times the shared server can become slow with heavy traffic demands from traffic on other websites cohosted on that server which can affect the performance of the V8BB. In those cases uploading a message or posting or a response can hang for a while and frustratingly on occasions the posting can fail to upload. Occasionally the visitor can end up losing their text. As the V8BB hits are rising substantially we may have to investigate changing our webhosting arrangement so we have a dedicated server but that will be at a substantially higher annual webhosting cost. The key question is how we could fund that substantially higher cost?
We changed to our present V8BB webhost some three years ago following difficulties with the previous webhosting arrangement where we suspected heavy traffic on other websites was locking up the shared server. To stay within our available budget for the V8BB at that time we had to take up another shared server package, but the performance of the new service was a significant improvement. In that case our IT specialist assisted us with the transfer of our system from the former webhost to the new webhost’s server and the associated testing and commissioning. The costs of the transfer support services and the new webhosting package have been paid from the limited financial resources of the V8 Register.
> V8BB system is due to be serviced by an IT specialist who provides occasional support
For three or four years the V8BB was provided by an internet company for free using a bulletin board package they had developed, but their business model was we had to carry their adverts which provided them with an income to cover our free service. That system worked well and the style and format were liked by most V8 members, but three years later we received an unexpected notice that their free hosting of our V8BB, along with other forums they had webhosted on a similar basis, was to be discontinued 3 months later. So we commissioned UKWebCo (a website design and support services company run by the lady who taught me website creation and maintenance at a local college back in 2002 and who had worked with me to create the V8 website that was launched in May 2002), to create a replacement V8BB with a very similar noticeboard style and functionality plus an archives feature. That was launched back in 2008 and the substantial four figure cost of that new V8BB had to be funded from V8 Register resources.
The V8BB has since run well until recently when the system has on occasions slowed. That is partly, but certainly not entirely, due to a need for further maintenance work on the V8BB system. On two previous occasions our IT specialist has undertaken that maintenance and the performance of the V8BB has been restored. I have sought his help again and am waiting for his availability.
> What can you do to help yourself be more successful in posting messages on the V8BB?
I also get occasional delays in posting or a "hang" in about one in five postings but they are often at peak traffic times when many members pop into the V8BB and the traffic from other websites on our shared server with the webhost is high too. One way of reducing the likelihood of difficulties with your V8BB posting is to click the send button with a pause before releasing the button – so that action is click -one - two - release. That definite action seems to suit the V8BB system whereas a brisk click does not. Before sending your message a useful safety step is to highlight the text of your posting and right click Copy. Then if your posting should vanish you have the text ready to Paste and try a posting again.
When members have contacted me to report difficulties they have experienced, I have tested the V8BB a number of times on each occasion and usually found the V8BB webpage has popped up promptly. It may be that when members experience difficulties with the V8BB the webhost may have been doing some necessary maintenance and the website was temporarily offline. Even if they provide 99.5% uptime that would mean 50 minutes downtime per week, sometimes unscheduled during the day.
> Funding the V8 Register’s website costs
The annual webhosting for the V8 Website, V8BB and the V8 Grapevine, the periodic domain name renewals and the occasional support services we have needed have to be funded from the V8 Register’s resources. The running of those websites is provided by voluntary effort of the V8 Webmaster and the level and quality of the website activity can clearly be seen from the volume of links on the Recent Changes log webpage.
> So the question then is how to fund those website costs?
At present the funds to cover those costs and the other modest administrative costs of the V8 Register come essentially from two sources – selling workshop notes CDs and selling MGV8 for Sale adverts, both via the Online V8 Shop. Making the CDs and creating the adverts and associated PDFs is done by volunteer effort. Both a CD (burning, packaging and mailing out) and creating and uploading an advert take around 20 minutes or more to do, so with often over 100 CDs and adverts a year you can calculate the time involved. Plus of course there is the workload of creating new notes, maintaining the workshop notes series, the index and the contents listings. Those two workshop notes series are each seen as a valuable store of useful service and spares information contributed by fellow members which members who buy them often note in emails confirming their safe receipt that the CD provides wonderful support. The volume and quality of the material in both series is recognised as one of the best in the classic car world and certainly within our Club.
So we are trying to arrange further maintenance on the V8BB system but would welcome fellow members’ suggestions on sources of sufficient additional funding to enable the V8 Register to afford a dedicated server service with a webhost as that will contribute to better reliability at peak internet traffic times.
> So if you know of a sponsor or a source of income for the V8 Register that could pay for a dedicated server with the webhost then do let me know. Would some of the frequent users of the V8BB be prepared to make a donation towards the V8BB expenses for example?