18 Hour Site Outage 5 July 2021

Apologies for the lengthy downtime from 14:00 GMT for 18 hours through to 6 July 2021. I was having an issue with re-installing NextCloud and my hosting provider was assisting, and it seems they changed my MySQL database password which broke all my sites. Nothing has been lost but all my web services were offline for this period.


StatCounter also removed with its tracking cookies

Both StatCounter and the Twitter integration (it displayed my latest Tweets and allowed a click to follow) were removed from my site. These were potentially two external sites which could track visitors across my site as well as elsewhere.

Right now I have instead installed my own self-hosted version on Matomo (ex-Piwik) stats analyzer. It does give me a view of where visitors are coming from (city), how they found my site, and what pages they are visiting, as well as what is being searched for on my site. The IP addresses are anonymised by 2 bytes so I am not seeing actual user IP addresses and the cookie is only created for the current session and then discarded. So there is no tracking across multiple visits and not to anywhere else on the web. The site also respects "Do Not Track" settings on browsers.

There is still no advertising on the site nor is any data given or sold to any third party. I am just looking at summary data to help inform me what is popular on the site.


Fewer Trackers Now - Google Analytics Has Been Deleted From The Site

Along with removing Disqus Commenting and now Google Analytics, my site is way cleaner of trackers and 3rd party cookie monitoring. See from https://themarkup.org/blacklight?url=gadgeteer.co.za where I had over 30 before it is right down to 1 ad tracker and two 3rd party cookies. The culprits now are mainly the Twitter module to display my latest tweets (and likely the option for visitors to subscribe to my Tweets) and StatCounter.

I have now installed local AwStats for page visit popularity etc, so I'll probably also be disabling StatCounter very soon. It is interesting that AwStats show way higher visitor numbers which it reads from the server log files, mainly because so many people already block Google and other 3rd party cookies.


My Hubzilla and Main Gadgeteer Website Completed Migration and are Up and back at DigitalOcean

Rather more complicated than I thought so took a day and five hours in the end.  For some reason the Drupal was split into two databases with two config settings.php files which I only realised much later. Any both the Drupal and Hubzilla sites are up and I'll be running updates a bit later after I have also got the remainder of my sites up.

I am back with Digital Ocean VPS as it really gives more control than a cPanel hosting. My last provider claimed Drupal update was failing because it wanted more than 2 GB of RM... we'll see, but I really doubt it.

Image of data moving from one computer to another



Discontinued Disqus and May be Moving hosting again

Due to concerns about tracking and privacy I decided to deactivate the Disqus comments. They were super convenient (seeing I did not have to handle registrations and spam) but they embed trackers and there are issues with them. I don't have funding to pay for a similar externally managed privacy service, so I'm back to no comments for now below posts. I could reactivate Drupal's own commenting system but that means lots of time vetting registrations and spam again, so I'm not keen on that right now.

I have been with the current hosting company about 4 months, which was a pretty seamless move, but I'm having lots of challenges with patching and updates to my website (which stopped working since I moved to this hosting), so I'll likely be moving my hosting by the end of September back to a Digital Ocean VPS. It's going to be some hard work to export and import everything and set up the sub-domains and SSL certificates again. There may be a few hours of downtime but I am hoping to really minimise that as much as possible. But back on my VPS I can at least again run anything I need to and have full flexibility over permissions etc.

Regardless the domain name https://gadgeteer.co.za remains the same and all links will be working as before, as soon as the migration completes.

Sometimes you try things that you hope will be better, but you have to also know when to quit and go back to where you were before ;-)


Website is now enabled for Internet Archive Wayback Machine

Anyone searching for my very old webpages from pre-Drupal days will now see a link to the page for Wayback Machine on the Page Not Found error page, if that page was previously saved. I've tested it with some commonly searched for old links and it does work. The Wayback Machine link will only show on the error page if the page was saved.

Wayback Machine Image of old links



15 mins downtime today for CPU upgrade

Site was down for 15 mins at 19:30 UTC while I upgraded my hosting from 1 vCPU to 2 vCPU as CPU had been bottlenecking at times for up to 5 mins. Hope this improves the loading and throughput a bit for now.

I'm planning to maybe move the whole hosting to another hosting provider where for the same cost I can double the storage space and quad triple the RAM... all addresses etc will stay the same but it may have some glitches while I switch over the domain pointing.


Reduced image sizes

Noticed quite a few images were 2MB and one even 8MB in size and they are all reduced to 200KB to 400KB so hopefully pages will load a bit quicker.


Apologies for the 20 hour downtime

I ran some extension updates yesterday and noted that there was an error when running the database update afterwards, but as my admin portal view was working fine I had not checked the public pages. Only realised this morning when I needed to link to a blog post that it was in error mode. Reran the database update now and everything is fine again.


Additional ways to follow my blog posts

I've added a Telegram Channel today for those who use Telegram Channel. I'm still deciding whether to post headlines only or full posts as I don't want it too cluttered. But anyone can view it at https://t.me/s/gadgeteerza or within Telegram just search for @gadgeteerza to subscribe.

A little before this I had also added the mail subscription which will send a single mail with a day or two's posts in that one mail.

The other options are in the right-side panel on the various pages on this site.

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