(updated) Recent Move of the Web Site from New York Host to Vancouver Host
Sunday, July 11 2010 @ 05:31 PM EDT
Contributed by: richardpitt
As some of you may have noticed, the web site was down for a bit today while it was moved from our long-time host in New York to new hosting facilities in Vancouver.
The move is still ongoing - with many systems still hitting the old server and being redirected to a temporary name (web153.hancockwildlife.org) that is the new server. Most people seem to be going directly to the new server without problem. The reason for the difference is in your local ISP's policy on timing out the Domain Name Service information; some don't respect the short (5 minute) timeout I have in the system at present, while most do. The ones that don't respect the timeout are still handing out the old IP address and so your access is a bit slower (due to the redirect taking some time for each file) and you'll see the "web153" in the browser address bar.
You might be interested in the reason we've moved the site. It certainly was not because of poor service from the supplier as they (Voxel.net) have been excellent - although the cost for the service was a bit higher than we'd like, but you get what you pay for.
The reason we've moved has to do with the potential for New York to levy taxes against the real owner of the server, Hancock House Publishers, as they "have a business nexus" in the state due to having their own web site hosted on the same machine. They pay the bills for the machine, we're just along for the ride (thanks Hancock House!!!)
This all comes about as part of the ongoing change to the business (and tax) climate brought about by the internet. States and local governments are hurting for tax revenue due to the cross-border transactions that happen on the web and are all but impossible for them to track effectively. They instead are focusing on who is doing business where - and already have on their books the laws that say that if you even have a rented space in their state, you have a "business nexus" and they are able to require you to file state business tax. Well, they're applying this law to the fact that you just rent web space from a company in their state. According to my friend, David Ingram - the Taxman, there are over 40 states with this type of law on the books and all are looking into how to use it to add to their revenue.
So, the web sites are now all in our server here in Vancouver. We originally hosted it in New York because the price for network bandwidth, something we use a lot of, was far less expensive there than it was here. Today this is no longer true, in fact our pricing here is a bit better than it was there.
Another aspect of this move is that we own the equipment instead of renting it, and it has a lot more disk in it than the rental machine did. This means we'll be able to boost the cap for file sizes and such. The minor downside of this is that the equipment we're using is not currently fully remote administrable as the previous server was. If there is a major problem it will require an on-site visit. I don't expect there to be too many such problems as this particular server has been very reliable - it was used in our Chehalis pump house setup as the archive server for the Chehalis cameras. It's in a new case that takes massive numbers of drives (up to 13) so we can keep growing it and put up some of the archives we have as time and money allow.
It appears I have been too optimistic in my expectation that today's ISPs might respect the short timeout in our DNS (Domain Name Service) records. If all had gone well, the typical delay before your system picked up the new information should have been 5 minutes - I know, as I tested this with some systems at various places around North America that I have access to.
Unfortunately reality is that there are quite a number of large and small ISPs whose DNS servers have not yet timed out and picked up the new information.
The typical problem is that you can't log in and post. If all you can do is read - I'm sorry but there's nothing we can do until your DNS points to the correct IP address. You'll know this when your system no longer ends up with the www153 in the browser bar (given that you put the real www.hancockwildlife.org address in to start with)