All Change on the Western Front

Chris Booth :: Wednesday 11th October 2023 :: Latest Blog Posts

Web Server Migrations - All Change on the Western Front.

We haven't blogged in a while.  This article will tell you what we did this summer.  What we did was go through all our websites over and over again.

The Web Booth don't actually host anything ourselves, we use the best third parties we can find.  Apart from anything else it means we can go on holiday occasionally.  However there seems to be a tendency for the people who start small data centres to want to get acquired.  The first time we decided to switch from one company to another we moved less than twenty websites.  This year we moved 110 websites.  Twice.  Also did your email bounce?  Read on...

So, we moved datacentres, twice.

It wasn't ideal.  We were using a hosting company; they were pretty good at the time.  About the same time as GDPR was a thing (remember that?) this company moved their support staff to Bulgaria which I didn't consider to be GDPR compliant.  They then sold themselves to a larger company who started referring to our hosting as "legacy" which didn't inspire confidence.  Actually nothing much changed until Russia invaded Ukraine and the price of electricity went through the roof when they turned off all the old servers at short notice.  Well, I imagine they were quite expensive to run.

In the meantime we had chosen a new company and started moving websites slowly to them.  This turned into a frantic week-long nightmare but we got it done.  The new company is not bigger and better but they are UK based and have an actual phone number I can actually ring, which I value.

Unfortunately, shortly after the first migration the new company moved all our websites from one datacentre to a new one.  This didn't go well.  They didn't even tell me it was going to happen.  They are not a massive company and maybe they bit-off more than they could chew.  For those of you that I was pestering for control panel passwords, twice in quick succession, I apologise.

Yes, it has been all change.  I have the uneasy feeling that just writing about this is going to jinx something but we should be set for the foreseeable future.  The new web hosting does seem to be very fast and reliable.

Email Bounces

Your emails may have bounced recently.  This will generally have involved you sending emails to gMail or Microsoft Outlook and them being rejected or going into junk mail.

I have been fixing this issue by tweaking domain-name settings, if you ask me to.  Well, this week I went through every domain-name for every website we have and modified the settings on all of them.

When you send an email, SPAM is assessed as a score.  The words you use, the email subject you entered, any attachments you added, it is all checked.  Some things add to your score and others might reduce it.  If the score gets too high, the email goes in the junk box.  If it is higher, it gets bounced.  If the score is very high you won't even get a bounce-back.

Google and Microsoft like certain policies being in place and will adjust your SPAM score accordingly.  Because the score is checked against a threshold, lowering the score by a single point is enough to get your emails delivered.

I hate to say this but the best way to guarantee delivery is to use a mailbox from inside the Googe-Microsoft Hegemonic Order.  This may involve a monthly fee.  For those who have not been borged - I have now checked everyone's domain settings are up to best practice.  If you are still having bounce backs from, do let me know.

Is my website working?

By the way, we have a status page.  Actually we've had it for a few years now but I haven't blogged about it.  We invested in it when our original hosting started having issues.  We have a third party checking all our websites, every minute from several different locations around the word.  If your website stops working we will be alerted very quickly.  The good news is that (fingers crossed – I am so going to jinx things) it has been pretty quiet since the second migration, so it was all worth it.  Anyhow, if you want to know if your website has broken, see what the status page says.

Google Analytics V4

One thing from last summer, July 2022 - I moved every one over to Google Analytics 4.  This year Google turned off old Analytics.  If you use Google's stats and you can't see them anymore, let me know.

This year has been a busy one for hosting changes and it does feel like we've properly earned our hosting fees.