Unannounced Downtime for Updates (February 22nd)


Essential Member
Audio Transcription

Hello to all of our members and guests alike,

Although we strive for 99.999% uptime, and while technically, our service is still working for a majority of visitors around the world, this afternoon required unannounced maintenance. The service level action involves moving Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and Domain Name Services (DNS). By switching to a dedicated IP address, we avoid the problems that would take place if our main database server IP needs to be changed at our datacenter. Furthermore, we can bind all Windows 7 Forums-related services to one address. The accessibility problem takes place when this data is changed. Our new DNS zone has to propagate across the entire Internet in order for you to find us at our new IP address, and in the interim, browsers were still able to access the old address. This change over was also made to ensure that Secure Socket Layer (SSL) transactions remained compatible with our already published Facebook and Mobile applications.

The ensuing downtime and troubleshooting led to some unexpected difficulties that resulted in even further upgrades to how we render every piece of content on the site: from database to dynamic content processing. All of this code has been upgraded and improved.

The Windows 7 Forums Team would like to apologize to our frequent visitors and long-term members, as you have likely been hit the hardest by this change. If you visited the site today, it will take a long time for your "DNS cache" (saved lists of hostnames going to a IP and vice versa), to update. If you continue having difficulty accessing the site:
  • Clear all browser history, cookies, and settings now.
  • The expired DNS zone will stay in your router's cache, your computer's cache, your ISP's cache, and so on until your ISP forces a DNS update. This can sometimes take up to 24 hours or longer for full propagation. In remote areas of the world, it can take even longer. This should be finished by February 24, 2012 and no later.
  • If accessing the site has become a major priority right now, power down your modem, your router, and your computer. Upon reboot, go to Start -> Search -> cmd.exe ("Run as Administrator") and type "ipconfig /flushdns" without quotations.
  • Clear all Internet browser cache, cookies, and history, before returning to the website.
Our old IP address was Our new one is If you know how to use nslookup and reverse nslookup, this will help you find out what you are resolving.

We are confident this level of difficulty will not happen again for quite awhile. And, we are looking at external DNS servers for backup. But even with these extra redundancies, this was not a domain name services failure. This was a change of address.

Our goal has always been to provide the best experience to our visitors. If you're getting this message, the site will be down for you, at most, a couple of hours, if you do not access this page. You may regain access to the site and start to see this message again. If that happens, you are still bouncing between old zone records and new ones, as the Internet is slow to propagate these changes.

Because we made this change, we can mitigate the risk of this ever happening again. We also have additional IP-based resources and this opens up more room for future websites and projects we are working on. We've also updated PHP the latest release for faster, more secure, and reliable browsing.

The following changes have taken place over the last few weeks (most today):
  • vBulletin updated to 4.1.11 Beta 1
  • MySQL database engine updated from 5.1 to 5.5.
  • PHP updated to 5.3.10 from 5.3.8.
  • Firewall updated.
  • Windows7Forums.com DNS is now on dedicated-only IP.
  • Additional ARIN IP block assigned to service.
  • Major portions of operating system on main server upgraded.
  • SSL is fixed for Windows7Forums.com.
  • Unsubscribe message fixed on e-mails.
  • You can now add MP3 and YouTube videos to your profile.
  • Profile customization bug found by bassfisher6522 and fixed.
  • Content management portal system updated.
  • Search engine optimization code thoroughly updated.
  • Latest Android app published.
  • Facebook apps published.
  • Changes to templates restoring previous header style
  • Restored internal Google Search
  • Content delivery network on Windows8Forums.com fixed
  • Removed large amount of unnecessary CSS data
  • All YouTube videos now have TrueView in-stream ads
  • Mike will be at Microsoft Headquarters in NYC on Saturday and Redmond next week.
Thank-you for taking the time to read this information, and we once again apologize for any inconveniences caused during today's outage. :)

Mitchell Anthony, Mike Fara.

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Essential Member
Continuing to stay on top of the latest forum software, today we announce these additional changes/fixes to the vBulletin platform:
  • VBIV-14354 CMS crashes with fatal error if a static page and/or php eval page is present
  • VBIV-11816 Disabled CMS available to Google as 302 to Forums home page
  • VBIV-9195 CMS Articles sidebar block doesn't respect [prbreak] BB code
  • VBIV-12804 Posting a new CMS comment/editing an existing one always redirects to first comment page, instead of correct one
  • VBIV-7785 Categories with the same name are not displayed in the category list when creating/editing an article
  • VBIV-14362 Database error on promote post as article
  • VBIV-14361 Catchable fatal error editing article
  • VBIV-8938 Quote BB code stripped from CMS content preview (Regression from 4.0.2)
  • VBIV-14366 Making Changes to a CMS Grid Doesn't Rebuild Mobile Styles
  • VBIV-14367 Quick Replying to a CMS Comment Thread Always Shows Confirmation to Leave Page Popup
  • VBIV-14263 Template Caching in the CMS
  • Update product version number to 4.1.11 Beta 2
  • VBIV-14363 Credits Updates for 4.1.11
  • VBIV-14376 Importing Languages Always Uses ISO-8859-1
  • VBIV-14026 "Style" option for attachments opens way for abuse
We are also in the early talks of recruiting new staff members for additional purposes other than moderation, and perhaps announcing a return of the XP/Ranking system to the site.

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