March 23, 2017

July 22, 2009

Technical Note: Stand Firm and TitusOneNine

Stand Firm and TitusOneNine have experienced tremendous growth since we started hosting the blogs on the same server and managing them from the same content management system. There are about 24,000 articles and 400,000 comments in the combined database, with well over 1,000 new comments being added each week.

Up to now, the content you see at has actually resided at, which we did originally in order to keep expenses low and operate within the strictest interpretation of our content management system’s license. We have used some tricky aliasing and redirecting techniques to achieve that “masking” effect. It’s fairly easy to do on some servers, but virtually impossible on others.

Together, these two issues - the size and rate of growth of the combined database, and the masking techniques we’ve used with Kendall’s site - create huge headaches whenever we do certain kinds of server maintenance or, as was the case during the General Convention traffic overload, when we have to change servers. Taking things apart and putting them back together has finally become too much of a hassle, and is the explanation behind T19’s woes for the past week.

For this reason, we’re dividing the two sites into their own domains, their own databases, and their own installations of the content management system. From an editorial standpoint they have always run as separate operations, but from this point on, from a technical standpoint they will run as separate operations too.

We’ve also moved back to the load-balanced array at Engine Hosting, which saw us through some insanely high traffic days during Tanzania and New Orleans, so while you can never predict these things with 100% certainty, I anticipate much more stable performance for both sites during high-traffic periods in the future.

I will still be chief web dork for both sites, but maintenance, daily operation, and crisis management will be made vastly simpler by dividing them this way.

From a reader’s perspective nothing will change, with this exception:

Since the sites have always shared the same database, registered users have been able to use their same credentials to log in to Stand Firm and TitusOneNine. If you already have an account on the system, you will still be able to do this, but from this point forward you’ll actually have two separate accounts, one at each site. Changes you make to one account will be isolated to that site’s account. For example, if you change your password at Stand Firm, it will not change your password at T19.

If you don’t already have an account on the system, you’ll need to register separately on each site on which you wish to comment.

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[1] Posted by Old Soldier on 7-22-2009 at 04:53 PM · [top]

Dear “Chief Web Dork,”
Thank you very much for all you do!!

[2] Posted by Liz Forman on 7-22-2009 at 04:58 PM · [top]

Thanks, Liz!

[3] Posted by Greg Griffith on 7-22-2009 at 05:09 PM · [top]

Also, anyone who wants to chime in on whether comment email notifications are working for them, please do raspberry

[4] Posted by Greg Griffith on 7-22-2009 at 05:15 PM · [top]

not working..all day

[5] Posted by ewart-touzot on 7-22-2009 at 05:26 PM · [top]

♪ I got them ol’ mod_rewrite,
httpd.conf, VirtualHost Apache blues… ♫

I feel your pain, brother. I feel your pain.

[6] Posted by Athanasian on 7-22-2009 at 06:47 PM · [top]

I can’t see comments on T19.

[7] Posted by RalphM on 7-22-2009 at 07:05 PM · [top]

How can I check, whilst driving or in the loo, to see if the ABC has done anything?  I needs me my Stand Firm mobile on blackberry. 

Is it true he did peak out for a bit, was scared by his own shadow, and went back underground?  If so, somebody better tell the white witch, she’s bought herself 6 more weeks on the thaw.

I hope Stand Firm mobile gets back up and running soon, after you figure everything else out.

[8] Posted by Nasty, Brutish & Short on 7-22-2009 at 09:22 PM · [top]

Thanks, Greg, again for all you do.

Athanasian - show off with the musical notes!  wink

[9] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 7-22-2009 at 09:36 PM · [top]

If only I could post….

[10] Posted by Stefano on 7-22-2009 at 09:42 PM · [top]

Stephano - you did!!!  And we got comments through e-mail again.  We got comments through e-mail again!!!!!  We are so excited!!!!!!

To all of StandFirm - thank you for this community.  We really miss you all when the server is down…or we don’t get e-mail notification, etc. 

We got comments through e-mail again!!!!!!

[11] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 7-22-2009 at 09:49 PM · [top]

Thanks for all the work, Greg.

[12] Posted by Phil on 7-22-2009 at 10:09 PM · [top]

yes it is nice to see emails again and be able to post…nice or an addiction I wonder…let’s just go with nice…good to have you back

[13] Posted by ewart-touzot on 7-22-2009 at 10:13 PM · [top]

I started getting a few comments, but definitely not all.  Thanks again for having these sites!  They have blessed and informed me tremendously!

[14] Posted by Goughdonna on 7-22-2009 at 10:14 PM · [top]

I don’t see many more opportunities for a huge upticks in traffic. When the next homosexual is elected to the bishopric, it will generate some increased traffic, but this will occur before the next General Convention (again, folks, you heard it here first: Tracy Lind will be elected before the year is out). The election approval process drags out over 120 days.

Rowan finally responding to the Americans might generate some traffic…in 2016.

[15] Posted by robroy on 7-22-2009 at 10:26 PM · [top]

Sometimes I’m seeing the main page as it appeared earlier today and other times a newer version of it.  (With updated comments and topics.)  I do hit refresh, sign in, sign out.  Also I’ve noticed that it says I’m signed in after I visit a couple of pages even though I signed out the last time I visited.  (Using IE, latest vs. for XP, I think.)

[16] Posted by Jill C. on 7-22-2009 at 10:32 PM · [top]

Moving servers at a time like this ....  big surprise Are you crazy ....  wait, don’t answer that. cool smirk

Seriously, thanks for all your hard work, Greg! grin

[17] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 7-22-2009 at 10:48 PM · [top]

Both SF and T19 are valuable attributes. How may one contribute to their continued existence ?

[18] Posted by tomcornelius on 7-22-2009 at 11:09 PM · [top]

Auto login is not working for me on either site (Firefox 3.5.1 for Mac).  Logging in manually works, and at T19, it redirects me to T19, which is an improvement (previously could not log in at all at T19).  On SF, the “Log out” button leads to a page saying “Invalid URI.”

[19] Posted by Katherine on 7-23-2009 at 06:44 AM · [top]

I was auto logged-in without being set for auto log-in. Which is strange, but no biggy.

[20] Posted by oscewicee on 7-23-2009 at 06:59 AM · [top]

I just got an email update on this thread.  The link in the email leads to the “Invalid URI” page.

[21] Posted by Katherine on 7-23-2009 at 07:01 AM · [top]

Also, the automatic update on the Recent Comments on the main page is not working.  I hit “refresh” and got a page which re-sent my login and redirected me to the main page.  It works, but it’s clunky.

[22] Posted by Katherine on 7-23-2009 at 07:04 AM · [top]

Greg I haven’t checked as of this morning but at midnight last night my iphone SFiF mobile version had not updated content in days. I had to go in through the iphone browser.


[23] Posted by bob+ on 7-23-2009 at 07:30 AM · [top]

only getting replies on this thread, I am auto logged in

[24] Posted by ewart-touzot on 7-23-2009 at 07:30 AM · [top]

Also, the link in the email update to stop receiving updates leads to the “Invalid URI” page, and I can’t stop the updates.  (This is not a complaint, just FYI).

[25] Posted by Katherine on 7-23-2009 at 07:39 AM · [top]

Could someone post an example of a link that results in an “Invalid URI” error?


[26] Posted by Greg Griffith on 7-23-2009 at 08:57 AM · [top]

[27] Posted by Katherine on 7-23-2009 at 09:15 AM · [top]

The second link Katherine posted is what I’m getting when I try to log out.

(Hi, Katherine!)

[28] Posted by episcopalienated on 7-23-2009 at 09:19 AM · [top]

I’m crashing frequently when visiting - Usually the first time I attempt to link to a post.  I get an error message and automatically go offline. This can happen twice or three times, and then will be fine after that. I’m not having that happen at other sites I visit.  Has been happening since day 2 of GC (and is driving me nuts!)

Anyone else having this problem?  Am I being a cave-woman and missing some evolutionary techo-info?  Any help would be most appreciated!

[29] Posted by cityonahill on 7-23-2009 at 09:39 AM · [top]


I’ve just made a change I hope will fix the link in the comment notification emails. Can a few of you chime in and let me know if it worked?


[30] Posted by Greg Griffith on 7-23-2009 at 09:49 AM · [top]

Log out button and both links in the email comment notification are now working as they should.  Good work.

[31] Posted by Katherine on 7-23-2009 at 09:55 AM · [top]

Auto login also working now.

[32] Posted by Katherine on 7-23-2009 at 10:08 AM · [top]

Log out and e-mail notification now working for me as well.  Many thanks.

[33] Posted by episcopalienated on 7-23-2009 at 10:13 AM · [top]

I don’t understand… why would anyone ever log out? wink

[34] Posted by Positive Phototaxis on 7-23-2009 at 10:19 AM · [top]

I don’t understand… why would anyone ever log out?

No worries.  I only do it when my caretaker catches me red-handed.  And her eyesights’s worse than mine. cool smirk

And . . . does it help with bandwith usage - or whatever you call it - when I’m not prepared to yack?

[35] Posted by episcopalienated on 7-23-2009 at 10:30 AM · [top]

I am always logged in at both sites.  Just checked at Titus and everything is the same as usual.  I understand the logic of the change, Mr. Chief, Master Dork smile but from what I see , the change is a very good idea as it will halve the congestion at each site but won’t affect us directly.  Am I correct, Greg?

[36] Posted by Bill C on 7-23-2009 at 10:31 AM · [top]

In the last few months, there has been a lag between the time a comment is posted and notice of the comment being posted on the top left post list. Not so any longer.  Is that an effect of the change. 

And, finally, are we going to get our emoticon lists back?  I know, I know, I know we are snivelling emoticon lovers,but us desperate ones need to express our feelings when we are unable to do so in words.

[37] Posted by Bill C on 7-23-2009 at 10:37 AM · [top]

Bill C,

Lag gone - yes, result of server change.

Emoticons are back as far as I can tell (see your post at #36).

The relief on congestion is a little lopsided given the difference in comments and articles at each site. For T19, splitting the operations resulted in a database reduction of about 2/3. For SF it resulted in a reduction of about 1/3. Still very significant, though.

[38] Posted by Greg Griffith on 7-23-2009 at 11:21 AM · [top]

The past few days I’ve had a problem where it shows I’m logged in, but when I try to comment it says only registered users may comment, and so I have had to log out and log back in.

Testing to see if this problem is solved.  If I don’t leave a follow-up comment, assume the problem is solved.

[39] Posted by Karen B. on 7-23-2009 at 12:35 PM · [top]

Thank you Greg:    :D

[40] Posted by Bill C on 7-23-2009 at 01:00 PM · [top]

To: The right honorable chief web dork

Thanks for all your hard work.  I trust the old servers were humanely euthanized. 

BTW, logout is not working correctly.


[41] Posted by miserable sinner on 7-23-2009 at 01:05 PM · [top]

I send you a note at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) detailing log-on problems I have encountered. I moved to a Windows Vista machine from XP and all seems good. I can post notes now!

If you have ideas on how I might have gone wrong under Windows XP, please let us know.

Thanks for your hard work on this site.

Dr. N.

[42] Posted by Dr. N. on 7-23-2009 at 02:39 PM · [top]

I notice a small difference in contrast in the thread lists between those I have commented on and the rest. This is a nice feature. When all settles down, could you increase the contrast - maybe some shade of green on those getting attention.


[43] Posted by Dr. N. on 7-23-2009 at 03:53 PM · [top]

BTW, Greg, the list of comments on the left on the prayer pages are not updated - they show really OLD comments from weeks ago.  Not a biggie, but thought you’d like to know.

[44] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 7-24-2009 at 09:27 AM · [top]

L2 - thanks, I ‘ll get it fixed shortly.

[45] Posted by Greg Griffith on 7-24-2009 at 09:55 AM · [top]

Nice job!!

[46] Posted by aghsteel on 7-24-2009 at 11:21 AM · [top]

Thank you for all your work Greg.. AND, thank you for saying things were NOT all right yesterday evening.. Even the elves on T19 told me all was well with you.. I guess they didn’t look past the date on the page, which was correct by the way.. Spent at leat 45 minutes trying to figure out if I lost my mind, worked with two browswers, another computer, and still no go..

What a delight to see today….......
Thanks again,
Grannie Gloria

[47] Posted by Grandmother on 7-24-2009 at 11:41 AM · [top]

Greg, the last two or three weeks must have been totally insane for you - thanks for all you did, and continue to do, to keep communications open and news flowing.

[48] Posted by oscewicee on 7-24-2009 at 11:45 AM · [top]


Thanks for the kind words. Monday and Tuesday before last were no picnic, that’s for sure.

[49] Posted by Greg Griffith on 7-24-2009 at 12:48 PM · [top]

From an editorial standpoint they have always run as separate operations, but from this point on, from a technical standpoint they will run as separate operations too.

This is analogous to a man and woman, each divorced, who get remarried.  The children never really get along. When two blogs operate jointly the elves are like the aforementioned progeny.

[50] Posted by Piedmont on 7-24-2009 at 01:22 PM · [top]

Thanks Greg grin

And…um, no pressure, just wondered if you were thinking of reestablishing the RSS feeds?

[51] Posted by Peter on 7-24-2009 at 01:33 PM · [top]

But Piedmont, I believe the elves get along just fine. grin

[52] Posted by oscewicee on 7-24-2009 at 01:43 PM · [top]

Let me join the chorus, Thanks Greg!

[53] Posted by FrVan on 7-24-2009 at 01:51 PM · [top]


Be more specific? You mean “Around the Web,” or Stand Firm’s own RSS feeds?

I caught an error in our own feeds that I think I’ve fixed - were you talking about something else?

[54] Posted by Greg Griffith on 7-24-2009 at 01:54 PM · [top]

StandFirm’s own RSS feeds.  I used to follow via Bloglines, and the feed went away about the time of the technical problems.  Attempting to establish the feed through bloglines only gives me this one: which doesn’t appear to be active (2006 posts only).  I looked around SF to see if I could find another URL, without success at the moment (perhaps I’m missing the obvious!).

[55] Posted by Peter on 7-24-2009 at 04:50 PM · [top]

Ah - it’s OK I found it:
IE could discover it but Bloglines - nope!  I think they must be obscuring you deliberately. wink

[56] Posted by Peter on 7-24-2009 at 05:01 PM · [top]


Set your Bloglines to:


They should now match the feeds at the old links and everything should be groovy.

[57] Posted by Greg Griffith on 7-24-2009 at 08:28 PM · [top]

Great job, Greg.  Thanks for all your hard work.

Just one observation.  Since you separated the databases for SF and T19, I’ve noticed that if I click on my account, the numbers of comments I’ve posted is now different at the two sites, unlike before when the numbers were always combined.  No problem with that, it’s just an observation.

David Handy+

[58] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 7-25-2009 at 10:04 PM · [top]

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