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Another Migration 🔗

image of dickimaw parrot with cookies in clouds

In the first post of this blog, I wrote about my decision to migrate to a new web hosting provider back in 2019. Last week, the site migrated again, but this time I stayed with the same web hosting provider. I moved from the cloud hosting platform (which uses a server cluster) to a newer single server platform.

Migrating a web site is rather like moving house. The removal company moves the content and will connect the large appliances in your new home, but there are a lot of little bits and pieces that you have to do yourself. You have to let everyone know you’ve moved and you need to get used to the new layout. Those handy tools that were in a certain location in the old place are now somewhere else. Gadgets need re-configuring. A convenient local service isn’t available and another one needs to be found.

In an analogous way, the web hosting company’s migration team moved over files and databases from the old servers onto the new one and set things up, but there are different paths and configurations on the new server that needed to be taken into account. Certain files lost their executable bit that had to be restored. Some code that worked in the old location doesn’t work in the new environment and had to be modified. The mail boxes had to be created manually, DNS records needed changing, and custom cron jobs had to be checked and set up.

The Domain Name System (DNS) provides public records associated with every domain. When you type an address in your browser, the browser needs to know where to go to fetch the file associated with that address. The DNS records provide the route to the server for the given domain (dickimaw-books.com in this case) and the information is cached (usually for around 24 hours) so that the browser doesn’t have to keep looking up the information as you move from one page to the next. Similarly, when you send an email, your mail server has to look up the appropriate entry in the DNS record to find out how to route your message.

When a site moves to a new server, all these records need to be updated, but there’s an additional delay as a result of caching. For a while, emails can’t be delivered, and visitors are directed to the old server and then, when the old site certificate becomes invalid, they find themselves confronted with a big scary warning message from the browser until the new certificate is sorted out.

There was a moment last week when I wondered why I’d been mad enough to consider migrating the site. Sure, the old cloud hosting package had its problems and it could be a little slow, but at least it had worked and I knew what tools were available and where to find them. However, eventually things were sorted out, the new server is much faster, and the stricter PHP settings flagged up a few bugs that I’ve now fixed.

Once the migration was successfully completed, the final step was to cancel the old cloud hosting package, but just before I did that I learnt that it had been marked for obsolescence and I would’ve had to have migrated in a month’s time anyway. So it all worked out for the best in the end. I’m sorry if you encountered any problems while trying to access the site last week, but it should mostly be operational now (except for the shop, which requires some further testing before it can be reopened).

If you are a regular visitor to the site, you may have noticed that there’s a new “Account” link in the main navigation bar. This is something I’ve been working on for some months now, and it was while working on it that I became so frustrated with the limitations of the cloud hosting package that I decided to move. I’ll describe it in more detail in the next post.

Nicola Talbot 2021-05-26 📂 Site 🔖 Migration

Next Post

image of dickimaw parrot with cookies in cloudsOnce upon a time, a little parrot decided to migrate across the vast ocean to the cloud lands, with nothing more than a handful of cookies. The Dickimaw Books site has migrated to a new web hosting provider and this is the story of its journey.
Nicola Talbot 2019-09-15 📂 Site 🔖 Migration

Previous Post

image of dickimaw parrot with cookies in cloudsOnce upon a time, a little parrot decided to migrate across the vast ocean to the cloud lands, with nothing more than a handful of cookies. The Dickimaw Books site has migrated to a new web hosting provider and this is the story of its journey.
Nicola Talbot 2019-09-15 📂 Site 🔖 Migration

Recent Posts

Ebook Sale July 2023
Book coversThe DRM-free ebook retailer SmashWords has a sale from 1st – 31st July 2023. My crime novel “The Private Enemy” and children’s illustrated story “The Foolish Hedgehog” both have a 50% discount and my crime fiction short story “I’ve Heard the Mermaid Sing” and cybercrime fiction short story “Unsocial Media” both have a 100% discount (i.e. free!) for the duration of the sale. Did you know that you can gift ebooks on SmashWords?
Bug Bounty Hunters
Image of magnifying glass over a green bug.I was recently informed that dickimaw-books.com had a medium severity reflected cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the version of cPanel this website was using at the time. I solved the problem by moving to a new web-hosting provider that didn’t have the issue. The security researcher used a non-invasive probe. No data was compromised.
Nicola Talbot 2023-05-22 (updated 2023-06-17) 📂 Security Site 🔖 Migration News Online Store
Unsocial Media: a cybercrime short story
Unsocial Media book cover.Greg has unwisely accepted a friend request from “Natalie”, a stranger who starts to stalk him after failing to hook him in a scam but, unknown to either of them, Greg’s wife (the narrator) is quietly investigating Natalie, following the trail from online into the real world.
Hello E-Hedgehog
The Foolish Hedgehog Cover Image.The Foolish Hedgehog is back in print as an ebook. If you’re looking for a short illustrated story for young children to keep them entertained over the holiday, have a read of the preview on SmashWords and buy it while it’s half-price!
Ongoing Email Issues on Website
For some weeks now, the forms on this site, such as the contact page, have been unable to send an email. It seems to be caused by an SSL issue outside of my control. All support channels to the web hosting company used by this site are down, which means I can’t even report the issue, let alone get it fixed.
Nicola Talbot 2022-08-28 (updated 2022-10-08) 📂 Site 🔖 News
Book Shop Closed Indefinitely Due to PayPal Removing Support for Encrypted Website Payments
The Dickimaw Books store has unfortunately closed until further notice. The reason for this is because PayPal has removed support for encryption with its PayPal Payments Standard option.
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📂 Categories

Children’s Illustrated Fiction
Illustrated fiction for young children: The Foolish Hedgehog and Quack, Quack, Quack. Give My Hat Back!
Creative Writing
The art of writing fiction, inspiration and themes.
Crime Fiction
The crime fiction category covers the crime novels The Private Enemy and The Fourth Protectorate and also the crime short stories I’ve Heard the Mermaid Sing and I’ve Heard the Mermaid Sing.
Fiction books and other stories.
Natural languages including regional dialects.
The TeX typesetting system in general or the LaTeX format in particular.
This category is about the county of Norfolk in East Anglia (the eastern bulgy bit of England). It’s where The Private Enemy is set and is also where the author lives.
Information about the Dickimaw Books site.
Speculative Fiction
The speculative fiction category includes the novel The Private Enemy (set in the future), the alternative history novel The Fourth Protectorate, and the fantasy novel Muirgealia.

🔖 Tags

Alternative History
Sub-genre of speculative fiction, alternative history is “what if?” fiction.
book samples
Conservation of Detail
A part of the creative writing process, conservation of detail essentially means that only significant information should be added to a work of fiction.
Information about the site cookies.
Regional dialects, in particular the Norfolk dialect.
The education system.
Sub-genre of speculative fiction involving magical elements.
File formats
A pochette (pocket violin) with a hippo headpiece.
I’ve Heard the Mermaid Sing
A crime fiction short story (available as an ebook) set in the late 1920s on the RMS Aquitania. See the story’s main page for further details.
The little things that inspired the author’s stories.
Posts about the website migration.
A fantasy novel. See the book’s main page for further details.
Online Store
Posts about the Dickimaw Books store.
Quack, Quack, Quack. Give My Hat Back!
Information about the illustrated children’s book. See the book’s main page for further details.
Articles that were previously published elsewhere and reproduced on this blog in order to collect them all together in one place.
Posts about sales that are running or are pending at the time of the post.
Site settings
Information about the site settings.
Story creation
The process of creating stories.
TeX Live
The Foolish Hedgehog
Information about the illustrated children’s book. See the book’s main page for further details.
The Fourth Protectorate
Alternative history novel set in 1980s/90s London. See the book’s main page for further details.
The Private Enemy
A crime/speculative fiction novel set in a future Norfolk run by gangsters. See the book’s main page for further details.
Unsocial Media
A cybercrime fiction short story (available as an ebook). See the story’s main page for further details.
World Book Day
World Book Day (UK and Ireland) is an annual charity event held in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland on the first Thursday in March. It’s a local version of the global UNESCO World Book Day.