Which of the following best describes how often you visit The Bygone Era?
I visit The Bygone Era regularly/from time-to-time
70.83%
17
I would visit more if more files were online
29.17%
7
I don't visit The Bygone Era
0%
0
24 vote(s)
* You voted for this item.

End of the line?

9 Replies, 7992 Views

Hi guys Smile

Following an upload of 139 files to the server this evening for a new update, I've come to learn that we've now reached the maximum storage limit on our server for The Bygone Era.

The server we're on is free but has limited capacity. I wasn't expecting The Bygone Era to ever exceed this but now we have.

An option I'm seriously considering is taking out a subscription for increased storage. This evening, I've learned that a member of ours is prepared to donate thousands of files to us which dwarfs what we have already. This donation would contain a substantial amount of United, Busways and Go-Ahead material; but we just don't have the space for it unfortunately. Being none-the-wiser, I had tried to upload it all just an hour ago but it seems to have crashed so I don't think any of the files are working at the moment - but they should be working again soon.

The other option is "do nothing". Though this retains all of our existing material, I'd be unable to add any further items.

As much as I enjoy all of the old bus material and hence why I started The Bygone Era in the first place, I do this for the benefit of North East Buses too. I would definitely like to continue with The Bygone Era and I'm prepared to pay for the space required, but I've yet to gauge how much interest there is in The Bygone Era to warrant taking out a subscription for its continued running. Just so I can get an idea of how much interest there is in The Bygone Era, I've enclosed a poll below. If enough interest is made, I'll take out a subscription Smile
I think if you look at it from a capacity planning point of view, you would need to move on to paid hosting in order to grow the site anyhow. Few reasons for me saying that;

The busier the forum gets the busier your SQL database will get. That'll give you another problem.

Members can upload as much data as they want through the forum software. If you had 500 members that chose to upload as little as 5MB each, there's 2.5GB of storage you need to find. Not to mention the associated bandwidth of other members downloading the data.

If you had say 4 members wanting to download each of the 500 members 5MB of data they've uploaded, there's 10GB of data transfer.

Donations can be a good thing, and I'd certainly be willing to donate. All I'd say is that there may be tax implications there. I guess you'd have to prove to the HMRC that every penny received gets spent on maintaining the website, otherwise no one would pay corporation tax. Suggest you read up on it or at least speak to your local tax office before making a decision on that.
Forum Moderator | Find NEB on facebook
Visit my Buses & Beyond website. Also on Facebook.
Thanks auerolin, that's much appreciated! Big Grin

I'm not as clued up on technical stuff as the other members of the Forum Team are, but this gives us some definite food-for-thought on how best to grow the site because I think that time has come now.
It would be sad to see the end of the Bygone Era due to storage implications owing to a free site host - now more than ever, given that so much effort has gone into it, and interest (so far) has seemed to be great. Go North East must have also been interested in the Bygone Era, as in the mention we received on the "Enthusiast Area" on their website, it also mentions the Bygone Era. The site has also been mentioned on other blogs and websites too, which proves that the Bygone Era is known all across the Internet, from people across the full country.

At present, the exisiting files in the Bygone Era add up to double the size of the site's SQL database. The forum (attachments included) is very small in size in comparison to the files we're adding to the server in this way. Having said that, should our reach expand even further (which it is), this will inevitably grow in size. If we've reached our storage limitation on the server, we ought to act quickly though. It shouldn't affect us immediately, but will do in time. 15GB of files has already been proposed to be donated to the Bygone Era, and that's from one person alone. Should our reach expand, we have the potential of gaining more people who wish to share also.

I have taken the liberty of finding the host plan used by my very good friend who owns three (or more) websites - one of which I manage. The plan he uses allows for:
  • 50,000MB Storage.
  • Unlimited Bandwidth.
  • 5 Parked Domains.
  • 5 Addon Domains.
This costs $5.00/month. This host's best value is given when you buy in bulks of two to three years at a time. This works out at approximately £120 for three years. Though this seems an expensive outlay in the beginning, it is most definitely worth it. The host provider suggested to us by my friend cannot be recommended highly enough, he has used them for almost four years now and only ever had minor issues, which are to be expected with any hosting provider. In terms of value for money, I'm sure members of this community with any knowledge of website hosting will agree that it is just brilliant. My friend also noted the support was marvellous too - though our administration team (mainly Liam) are most definitely equipped to deal with any problems that occur at all.

Even still, we believe that this will not be enough. That will most likely just cover the files being proposed to be added to the Bygone Era in the 15GB batch I mentioned above. Should any further opportunities arise for files to be added - we just couldn't. Once we've paid for it, I don't believe we can go back either. Should we go for the best value payment, we need to make sure that we go for the most efficient plan also. We need enough storage space to ensure that we are covered for the whole three years, but we cannot expect anybody to pay an upfront fee of £120 just like that. In our current economy, it's almost impossible to pay such a fee upfront - and suggesting that a group of people whose primary age group is teen and early adults is a little silly.

As for donations, an upfront donation of £200 was given to the website I manage. This covered all websites that my friend owns for three to four years. I believe the hosting paid for by said member of that website is still ongoing, perhaps due to expire next year. I can't remember how this money was transferred, but the founder of the website was rather close with the guy who donated such a large sum of money. I don't believe there were any tax implications involved though...? No proof was given (other than the ongoing running of the website) that the money had gone into the maintenance of the website though.
(06 Apr 2013, 10:59 pm)Daniel Wrote: I have taken the liberty of finding the host plan used by my very good friend who owns three (or more) websites - one of which I manage. The plan he uses allows for:
  • 50,000MB Storage.
  • Unlimited Bandwidth.
  • 5 Parked Domains.
  • 5 Addon Domains.
This costs $5.00/month. This host's best value is given when you buy in bulks of two to three years at a time. This works out at approximately £120 for three years. Though this seems an expensive outlay in the beginning, it is most definitely worth it. The host provider suggested to us by my friend cannot be recommended highly enough, he has used them for almost four years now and only ever had minor issues, which are to be expected with any hosting provider. In terms of value for money, I'm sure members of this community with any knowledge of website hosting will agree that it is just brilliant. My friend also noted the support was marvellous too - though our administration team (mainly Liam) are most definitely equipped to deal with any problems that occur at all.

Another suggestion would be Host Gator. Just bare in mind that any prices listed are exclusive of UK VAT. They're offering unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth on shared hosting packages. I can vouch for them, as I've managed both a VPS (past 3 years) and reseller plan (past 8 years) hosted by them. Their payment structure means you could pay as little as 6 months at a time - $42, and still get great value for money.

(06 Apr 2013, 10:59 pm)Daniel Wrote: As for donations, an upfront donation of £200 was given to the website I manage. This covered all websites that my friend owns for three to four years. I believe the hosting paid for by said member of that website is still ongoing, perhaps due to expire next year. I can't remember how this money was transferred, but the founder of the website was rather close with the guy who donated such a large sum of money. I don't believe there were any tax implications involved though...? No proof was given (other than the ongoing running of the website) that the money had gone into the maintenance of the website though.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no expert of the UK Tax system, but I'd really suggest checking it out. If someone is potentially taking regular payments in their person (and it would be as there's no business setup), the tax man is eventually going to want to know what they're doing. It's important to keep full records, but it's crucial to seek proper professional advice before doing anything.
Forum Moderator | Find NEB on facebook
Visit my Buses & Beyond website. Also on Facebook.
Once files are uploaded, how many times are they accessed after the initial interest has died down?

What Im trying to say, is that when a timetable is uploaded, it probably isnt accessed again 2-3 months down the line.

A possible short term solution (it may create more work) would be to upload timetables or info for a set period of time. Once that time frame has elapsed, it then the timetable is removed - but a mention/index of it is kept, so that if anyone wants to look at the 220 from 1989, then arrangements can be made to access it.
(07 Apr 2013, 4:47 am)Andreos1 Wrote: Once files are uploaded, how many times are they accessed after the initial interest has died down?

What Im trying to say, is that when a timetable is uploaded, it probably isnt accessed again 2-3 months down the line.

Our site is a growing community. It may not seem like it to other members, but the administration team know that the site is evolving massively by the day. There are perhaps a few hours during the early hours of a morning (2am-4am) when none of the site is accessed by members. Other than that, there is always someone online. Whether they're contributing to discussions rather than just viewing is another matter.

Existing members are likely to view the files as soon as they are uploaded and very few will return to them again, I agree with you there... But they can always be used for reference again in another section in a discussion that is relevant in one way or another - this was done a few days ago in the Go North East section of the forums, see here.

Likewise, as I stated above, we're a growing community. Our reach expands by the day, and if we're expanding by the day - think what we'll be like in one year's time, nevermind three! Our new members (if interested in the Bygone Era) will have a look at the section and choose something which is of interest to them. When we first started the Bygone Era, I looked for services that I could remember from my early childhood, or, in general, services within Sunderland - because that's where I live! Think of your first experience of the Bygone Era. Was it similar? Surely new members will also have a similar experience too. It's not everyone's cup of tea, so I can't say that every new member is guaranteed to view the files for interest purposes, but nevertheless, I'll stand by my point. Not everyone in this community views the files - I can guarantee that. What backs that up even more is the fact people have viewed this thread but not contributed to the topic nor voted. Perhaps they should have chosen the appropriate option on the poll, but I don't know.

(07 Apr 2013, 4:47 am)Andreos1 Wrote: A possible short term solution (it may create more work) would be to upload timetables or info for a set period of time. Once that time frame has elapsed, it then the timetable is removed - but a mention/index of it is kept, so that if anyone wants to look at the 220 from 1989, then arrangements can be made to access it.

As a short term solution, I can see that working - but we're looking for a permanent solution. Potentially a three-year long solution if we go ahead with the hosting plan my friend highly recommends. Not as long if we go with aureolin's hosting plan suggestion though, but still longer than a 'short term solution' nevertheless.

Brandon has put a great deal of effort (alongside Chris who has donated a significant proportion of the files) into making the section as it is at present, and I wouldn't like to see that he had to put 110% more effort into it - removing files after a certain period of time and uploading others.

Plus, what would the arrangement be? Chris has agreed for the files to be displayed on our website, but I'm not sure if he would agree on us distributing them to members who wanted to view them externally - regardless of if they have a watermark on or not.

I'd love to see your solution work, but I'm just not convinced it will. Of course, I eagerly await Brandon and Chris' response to both of our posts, and it may turn out that they think it is a good idea - contrary to what I think.

Ta for the input anyway, much appreciated Smile
I appreciate all the input! Big Grin

The process we have now for uploading the files is far more efficient to what we used to use. Uploading as attachments was laboriously slow because this was done one file at a time. The maximum upload limit per file was 2MB - a lot of files we received were in far excess of this and these required re-sizing which was also done individually.

I also had other problems with attachments - for some reason after I'd upload a few I'd get locked out of the site for a couple of hours which was a right pain.

It was Liam's idea to upload to a server instead, and this was about the same time when we started watermarking our content. I can watermark in batches so this doesn't take any time up really. Uploading to the server is also done in batches so this isn't really a problem either. What takes the time is renaming the files so they make suitable URL's. I was informed that having spaces and punctuation in URL's should be avoided, so I've tried to use the same format throughout. Inputting the URL's into the forum post is done individually, and this can take some time if there are quite a few.

Out of the donation last night of 6184 files, I've only managed to get 139 online to the server before we reached maximum capacity. Much of the 139 files that made it through is United and TMS content for the Middlesbrough/Stockton/Redcar/Saltburn/Darlington/Bishop Auckland areas so I really want to get them linked in quite soon. One of them is a 1992 X14 timetable which is a broadly similar route to today's OK1. Despite the total of 6184 files that were going to make it online, I've been informed that are potentially more on offer; so while it makes sense to have a "quick-fix", I think we need a more permanent solution.

I like the idea of having the files online for a limited time, and then making available to viewing "on demand", but I don't think it's really feasible. While people may have a vested interest in the old material, I'm not sure if people would want to contact me for me to send them. I like the idea of having them online all the time so people can take a leisurely browse at their convenience.

The admin team know that the site has grown tremendously and our reach has broadened a great deal in recent months. I'm just worried that starting to remove the files would be a step backwards. I'm really encouraged by the results of the poll and I want to make steps towards deciding on a package to take forward to increase our storage capacity.

I've got a lot going on at home at the moment with an imminent move on the horizon, so I'll try to get these 139 files online within the next few days Smile
Any news on this? How are things looking at the moment?
Forum Moderator | Find NEB on facebook
Visit my Buses & Beyond website. Also on Facebook.
As things stand now, I'd love nothing more than to be able to increase our capacity right now and continue updating The Bygone Era with the stack of new material a member very kindly donated. Since this thread has started, I've been successful in finding a place of my own which is closer to work, and I'm moving out before the end of the month. Because of this, I'm not in a position to be able to increase our server space until I'm settled in and I know where I'm at financially.

The Bygone Era is definitely top of my list priority wise and once I'm settled and in order, I'm looking forward to making this happen for the site Smile

Thanks for your continued interest though, it's very much appreciated!