Sponsored

ISPreview Site Service Status Updates

Status
Not open for further replies.

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
Rather than spamming the news every time I make a change or upgrade to the site, I've decided that, unless the issue involves a major upgrade, then any smaller update notes will instead be posted in this topic. So, to get things started..

04/06/2008

The new reader reviews code received its first bug-fix update and was offline for about 15 minutes yesterday. Likewise the discussion forum was also updated to the latest code and offline for slightly longer. In addition to upgrading the reviews code, we also fixed some of the layout bugs and temporarily replaced member avatars with a default image until a remaining issue with avatars has been resolved.

The reviews code is now reasonably bug free after a shaky start and the scripts author is now working towards adding some additional features.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
17/06/2008

Fixed a bug on the individual ISP listing detail pages, where the link to reviews was still using an old review system URL and not one for the new reviews code, thus resulting in an error page for anybody that clicked them. I also changed the sites main link colour to help make links stand out from the text as on some pages they were not visible enough. Finally, for reasons of clarity the 'Technology' page is now called 'Broadband' again.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
29/08/2008

I'd somewhat forgotten to keep this status page updated and have probably missed reporting a few crucial changes to the site. Still, I am now waiting for the final word to move out of my current house so it's been a busy few weeks and keeping ISPreview up-to-date hasn’t been easy :) .

Yesterday saw both the discussion forum and reader review systems receive a number of critical security and bug fix upgrades. The review system now has a basic "was this review helpful?" feature on each review and we can again link to individual member reviews from our 'Latest Reviews' output, which wasn't working after the initial upgrade to v2 during the spring.

Most of the other recent site changes have been behind the scenes stuff, doing search engine optimisation (SEO) and testing out other ideas etc. The next big thing I have to do is run an update sweep of our entire ISP listings, which is going to be problematic as I’ll be moving to a new home during the same period.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
08/10/08

The ISP Listings should now be up-to-date again after I completed the last update sweep. I also took this opportunity to adjust how we list land-line broadband providers; we now benchmark by the 'fastest' package for £20 per month instead of purely by price.

However the most important development of last month has been our server move. The old dedicated server actually had a faster CPU but after all the website optimisation we no longer needed all that power and were able to downgrade slightly. Best of all is that we still have the same amount of RAM, which is more important to this sites design than processing power.

There is one last major review system and forum upgrade planned before the end of 2008 and other than that I'm busy concentrating on year-end interviews and articles for the coming months. Finally I will also be moving flat between the end of October and November, which shouldn't disrupt ISPreview too much but will keep me very occupied.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
09/01/09

It's the start of a New Year and I have quite a lot planned over the coming months, although in the first real working week of January we've already installed a new Broadband Speedtester + improved the old one, upgraded the forum to vBulletin 3.8 and made some changes to our Top 10 page including the addition of a Top 50.

We have some new features going into the Reader Reviews system soon too, although bugs still need to be removed before it's safe to put online. Lastly I need to do a major sweep of the ISP listings database to take account of recent VAT changes, though many smaller providers still have not adjusted their prices.

Meanwhile my new flat was finally completed just two days before Christmas and I’m now a little distracted by the somewhat long and stressful process of moving, not that this will impact ISPreview.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
09/02/09

The Top 10 page has received further enhancements this month with the addition of a much request feature, the logging of subscriber size changes per ISP. I did have back history for 2007/2008 but opted to start it a fresh with 2009 data since it would have taken awhile to dig up all the older data:

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/review/top10_log.php

Elsewhere we've re-organised our 'Articles' (index) page into three categories - ISP Tips and Guides, ISP Interviews and a General Summary (also includes misc. articles). Hopefully this will make it easier to find what you're looking for:

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/articles.shtml

Finally, I'm currently busy updating the ISP listings database and putting the finishing touches to our next incremental reader review system code upgrade. Elsewhere I’m also investigating alternative news systems as our current one is not keeping up with our requirements.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
04/09/09

Oops I seem to have neglected these website status updates for awhile, perhaps because I've been so busy improving various systems and sub-sections of the website :) . Indeed I've lost track of all the changes but there's a new Jargon Buster, a new news system, a new ISP Complaints and Advice section, a revamped broadband section and all sorts of other upgrades + minor improvements.

Presently I’m doing our 2nd annual update sweep of the ISP database, which needs yet another design revamp in the future too. I also have some design changes to implement on the front page (once I’ve finalised them), a raft of interesting interview articles to complete and we are also trying to swap out all our old MySQL4 website databases for MySQL5 and PHP5 compliant code (more secure and faster).

Finally I will shortly merge this Website Discussion forum into the General Discussion one as there is no need for them to be separate.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
07/09/09

The forum might be offline for a period of 30mins or so during the week as we migrate it to a new database supporting MySQL5. I've already tested this move on the beta forum and worked out the bugs so downtime should be minimal.

UPDATE: Database moved without problems. Some 'Internet Server Error' messages might be thrown up but should fix themselves with a REFRESH.
 
Last edited:

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
14/09/09

I corrected some database and PHP problems with the new MySQL5 setup over the weekend and upgraded the forum to the latest code, which was mainly bug and security fixes. So far I haven't seen anymore 500 Internet Server Error messages but it wouldn't surprise me if a few popped up.

Now back to updating our ISP listings database and writting some new Autumn and Winter articles.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
08/01/2010

Oops.. missed writing about quite a lot of new content and site changes since the last update but then I have been rather busy and now can’t recall what I did lol :) . This week has been much the same, with essential updates to both the Review and Forum system, albeit nothing you'd notice (bug fixes etc.). Some changes in the ISP listings database too (VAT) and of course our new 'Editors Pick' of the best ISPs for this year.

Plans for 2010 are still taking shape, though I expect that the main focus will be on changing to some brand new discussion forum software and a complete re-write of the ISP listings database and code. I'm still in the early stages of both but they should occur a little later this year. I’d also like to rewrite the front page with a new Content Management System (CMS) interface but that is less important.

2010 should be the year of new broadband networks, so expect a lot of ISPreview’s content to adjust around that. We may also soon bid farewell to our old dialup ISP listings since they serve precious little use anymore.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
15/01/2010

Just a small update to say that the long standing performance problem in our reviews system, which saw ISPs with over 100 reviews suffering slow page loading, has finally been fixed. I patched in a small update yesterday so now it's back to being very fast again.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
10/03/2010

Currently updating the ISP listings, which will take a few weeks to complete. I had hoped to have the new ISP listings system ready before doing this but we needed more time to experiment with some ideas and new technology, as a result I've delayed it a bit.

We also have a major forum upgrade coming and further updates to the review system, though these will be done after we've completed the ISP listings update.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
04/05/2010

I did manage to finish updating our ISP listings database, though ironically we'll have to do an even more detailed job after the brand new listings system is completed sometime soon. Speaking of that new system, most of the features and style are now locked down.

In fact all that's left for me to do is polish the style, fix a bug with category linking, complete the database structure and then add in the ISP details. That last part will take awhile :( . Initially the new listings system will be similar to the old one but its structure means that we could do a lot of clever things with it in the future.

Elsewhere I'm still in two minds about this discussion forum, we could just upgrade directly to vBulletin 4 but to be honest I see vB4 as a step backwards. IP.B seems like a better product but it lacks the clever systems we use to spot fake reviews and thus we may need to develop a few custom mods, which is not a simple task for our requirements.

After that, and a standard Reader Reviews system update to fix a few bugs and add some small new features, the main focus of our efforts will be on developing a completely new front page via a different Content Management System. I will not put an ETA on this because we need plenty of time to experiment with a variety of solutions and styles.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
01/06/2010

I am pleased to report that our new ISP Listings system has been completed, though I will not put it online until we have updated the database. This will take a good month or two to complete due to the need for a manual update (the two systems are simply not compatible) of some 300+ ISP details. If they then raise the rate of VAT at the end of June then somebody in government is going to die :) .

I anticipate that all of my spare time will be taken up with this work but we should have something good to show for it soon.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
07/07/2010

I finally managed to complete the new ISP Listings system and get it online, which follows several long months of work; tough for one man to do while keeping the rest of ISPreview up-to-date in the limited time I have. Further details about what's changed can be found here:

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/story/2010/07/01/revamped-uk-isp-listings-system-introduced.html

I would stress that this is only the first version of our ISP Listing System v3.0. The new code has masses of flexibility and with the hard part done we can now look at how it might be expanded upon in the future.

In addition I have also updated the Reader ISP Reviews system this week with a lot of bug-fixes and some minor style adjustments. In the course of doing this we have managed to lock down and identify a bug that causes login sessions to expire on the ADD REVIEW page.

Some people have reported the bug before, where after writing a review it will throw them back to the forum and fail to post the review itself. For the time being we recommend keeping a COPY of your review before you submit it as we are still trying to track down why vB login sessions/cookies expire prematurely (it's supposed to give you ample time for reviewing, about 1 hour).

We are working to find a solution for this but it is not an easy one due to the fact that the review system integrates with our forum member database and shares the session.

Speaking of the forum, next up I will be focusing on a major forum change/upgrade and trying to come up with a more modern, better presented and more interactive front page / CMS system. This will take awhile and lots of experimentation. The system we use today does the job and is very gentle for the server but it's falling behind rivals.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
21/07/2010

Small security and bug-fix update to the current and likely last version of our vBulletin 3.8.X series forum. We will now look at v4 or switching to IPB.

UPDATE 23rd:

Patched a major and rather poor security flaw introduced by the latest vB code. Also changed passwords on the site, thus some systems were offline for awhile. Sorry about that.

Took the oppertunity to remove some load from the database and optimise the forum a bit, should now be even faster.
 
Last edited:

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
08/09/2010

I've been quite busy over the last month, mostly making small - moderate changes, fixes, updates and general additions to content across the site. We've also had mountains of news to cover, which has made it hard to focus on other area, although there's quite a long editorial coming this month that should be of interest to those in broadband slow spots and not spots.

Elsewhere much of my time has been taken up by major personal life events, which should finally reach conclusion towards the latter half of September and allow me to re-focus on ISPreview development again.

Speaking of ISPr development, most of any time that I have had spare has been spent on gearing up for our usual round of year-end ISP interviews (2010 will focus on small fibre optic broadband operators) and testing what seems like a gazillion different Content Management Systems (CMS) for managing a future re-design of the front page and sub-page content.

Needless to say that CMS testing is no easy task and finding one that fits the bill is proving to be quite tedious. We could do a lot more with our current system but it's reaching the end of its life and was only ever intended as a stop-gap solution anyway. At present the front runner CMS's are (unordered):

Joomla
CMS Made Simple
MODX v2
Nucleus
Drupal
Vivvo
vBulletin 4 CMS

Each has a various range of pro's and con's, for example CMS Made Simple is the fastest (default install) but is beginning to fall behind its rivals in other areas and its mod library needs some serious updating. Joomla I haven't tested properly yet. MODX v2 is so new that it lacks enough documentation to really wrap your head around.

Drupal looks good but feels quite bloated with all those mods and isn't as easy to engage with as I first thought. Nucleus is probably out of the running for now as it's not keeping pace with modern needs. Vivvo looks good but it is a commercial CMS and also ridiculously expensive for what you get.

vBulletin CMS might sound like a good fit and it does feel quite fast, but it's oddly also quite server intensive and could easily bring down even our dedicated server if we stuck it on the front page. It's also not very attractive. I know vB as a forum software but their CMS solution needs some serious work. In fact I find vB4 to be so ugly that I haven't yet upgraded our forum from vB3.8.x.

In any case we will probably re-design the front page first, decide what content goes where and which extras we want to add, and only then see how each handles our demands. This is a long process and we're only just in the design and testing stages. Whatever this ends up being, we'll call it ISPr v3.5 .
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
08/10/2010

September was officially ISPreview.co.uk's biggest news month in two years, thanks in no small part to various ACS:Law and Ofcom regulation related news items. Luckily I did find time to send out our annual ISP interviews, polish off an article about NGA Definitions and complete the first round of CMS testing.

I managed to whittle my CMS options down to either CMS Made Simple, MODx2 or Vivvo. All have the kind of flexibility I need for this big news and information website, although some are easier to use (Vivvo) than others (MODx2). Vivvo's ability to integrate with vBulletin is also a huge bonus, but the cost is not.

The final stage of testing will be to focus on speed and server load to find which CMS solutions can do the most, in the least amount of time and with the smallest server demands. On the surface CMSMS could win since MODx already seems slower with comparable content and modules, while Vivvo has a strong cache but I've yet to fully test its performance on the dedicated server. CMSMS is also poorly designed for handling thousands of news items, which could be a problem in the future.

Elsewhere we also have a major database change to make with our review system, a conversion if you will. This will improve the systems performance but we're very nervous about deploying the upgrade and it needs further testing before I'm comfortable doing it on the main system.

The last thing on my list is to begin work re-designing the front page for our new CMS. I have a template idea sketched out but converting that into something functional is never an easy task. The biggest problem will be in reverse engineering it for our new CMS, which is another time consuming nightmare. I won't be taking a Christmas holiday this year, that's for sure.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
30/11/2010

I suspect this will be my last website status update until January next year because December is usually a slow month and we'll be winding down a bit before the Christmas and New Year holiday week.

Yesterday we upgraded the database interface for our review system, which has been languishing in the dark ages for awhile. It's now more robust and updated to reflect the latest standards, which should allow the primary authors to add some new features that we'd had on the "to-do" list for awhile.

Most of our other work through October and November has been content related, focusing on interviews, articles and updating some popular content for next year. We're also trying to review the WiBE Mobile Broadband booster, although this has been delayed due to faults with the initial units being unable to use SIM cards that have pins (kind of a major bug that one).

I'm quite looking forward to January - April because it's always ideal for development (cold weather means spending a lot of time indoors) and I am desperate to crack on with re-designing the front page around our new CMS. That's no easy task but the design is already sketched out, it's just a matter of making it work and look nice.

The one thing I am not looking forward to is January's VAT rise, which means we'll have to do a more rigorous sweep of our ISP listings to correct all the prices. Some ISPs can take awhile to adjust for this and as a result we may just update the most known 20-30 providers and do the rest in February. Either way any ISP database update sweep is always a month long time sync, although with our old system it use to take two months.

On top of this we'd really like to add a new listing category for fixed line NGA broadband packages. Initially I was only going to include 100Mbps+ services but we probably need to include BT's FTTC solution too. I'm still in two minds about this though because eventually DSL will be replaced and the two will need to be merged back again.

Finally, we're looking again at whether or not to adopt vB4 sooner rather than later as originally planned. Our key mods now work with vB4 and the new CMS will work with it but the default style is awful and makes integration somewhat tedious. This depends on our spare time more than anything else.

That's all for now.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
28/01/2011

Hello 2011.

It took a few weeks but our latest ISP Listings database update sweep was finally completed last week and we also have a new article polished and ready to go up next week that readers should find interesting.

The primary focus for 2011 is essentially to re-do the front page and some content sections with a completely new and more interactive CMS, which will take a bit of time to develop but at least the direction is now mapped out and technology chosen. We also intend to upgrade the forum to the latest vB4 at some point, although I'll probably focus on the CMS a bit first.

I'm also looking to upgrade the dedicated server. At present ISPreview.co.uk is still being run off a single-core Athlon64 CPU, which despite a glitch in early 2010, has actually held up pretty well. However the new CMS is likely to need a dual-core CPU and some more RAM for best performance. Luckily the upgrade is pretty easy to do as we're still with the same hosting firm.

The first practical CMS work should begin next week as I thrash out a primary template from the design doc. ISPreview is quite a complicated site to integrate with so I'm expecting this to eat up most of my spare time for a fair old while.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top
Promotion
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £18.00 (*22.00)
    Avg. Speed 30Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Code: SPRING19
  • Vodafone £21.00 (*23.00)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • TalkTalk £22.50
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Direct Save Telecom £22.95 (*29.95)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Origin Broadband £23.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Promotion
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2388)
  2. FTTP (1967)
  3. FTTC (1585)
  4. Broadband Delivery UK (1540)
  5. Politics (1323)
  6. Openreach (1320)
  7. Business (1168)
  8. Statistics (1028)
  9. Mobile Broadband (953)
  10. FTTH (949)
  11. Fibre Optic (933)
  12. Ofcom Regulation (866)
  13. Wireless Internet (854)
  14. 4G (837)
  15. Virgin Media (799)
  16. Sky Broadband (572)
  17. TalkTalk (551)
  18. EE (548)
  19. Vodafone (461)
  20. Security (391)
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms  ,  Privacy and Cookie Policy  ,  Links  ,  Website Rules