Thursday, January 31, 2019

Forum Upgrade and Backups are Underway

The process of backing up the forum database and then switching over to phpBB 3.2.5 from phpBB 3.0.14 started at 5:10 am EST of Thursday January 31, 2019.

  1. Backups of the database were made by our host at as well as a number of variations of backups made here at the CEFSG. This is the most critical of all the steps in the process, as our database is SO LARGE. It has been the CEFSG policy to retain ALL POSTS in the system.
  2. The BOARD has now been closed so that internal changes can be made to return it to its original style. This removes any modifications we have made to the board over the past number of years, thus improving the chance that the conversion of the system will go ahead smoothly. I am sure there will be some "bumps" along the process. This is a MAJOR upgrade, unlike any we have done in the past, as it is NEW software not just MODIFIED software. Many of the features from the past will disappear until a process to return them is developed.
  3. Back in operation. There is still an issue with the FORMAT error reports, but at least now I have found the answer:

    You will see that topic says it "corrects itself", which I have already seen happening. I also know how to manually correct a post that does not fix itself.

    I have been working on the CLI (Command Line Interface) using PUTTY for a few days now, however it is new to me and I am on the "learning curve". Until I have that resolved, better to let the problem correct itself.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Planning Ahead

I have asked Mike at if Thursday January 31, 2019 would be a good morning to lock the site for a period while they back up all the databases directly within their system. 

That is FAR SUPERIOR to me making a backup off-site. 

I will do that anyway but better safe than sorry.

If that date works for them, I will shut down the sites at or before 6 am on Thursday morning and open them up as soon as possible thereafter.

Thursday, January 17, 2019


The dreaded day has come. For some time we have enjoyed the comfort of our CEFSG FORUM operating under the software system of pHpBB Version 3.0.14. It was the last and most stable of the 3.0 system and it did us well since the transfer to back in 2015.

Yesterday I received this message from our HOST at

Mike wrote:
Hi Richard,

This is a quick note that we will be having a temporary switch to 7.2 in a couple of minutes at 4.00 PM EST for the cluster that hosts your website. It will go back to PHP 5.6 at 4:30 EST

Note this is a good opportunity to check your application for compatibility issues and take note of any section of the website that might not be functioning properly. I have a report that shows at least one component of your website PHPBB requires attention.

This is just a reminder that our datacenter will not allow PHP5.6 after Feb 17, 2019.

Thank you for your inquiry.



We have received considerable support from Mike and the team at, most recently when we had the BOT attacks in December 2016 and into the Spring of 2017. As such, I am sure I will be able to count on them as we make the transfer to the new system.

Although the terminology looks similar, their reference to PHP 5.6 changing to PHP 7.2 is not the same as our need to transfer from pHpBB 3.0.14 to pHpBB 3.2. The first reference is to what is on the servers at and the second is to the software that we use at

Any of you that were on the system yesterday afternoon when they ran the test would have seen what happened - the pages came back flooded with ERROR reports. You would have seen a lot of text that appeared similar to this:

[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 370: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/functions.php on line 5282: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at [ROOT]/includes/functions.php:3903)

In the past, I have taken our pHpBB system through a number of upgrades, through all the 1.0, 2.0 and up to 3.0.14 which is the current system. All of these upgrades were made possible with a somewhat simple upgrade package. The upgrade we now must complete is a FRESH INSTALL of new software and then the TRANSFER of all the past information in the DATABASE. Any of the MODs (those are special MODULE packages that control "extras" on our system - i.e. the SUPPORT TOOL KIT) can NOT be upgraded automatically. They must be removed and then manually upgraded at a later date (I hope!). The day-to-day user would not be aware of these MODS, so it probably will not impact the user.

At present I do not know what other MOD packages would be impacted. I suspect it will be in items such as the STYLES that are shown at the top of the page when you are making a post. These are the components of the STYLE MOD that allows you to insert images, make tables, insert a video, etc. All of those we created AFTER the main pHpBB system was put in place.

Fortunately we have a month to complete this task. To do this, I create a new directory (with a different name) such as to which I download the new software and begin the upgrade process. I will start working on this in the next week on a "test basis", so you will not see that in progress until I am able to publish a TEST PAGE LINK. All the main structure would thus be built and tested BEFORE the transfer of the site. Then comes TRANSFER DAY! First of all. I must back up our existing database and all the files, then move those to the new system. This would probably happen early one morning when we have shut down the main system. If it all works well, it would be a seamless process. It may not be perfect at first, but we will sort it all out.

The change also has a significant impact on the WIKI system at as our current system is not at all useable on the new PHP 7.2 server system. There is a page that tells me we will have to upgrade the WIKI to MediaWiki 1.3.2. See "Software required to run MediaWiki" on this page:

This is what would happen if we went to run the WIKI without an upgrade, after they changed the server: ( has provided with a method to test the conversion of our old sites with this format) ... /Main_Page

Amazingly, the original MATRIX that was made in 2006 with Microsoft FrontPage appears to work with the new PHP 7.2 software, probably because it is very basic HTML programing that is not impacted by all the fancy code packages and MODS. You can see the test of the old MATRIX system here: ... ginal.html

PLEASE MAKE SURE that you BOOKMARK the Blog Site for the CEFSG that we use to make announcements when we are having system problems. You will find that at:

I will put a copy of this message on that site and then post any major notices as we go through the process. If there is a major change as to how to LOG IN, for example, it would be placed in that location.

If you have personal research on the site, or pages of information you frequently use, PLEASE make sure you copy (back up) any of that information so you have it for the future. For example, I keep a list of the commonly used HELP or INFORMATION pages. You can click "PRINT VIEW" in the top menu of any page and then PRINT the page (to a printer, a PDF file, or whatever else YOUR system allows). You can also ""Right Click" on any of those pages and VIEW or SAVE the Source File, or select "Save As" to save the page as a web page or HTML.

That is all for now,


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Just a reminder - if access is blocked to

There have been some recent messages about blocked access to the CEFSG sites. This most likely relates back to the Great Bot Attack of last December and January, and the need to block some of the IP addresses.

There is a notice on this blog here:

That explains how to retrieve you IP and send it to me to fix any problems.

Please bookmark the blog address and check in whenever you have a problem with the main site. The blog is on a different system and is not affected by the IP blocks.

Best wishes to all for 2018!

I will post a copy of this message on the forum as well.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

CEFSG System Backups November 22, 2017

A complete backup of our 3 main systems was made this morning:
  1. Wordpress site:
  1. Wiki:
  1. Main Forum:

This was completed prior to upgrading the Wordpress site to 4.9.

Sooner or later we are going to need to upgrade past phpBB3, I dread the day! At that time, we have to switch to a new system of pHp that is not directly upgradable.

If anyone notices any issues after today, please advise.

Remember also that at any time there are issues, a posting is made to our blog. The web or forum can be down, but you can still access the blog as it is a completely separate system. I believe in redundancy!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

CEFSG System Backups June 8, 2017

All CEFSG Systems received a FULL BACKUP this morning. I had near heart failure when I saw the message that there was a "[i]Maria Database Error - In Read Mode Only[/i]". I immediately went into the system and backed up the Forum, Wiki and Wordpress sites. Each of those are backed up using both the internal program backup system and [url=]phpMyAdmin[/url].

As it turned out, it appears it was a temporary "burp" at the server and the site(s) were fine. By the time I had completed the backups, everything was back working perfectly - so it appears.

Please let me know ASAP if anyone sees any issues on any of the three (3) sites:

Please remember (and bookmark) our blog site at as that is where any notifications are posted if there are ever any site problems.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

We are Stable!

All appears to be well and we have reactivated the Google Bot and if there are no problems we will allow the Bing Bot as well.

Remember to ALWAYS come to this Blog if you have problems with the CEFSG site, as when it is down or not available to you as an individual, we post the notice here.

For those that they find they do not have access, remember that we have a number of IP addresses blocked. To OPEN yours, you have to send me your IP address, User Name and local geographic address - as we have a number of international users. There are many sites that provide this - for example:

Once I received that and confirm that you are a member, the IP address is cleared.

If you have a DYNAMIC IP instead of a STATIC IP you may have to file a notice again until we narrow down your area.