The ZBB is back.
The brief story: Bluehost upgraded the scripting software, php. The forum software, phpbb, doesn’t work with the new php. Bluehost did not bother to inform clients about the upgrade, and only of three reps I talked to even understood the issue. And they didn’t seem to know what phpbb was.
On the plus side: it was clear what to do, namely upgrade phpbb. This went smoothly enough, though it was tedious and took most of the afternoon. Bonus, I have a FTP client now that I know works.
I heard from Bluehost. The good news: they finally did the restore. The bad news: it doesn’t help.
But, this rep was slightly more on the ball than the others. She said that they had upgraded php, the scripting software the board uses, and that was causing things to break. It would have been nice to get some warning about this, or for other reps to be informed, but whatevs.
The obvious next step is to upgrade the phpbb software. I’ve downloaded the latest version and unzipped it, but I still have to mess with getting it onto the server. If you hear muffled cursing over the next few days, that’ll be me.
Edit: Looks like I got FTP to work. Kind of. Too tired to work on it now though.
For those who are smart enough to check here for news…
The ZBB was down since yesterday. Bluehost was of little help; I think the first rep I talked to didn’t understand that phpBB is a program Bluehost supports. I called back and asked them to restore the website from a backup taken last week. They don’t seem to have gotten to that yet.
Now, their support did point to a particular file, deep within phpbb, that was causing the error. Alert user bradrn pointed out that his version (from incatena.org) didn’t match. It looked like a change I had made to that file years ago was suddenly causing an error. I removed the change and lo and behold, the board is visible again.
But, bad news: it’s still borked. In particular, posting is broken, which makes it pretty unusable. A bunch of minor things look wrong too.
I am going to let them do the restore, at the cost of losing a week’s worth of posts. Maybe that will fix things.
If that doesn’t work, I will probably have to upgrade phpBB, which is about as much fun as dental work, only you can’t get Novocaine.
Latest changes over at zompist.com:
Sadly, the page on where to score French comics has been removed, because I don’t know any more. The info was about 15 years out of date and I’m not able to buy them anyway.
This is to catch anyone who hasn’t been looking at the ZBB lately because it’s been full of errors.
I’m going to move the board to a new host, in stages. The first stage is to set up the board on a new host, which is done. You can get there at
To sign up you’ll need a code, which is 676.
Anything you post there is temporary and liable to go away. That’s because the plan is to back up the database from the old ZBB, copy it to the new host, and point the new board at it. If all goes well, all the old users and posts will come over with it.
(If it doesn’t, plan B is to keep the old data around for some period.)
I wanted to at least get a temporary board up so people can post things without annoyance.
At some point soon, I will have to take the old board down to back it up. So if it’s down in the next few days, that’s why.
For anyone who thinks to check here… yes, the ZBB is having problems, I know, and I’ve submitted a ticket with Dreamhost.
(Basically you can look at most threads, but not all, and you can’t post at all. I can’t log in as admin so I can’t even put an alert over there.)
More bulletins when I know more (also on Twitter).
Edit: Looks like it’s fixed. Dreamhost, with moderate usefulness, told me I should optimize the database and maybe repair tables. They suggested phpMyAdmin, which didn’t work. But their page also suggested using SSH, and that worked.
The problem may have been intermittent, I can’t tell, but I can say that I couldn’t post yesterday and now I can. So in good IT tradition I’m going to close this up as resolved.
Edit: Fixed for now. (Downgraded to a php version that worked. Everything will have to be upgraded again at a later date.)
Dreamhost ‘upgraded’ the phpbb on my domains today, which broke the Almeopedia and, even more annoyingly, the ZBB.
The symptom: logins don’t work. They give some cryptic messages, and you get a success message, but when you return to the main page you are not actually logged in.
If you’re already logged in, it seems to work OK, so don’t log out. If you’re logged out, you’re out of luck, for now.
I’ve complained to Dreamhost, so hopefully they will fix things tomorrow.
Good question! It sure looks like it’s been hacked. Trying to contact DreamHost to see if it can be fixed.
Edit: It was just me, thanks to a bug from AT&T. We lost phone and internet connection, and AT&T puts in a cookie that attempts to do a redirect, and fails.
The ZBB is back.
This is probably not a permanent solution— it’s a trick! I’m pointing from a new clean phpBB to the old database. Somewhat to my surprise, this works.
Well, the good news is that the new domain works and phpBB has been installed.
The bad news is that the database update failed. I started from phpBB’s backup feature, which produces a database dump of an impressive 42M. phpBB itself barfs on the file. And so does phpMyAdmin, which says it’s too big. And BigDump doesn’t run.
If anyone knows how to do this, I’d appreciate some advice. (I mean, someone who’s actually done this; I know how to Google too.) This is on Dreamhost by the way.
(The backup plan is to start with an empty board, but it’d be nice to do better than that.)