Strictly Spoiler 2017 Thanks

It’s that time again we’re rapidly approaching the final spoiler of the series and it’s time for my annual thanks where I thank those who have contributed towards another successful year for the strictly spoiler. And it has been another successful year. At the time of writing the site has been viewed 2.5million times this series by over 550,000 individual people.

It’s been a mixed series though with some highs and lows and truthfully that’s shadowed my year in general which has also had some highs and lows. On a personal note my highs this year include graduating with a BA (hons) in Photography and meeting the person who last month became my girlfriend. But it’s also had some lows which included the breakdown of my 11 year long relationship (and the way in which it broke down).

The 2017 series of Strictly has been much the same. There’s been highs which include just how much my social networking accounts have exploded this series. There’s now over 15,000 of you following me on twitter and about 8500 of you liking the Facebook Page. Both of those networks have pretty much doubled over the course of the series and so much discussion is now happening on those networks (more than happens on this site this series).

However there’s been some lows. The press attention at the start of the series and around the time of the Christmas special spoiler. Truth be told I don’t like being the centre of attention like this and I don’t think a guy running a blog which posts information that is already out there if you know where to look really warrants front page news (Daily Star/Star On Sunday I’m looking at you!). Of course most the newspapers take a negative slant on what I do not because they disagree with what I do but because I’m doing something that they would love to do but they cant because they wouldn’t get invited to all the cool BBC parties anymore.

Anyway this is supposed to be a thanks post so I probably should start thanking some people. I’ll start by thanking each and every one of you reading this post. I’m more than aware that the majority of visitors to the site don’t actually read anything besides the 2nd paragraph of the spoiler post so you people who actually read all my content, engage with each other on the site and the social networks and make this community what it is deserve a lot of thanks.

I also want to thank those of you who donated money to help out with the sites growing needs. This series the site once again outgrew a web hosting solution. The solution I now have in place should (in theory) now be unbreakable as if you do break a server it will just make more but I guess we’ll find out in a few hours.  The donation button/link has been actually surprisingly well used and your money has for the most part been ploughed straight back into the site to try and keep it up at peak times. If you want to help out with the hosting costs or just want to buy me a pint you can use the button below which paypal take about 5% of any money sent through or this link which sends all the money to me

I also want to thank those of you who have been patient and supportive whilst the site has had issues. I’ve actually had quite a bit of grief especially on twitter when the site has had downtime and I really don’t need grief when I’ve been trying my hardest to work on the issues (in between maintaining my social networking channels, looking after my boys half the week, studying for a post graduate degree and beginning a new relationship). Thankfully the majority of you have been patient whilst I try and resolve the site issues.

I also want to thank my girlfriend. Last weekend when the site went down again despite a change of hosting I was so stressed and so upset and actually close to tears because I care a lot about this site and the work that I do for it. She could tell I was stressed from my text messages to her and just spontaneously sent me a text message saying she loved me which made me feel a lot better and got me through that weekend.

Finally it wouldn’t be a thank you post without talking about my sources and as far as sources go I actually have more sources now than the one source I’ve had previous series that I’ve done this. I’ve also sourced moles myself some weeks through my social media channels and my thanks go out to them. However most of the spoilers you have read this series have come from a spoiler group on Facebook which is a similar community to the one I have built myself on Facebook. That group is managed by three lovely ladies who have sourced many of the spoilers through moles or other sources and just like I did last year for my usual source, this series I would like to arrange to send a thank you bouquet of flowers in the new year to each of the admin on that group as a thanks for all the spoilers they have supplied.

That pretty much covers everything I think so thank you all once again (especially if you’re reading this far in the post) and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I’ll see you all for the 2018 series!

Site Migration Complete…… again!

Ok so the last site migration had mixed success as whilst it kept the site up for most, but not all, of you at peak times (but not for me which affected my ability to post to or update the site) it also introduced some issues with the poll system and also some of you may have seen outdated versions of the site when I updated posts.

A lesser person, with just one week left when the site will go under heavy load may have chosen to just accept the issues for one more week and work on them for the next series. But the perfectionist in me wouldn’t allow that.

So the site has moved again and as far as peak times are concerned this should be the final site move the site ever undergoes because frankly it should now be able to cope with anything you guys throw at it.

Previously the site has been hosted on one server which hosts both the content that your web browser receives but also the database content that holds details of the posts, polls, comments and anything else on this site that was changeable. Occasionally it has been hosted on two servers, one for the web content and one for the database.

The problem with this kind of hosting, especially when you guys were placing it under heavy load at peak times around when the spoiler came in was that if either element got overloaded by heavy traffic it would take the whole site down. A single point of failure anywhere on the web server or the database server (if separate) would be enough to break the entire website.

Well no more! At the time of writing this post the site is currently hosted with not 1, not 2 but 4 servers. 2 that your web browser will connect to and 2 for the database that holds the site’s posts and the other dynamic content. So if either server fails the other one will kick in and traffic will be balanced between the servers. And if you overload them all it’s no longer an issue because the site will automatically add in more servers as and when they are needed up to a maximum of 20 (and I can increase that if necessary…… which hopefully it wont be!)

All of which means that the site outages that have been an issue for the last few weeks and occasionally over the last few years should now in theory be a thing of the past! If the site does go down that downtime should only last a matter of seconds before new servers kick in.

I’m sure a lot of you didn’t understand a word of the last few paragraphs so let me explain it a different way. Imagine 10,000 of you are all trying to drive round the M25 at the same time and only one lane is open. That is how the site used to be and it just caused traffic jams and lots of people beeping their horns at each other. However now 4 lanes are open on the M25 which makes driving around it easier for the people already on it. But then another 25,000 of you decide to join the motorway causing more traffic jams. Well no problem as we’ll just open 4 more lanes to make room for them. That’s how the site works now.

The site has been in beta for a couple of days with this new hosting solution as frankly this is a radical change in the hosting environment and I’m amazed that I managed to get it up and running and working in the space of 6 hours on Monday afternoon as I fully expected it to take me weeks/months to get it working but somehow I did it and whilst there’s been one or two kinks to sort out (mainly in my side of the site rather than yours) the site has run well for those of you who helped me test it.

Will the site stay up at the weekend? Only time will tell but I’m more confident it will do than I have been the last few weeks. As far as costs go this setup will be costing me about £150 per month looking at my costs so far however it will only be used for the remaining 2 weeks of this series and then I’ll migrate the site back to a cheaper hosting solution for the off season before migrating it back to this setup for the 2018 series. Thanks to everyone who donated towards my hosting costs. Without you guys this would not have been possible nor would the last change of hosting.

If you want to help me out with the hosting costs, want to buy me a pint or just want to thank me for all my hard work (and whilst I don’t source the spoiler directly most weeks and I freely acknowledge this, I do put a lot of work into this site and my social media channels both when strictly is on and when I do site moves such as this – I’ve been working in every spare moment the last few days to get this new setup running and testing it) you can donate using the button below (paypal will take a cut from all donations using the button) or you can use this link through which paypal will pass all the money to me. Please only consider doing so if you can definitely afford to do so. I don’t want anyone struggling this close to Christmas just because they wanted to help/fund this site! I’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how well the donation button has been used by you guys and your donations have helped to fund site moves such as this.


Site Migration Complete

Took a bit longer than I originally expected but the site should now be back up for most users!

Some elements of the site move had to be done manually and also it took a while for the change of host to spread throughout the internet. Some people may still be pointing to the old host (virgin media in particular seem to be slow at updating their DNS) in which case they’ll see an “origin DNS” error rather than this post. This should clear up in the next few hours.

Thanks to everyone who donated using the donation button who made this site move possible. Whilst I didn’t manage to get a dedicated server I’ve done the next best thing which is something called a VPS. My new host also claims that under my package I should be able to cope with 300million page views a month. Maybe not test that too thoroughly but we’ll see how we go at the weekend.

The site will remain with this host now until the end of the series then I plan to move it back to a cheaper solution during the quieter period as I don’t really fancy paying £70 a month to host the site when cheaper solutions will be fine while Strictly isn’t on.

Donations will remain open and if you want to help out with next years hosting costs or simply want to buy me a pint you can donate using the button below (paypal will take a cut) or this link (all money goes to me)