:: TheOneAndTheOnly.com – Andrew Buckman ::

SFTP and SSH Timeout

Blogged in Apple,Web Design,Web Development by Andrew · Tuesday October 27, 2009

I bought a new router the other day, I was having some odd problems with my current one and thought it’d be nice to move to an 802.11n router.  I picked up a Netgear WNDR3700, my first foray into Netgear products.  Overall I’m pretty happy with the router except for one extremely annoying problem… it’s been timing out on my SFTP and SSH connections after just a 5-10 minutes.  I’m regularly working on a file directly off an SFTP connection and I often go more than 10 minutes between saving or interacting with the server.  Transmit gets kind of hung up with that happens and if you’re trigger happy on closing a window, you can end up losing your file altogether (not cool).  Suffice it to say, that happened yesterday and I had to quickly rewrite the code while I could remember the gist of it, and prompting me to get this annoyance straighted out.

I presume the problem I was having was related to the new router timing out the NAT tables more frequently than my old router and not doing anything with my requests after it timed out the connection.  Unfortunately, I could not find any settings in the router configuration to adjust this interval, however it was an extremely easy fix in Mac OS and it solved the problem for me with both SSH and Transmit.

The Fix (more…)

Domain Rewriting

Blogged in Plesk,Web Development by Andrew · Saturday February 28, 2009

I was recently setting up a subdomain for a URL pointing at a shared IP.  The domain itself already had DNS set up for all subdomains to go to the IP, but nothing was being done with them on the server.  In a moment of curiosity, I checked out the subdomain’s URL before I set it up on the server and much to my dismay, it pulled up the primary website set up on that IP, a completely different domain than this subdomain was going on.  This is obviously not good because of duplicate content issues with the search engines, I certainly don’t want an entire copy of my site reachable on an unlimited number of subdomains on other domains.  To combat this, I’ve added an Apache Rewrite directive to my .htaccess file that rewrites anything not on the correct domain over to the proper one using a permanent redirect.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !theoneandtheonly\.com
RewriteRule .* http://www.theoneandtheonly.com/ [R=301,L]

Obviously, replace theoneandtheonly.com with your domain of choice.  Please be sure to put this after any other subdomain rewriting rules you might be using.  I don’t intentionally send subdomains to my main URL, if you do, you may need to tweak this a bit.  Also I opted to drop any path information on the rewritten URL, if you’d prefer passing that along, use the version below instead.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !theoneandtheonly\.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.theoneandtheonly.com/$1 [R=301,L]

For the record, I encountered this problem on a server running Plesk 8.2.1, it may or may not be an issue under other setups.

Urchin 5 Stats Stopping

Blogged in Plesk,The Site,Web Development by Andrew · Saturday March 17, 2007

So it seems there’s something wrong with Urchin 5 that is preventing my web stats from being compiled out of the logs files and into Urchin’s reporting interface. This began happening a year after I switched to the current server (running Plesk 7.5) and I noticed it on a few more important domains and found a fix at that time. Meanwhile I wrote myself a post-it note to go back and fix it on the rest of the domains, which of course I never did. Today I was curious about some stats for one of the domains I hadn’t fixed and thankfully was still able to find my note. I’ve decided to blog the solution so that I don’t have to worry about losing that note any longer and hopefully it will help someone else in the future as well.

If you try processing your log by clicking the “Run Now” button in Urchin Admin and see the following message come up, these instructions should help with your problem.
WARNING: (7063-54-63) Unable to open database for writing since it has been archived

The official solution to this problem exists on the Urchin Help site (now owned by google) at this location:
http://www.google.com/support/urchin45/bin/answer.py?answer=28527&topic=7393

My more detailed walkthrough follows…

The problem has to do with the archiving feature on a per domain basis. If you login to the Urchin Admin interface and configure the profile for that domain, there is a Storage/DB tab. On the tab you’ll see “Archive DB Options” with options for on/off and a timeframe for archiving if you leave it on. Change the setting for “Archive DB” to off and click “Update” to save your change.

The second half of the fix is a bit trickier and will require shell access to your server with an appropriate permissions level that grants you access to urchin’s installation directory. I logged in via ssh and switched to the superuser account to perform the following tasks (obviously you do so at your own risk, remember when you’re the superuser you have the power to break many things you don’t want to break). First, find where urchin is storing its reports for the domain you’re fixing (/usr/local/urchin/data/reports/theoneandtheonly.com/ for this domain). Change to that directory and look at the contents. You should see a variety of zip files named with the following format: YYYYMM-archive.zip. You should unzip these files to restore the data from the archives and remove the archive.zip files after they’ve been unzipped. This is important, you MUST remove the archive files, or at least move them to another directory so Urchin doesn’t see them.

UPDATE: By request, here is a list of the commands I ran for step 2…
cd /usr/local/urchin/data/reports/theoneandtheonly.com/
unzip *-archive.zip
mkdir archive-backup
mv *-archive.zip archive-backup

After both steps above are complete, go back to your Urchin Admin interface and run the stats report. You should see it processing your log files again and your missing data should fill in. Depending on the log file rotation schedule for your webserver you may or may not have gaps. If you keep backups on your server of all the logs, you should be able to reconfigure urchin to process the old files if you don’t have it setup that it does so already.

Google Sitemaps Thoughts

Blogged in Web Development by Andrew · Saturday June 4, 2005

Since hink asked, here are my thoughts on the whole Google Sitemaps idea.

Overall, I love it. The ability to tell the search engines “hey, check this page out often and don’t bother with these over here but once a month” could prove quite useful. That said, part of me wonders if it isn’t just adding extra work for web developers that already have too much to do, though for a proper dynamic site a little work upfront to let the site generate the sitemap itself should mostly negate that. Even so, Google seems to do a pretty good job on their own without our input.

Then of course we all know that (the majority of?) sites will use the sitemaps completely improperly. Does anyone want to bet how many “webmasters” will setup a Google Sitemap telling them to check every single page, every day, with all pages at a priority of 1.0 because everything on my site is important! The concept of ‘relative to other pages on the same site’ will escape them and while they’re only hurting themselves with that, I feel for anyone having to explain to a client why a particular page on their site was only assigned a 0.3 priority let alone 0.1.

In the end I expect it will stick around, Google will ignore a good portion of them due to improper setup, and those with well designed sitemaps will benefit. Which I like to think is a good thing.

Google Sitemaps

Blogged in Web Development by Andrew · Saturday June 4, 2005

Google recently released their new Google Sitemaps as a beta (what do you expect from google?), here a few links I’ve been reading on the subject.

Google Sitemaps Homepage

Google Sitemap Protocol

Google Sitemaps Overview from Search Engine Watch

Breaking Down Google Sitemaps XML from Social Patterns

Google Sitemap for WordPress Blogs also from Social Patterns

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