Category Archives: db4free.net

Blog posts related to db4free.net

db4free.net Relaunch

Finally! The new db4free.net Website has launched and along with it comes a new (slightly stronger) server and some simplifications with the service itself.

So what is new? Of course the new website which now is up to modern standards again, using a responsive design. While the old site was only designed for desktop (no surprise if you consider it was created in 2005 and remained more or less unchanged since), the new site adopts to small screen devices like mobile phones and tablets as well. Also the look is totally different:

db4free.net old

db4free.net old

db4free.net new

db4free.net new

The service now has a few simplifications. It is no longer allowed, or necessary, to set a collation and define IP addresses or hosts from which db4free.net can be accessed. Most users didn’t change the default anyway and many who did locked themselves out. As for character set and collation, UTF8 should work fine in all languages. If you really need to change it, you can do so from your MySQL client.

Now to the biggest new feature (Woohoo!). You can now easily help us translate the db4free.net website. The old website had the texts spread across many files in various places so there was no easy way to share them so to allow users to contribute in ways like fixing mistakes (I hope there aren’t any, but who can be sure?), improving linguistic style or even add an entirely new language. The new website fixes that and allows me to publish all website texts in a GitHub repository at:

https://github.com/mpopp75/db4free-net-l10n

You can fork this repository, fix texts and/or add translations and send a pull request back, so your updates can be integrated into the website. Find instructions how to do that in the new Translation page and if you need further assistance, please open a ticket at GitHub. I will be happy to guide you through the process as good as I can.

Also still quite new is that db4free.net is now on Twitter. Please consider following the account so you can easily stay up-to-date.

Where is your data which you had already stored in a db4free.net database? As like the last time when db4free.net moved to a new server, the old server and service will remain available at db4free.org until August 15, 2014. Since the migration process is exactly the same as last time, please reuse the good old and still valid instructions.

If you have any questions, please use the Comments section below or drop me a line on Twitter. Enjoy!

Time for a new look

How time flies! It’s almost 4 years (July 19, 2010) that this blog went online. Ever since that, this site had the same look.

Four years are a long time for the World Wide Web and the site’s look became quite a bit dated. Even worse, it didn’t respond to small screen sizes like those of smart phones or tablets which four years ago were not as common as they are today. So it was time for a new (responsive) theme and voilĂ  … here it is!

Please enjoy this site not only on your desktop, but also on your mobile devices.

mpopp.net on mobile device

(Psst, there’s a rumor going around that db4free.net is up for something new as well.)

Another InnoDB crash

It happened twice in May, and now again: another InnoDB crash. db4free.net is now up again with a fresh server instance, meaning that no databases have been transferred from the old server to the new one.

However, the old server is still accessible. It’s running in recovery mode which is good enough to allow you to create a backup of your data (and transfer it to a new account on the new MySQL server instance, if you wish). Here is how to do it.

Make sure you have mysql and mysqldump available on your system. Linux users can usually install the mysql-client package by the distribution’s package manager. OS X users can get it at http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/mysql/5.6.html. For Windows users I am providing mysql.exe and mysqldump.exe for your convenience. Put them somewhere where you can access them by the command prompt.

Here are the commands to first create a dump file (from the old server), and then to import it in the new server instance:

mysqldump -h db4free.net -P 3307 -u [username] -p[password] --databases [database_name] --opt > dump.sql
mysql -h db4free.net -u [username] -p[password] [database_name] < dump.sql

Of course you need to use the correct username/password/database name; with mysqldump those from the old server (now running on port 3307), and with the mysql command from the new server.

Please understand that I can’t give individual support. But this should get you started and there is a lot of information out there in the World Wide Web.

So why didn’t I transfer the data? Well, I tried. But the amount of data was so huge that I ran into all kinds of limits and timeouts that I gave up. One reason was that there are some individual users who host a huge amount of data on db4free.net, in fact only a few users accounted for the majority of data. Which is why I am introducing a new rule on the new server: only a maximum of 100 MB is allowed per database, and databases which exceed 100 MB will be cleared at irregular intervals, with no warning! Remember: db4free.net is a testing service, no hosting service. If you need safety you should get an account with a commercial provider that can give you the kinds of guarantees which db4free.net can’t give you.

I am also asking you to delete data which you no longer need, or even delete the account. When another crash occurs (which is not so unlikely, as it happened 3 times in slightly more than 6 months) chances that I can migrate the data to a new server instance are much better if the data load is smaller. So please help and don’t leave unnecessary data laying around.

Please don’t waste time to get a dump of your data (if you need it). My plan is to leave the old server instance running until end of October. But as always, data corruption can happen, even on this server instance. So make sure you get what you need (even though you shouldn’t … remember why?).

InnoDB crash recovery

You may have noticed that the db4free.net server is currently down.

Reason is that an InnoDB crash has occurred and efforts to recover have failed. However, I was able to create a dump file of the entire server, which I’m currently importing into a fresh server instance.

As things look now, the server will be back up with almost all data intact (except maybe updates from April 19th, 2013). But the data volume is large and it will take time. So please be patient while the new server instance is put in place.

Update 2013-04-21 19:45 UTC: Server is back.
Update 2013-04-28 01:25 UTC: same crash happened again. db4free.net will stay down until further notice.
Update 2013-05-02 22:00 UTC: db4free.net is back. But I can’t guarantee for how long. What happened twice recently can happen again any time.

db4free.net server migration

db4free.net‘s server has reached its limits, and it was time for a new one. Now here it is, a shiny new server, with 8 times as much memory than the previous one, and also more disk space. Time for a reboot.

Only recently, MySQL 5.6 has become GA with much better performance than 5.5 and earlier, so the combination of a faster MySQL server and a faster machine should result in a very significant performance boost for db4free.net.

I have not migrated any user databases, but they are still available on the previous/old server. The old server is available at db4free.org, the new server at db4free.net. I will leave the old server running until end of March to allow users to transfer their data to the new server. After that, the server will be shut down and db4free.org will point to the new server as well. This way the server will not have to carry the load of thousands of databases and user accounts which have been created over time and are no longer used.

This means that all users have to register a new account. And here are instructions how to migrate your database from the old to the new server:

On Linux, make sure you have the mysql-client package installed. This should give you everything you need. For Windows users I am providing the 2 client programs you need for download: mysql.exe and mysqldump.exe. Download and copy them into your Windows directory (C:\WINDOWS usually).

To create a backup (dump file) of your database from the old server, run:

mysqldump -h db4free.org -u [myuser] -p[mypass] --database [mydatabase] --opt > dump.sql

[myuser] is of course your user name, [mypass] your password (note that there is no space between -p and your password) and [mydatabase] your database name, as used on the old server.

To import this backup into the new server (after you created the account) run:

mysql -h db4free.net -u [myuser] -p[mypass] [mydatabase] < dump.sql

Note that while mysqldump used db4free.org as host name, you need db4free.net for the mysql command. User name, password and database are those from the new server, in case you used different ones when registering for an account on the new server.

If you prefer phpMyAdmin, you can still access the old server at http://www.db4free.org/phpMyAdmin/.

Should be easy enough, I hope. And when it’s all done: enjoy!

Another much needed cleanup

db4free.net had a great time of pretty flawless running recently. No outages, no emergencies, quite relaxing for an administrator. Except for one problem which got increasingly worse and worse: performance.

It was time to drop some users again. Who did I drop? First of all those who haven’t accessed their database for more than about 2 months. But also some who used up excessively much disk space. There is a kind of (unwritten) fair use policy, but db4free.net is a testing service and not a backup service for huge data loads, so this data is gone.

And if I say it’s gone, it means GONE!

I made it unambiguously clear on the registration page that the db4free.net team reserves the right to delete databases and/or accounts at any time without notice, and cleanups are exactly among the things I had in mind when writing this (besides the always possible danger of unintentional data loss).

So complaints will be silently ignored (or deleted, if posted in the forum, which by the way also got updated to the latest version).

However, I hope that most or better even all of you who do use db4free.net in a fair manner will find their database again, and will continue to appreciate the service.

And the reward for your fair use should be better performance due to more available resources thanks to the cleanup. Which by the way certainly wasn’t the last one.

So while you should make sure to have backups of all sensitive data at any time, if you want to minimize the risk of losing your database at db4free.net, access is frequently (a simple connect, regardless through which client, will do), and try to keep your dataload within reasonable limits for a low level budget of a testing service, which db4free.net still is (rather than a hosting service). I can’t point that out often enough.

So happy testing … and remember to explore the new features of MySQL 5.6 which is the (probably soon to be released as GA) latest development version with the latest and greatest features!

Concerned about db4free.net’s future?

Recently there were some server issues at db4free.net which raised some concerns over a possible soon end of db4free.net.

Here are 3 facts that should convince you that there is no reason for concern:

  • db4free.net has doubled (!) its visit numbers in quite a short period of time. And this doesn’t look like a temporary increase, but very likely to continue and maybe even become more. So db4free.net is currently more successful than it has ever been before.
  • db4free.net recently moved to a new server, which is even slightly stronger than the old one, but costs less than half the money.
  • I invested quite some efforts to clean up the web site infrastructure (which was in a very messy state not long ago). Even though this isn’t entirely finished yet, it allows for new perspectives which seemed unrealistic before. Working on the code becomes increasingly fun again, a while ago it was more pain than fun.

So knowing these 3 facts you probably agree that now would be a really stupid time to shut down db4free.net.