april contingency

April 7, 2018

04/07 report

A pet project of mine, the Discord bot haru, went down today and has been discontinued. This site, originally self-hosted on Aero with its own source, has been switched over to Hugo. A couple of my old domains linking to privately hosted services like Weblate, Streama and Rainmail have also disappeared in a similar fashion.

This is a recount of the events that transpired.

The story

Prior to 2018, all my services were hosted on WSI, on a $40/month server. I hosted everything on that box, including several private services and haru, which stores its data in RethinkDB and Redis.

For a while, haru was being actively developed by me, and a friend on Discord (Wash). We pushed new features semi-frequently, and released features such as the slots gambling system, Companions as pets, and also maintained the music streaming feature.

As the bot grew to 20,000 servers, it quickly became resource-intensive, which necessitated the move to WSI from our previous provider Time4VPS. As a student, the bill may have been rather expensive, but my supporters from my Patreon page helped fund the server. In return, I offered to create any new features suggested by my supporters. Projects in store included themed updates to Companions, new gambling games, and even the ambitious Waifu Trading Card Game.

However, bot development slowed around mid-2017 while I shifted my focus to studies. Wash continued development and released some updates occasionally. Not willing to continue using my supporters’ funds without actively maintaining the bot, I eventually froze Patreon donations.

By February/March, I had begun to run dry on funds.

A user of the bot, Filip, who had previously been a patron, offered to host the bot on a $100/month server, a large beefy Nocix server that could handle not just the storage space required to cache the music files and store user data for haru, but also had enough bandwidth to ensure the music streaming experience was smooth.

I took up on the offer, and quickly began to migrate all services over. Within a day or two, the entire setup was seamlessly recreated on the new box. We enjoyed a pretty smooth-sailing time for a few weeks.

One day, Filip contacted me to tell me that he, too, was running out of funds to support the funding of the box. He assured me that he would get his paycheck in time to pay the billing. Being rather busy at the time, I took his word for it and chose not to make any backups for the server.

By the time the server went down and I had logged into the dashboard, it had been wiped and cancelled.

There was little I could do to salvage the lost data. I contacted Nocix support, and their response was swift but offered no solace - the data could not be recovered.

The cleanup

I had intended to migrate my site over to GitLab pages on owo.codes, hosted by the amazing Dean over at owo, but I had some trouble getting Aero to work with GitLab, and eventually settled on using the new, simpler static site generator you see now.

Wash and I discussed, along with my other assistants, and we eventually decided that this would be a good time to retire the bot from its 3 year long service. As I had little remaining budget, I also decided to hold off getting a new box and focus on my upcoming exams.

The future

Hopefully, this doesn’t mark the end of my programming / bot development journey. It has definitely been an enjoyable 3 years, and I’ve learnt a lot from everyone.

I may have already mentioned this, but I would like to once again express my thanks for my Patreon supporters, assistants, as well as the users of haru, for being behind me and my work.

My intention is to solely devote my time and brain power to my upcoming GCSE ‘A’ levels taking place at the end of this year. Perhaps even write a blog post or two along the way.

Thank you for your support.

– pyraxo

tl;dr: The server I had all my services on was taken down, and I was under the false impression that the server data would be stored for a period before we could make payment.