Hello Everyone, I am excited to get the discussion board back online. I want to apologize for the length of time that it was down. I'll provide some details below if you are interested to learn more about the how and why. If not, then feel free to jump back in where you left off.
Obviously there was a bandwidth limit that was succeeded. I was able to eventually track down one major cause - a spam bot running out of India. Over 18% of our monthly bandwidth has been coming from 22.214.171.124. I've banded all request coming from that IP and now understand it is something to keep an eye out for.
Unfortunately, the fun doesn't stop there. I was also able to determine/calculate that over 17% of the monthly bandwidth is consumed by search engine spiders - mainly yahoo, google, and microsoft. That is good for search engine positioning, but bad for bandwidth limits. I will research how to manage that better.
There is more, the hosting account created with the birth of this forum had one e-mail address assigned to it - by default. After several (I mean several) timeout request received when accessing the email server from a web or desktop mail client, I had to contact support. Turns out, there was 140,000+ e-mail messages in the in-box - that is not a typo. These are ALL spam and were collected through the default e-mail account being set as a catch all. I immediately modified that and then had support delete all the mail messages at the server level.
What is more interesting to learn, the 140,000 e-mail messages had also hogged all 800 mb of hard drive space. So, with all the messages gone, we now have plenty of hard drive space. For a minute, I was concerned we would have to turn off the file upload capabilities or cut the limits down even more.
To top it off, I learned the hosting package being used is not he one that fits the w3schools forum intent - so I made an adjustment to the hosting plan that not only results in more bandwidth and more disk space, but it also costs less. Now that I have all the tools I need and I understand the hosting and application environment a little more, I am confident these issues can be avoided in the future.If there are any questions, please feel free to contact me via PM.