Back in January my guild was surprised by the sudden and unexpected news that someone needed to take over our guild forums because the current website administrator had just left the guild. I already had a Go Daddy account and there were only 2 or 3 of us around who even knew anything about running a website, so I picked up the ball and decided to run with it. The old admin didn’t just dump and run, he patiently maintained everything during the transition process, helped transfer the database over to my account and walked me through downloading and uploading the database. And it’s been mine ever since. Two of my guildies are Admins along with me, so I’m not trying to pretend I am “the man”. One of these is our GM because he obviously needs to be aware of and involved in everything related to the guild, but he is not an IT nerd like some of us, so he mostly just helps out by activating new user accounts and moderating the forums. The other one is an old, trusted friend who is extremely technical and 10x smarter than me about all things related to computers, networks, databases, etc. He’s there as my backup and emergency contact in case I really screw something up or can’t figure something out. But mostly, the day to day duties related to maintaining the site is my responsibility.
I love responsibility because I love to feel like I’m being useful and contributing. But, oh man, I’m really starting to lose my mind thanks to the dreaded spam bots. I knew these things existed and could wreak havoc on a website, so I had already required new users to enter a captcha and wait for their account to be approved before they could post. Yes, I know for a busy website that can discourage traffic from real people, but we are not a busy website and our new users should coincide with new guildies so it wasn’t a big deal. And it worked fine for the first 4 or 5 months, just as it should have. But then approx 2 months ago … shit went down. I repeat, shit went down. I started receiving tons of emails for new accounts being created and awaiting activation. TONS. I did some quick research on what would cause this and learned that the version of phpbb used on my site had finally been breached because spam bots had cracked the captcha. It’s version 3.0.8 btw, and yes, version 3.0.9 is available as an upgrade and from what I am reading the spam bots haven’t broken it yet. Unfortunately, Go Daddy does not yet support 3.0.9 so I can’t upgrade. Where does that leave me? It leaves me receiving an average of 50 emails a day related to new user registration. On my pc, on my smartphone. In my fucking sleep! They’re haunting me.
Obviously the other two administrators are getting these emails to, we’re all connected to the websites custom email alias. The difference is, even though I’m sure they are annoyed by them as I am, they can simply filter them out to a folder and ignore them or delete them. I have to look at every one of them. 50 times a day. I have to look at them for two reasons: we are actively recruiting and are gaining new members so some of these registrations are legit and need to be activated and because I just can’t stand letting that many usernames build up on the database. I know they’re technically not hurting anything because they’re never being activated, but they just don’t need to be there. So I go through every email (not as soon as they come in, usually at the end of each day I do them all at once) and look at the user and delete the ones that are not legit. As a way of weeding them out, I require all new registrants to enter their race, class and the name of their main character. It’s pretty easy to tell the spam bots because their race, class and character always look similar to ZZQEKF2934J. So I delete those users and just to make myself feel better, I ban that IP address. I know it’s highly unlikely that does any good, but it makes me feel like I’m trying to prevent duplicate hits.
So the purpose of this post is just to vent a little bit, confess that getting 50 emails a day for 8 weeks will actually drive you bat shit insane and beg and plead for someone out there to offer me a solution. The obvious solution is to get a real hosting service and quit using Go Daddy, but I just don’t wanna go through the process. Everything is there and I’m setup on auto payments, so the lazy side of me doesn’t want to go through all of the trouble of moving. Is there anything else that can be done?
Sidenote: During the time it took me to write this post, I received 3 emails regarding new user registrations. Yay!