The Photium blog

Maintenance completed

The emergency maintenance has now been completed on schedule and downtime was approximately 5 minutes at 05:13 Wednesday 4th November 2015.

All websites are fully functional and there should be no residual issues from this network maintenance. Websites can be updated as normal again.

Maintenance downtime 4th Nov 2015

We have been notified of essential emergency maintenance by our data centre (to reload a core router).

It will take place between 05:00 and 11:00 GMT (00:00 and 06:00 EST) on Wednesday 4th November 2015.

As a result of the maintenance there is expected to be downtime of approximately 15 minutes. During the hours mentioned above, please avoid updating your website to avoid losing any unsaved work when the downtime occurs.

We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused by this extremely rare interruption to service and if you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch.

PayPal IPN email - no changes needed

Around the 10th September 2015, PayPal have been sending out emails to customers regarding some updates they are making to their servers that may require you or your developers (Photium) to take some action.

It is okay to ignore these emails as all necessary changes have been made for you and your website won't be affected.

Improved backup, deletion and downloads

We host many millions of photos and backing them up takes time and has always been system intensive. Occasionally these backups (which we do multiple times a day and to multiple locations) were causing slower than desired performance. We've recently completely rewritten how the backup systems operate and there is now no impact on other services.

We're also making some major changes to how we host files that will further improve performance and the first stage of this change has meant deletions of portfolios and photos are now more or less instant. Whereas before a portfolio with thousands of photos may have taken minutes to delete, it will now just take a few seconds.

We are now also able to undo accidental deletions (via a support request), if we are notified within 14 days of the deletion occurring.

Another related change made recently is that if you've uploaded the original high resolution files to a portfolio and need to download them, e.g. your local hard drive failed, you can now download them as a single zip, rather than having to download each individually. This option is available via the admin page for editing portfolios.

New email options

Previously, your Photium account would only have one email address associated with it (where notifications of new orders, gallery comments, renewal reminders, support replies etc. would go).

You can now enter multiple email addresses and also specify different email addresses that should be contacted by us for renewal reminders and support replies. This will be useful if you share the administration of your website or if someone else is responsible for managing the renewal of your website for you.

Even if no-one else is managing your website for you, we recommend adding more than one email addresses for the renewal reminders etc., in case we have problems reaching you on your main email address and to ensure your website doesn't expire by mistake.

The new options are available via the Account options admin page.

New file servers

This morning around 6am we brought two new file servers online. The transition between servers went to plan and minimal downtime of only a few seconds occurred. We have also optimised various elements of the new servers, which together with the improved hardware will mean websites load even faster.

Although there shouldn’t be any issues as a result of the server changes, if you do spot anything, please let us know.

Photo download changes

It is now possible to track how many free photo downloads have been made by visitors to your photos, if you have enabled this feature (Standard and Advanced packages only). You can view a total downloads summary on the Downloads tab when editing a portfolio, or you can view individual photo download figures via the main Statistics admin page.

If you are using the download sales features (Also Standard and Advanced packages only), it is now possible to set the maximum number of times a photo can be downloaded once purchased and also how long the emailed download links will last for. These two settings can be changed via the Downloads tab of the Photo sales admin page.

Custom maintenance message

The feature for closing your website for maintenance has been updated. Rather than being stuck with the previous default message, you can now set your own notice to visitors, explaining why the website is temporarily unavailable.

This can be set up in the same Account options admin section where you enable the maintenance mode.

Server performance upgrades

We have completed the first phase of some performance and stability upgrades to our primary servers. This was completed without downtime but did temporarily affect the recording of page views in the Statistics admin section. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.

A second phase of performance upgrades will be completed soon and these changes will not affect page view data.

Enhancements to Promotions & Postage

Promotions you apply to a portfolio that contains sub-portfolios will now filter down and apply to the sub-portfolios too. This fixes the old problem that customers couldn't benefit from a promotion if ordering from two separate but related portfolios.

Additionally, when creating a promotion you can select for it to only work for Gallery photo orders or only for Shop item orders, useful if you are using both sections for sales but only want a promotion to apply to one.

Lastly, a new option has been added to the Postage settings admin section, allowing you to specify whether postage charges should be applied once per print or for every print of a photo purchased.
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