On the New and Improved Web Server

March 23, 2015, 09:36:07 AM by WinterPhoenix96
Well, after staying up all night getting this set up, I would like to introduce to you all our New and Improved Web Server. If everything is working like it should be, and god help me if it's not, you should've only noticed a few changes between yesterday and today. The first is, the website suddenly seems snappier, doesn't it? The second, that I decided to do while I was at it, is that the Donation System has been updated as has our entire Frontend CMS (Joomla) to the latest versions. As far as our Donation System goes, most of it is cosmetic, however you'll notice that the text entry that used to say "First Name" now actually says "Steam Username". This is something that has driven me nuts as people skip the confirmation message without reading it and enter Jewel for their Username and OpTic Jewel OG for their Steam ID. You know who you are, and hopefully this'll help that a bit.

Now, onto why I made this upgrade and what happened under the hood. Firstly, for the past couple of days, as some of you may have noticed, the website has been a bit unstable. It's been going up and down and it's been slow when it does work. This is because on our last VPS, I had a somewhat hacked together version of nginx and PHP 5.5 so I could still use Dreamhost's Panel for some things like making password-protecting directories a breeze. Well, that implementation has proved ridiculously unstable, with me having to manually log into the VPS and restart the web server and/or PHP sometimes because it would randomly crash and not come back up. We lived with it simply because I didn't have the time to do it properly, but the last couple of days got me a bit annoyed, and since I'm still on Spring Break and actually have the time right now, I decided I was going to spend a few hours tonight last night setting up a proper nginx installation with a proper PHP 5.5 installation all running on stock configurations that haven't been messed around with by Dreamhost. Quite frankly Dreamhost just doesn't support nginx very well even though it's a choice in their Panel.

But, as a bonus, I moved the web server to an entirely new VPS as well. One of the new SSD VPSs that run Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. The benefits, as you can tell, are mostly in speed. As a bonus, the flavor of linux that I'm most familiar with, Ubuntu, which also happens to run our RTMP Server VPS and the Garry's Mod Server VPS, has made it even more wonderful.

Migrating took a while and was a bit touchy however, but it should be a ton more stable and fast than our last Website VPS. If you do encounter any bugs, please let me know so I can fix them.

Love You All <3
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Two Years of YukiTheater

January 06, 2015, 09:51:02 PM by WinterPhoenix96
Since I made a post about the history about YukiTheater on the day of our One Year Anniversary last year, I figured I might as well do the same for what's happened since then. The main things that have happened this year were primarily the result of gaining more popularity than I had ever expected to get when I first started this project, with most of them being bad things that turned out to be good in the long run.

This year we had quite a few large updates, including one on Christmas that completely changed the map, and we've steadily grown to be one of the Top 150 Servers on Gametracker for Garry's Mod consistently for more than 3 months straight. The Christmas Update with the new map managed to boost us to our record as #9, which is where we're currently sitting. On New Years we also managed to finally hit 90 Players for longer than 10 minutes, making it our official new population record (I will actually be making a counter that counts how many times we hit 90 for longer than 10 minutes soon as a replacement for the population record statistic soon).

All of this, however, didn't come without resistance from a lot of fronts. Specifically most of it came from a certain other Cinema community, you probably know which one, that's been extremely persistent in trying to take us down since September. They began this by launching large-scale DDoS Attacks against our old Fortatrust Dedicated Server, which had very limited bandwidth (only about 75Mbps up and down) whereas the attacks' traffic was much much larger than that (up to 8x more, from what little info I had on them). This caused us to move over to another host known as OVH, which, as you know, worked only slightly better. OVH had a DDoS Mitigation system that had the ability to adsorb a lot of traffic, and this worked decently well for a short while as it kept the server online.

However after a while they started getting a bit creative with attacks. The end result was a highly specialized attack that in the end resulted in OVH's own DDoS Mitigation system being used against us. They did this two ways. First, they began each attack with a large, short burst of bandwidth, causing OVH's DDoS Mitigation to be activated. The reason why this was a problem is that the DDoS Mitigation system works with TCP connections by sending an RST (Reset) packet when the connection is first established, for it to test the validity of the connection. If it reacts in the way it expects, the client is put onto a sort of Whitelist for a short time. The problem with this is that it results in the client not being able to find YukiTheater in their Server Browser a lot of the time. The second part of the attack was low, in comparison, UDP traffic that had packets with similar sizes to legitimate packets being transferred between the GMod Server and Client. This caused the weaker part of OVH's DDoS Mitigation, UDP filtration, to filter legitimate traffic as well as bad traffic that was targeted at imitating the legitimate, resulting in clients losing connection at random, very laggy performance, etc.

After I figured out what was going on, I did some more looking and we switched over to NFO. NFO, which is primarily a game-server hosting company, doesn't advertise itself as having DDoS Mitigation, however being in the game-server hosting business tends to require some sort of protection system(s) in place. This made it a prime candidate as did its reputation with customer service, which I've actually had to go to a couple of times and they've been extremely helpful in comparison to the two hosts before it. Their mitigation systems have allowed us to finally host the server in peace and I'm quite grateful that we found them, otherwise I'm not sure we would be still be hosting, or even could host, YukiTheater.

Also, I'm just going say this, fighting DDoS Attacks are no joke. They are extremely difficult to defend against, and as a creator of a project, it is extremely draining to watch what you built get destroyed as you aren't able to do anything about it except stand by and watch. Many GMod communities have died this way, and our attackers were hoping that we'd go the same way. We almost did, and had we not found NFO or another host that could sufficiently protect us, we probably would have. I must mention that they also did other things like orchestrating raids on our Steam Profiles, the Forums, and other parts of the web as well as attempting to steal players from our community in a variety of different ways, however those pale in comparison to those godforsaken DDoS Attacks.

Fortunately the rest of the the resistance has been mostly in the form of legitimate competition, which basically just made us work harder and better than we ever have. The new map is a great example of that, because it was multiple months of work on behalf of the Dev Team, which ended with a very good looking result that the community now gets to enjoy everyday they visit. An Ordinary Magician (Mapping), Sophie-bear (Modeling/Texturing), and ATGnekocoaster39 (Texturing) did an excellent job with that, so if you see them please thank them. I personally am looking forward to another year of running this and whatever it throws at us. A year from now I'll probably be in college, but I intend to run YukiTheater and whatever comes after it through college if I can help it, so that's what we're gonna do.

Let's have another awesome year guys. Love you all. <3
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Cereal Box Cinema has set up fake servers using YukiTheater's name

December 18, 2014, 04:15:43 PM by WinterPhoenix96
There are currently 3 servers up with the name, "YukiTheater.org [Anime-Theme]." 2 of those 3 are Fake Redirect Servers have been set up by the Cereal Box Cinema community to redirect you to their own server in an attempt to steal our players. These can be seen in the Server Browser.

To avoid connecting to the wrong server, please connect using http://www.yukitheater.org/connect or the Connect Link in the Steam Group. There's also a guide that Sophie-bear created if you want to use a Link straight from your Desktop: http://www.yukitheater.org/forum/index.php?topic=2794.0

Please be wary.
Love You All <3
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We're sticking with the Weekend Test Run Server Host

September 29, 2014, 08:04:11 PM by WinterPhoenix96
New New IP Address, please update your Favorites: 63.251.20.69:27015
The Connect Link still works as well.


We've also set up a Temporary Sandbox Server for YukiTheater Members to hang out in since we still have OVH's Dedicated Server for the next 18 Days and it's doing nothing but redirecting players using its old IP. The Sandbox, dubbed YukiSandbox, is located here: 192.99.18.210:27016. Please note that Playtime or any other tracking of Player Stats is not active in the Sandbox Server.

The New New Host is NFO Servers, and we have a Virtual Dedicated Server with them. While this is not nearly as powerful as OVH's Dedicated Server, it's also about half the cost. On top of that, I have a much more usable Firewall control panel, and they're focused a great deal more on game servers instead Websites/Databases. That means that whatever systems they have in place on top of the firewall to mitigate Denial-of-Service attacks are tailored much more to the kind of server we're hosting, which was the main reason why OVH's Mitigation system totally failed when it came to attacks targeted toward YukiTheater's GMod Server, and even made it more difficult for players to see the server in the Server Browser or even connect.

Anyway, if you have any questions, reply to this Thread.

Love You All <3
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After almost a week of Downtime, we're back!

September 20, 2014, 01:53:26 AM by WinterPhoenix96
To start, We have a New Server Host and a New IP Address, so please update your Favorites: 63.251.20.69:27015
You can also still connect with the old Connect Link we've been using for forever.


Also, Thank You so much to everybody who donated to make this switch possible! <3

Now, since we have a new host that's actually decently reliable and can realistically handle DDoS Attacks, it costs us 5x more than the old host. So please consider donating. We'll also be Adding another Donation Tier soon that will cost more, but in exchange it will also have more perks. People who've donated before and have donated over the cost of the New Tier will get it automatically.

We're also Rewriting the Rules for clarification as well as lightening up on some of them to allow more content in the Server. That will be effective starting Next Update.

The Next Update should be out in a day or two. I'm basically sinking all of tonight into coding most of it.

And to top this all off, we're having a 3x Credits Boost all weekend long to make up for the Downtime, so come join us!

Love You All <3
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YukiTheater Server Status