I think I'm going to buy and trial a new web host. I routinely get "email returned to sender" issues because HostGator's shared hosting servers are blocked by many services. This causes new registration emails to go to people's spam folder, and also causes other issues like if you subscribe to a thread on the forum, the notification email also gets sent to spam or even returned to me because other mail services consider it spam.
It's really annoying, plus the inability to test the Let's Encrypt certificates.
So I'll have to pick a new host, purchase one month, run a copy of the site see how it performs. And if I'm happy with it, there is the procedure of moving the site to a new host. I have an idea of how to proceed with less than a day of down time so it should be good.
The most time consuming is that at some point I'll have to take the live site down, download the live database, and upload the live database to the new host. This last part is why the site would probably go down for sveral hours because my upload isn't great, and i need to upload a ~800 MB backup to the new host. I don't see another way to do it because users on the current site would keep updating the database, so this is the safest way to do it without losing any data.
I prefer to be honest with you all. I am moving to pastures new. I need to learn new things. I plan on learning iOS / mobile app development over the summer.
After the server move, and HTTPS encryption I will no longer make any signifcant updates myself. I would love to see contributions on the open source project and I will continue to support it and I sincerely hope to see people helping out, but I'll be frank with you: the chances of that happening are pretty slim. This site is pretty antique as far as the web goes.. I mean think about it .. it started in 2006. More than ten years ago! It's difficult enough to find contributors, but more so with an old codebase.
I put a ton of work making the website responsive, and mobile friendly this last December - January period. I'm very happy I did so because it gives a new lease of life to the site.
The site isn't going anywhere. It has an active audience, and whatever little income I make from it certainly helps.
I could have sold this site. I'd much rather see people come forward with code contributions and in the mid / long term, hand over the keys to a trusted member of the community who has the skills to update the site and maintain the project.
So me making the website open source is my thank you for the support I've received over the years.
What's important for me here is to formally announce that I take a backseat so to speak. I'm going to study pretty seriously over the summer if I want to work in the iOS / mobile app development in 5-6 months time.
Part of the reason I'm going in that direction is that my first passion was game development. So it also opens the doors for me potentially going back into making games, if anything, just build a game as a side project.
So the super summary:
All the best