Recently in General Category

Migrating from http to https

By Red5 on Aug 28, 2016 | | 0 Comments

Over the last few months we have been working very hard behind the scenes to provide a major security upgrade to

Since launched in February 2002 users have been accessing the site using something called the HTTP protocol. You will perhaps recognise this as the first part of many internet addresses, such as in Without wanting to get too deep into what this is, suffice to say that the HTTP protocol is an old and fairly insecure technology. Many many sites are using this as a way for users to access them, but increasingly sites are converting to the safer HTTPS protocol.

On 14th August 2016 we successfully performed the switch to HTTPS and have been closely monitoring it every since.

Fundraising for Cancer Research

By Red5 on Jul 9, 2012 | | 0 Comments

Now then, I have no idea who might be reading this note but I'm asking you to take a pause and please consider this...  I'm donating my birthday to Cancer Research... in other words I'm fundraising to help save lives by discovering new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

Privacy Policy Update

By Red5 on May 26, 2012 | | 0 Comments

In order to comply with a new European law relating to the use of personal information, we have updated our privacy policy. This now includes a thorough analysis of our use of your personal information and our use of tracking technologies like cookies. Don't Panic!  We don't do anything nasty with your information, and this new version of our policy should help you see that nothing bad is happening to your data when you use our site.

You can see the current privacy policy, effective from 26th May 2012, at

Continue reading Privacy Policy Update.

Planned downtime

By Red5 on Jun 28, 2011 | | 0 Comments

On Friday 1st July 2011 from 19:30 - 23:00 BST we will be performing some system maintenance and as a result we expect that there may be periods during which the site will be unavailable.  We hope to have the maintenance completed quickly but if you find that the site is not responding, or is otherwise misbehaving, please try again outside of this time period.  We will keep you posted if any of the details change, and you can get up-to-the-minute updates by following us on our Twitter feed here:

Please accept our apologies in advance for any inconvenience caused.


The Team

Speeding the Site Up?

By Red5 on Jan 22, 2010 | | 0 Comments

Whilst this blog has remained quite for long periods of time, it doesn't mean that work and new developments on the site have stopped.  Far from it.  The server and the site are continually monitored, optimised and improved.  The main reason for the quietness is that, on the whole there's not a lot to show for this work on the site's interface.

Here's a case in point:

Last night at around 22:30 in the evening I implemented a little trick to help speed up access to the site. I configured the site to utilise caching in a more optimised and efficient way.  It seems to have worked, for me at least.

Continue reading Speeding the Site Up?.

Site Redesign

By Red5 on Jul 28, 2009 | | 0 Comments

After months of experimenting with new designs and creating different versions of we've finally settled on a new look for our site and we hope you like it!

Continue reading Site Redesign. Adopts reCAPTCHA

By Red5 on Oct 18, 2007 | | 1 Comments helps the fight against spam by using Captchas on many of the forms we have on-site. As of today, we've started used a superb new service that not only fights spam, but helps digitise old books at the same time.

Upgrade Complete

By Red5 on Nov 29, 2006 | | 0 Comments

The recent upgrade to our servers is complete, and it was completed (technically) without a hitch. However, there were some problems with some people who were using our forum at the time losing posts. Thankfully this was a temporary problem and the forum is running well again now.

Continue reading Upgrade Complete.

Server Upgrade, Downtime Predicted

By Red5 on Nov 26, 2006 | | 1 Comments

If all goes to plan, we will be upgrading our server to a new and more powerful machine this evening. Our hosts have agreed to perform the upgrade and 03:00 tonight (I'm guessing that is GMT). We do not expect the site to go offline for very long, however we wanted to warn you in case you find that is unavailable. If you do find that the site is unavailable at times tonight, please bear with us.

Now you see us, now you don't

By Red5 on May 13, 2006 | | 0 Comments

Anyone who has been a regular user of over the last few months will be aware that we've had more than our fair share of server downtime recently. To address the needs of our ever-increasing user base, we have been working hard to upgrade our site to fit the demands placed on it. I am happy to be able to say that we've made significant improvements that seem to finally be paying off!

Site Downtime - 9th March

By Red5 on Mar 10, 2006 | | 0 Comments

During the day yesterday, Thursday 9th March, suffered from a huge traffic load which resulted in our entire server crashing. As a result, the site was unavailable from about 13:00 GMT to about 23:00 GMT.

Continue reading Site Downtime - 9th March.

Server Upgrade

By Red5 on Feb 28, 2006 | | 0 Comments

Due to the fact that seems to keep growing and growing, it has been necessary to upgrade our site's hosting package. This has meant that I've been busy this month ensuring that the upgrade went without a hitch.

Continue reading Server Upgrade.

New Site Newsletter

By Red5 on Nov 2, 2005 | | 0 Comments

We have just completed our new email newsletter for The newsletter is in HTML format, and the first issue has just been sent out to our members.

Server Upgrade Complete

By Red5 on Oct 9, 2005 | | 1 Comments

Well, now there's a surprise: our web-host has completed the upgrade to our server! What's more, the site is running better than it has done for years!

Continue reading Server Upgrade Complete.

Server Upgrade

By Red5 on Oct 5, 2005 | | 0 Comments

Recently, we have noticed that the site is starting to struggle a bit with the amount of traffic it is starting to get. There are times, currently, when the site slows down and does not react in a timely manner. We are therefore investing in a series of upgrades to the server.

Continue reading Server Upgrade.

Comments in Blogs are Back!

By Red5 on Mar 7, 2005 | | 1 Comments

We've just enabled comments again in each of our blog areas (ESL Weblog, TDOL's Archive, Site Diary).

Continue reading Comments in Blogs are Back!.

Site Outage

By Red5 on Mar 1, 2005 | | 0 Comments

For a period of time this morning (GMT), was unavailable. This was due to network issues with our web hosts and their providers. We have been assured that the problem has been fixed and that normal service has resumed.

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Virus Warning

By Tdol on Jan 3, 2005 | | 0 Comments

An email containing a virus with spoof details about where it is coming from contains a virus and is pretending to come from the UsingEnglish support team. It encourages you to open the attachment to protect your computer; do not open it. It contains a virus and it does not come from us.

Email details:
Title: Returned mail: Data format error

If you get any email with this title claining to come from us, please delete it without opening.

Continue reading Virus Warning.

Members and Forum Membership

By Red5 on Sep 25, 2004 | | 3 Comments

It has become obvious that the current membership systems are causing confusion amongst a small proportion of our visitors.

Printable Version

By Tdol on Aug 28, 2004 | | 1 Comments

The Printable Version button on the top right-hand of most pages on the site has stopped working temporarily. Our ISP has recently upgraded the PHP they use and this has affected a couple of areas of our site. At the moment the button brings up an error message, but we will be fixing it shortly. Also, in Handouts and Quizzes, the page doesn't always show all of the handouts available. To remedy this for the moment, simply refresh the page.

Continue reading Printable Version.

New Forum Staff Member

By Red5 on Jun 17, 2004 | | 0 Comments

We are delighted to announce that Shane has agreed to join our team of staff members. He will assist the team in moderating the forum and keeping the forum clean and professional.

Continue reading New Forum Staff Member.

Safety on the Internet

By Red5 on May 14, 2004 | | 0 Comments

Internet safety is a serious issue and here we outline major security issues to bear in mind when online.

Continue reading Safety on the Internet.

Unacceptable Links

By Tdol on Apr 7, 2004 | | 4 Comments

We have recently had a number of posters in our weblogs who have been leaving the message 'Nice site' and leaving a URL to an unacceptable site, pornography mostly.

Continue reading Unacceptable Links.

Site Upgrade Complete

By Red5 on Feb 25, 2004 | | 0 Comments

As I described in a previous message, have recently been upgrading their servers. The process is now complete and seems to have gone to plan.

Continue reading Site Upgrade Complete.

Advance Warning : Site Upgrade

By Red5 on Dec 19, 2003 | | 0 Comments

During the course of the next few weeks we will be upgrading our site's hosting account to better cater for the large amount of visitor traffic we now enjoy. This will mean a better user experience for everyone, and will give us the space and server power to expand and provide even more useful content. Smashes All Records!

By Red5 on Dec 1, 2003 | | 2 Comments

During the month of November, 2003, enjoyed a record-breaking month with statistics being smashed in almost every area!

Site Statistics

By Red5 on Dec 1, 2003 | | 0 Comments

A public record of selected statistics about

Continue reading Site Statistics. Presented in Conference

By Red5 on Nov 19, 2003 | | 1 Comments

I've just discovered that has recently been mentioned in a conference, the "Assembly for the Teaching of English Grammar Annual Conference", July 25-26, 2003, in their "English Language Resources on the Internet: Sites for Sore Eyes" section.

Review of Discovered!

By Red5 on Oct 15, 2003 | | 1 Comments

One day whilst searching Google I stumbled across a site called The Language Key, a monthly self-study business English magazine and language training centre in Hong Kong.

UsingEnglish Explodes!

By Red5 on Oct 7, 2003 | | 1 Comments

My role at UsingEnglish is mostly to do with the technical aspects of the site, including site design, maintenance, development and marketing. We started on February 18th 2002 and since then we have grown bigger and faster than we ever hoped to dream.

Continue reading UsingEnglish Explodes!.