And we’re back.
As most of you know (and many of you e-mailed me to inquire about), the site was in various states of disrepair from early Wednesday afternoon until about 1 a.m. Thursday night — roughly a 36-hour outage. It would be fair to say that webmaster Johnny Ek, the tech-support reps at our web-hosting company, and I have all gotten muuuuuuch better acquainted with each other during that period.
You probably have lots of questions. Allow me to anticipate some of them:
What happened to the site?
We had a serious server problem.
That sounds so nebulous. Can you be more specific?
I wish. First of all, our web-hosting company kept changing their story regarding the source of the problem (although the running theme was that it was somehow our fault, when in fact it turned out to be their fault). Moreover, I’m not particularly tech-y, so most of those explanations just sound like gibberish to me anyway. The final explanation after they got us up and running again was that “the DNS ‘named’ service and the Apache ‘httpd’ service [had not been] running.” I don’t know what that means and, frankly, I don’t care. I’m just glad we’re back in business. (John, after reading this FAQ, just e-mailed to tell me, “What it means is that for 36 hours they were telling us we installed a lightbulb with no filament, when it turns out they were standing next to the switch, which was turned off.”)
This is the third time in the past seven months that a server problem has shut down the site. Isn’t that a lot?
Yes. Very frustrating. Embarrassing, too.
I go to all sorts of web sites and they always work. How come this keeps happening to Uni Watch?
Most web sites fall into one of two categories: Big corporate/commercial sites, which run on huge servers with lots of dedicated tech support, or little personal sites, which don’t get much traffic and therefore don’t put any strain on the server. (Most small blogs sort of straddle these two worlds, because they run on big commercial networks like Blogspot.) Uni Watch falls in between — with our 10,000-plus hits a day, we get much more traffic than the average personal blog, but much less traffic than, say, ESPN.com. And, obviously, we don’t have a big I.T. staff. When the site launched last year, we began with a fairly small web-hosting account. But as the site’s readership has grown, we’ve kept outgrowing our capacity. In other words, yes, it’s your fault. Kind of.
Over 400 of us have spent good money on memberships. Shouldn’t you use some of that cash to upgrade your server, or switch to a better web-hosting company, or whatever?
Yes, and I set that into motion yesterday. We’re now in the process of moving the site to a different web-hosting company, where we’ll have a higher-level account (dedicated server, more disc space, more bandwidth, more access to customer support). It’ll cost more, but it’ll be worth it. My repeated thanks to the membership orders that have made this possible.
Shouldn’t you have made this move sooner?
Probably. Sorry about that. Live and learn.
Will the switch to a new company affect the site in any way?
I’m told that everything should look and function the way it did before. I’m also told that there may be a period of several hours when the site goes dark as our domain name gets redirected to our new IP address (something to do with the federal agency that controls all that shit, but I’m not going to pretend to understand that). If possible, we’ll try to make that blackout period happen during the weekend and/or late at night.
This company you’ve been using until now — the one with all the server problems and the lousy tech support — sounds awful. Would you care to name them, so I know never to use them myself?
Why yes, I’d be happy to: I strongly urge everyone to avoid GoDaddy.com. If you’re already using them for any web-related activities, I suggest considering alternatives.
Don’t you wish you could just blame the whole thing on Nike?
Don’t think I haven’t tried.