Feb 09 2010
Many readers noticed that we were down for a few days. What happened was that I was given a very kind mention in an article in the LA Times (along with some of my fellow skeptical bloggers). This had the very nice effect of sending a pulse of traffic to my blog.
However, this traffic exceeded the limits of my host, HostPapa, for simultaneous users. HostPapa responded by (without warning) permanently suspending my account, and putting up a friendly notice for all to see, making it seem like I haven’t been paying my bills. Now that’s customer service.
I noticed right away and contacted HostPapa, but this was over the weekend and they were less than responsive. Eventually they simply refused to turn my account back on, even temporarily, and simply said that I was permanently banished. That was their way of punishing me for increasing my blog traffic. It certainly seems as if they did their best to turn what is ordinarily a boon to a blog into a disaster – thanks HostPapa.
Needless to say I immediately moved to another host, but it took a day to get that up an running. Thanks to Mike Lacelle, my webmaster, for getting the site back up on the new host so quickly.
In the end this is all a symptom of a good problem – we are outgrowing individual-level hosting. Right now the New England Skeptical Society (NESS) produces two podcasts (the SGU and the SGU 5×5 – which require their own media hosting) and three blogs (NeuroLogica, Science-Based Medicine, and Rogues Gallery). We also maintain four separate websites (the SGU, the NESS, SBM and the SGU forums). We collaborate on other projects as well – SkepticBlog and the NorthEast Conference on Science and Skepticism.
The internet, new media, and social media outlets have transformed the skeptical movement – vastly increasing our outreach and impact. Again – this is all a good problem to have. We have scaled up our hosting and bandwidth accordingly, and in retrospect we should have been more proactive with this one. But now we have better service and some room to breath.
However, I also have the sense that we are at the brink of taking our web presence to the next level. Perhaps this incident will lead to some creative solutions.
I any case – sorry for being dark for three days, and thanks for checking back.
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