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Major Eclipse of The Sun!

In the midst of hysteria over swine flu, The Sun's website crashed on Sunday and has pretty much been down since. Yesterday the homepage was displaying an explanatory note from the Web editor, and today visitors are greeted with a Ruby on Rails interface. Egads! I can't remember a longer period of server downtime in The Sun's Web history.


For those just catching up, a Cornell student died after complications from swine flu last Friday, leading to a national media blitz. Drudge linked to a story, but it apparently wasn't on The Sun's server; conceivably other sites and search engines sent a surge of people to the homepage and sent it crashing. If you're on the Sun Web staff and have details, please let us know.

Late Update by MPN: The Sun's web editor explains all:

By this time, we felt that we could no longer wait for our primary host to fix the situation, and we made the decision to begin hosting our Web site from a secondary server, maintained by a different company, which we ordinarily use for other purposes. We once again set out to rebuild the site from backups, and we also began to configure the server to begin hosting cornellsun.com. We worked through Tuesday to do this, and on Wednesday we began publishing the content that had been published in print on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Finally, on Wednesday night, we flipped the switch and went back online.

Despite some circumstances that were out of our control, certain steps could have been taken earlier on our part to prepare us for such emergencies. We're working to establish a better backup system for our Web site so that our response time and downtime can be greatly reduced. We're also now working with a hosting provider that uses much newer, more reliable server technologies.

Andy Guess | Posted on September 17, 2009 (#)

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