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February 8, 2008 – by Per Christensson

On Tuesday, February 5, Sharpened.net suffered its worst downtime in over 8 years. If you tried to access the website between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, you probably got an error message saying the server could not be found. As a webmaster, that is the last thing I ever want to see on my websites.

Most websites go down occasionally for a few minutes every couple weeks. It is often because the server needs to be rebooted or a process hangs on the server and needs to be restarted. However, after Sharpened.net and my other sites were down for over 20 hours, I had no choice but to change Web hosts. I switched to a new host that only provides dedicated hosting (where I get my own server with only my websites hosted on it). It was a good thing I did too, since my old Web host was still down 24 hours after I switched.

When I made the switch on Wednesday, I quickly realized that transferring multiple websites to a new server is no walk in the park. Recreating the domains and the user accounts wasn't too difficult. But then I had to upload each website via FTP and make sure every file was transferred. That alone took a couple hours. Though it sure was a good thing I had each website backed up on my local drive! I also had to change the nameserver information for the sites to make sure the domains pointed to the IP addresses on the new server. Then I had to transfer a backup of my database, which is where most of the information on Sharpened.net is stored.

Fortunately, that went pretty smoothly, especially considering it was my first time doing it. I also had to tweak some PHP settings on the server to get the dynamic pages to show up correctly. Finally, I had to recreate all my old e-mail accounts on the new server, which meant adding new user and password information for each domain. That was not a quick process.

But now, after lots of labor and little sleep, it looks like the DNS changes have fully propagated and my websites are back online. Wednesday was one of the longest days of my life, but I feel as if I doubled the amount of information I know about how the Internet works. OK, maybe not doubled, but I sure learned a lot in a short period of time. I appreciate your patience throughout the downtime and am glad to be back online. If you notice anything on Sharpened.net that looks incorrect or is not working properly, please don't hesitate to let me know! As always, thanks for visiting.

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