Monday, March 05, 2007

Sorry "Bout That 

You might have noticed I didn't update the web site, online-pr.com, last Friday. There is a story behind that, which you should know. It is an example of the somewhat bizarre nature of the internet.

What happened is that on Friday morning, I began to get an error message that stated the system no longer saw nor could access the server on which my web site is stored. I figured the hosting company was doing maintenance, so I didn't think much about it until Saturday when I got the same error notice, then yesterday as well.

Something had happened. I called maintenance and reached a fellow with a thick accent who looked over the system and promptly told me I couldn't access my site in the way I was doing it. "That can't be," I said. "I've been accessing the site for seven years using the same ID." He told me it couldn't be right. I asked how. He had no answer. He gave me a new ID. It worked and I got in. He insisted the ID he gave me was the right one all the way along.

So here I was updating my web site in "error" for seven years. Of course, I don't believe that. Someone at the host company flipped a switch, did an update, restored code or something that caused the system to change. That person left no record of what he or she did and might not have known that he or she did it. Suddenly, the system changed.

The new ID might work for days, months or years and then, change again. I don't know, but it is a lack of control that keeps webmasters on edge. Of course, no one tells you this when you start a web site. Online-PR.com is in its 10th year and it hasn't been offline too often in that time period. Usually when it went down, it was for a mysterious reason, much like what happened to it on Friday.

I wish I could say that I know why these things happen but I don't, and apparently, no one else does either.


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