A note to TV News Insider readers

As you may be aware, our sister site TV News Insider has been noticeably quiet this week. This wasn’t by choice.

For most of the week, the hosting company that serves TV News Insider has been having major technical issues and we wanted to take a few minutes to explain what’s going on and what we’re doing about it.

Some of you are probably wonder why we are posting this news here since it affects TV News Insider and not NewscastStudio. Well, because we can’t actually post it to TV News Insider because of said downtime. Kind of ironic, really.

Before that, however, we’d like to apologize for the downtime and would like to thank those of you who wrote in saying you missed our headlines.

Now, for the explanation.

Since its inception, TV News Insider has been hosted with DreamHost. DreamHost offers a lot of appealing features such as unlimited disk space and bandwidth, one-click installs of open source software and low prices.

Sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday, DreamHost suffered a major server failure that pulled TV News Insider offline. Incidentally, the downtime also affected TV News Insider’s URL shortener, tvnews.co, as well as NewscastStudio’s, nca.st (service has since been restored on both).

Although TV News Insider is primarily distributed via Twitter, we rely on a custom-built content management system to post headlines, display them and generate links that allow readers to click through. If that system isn’t working, we can’t post headlines.

Now, occasional and brief downtime isn’t a huge deal, but we’ve now stretched into three days of the site being either completely offline or mostly non-functioning.

What makes this situation worse is that DreamHost has been almost completely silent about the downtime. Occasionally vague messages are posted to the control panel, but they contain hardly any useful information and are rarely updated (as of this writing, the same message has been at the top of the page for over 21 hours).

We’ve tried emailing tech support. Nothing but a form response. We’ve tried tweeting. Silence. The company’s “status” blog hasn’t been updated to reflect this outage, nor has its separate status Twitter account.

So, what are we doing about this?

Dumping DreamHost, that’s what.

We’re currently in the process of migrating over TV News Insider to a new server with HostGator. HostGator actually hosts NewscastStudio (and has for several years), and we’ve been immensely pleased with its service. HostGator’s CEO has even made himself personally available to us when we did have problems.

Part of the reason behind the delay has been that for the first day or so of the outage, we were convinced the problem would be fixed quickly, so we held off on making alternate plans. Well, obviously that downtime stretched into multiple days without any solution.

Another reason for the delay is that we discovered TV News Insider’s content management system was specifically built around DreamHost’s server architecture. So, even though we had backup copies of everything, it wasn’t as simple as just re-uploading the files to the new server.

In hindsight, we really should have dumped DreamHost a long time ago.

Here’s hoping to better days ahead!

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