For most of the year, TheSixthAxis bumbles along without a hiccup, but when something big happens like yesterday’s Leipzig Conference the number of concurrent visitors spikes massively, causing problems with both the amount of bandwidth we can serve and the number of simultaneous hits on the database. From about 3.50pm yesterday the database was struggling, and although the cache was switched on just after it was probably already too late.
As a result, the site (and, we suspect, the shared box we are running on) collapsed. Phone calls to tech support weren’t of any use and to add insult to injury we only found out late last night that our hosts had reset the DNS router that we use, so that even once the database had recovered only about 5% of the population could actually reach us. A few minutes of geeking around and changing our nameservers seemed to help, but this simply isn’t acceptable.
We’re now thinking of going down the route of a dedicated server for TheSixthAxis. This is an extremely costly exercise – although the site won’t change and we won’t lose any data or your log-ins, the price we’d need to pay per month for the site would rise from about £25 to well over £250, and our adverts there in the top right simply don’t stretch that far.
So, bear with us, and we’ll try and figure something out. The last thing we want to do is plaster the site with ridiculous advertising, but nobody here at TSA makes any money from this and £250 a month is a lot to kick from our beer money each month; I guess we’re looking for sponsorship of some kind, or the ability to ‘sit’ on someone else’s dedicated box, so we’ll be looking for inspiration from anyone that’s been down this road before.
We want to provide the best possible service to you, our readers, and as the site grows in popularity each month so do the costs and we have to make the decision to continue at expense or suffer the crap like we did yesterday. We can only apologise for the downtime at such a critical point, especially after hyping it all day, but we were linked to from a number of sites and simply couldn’t cope with the traffic, coupled with our hosts’ interesting decisions mid-afternoon.
So, “Sorry Team”. But onwards and upwards, right?
Nofi and Michael.