Our project www.confluence.org is inaccessible

We get the following:

503 Service Unavailable

No server is available to handle this request.

Note: This does not appear to be a database problem this time, because the error occurs even when trying to access a simple HTML page that contains no PHP.

Earth to iBiblio? What’s going on??

The site is up once again. Thank you. Now please explain why it was down for so long.

And now it’s down again. This time, the web site is accessible, but it can’t connect to the database.

Please explain yourself!

And now the entire web server is down once again.

Hi Ross. It looks like the backend that is specific to your site had a problem two days ago. This was not a widespread ibiblio outage. It was unique to your site. We will gather more information to help you prevent future such outages.

Thanks for the update. In the future, please try to be more responsive about outages like this.

I’m going to copy and paste what I sent in the private ticket that you also opened, because it should also be public:

It seems that perhaps you had a certain expectation of response time for issues with your site that don’t match ibiblio’s practices, so forgive me if I repeat things that you already know, but I want to make sure we share the same understanding of how ibiblio operates. Unlike commercial hosting providers, we do not charge contributors any fees for hosting services, but we also do not have on-call staff for specific collections, but rather specific service checks whose failure would cause one full time staffer (me) to be paged. No service checks failed this past weekend.

Our staffing currently includes a partial allocation of time of two full-time, permanent university employees (me and Karen), and also the part-time employment of several student workers who learn systems administration and other skills while working for us. While we cannot provide the same level of response time and uptime that some commercial hosting providers offer, what we hope we provide is a commitment to the long-term viability of collections that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to maintain on commercial hosting. This means that response times for individual contributor problems are best effort, without any specific guarantees.

It’s clear from your posts both here and on the public support site that you are unsatisfied, and I can relate to the frustration of not being able to fix something that I care deeply about. My goal here is not to explain or excuse the outage you experienced, but to ask you to adjust your frame of reference when interacting with ibiblio. We will do our best to help you keep your site up.

After applying updates and rebooting the backend host specific to your collection, the site seems to be fully functional. You can expect updates on any investigation into the outage you experienced this past weekend to come to you via the private ticket that you opened.

A cursory review also shows that there are important updates pending on the database host that backs your collection, so there will be a brief (less than three minutes) outage in about five minutes (10:30a local) to apply those updates. If you check your site between 10:30 and 10:35a Eastern, expect database errors.

Thanks for the explanation. I completely understand that you are not fully staffed, and can’t respond to non-system-wide problems on weekends (though it’s unfortunate that ‘weekends’ don’t really exist on the Internet). My biggest issue is not that staff were unavailable on the weekend - that’s understandable. Rather, it was posting on this forum, and seeing nothing - for days. Please understand how frustrating it is to report a problem and not get any response, and to not hear anything about what’s going on.

In the future, I suggest setting up an automatic reply - sent whenever someone happens to post a new topic to “support.ibiblio.org” during a time when staff are unavailable - saying that staff are currently unavailable and might not respond until (note a time).