We’re back — and thankful, to you our readers

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times


An artists’ rendition of what our server might have looked like moments after it crashed. Possibly a rendition overly colored by wishful thinking, of course, but it sure seemed like it to those of us scrambling to get The Times back up and running.

It’s been an interesting week, to say the least.

A little before 11 a.m. on April 14, somewhere in the deep, dark bowels of a server farm near Dallas, a series of nasty, technical events led to all of The Times‘ sites going completely down for nearly two days. We managed to get three of the sites back up in limp mode — Unionville, Kennett and The Times of Chester County — all with the likely threat that they could crash at any time.

Now, of course, as with most hosting companies, our hosting company kept backups of our sites.

And….wait for it…those backups turned out to be partially or totally corrupt. That’s a little bit like a kid going to school and telling the teacher that the dog ate their homework and immediately after, the cat ran over the dog, while out for a ride on his Harley.

Needless to say, we have a different hosting company this week.

Through a decent amount of work (punctuated by moments of sheer terror and many, many words not suitable for family publications), slowly we were able to rebuild the sites that were thought to be fatally damaged. Our Downingtown site is largely back in one piece, albeit with a few missing image files, which we will fix up in the next few days. The Coatesville site appeared to be a total loss, though, and our old hosting company told us recovery was hopeless.

But between some backups we stored off site and the folks at LiquidWeb — our new hosts — we were able to start to rebuild the shredded data on the old server and bring The Coatesville Times back to life. It’s a little rough around the edges — and we’ll be filling in a many month story gap from our archives over the next couple of weeks — but it’s back.

As frustrating as this entire process has been, what was amazing was the amount of emails and comments we got asking about the sites and what happened — and we could see the daily attempts by folks to get on the site.

While we’re sorry that we couldn’t bring you the news for a few days, we are humbled and gratified that you kept on coming, hoping that we would make a comeback. The page requests numbered in the six-figure area (keep in mind a single page requires a half dozen to a dozen requests to draw completely, which is why no reputable Web company would ever use those numbers to cite traffic — preferring the industry standard of page views, user sessions and unique visitors, as we do) and people tried and tried to get to pages that no longer existed.

But a comeback we made and it took our small team of local folks — we’re not owned by a hedge fund or a business association — who believe in local, professional news done by Chester Countians for Chester Countians. We will continue that work — and are proud to do so for readers who remain passionate and involved in their communities.

Thank you.

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