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What a night....

2/27/2007 in ClearCheckbook News
Where to begin... I might as well start from the beginning so you'll know where we're coming from with this.

What happened:
Back in September we were hosted on a really bad host that had horrible down time. Back then, we had about 300 members using the site. We got featured on LifeHacker.com and our traffic blew up overnight. Unfortunately, the server also blew up (not literally, figuratively) so we were forced to switch servers and spend hours making sure the transition was painless. We finally got settled into our new server and things were going great.

Over the next 6 months our traffic grew very fast as we approached 2,600 active members. This afternoon, ClearCheckbook was featured on the "Tips for Life" blog DumbLittleMan.blogspot.com and our traffic shot out the roof. In keeping with tradition, our new host couldn't handle the traffic and shut us down... literally. They simply pulled the plug on our site and said "you've outgrown a shared hosting plan."

By now I've grown livid as I can't stop thinking about everyone who is now trying to access their finances and is getting strange errors and is unable to do so.

Acting quickly, I contacted a friend who has a Virtual Private Server (VPS) that we could set up shop on for a week or so until we can buy a new dedicated server. So over the last 4 hours, we've been scrambling to transfer everything over to the new server, test everything to ensure it's working properly on the new site, set up email accounts, make sure CheckBot is still active, etc.

What we're waiting on now is for the DNS servers to update so everyone will see the site on the new server.

Lingering Issues:
Because our old host abandoned us and our dedicated IP address, the SSL certificate isn't working properly. We set up a new certificate, but it's going to ask you to accept it before you can use the site. Please know that your information is still being encrypted and is completely secure.

Reports are taking a lot longer than usual to generate. If you don't need to generate your reports right now, please hold off for a while until we get a few more things situated. (CSR 342 students, please be patient when generating your reports. There were a few issues with them earlier, but right now expect to wait upwards of 2 minutes... just be patient :) )

What's next?
Over the next week or two, we will be searching out a new Dedicated Server plan. This means we will be the only site on the entire server and means you will see an extreme improvement in load times.

Buying a Dedicated Server is not cheap, so we're doing our research on finding the right one for the right price. If anyone knows of a great host, please post about it in the comments.


Again, I can't express how sorry I am that this had to happen again. I give you my word that once we're on our own server, things will be soooooo much better.

Thanks for sticking with us!
-Brandon O'Brien

Comments for this post:

Thanks for all the shuffling! We appreciate you. Jillian
by JillianBree on Feb 27, 2007
thank you!!!
i was just wishing for a site like this over the weekend to further reduce my dependence on microsoft ... and then you're featured on dumblittleman! :-) thank you so much for all of the work and shuffling and keeping this free!

-s
by veroamore.old on Feb 27, 2007
Great Job!
You all are doing an awesome job. Thanks for keeping your users posted. I tend not to mind a little bit of downtime if I'm being communicated with. You all offer an awesome product. Keep up the great work!
by fernden on Feb 28, 2007
New host recommendation
I can heartily recommend www.ace-host.net. I have been with them for a year on a VPS and, now, a dedicated server. The new server has had zero downtime; the support response is immediate and effective. These guys have gone out of their way to not only keep my server running but to educate me so that I don't have to bug them so much!
by shoestring on Feb 28, 2007

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