The 3-Day Lycos server outage reminds us of the need for backups

by Nate Hoffelder

After a decade of running The Digital Reader, Nate is a veteran web publisher with experience in design, maintenance, recovery, and troubleshooting. What little he doesn't know, he can learn.

June 17, 2016

Here’s a scary reminder that the cloud is not nearly as stable as we would like, and of the need for redundant backups.

This hasn’t made the tech news blogosphere yet, but several sources have told me (and numerous complaints on FB and twitter confirm) that the web services company Lycos is suffering from a server outage.

The servers went down about three days ago (one source pinned the start as 3:20 pm, on 15 June) and they are still down today. That includes everything from websites to email and even the Lycos website itself, which currently redirects to lycosstatus.com and displays an error message.

There’s still no official announcement from Lycos, but I did find a secondhand explanation via one of its customers/victims:

I have spoken with representatives from Lycos and I have been assured that the server they’re currently working with is undergoing an upgrade for better service, but that they have encountered some unforeseen network issues which are hindering them at present.

We should hopefully be back up and running as soon as possible and will provide updates as to when we’re active again. Meanwhile, the Blog and the Forums are still available – so check them out!

Launched in 1995, Lycos was originally a search engine tudent project at Carnegie Mellon University. It was spun out, went through an IPO, and during the late 1990s tech boom it was briefly one of the most popular sites on the web. it was acquired before the tech bubble burst for $12.5 billion, and then sold four years later for $95 million.

Since then it has been a generally unremarkable web company, posting revenues of $24 million in 2009.

And now it might be dead.

There’s some speculation that Lycos has filed for Chapter 11, but that is unconfirmed at this time. All we know right now is that the service is inaccessible.

And so are all the files, emails, and websites it was hosting.

So tell me, is your website backed up? What about your files?

There are a bunch of cloud storage services where you can store your files online (for free, even) but backing up a website is a little harder.

Some website hosting services, like Squarespace and my webhost, insist that they can handle your backup needs for you. But with the Lycos fiasco staring us in the face do you really want to take that risk?

If you have a WordPress site, I can help you with that. I can either set up a backup on your servers, or arrange for regular backups to be stored offsite. I even offer a maintenance plan.

If you’re interested, you can leave a comment, send me an email, or fill out the contact form.

image by nudelbach

Hi, I'm Nate.

I build and fix websites for authors, and I am also a tech VA. I can build you a website that looks great and turns visitors into fans, and I can also fix your tech when it breaks. Let me fight with tech support so you don’t have to.

My blog has everything you need to know about websites and online services. Don’t see what you need. or want personalized help? Reach out.

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