It looks like there is a big networking problem over at The Planet. Hostgator, which hosts this blog and is hosted by The Planet, is suffering terribly from this problem. My uptime with Hostgator is so high, that Pingdom tracks my site at 100% uptime since it doesn’t track beyond 99.99% uptime. So, this has to be causing lots of stress for the engineers at both companies.

I first noticed this problem when working on a site that is hosted at Hostgator. The site completely failed to load and pings failed 50% of the time.

From what I can tell one of the primary switches that handles large loads for The Planet either failed, froze up, or is under extremely high of traffic loads. At first, my site wasn’t effected, but it seems like they are quickly shunting traffic away from the troubled switch, which is causing the other switches to be under greater stress. This has allowed some of the failed sites to respond after abnormally-long load times, but also has the side effect of causing the previously unaffected sites, such as mine, to degrade in performance as well.

I have been incredibly impressed with The Planet through my years of experience with their dedicated systems. Similarly, I have had nothing but the best experiences with Hostgator, which is why I still host my blog on their system despite having a personal dedicated server.

Best of luck to the network engineers as they get this problem sorted, and welcome to 2009. 🙂

Update

It looks like the problem is much bigger than I originally believed. It’s possible that a regional switch around the Dallas/Fort Worth area went down. So far, I’ve found that Layered Tech, The Planet, Rackspace, and most of the sites that I know are hosted in that region are either completely inaccessible or extremely slow to respond.

The problem seems to be getting better curently with many of the previously inaccessible sites now coming back up. Hopefully the problem has been resolved.

Update #2

I contacted The Planet, and the guy gave me two responses to my questions about the outage: “no” and “ok”. Not exactly helpful. I then tried to have a live chat with Layered Tech (who I have had great hosting experience with, so this isn’t knocking their service), but I just ended up sending off an email apparently. I contacted Rackspace (another great host who gets my recommendation), and I got a very helpful person who didn’t have any information on the outage but quickly started engaging me in a sales discussion (Tomas S, you sure do a good job with keeping on the sales talk). I then contacted Hostgator via live chat and was immediately given information that a cable provider was having large-scale outages that mostly centered around southern California but also was causing problems for the DFW area. The support person also indicated that the cable provider was slow to provide details and updates.

So, amazingly, the small fish out of all the companies I contacted not only had the fastest response but also was on the ball in terms of having and providing information about an issue that affects me.

Thinking back on each of the live chats offered, Hostgator was the only one that actually seemed to use the Live Chat for more than just sales. Once again, Hostgator proves that they truly do have great service and support.

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