It’s Good to be Back
It’s good to be back.
If you visited Black Gate between May 19th and May 31st, you may have noticed something odd. As in, it was completely missing. For the first time since the website went live in late 1999, Black Gate was off the air for more than a few hours. We were, in fact, dead for a dozen long days.
Our fault entirely. As our traffic continued to grow significantly in 2021, we started to notice some equally significant slowdown in the site in February and March. (You may have noticed it too. Lots of you did.) We’d outgrown our shared server, and desperately needed an upgrade. After a few months of tuning and planning, led chiefly by the stalwart Martin Page, we migrated to a much more powerful server on May 18. It passed all the preliminary tests, and on May 19th I ordered the DNS switchover.
Too soon, as it turned out. The new server crashed almost immediately, and never came back. We gave up after nine fruitless days of panicked effort, configured and migrated to another server with a lot more memory and, after a few error-filled days, here were are.
We apologize for the long absence, and thank you very much for your patience with us. As Tony Stark says so well, it’s good to be back. We missed you.
I for one was starting to get the shakes. Withdrawal is as rough as they say it is!
Oddly, after the first few frenzied days, it was actually peaceful at home!
I was worried that you guys were being subjected to a ransomware shakedown by Russian hackers. That would be an odd thing to happen, but maybe they were jealous that various posts, like Ellsworth’s Cinema Of Swords (and pieces by other writers) are so entertaining.
Ha! We have offsite backups through Backblaze that (in theory at least) allow protection against ransomware. Although the best protection remains being too small to be a target….
Whew, I seriously thought the finances of running the site were no longer working out and that it was gone forever. Glad to see you back!
The site really isn’t very expensive. The new server cost $1,708 to configure and host. The big frustration was that we spent over $1,300 on a server that was too small first….
Phew! I noticed that the final issue of the magazine was April 2011 – also that it ran for 10/11 years – and thought history was repeating itself: JON had uttered the magic word and the site had disappeared in a puff of smoke (or been rapidly dismantled by an army of nanobots, depending on your genre preference).
Glad to stuck with us through the rough patch, Aonghus!
i’ll have you know though, in those dozen days i managed to save 7453 dollars on used books and other things i see articles for on here, so that was nice :p haha i jest, but it is good to have a mainstay of my internet dungeon crawling back. i have few hobbies and this website AND it’s contributors provide me with more inspiration and comfort than you may know. thank you for keeping imagination and art alive, and covering a wide wide range of topics.
love you all
Thanks Cory. And yeah, your first line made me LOL. 🙂
We missed you., too! Like Sven, I thought you might have been shut down due to ransomware (a friend’s dentist had his medical records hacked and had to pay $20,000 to get them back!). Hope this new server is up to the job!
So far the new server seems very worth the money. The site is as fast as it’s ever been.
Yes, I was concerned, we all were. I reached out o Bob Byrne to ask what happened and realized I’d just have to wait while you got it all figured out. We’re you ever tempted to just say “to heck with it” and catch up on reading all those paperbacks in your house?
Very glad you’re back!
I’m glad to know that I wasn’t the only one who was bugging Bob about this situation!
Bob was invaluable in getting the word out on the Whisper Network that we were still alive. I’ll make sure he’s fully briefed next time we have a service outage!
John, have you ever thought of changing the website colors? That green/orange text on black background is awfully hard to read.
Hi Bonnie! You’re not the first to make that rest. We experimented with the change as part of our site redesign earlier this year, but many of our test audience complained that the black background was too much a part of our character to give up, and ultimately I agree with them.
Sorry it doesn’t work for you tho!
Glad to see that the new-new server is up and working.
And there was much rejoicing.
There was certainly a lot less time on the phone with Tech Support, anyway.
I swear I only checked to see if it was back up like, six, times a day.
Glad to have you back with us. Glenn. 🙂
Glad you are back John. Was having withdrawal symptoms from lack of my daily dose of Black Gate. Seriously though was concerned, thought maybe site has been hacked, or perhaps something serious happened to you. Welcome back
I was in a heart-sick fugue those days. My god; I’ve been banned! It must have been that New York Times review I quoted from instead of addressing John directly; he got offended and banned me from the site . . .
Carl — don’t let it happen again. 🙂
Good morning, John! I don’t know if you’ll even see this one, but I’m just thrilled to see your site back. I tried to find out what was happening, for nearly 2 weeks, then stopped — maybe just a day or so short of your getting started back up. Got caught up in a personal depression cycle in early June (which lasted — well, up to now) and never got around to looking for the site again (I even tried sending you an email, and it wouldn’t post). I’m so glad to discover you persevered! Looks like I’ve got much to catch up on. Don’t know if one exists or not, but if there was an emoji for “Live long and prosper,” that’s what I’d end this with. Great to see you back!!
Hey Smitty — welcome! Sorry to hear you’ve had a rough summer. 🙁
Glad to have you back though. Your comments were missed, and I was worried we’d lost you.
Thanks! While I’m here, one quick question: Has anyone ever mentioned the little paperbacks put out by PM Press? There are 27 of them, the newest by James Patrick Kelly, and they all include short works by the author and an interview by Terry Bisson. Usually run to less than 120 pages. Authors featured include Michael Moorcock, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ursula LeGuin, John Shirley, Norman Spinrad, Samuel Delany, and a few not usually connected to SF/Fantasy/Horror. Might be worth checking out.