Weekly Update: 5/15/2000|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: May 15th. 2000
Times Viewed: 4,922
| Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,|
The following is not the weekly update we had planned but a reality check never the less... We dedicate this update to the Earth Mother. Happy Mothers Day!
This past week has been one of disappointment and frustration here at the Witches Voice. In an effort to achieve many of our dreams and to set us up for a powerful future we moved Witchvox away from our web server of three years (cetlink.net in South Carolina) to our very own server. What should have been a smooth transition turned into a nightmare of broken images, horribly slow response times and many frustrated WitchVox surfers...
Traffic and lots of it... The real issue here comes down to traffic (or bandwidth)... A typical web hosting plan for most ISPs allows for 2 gigabyte of file transfer per month and then charges you 10 cents a meg (or 100 dollars per gig) for any additional traffic. Last month Witchvox generated 42.1 gigabyte of traffic. Like most sites our traffic continues to climb with no end in sight. We use about 200 meg of hard disk space, average 27,725 pages viewed a day (close to 200,000 "hits") and are on a pace to deliver over 10 million pages this year alone. Although we have had many wonderful offers from the community to host Witchvox over the years, the reality of our current and future traffic ends these discussions quickly.
Hosting the Voice...
Our old server: WitchVox has been hosted for the past three years by Cetlink.net and we have nothing but good things to say about their support, pricing and stability. They have gifted us all by allowing us to deliver over 116 Million hits (15.1 million actual pages) to the NeoPagan community, Advertising FREE and for only 32.95 per month. How the week played out...
Our new server: Gives us total control of WitchVox and should have set us up for the interactive site we have always dreamed of. The problem is not our hardware or our server software (they can handle a million hits a day), it is our pipe (connection)... It can't handle the WitchVox traffic! Bottom line, we were lied to and are not getting the "high end" DSL bandwidth we were promised. We are fighting with our new ISP and GTE to make this right.
Why DID we make this move? Although our former ISP hadn't been charging us for "traffic" they have been charging us for the amount of hard disk space we consume on their server... They woke up to this earlier this year and have been charging us an additional 58.00 per month for the past three months. We can't blame them for this but based on our checking account statement, 100.00 per month just for hosting the site isn't in our budget. This new situation and the looming concern that they would "call our hand" on our traffic usage inspired us to look for alternatives. The preferred choice has always been to host the pages ourselves while gaining the server control that is critical to the future of the Witches' Voice.
- Tuesday: We made a request to the Internet Gods to re-map (move) www.witchvox.com to our new server, they responded immediately and noted that over the next 36 hours, routers all over the world would be propagating this transfer.
- Wednesday: When I got home from work it was clear that this change was taking place and we were actually serving WitchVox from our own server. We were thrilled! It was just starting to happen and looking good.
- Thursday: When we got up about half the routers in the world were pointing to our new server, life was good and we couldn't have been happier, our dreams were starting to manifest. When I came home from work I was walking on air and very excited about tackling the hundreds of ideas that we have had on hold for years all based on being our own server. There was so much to do and doers we are. As I accessed the Witches' Voice from my computer via the internet, it became clear that something was wrong, something was REALLY wrong. I waited some 30 seconds (on a roadrunner connection) just to load our home page... It didn't get better! It got worse! We couldn't get email and it was taking forever to FTP our updates of the networking section... The site was TOO busy for our server's "connection" to handle. I went into the living room and broke the news to Wren. We sat stunned and for the first time in years felt useless. The wind indeed was gone from our sails.
- Friday: Panic Day! When I got up I checked the performance and it was still unusable. We had only processed 105 thousand hits the previous day but it was clear that they were painful hits for those of you trying to access the site, AND this was 45% less than our normal activity. I immediately called our new provider and had them get to GTE fast to find out why we weren't getting the bandwidth capabilities that we were promised. THEY still haven't responded.
From work I initiated a request to the Internet Gods (networksolutions.com) to re-map www.witchvox.com BACK to our old server Cetlink (which we are STILL waiting to happen). We immediately emailed Cetlink and told them that we weren't leaving after all. Their email response was a polite thank you BUT they made it clear that they weren't interested in hosting us at the same rate due to our 42 gigs a month of traffic. By their own stated rates (and that of MOST ISPs) our monthly charge would be 3800.00 a month. This is NOT really how it works. Heavily hit sites can always work out a deal... Trouble is, with our monthly budget and limited community donations we are in no position to deal.
Our immediate choices were grim. We had to dramatically slow down the traffic. In order to stop torturing those of you trying to access this site we had no choice but to remove access to 1300 pages. We did this on Friday night buy taking 80% of WitchVox "offline". We posted a brief note on the home page and actually took the night off.
So What IS Happening? We did talk with Cetlink on Friday and are in negotiations with them. We are basically throwing ourselves at their mercy... The Internet Gods should be sending our traffic back to Cetlink in a few days. Until we work things out we will have to continue to offer you about 20% of Witches Voice because right now that is all we CAN afford.
Our Options? We have two of them! Option #1: Find an isp that will give us unlimited bandwidth for less than 50.00 per month (this IS a possibility and one that we are vigorously pursuing). Several of you have already suggested such ISPs. This *may* be the answer but the first two that we did try said that "unlimited" didn't REALLY mean unlimited BUT they would try and work up a deal for us based on our traffic. Option #2: Find a way to afford a real PIPE to our own server... Option two is our preferred choice for about 1,000 reasons.
The Light: As of this writing we have received more than two dozen emails of support. Some have offered ISP suggestions and we will pursue ALL of these. Some are offering us a shoulder to cry on and others are considering financial donations. Wren has updated our sponsorship page for the first time in three years to better detail what we do and what we'd like to do. We have NEVER been comfortable asking for donations but our close friends tell us we NEED to get over this and embrace a balance.
We have gladly put thousands of dollars of our own money into making this happen, but bandwidth IS a commodity and quality software options do cost money (we DO pay for the software we use!). The easy alternative would be to plaster Witchvox with advertising. We have graciously "passed" on countless offers of BIG advertising money from both within and without the Pagan community over the years (these offers continue to come in weekly). WHY? Because to us, for both spiritual and ethical reasons, commercializing the Witches' Voice would be a sell out OF the community and frankly speaking it would just feel icky. We are NOT against Pagan sites making money, in fact we have proudly featured them since day one and at present list over 1000 commercial Pagan web sites. We DO have future plans to better celebrate Pagan sites that sell products. We want them to prosper.
For three years, the Witches' Voice has evolved from the community, for the community and with the community. We are not interested in any support that isn't from the community itself. So, for the record: We have NO desire to commercialize the Witches' Voice.
At present we ARE between a rock and a hard place, our current server connection is inadequate for this traffic, and our new cetlink rate is unknown at this point. It's worth noting that as of today we are NOT broke but unless we can find affordable hosting that can accommodate our traffic we WILL be inside of a few months. Until we CAN find a deal there is little that we can count on and there is little that we can promise you.
The Witches' Voice has existed for over three years thanks to the donations of our precious sponsors (many proudly listed on our state pages). We could never thank them enough for their support.
The one thing that Wren and I can count on is that every morning we wake up full of light and hope. We have been honored to be a part of this project and will do everything in our power to see that it not only survives but continues to document the history, the words, the people and the Magick of what can only be called the NeoPagan movement of the 21st century.
We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and the awful performance of this site over the past 5 days. Regular features, countless updates, essays etc. etc. will be on hold until we can fly again. We will TRY to keep Wren's nest and the networking pages alive for as long as we can. We will keep you informed of any and all changes via this page AS they happen.
In Your Service,
Wren, Fritz, Peg, Dio and Christina
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - May 15th.
UPDATE Wednesday May 17th:
After checking out dozens of ISP plans, their "features" and their REALISTIC traffic pricing we have made a decision to go with www.Drak.net to host the Witches' Voice for the immediate future. We still desire to host the site ourselves, but it is not financially feasible at the present time.
Drak.net is owned and operated by long time Pagan freedom fighter Jennifer Bryan (Lhiannon). Drak.net presently hosts over 4,000 Pagan web sites FOR Free with no banner or advertising requirements. The Witches' Voice site will be hosted on a its own server as to not effect the performance of current and future Drak.net customers. We will be paying drak.net for hosting the Witches' Voice at a very fair rate related to our current and future traffic levels (6.4 million hits/42 gigabyte of bandwidth per month). Although, we have found other offers in a similar price rage, we choose Drak.net for about a dozen reasons including stability, integrity and reputation.
In the past 3 days we have received over 800 pcs. of email related to our current hosting woes. This coupled with our normal high level of email makes it impractical to actually respond to them all but Wren HAS answered over one hundred of them. We have learned much from these emails and many issues have been presented. Look for details and answers to many questions on this weekend's update.
MOST encouraging have been the hundreds of offers of spiritual, financial and moral support. We do indeed require financial support to continue to grow this site and to pay for our traffic, we are deeply moved by the offers of many of you in this area. Donations of any amount are appreciated and can be mailed to the address at the bottom of this page, details on sponsoring the Witches' Voice can be found on our sponsorship page.
We will go into more detail this weekend and do know that WitchVox should be back up 100% by sometime next week. UNTIL then we will be running and serving at about 20% capacity with most of our 2,000 pages off line. Sadly, attempts to load pages other than those listed to your left will return a 404 error or bounce you back to this page. The search engines will also be down until our transition to drak.net.
As of today the future of WitchVox does look brighter. Your offers of support have moved us deeply. You ARE and continue to be the Witches' Voice.
Fritz Jung & Wren Walker
Co-Founders: The Witches' Voice
ps. We have just rewritten all of the submission forms for our networking section (links, pagans, events, groups etc.)
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