Disaster Story: Inmotion Hosting Power Outage Jan 2017

hosting crash - website back ups

On the 6th of January 2017 Inmotion Hostings’ west coast data center experienced a power outage, which caused extended periods of downtime. For most customers, this ranged between 4 hours and 4 days.

When the websites started coming back online, some were clearly damaged; databases missing or corrupted, wordpress installation pages where there used to be a website, missing images, missing pages, etc.

Other websites appeared to have dodged the bullet, but over time user reports of issues continued to grow and problems that were harder to notice till a user reported it started to come to light. Example include not being able to checkout of an online store, inability to add new products to the woocommerce store, unable to add tags to a post and all kinds of other small, but serious, effects.

Luckily, all of our wordpress support and maintenance clients have rock solid back ups in place, so we have been able to restore the websites to before the power outage. In some cases, we are only just rolling back websites that have just noticed issues, almost two weeks later! This is a considerable loss of data for websites with new members, sales, etc and will be a royal pain to merge the new data into the old site manually.

However, we have had several new clients sign up to our wordpress support plans after the power outage. These clients have not been so lucky. Most of them had no back ups in place. And, because inmotion only keeps each back up for 24 hours, all their back ups are corrupted as well. This is clearly gross negligence on a grand scale. They should and could have done back ups of the back ups from just prior to the power outage before the 24 hour period slipped by and many hundreds or even thousands of peoples websites vanished forever.

Its a sickening feeling having to tell someone who has invested years and substantial capital into a website thats it’s gone and its not coming back. One client that lost his site had been working on it for seven years. Companies like Inmotion put ALL the responsibility on the client to know that website back ups are important and to have the capacity to enable automated website back ups and manage it. Clearly, this isnt the case for many many people.

Inmotions official response aims to ignore the issue and play it down as much as possible. Their official response regarding the people that have lost everything:

“There are some lingering effects that are being addressed on a case by case basis.” – http://status.inmotionhosting.com/

I would say the “lingering effects” of losing years of hard work and countless dollars will definitely do more than linger. Not to mention the effect this will have on companies that rely on their websites to do business into the future. A major setback for their start to 2017.

So far, no compensation for clients that are cancelling their accounts to move onto more trustworthy hosting providers. Their official response is to provide “two months of additional hosting for free added on to your existing plan”. Not much consolation to someone without a website anymore!

I wish i had taken a screenshot of their twitter page because it was overwhelmed with angry customers on the 15th of january. Thousands of tweets from furious people citing downtimes of 4 days and longer. All of those customer tweets are removed from the official inmotion twitter page as of the 18th of January. I saw a tweet by Inmotion explaining away their long excessive wait times for support on the weather causing them to be under staffed. So now they are using some windy weather to try to cover up their horrendous mistake.

Anybody still not sure if they need a wordpress maintenance plan to assist with their website back ups?

We are doing free migrations for new wordpress support and maintenance clients who want to leave inmotion hosting to find safer ground.