Originally created 07/30/99

Newspapers' Web sites shut down



A computer hardware failure in Augusta on Thursday shut down newspaper World Wide Web sites here and in other cities across the country for several hours.

The Augusta Chronicle's Web site was inoperative after the computer that hosts the site failed to restart after a scheduled early-morning shutdown, said executives at the newspaper's parent company, Morris Communications Corp.

The outage also affected the Web sites of several other Morris newspapers, including papers in Athens, Ga.; Savannah; Jacksonville, Fla.; Lubbock, Texas, and Juneau, Alaska.

"This is the longest outage and one of the few we've ever suffered here in Augusta," said Mike McLeod, New Media Director for The Chronicle.

Throughout the Internet's short life, Web operations both large and small have been upset by service outages, Mr. McLeod said.

One recent high-profile outage was on the popular auction site eBay (www.ebay.com). It suffered a June outage that lasted more than 20 hours.

Other high-profile outages have included Internet powerhouses such as America Online and the financial service site E*Trade.

"We apologize for the inconvenience to our readers and customers," said Michael Romaner, director of Morris' online-services division. "We will continue to examine and refine all processes to try to avoid such an outage in the future."

Workers shut down the computer to install more memory, but when they tried to restart it, one of its several hard drives failed, executives said.

The drives store the Web sites hosted by the computer and the software needed to administer them.

By 4:45 p.m., workers had fixed the problem. No data was lost.

The Chronicle Web site, @ugusta, is located at www.augustachronicle.com.

Brandon Haddock can be reached at (706) 823-3409 or bhaddock@augustachronicle.com.