Tuesday, March 1, 2016

RootsWeb Website Update

imageAncestry.com has issued more information regarding the RootsWeb website outage. As many of you had assumed, it was a hardware failure. The message of the RootsWeb home page now reads:

We're currently experiencing a temporary website outage due to Rootsweb [sic] hardware failure. Rest assured, our development and web operations teams are busy working to securely restore the site as quickly as possible. Our initial expectation is to have the site back up and running on or around March 15, 2016.
We apologize for the disruption and thank-you for your patience.
We will provide other updates here as we have them.

It’s never a good sign when a website owner can’t capitalize the name of its own website.

To be fair, the current message was probably placed there by hardware guys scrambling to save the site, not to spell it correctly. Still, how can I pass up an opportunity that good to tease Ancestry. :-)

You may be wondering why Ancestry is thinking it will take two weeks to get the site back up and running. In this sort of situation, it’s dangerous to give any sort of date, as things always take longer than expected, especially under emergency situations. I imagine they have padded the date, thinking it will take less time, and that actually it will take more.

For your flagship product, you are constantly moving, improving, rewriting, and upgrading. The Ancestry.com website will have state of the art tape backup hardware and software. It would be too costly not to. RootsWeb will have been operating in MacGyver mode for some time. There was little money in operating it otherwise. It wouldn’t surprise me if the tape backup system used on RootsWeb will be so old and so slow that using it was a bit like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Perhaps it was taking a week or more to run a complete backup of the RootsWeb website and it will take a week to completely reload all the tapes. Up to one week of data will not have been backed up, and you may find you’ve lost days of work.

It may be not at all as dire as I’ve outlined. Keep your fingers crossed.


  1. Thank you for this bit of encouragement about RootsWeb. I was afraid RootsWeb was going the way of the Family Tree sites and the MyFamily sites. As soon as it's up again, I am definitely making copies of all my pages. I've been too lazy and too trusting.

  2. Thank goodness I backup to a flash drive, to an external hard drive, to ancestry, and to my computer. I miss being able to search the site, but I'm not worried about losing anything.

  3. Well, even though I use the site all day long to help with researching my family, I can wait. I'm just grateful they're not pulling the site off-line permanently. I keep all my information on FamilyTree Maker, so, it'll never be completely lost.
    Thank you for the update. Hope your day is blessed.

  4. This is so totally unprofessional. Second major outage now in recent memory. When hardware is switched it shouldn't take more than 24-48 hours. Ancestry sure is acting like it wants to Deep 6 Rootsweb ! I've already created a new domain in my hosted space and am transferring my content there.

  5. I agree with sb10. A normal hardware failure should have been able to be resolved in 24-48 hours. Buy a new server, swap the hard drives, up and running with very little down time. Mirror the whole thing on another identical set of server and drives, and then if one fails, the other takes over. They could have been running some very outdated software that required migration of data to a different software system entirely. THAT could take a couple of weeks. But an ordinary hardware failure has down time of between a couple of hours and a couple of days.

  6. We can try and speculate all day long, it still doesn't change the fact that it's down...In a way it's a good thing, if they take the time to assess the whole system and make corrections and updates where needed.

    For me in a way I'm thankful as it has made me focus on merging files, names, and clean up some of my files etc.

    I will be glad when its up and running again.

  7. Just found this site and bookmarked it for future use! Thanks for the information about rootsweb 'hardware failure', the most annoying part of the whole thing is the lack of info from ancestry on what is going on with it all. Hope it is all back up soon but if not I have everything backed up off site as should we all.
    Where else can a site be hosted where it will be available in perpetuity?

  8. After the crash, I notified RootsWeb on 29 March 2016 that WorldConnect was not Indexing any of my 6 databases online. None of the updated or new entries were being included in the Rootsweb or WorldConnect Searches. The actual files are being updated per usual, but you have to access them from the individual database Index. Then I discovered that any new gedcoms I introduced into the system were not visible either. Furthermore I have concluded that outdated archived pages are posted as place holder pages until WorldConnect is functional again. I have found a number of my old gedcoms that were deleted quite some time ago re-appearing online again. This proves that the data WorldConnect is displaying is not current data at all. Unfortunately the archived pages are NOT update-able, nor do they read any new data.