June 09, 2008

SiteMeter Stats Sputter to a Stop, With No Reason Given

It seems that outages are the new black.

After a weekend filled with stories on Amazon downtime, a brief Disqus blip, continued Twitter troubles, and many sites straining to take on increased crowds swelling to catch the latest from WWDC, I was surprised to see my blog statistics engine, SiteMeter, get in on the act. Since 11 this morning Pacific time, data has been almost completely stalled, not logging visits, and the company's blog doesn't give any reason for the slowness.

I'd like to blame Scoble, or blame Steve Jobs, but I don't think they're the cause.

SiteMeter is one of the most widely used statistics trackers in the blogosphere. And while I could put up with occasional outages from a free product (See: Mark Evans: The Wonderful World of Web 2.0 Whining), I'm one of those who wanted to support the site's developers, paying $89 a year to gain a premium version of the service last year, which gave me expanded access to a wider array of reports.

I'd like to say I don't check with SiteMeter throughout the day out of curiosity, but I'd be lying to you for sure. I love stats. I even made a dashboard widget for Mac OS X that shows me the day's activity, letting me just drag my mouse to the bottom right corner to get caught up. Except, today, I was surprised to see I was extremely unpopular. Not only was the total visit count much lower than I had anticipated, but it said absolutely nobody had checked in in the last hour. And since this morning, I've seen no updates at all.

SiteMeter's seen issues like this in the past. They operate not from one mega-database, but instead, each of its individual servers runs on its own database. When one has a hiccup, only those users on that single server show issues. I expect that's likely what's going on here, and just maybe, with luck, the total statistics will catch up overnight.

Now, we'll see just how much my going dark for about 36 hours over the weekend will have hurt me. With the company's blog not giving any hints as to what's happening, hope is all I have. Maybe it's time to check in with my FTP server and download my logs.