University of Wisconsin–Madison

I Think My Site is Down. Now What?

We work hard to ensure that our WiscWeb servers are secure and reliable but every now and then, circumstances and changes can result in momentary service outages. We want to make sure you know what this means for you, what you should do in those circumstances, and what you can expect from us.

I just went to my site and it’s not working

If you try to access your public site URL and the homepage has been replaced with an outage or server message, it is likely that we are experiencing an outage. Since you may be the first person to have noticed this issue, we ask that you please email our support list right away when you notice that your site isn’t working: cms-support@doit.wisc.edu. We will then begin the process of troubleshooting the issue and communicating the outage with our other customers. In your email to us, please include:

  • Your Site Name
  • Your Site URL
  • What you are seeing (a screenshot of any server-related messages is very helpful)
  • What time you noticed the outage

This information is vital for us to act quickly and efficiently to fix the problem.

How can I expect to be alerted to issues?

It is important to note that if your site is down, there is a good chance that this informational site will also be down. Therefore, we communicate outages in other ways:

  1. Emailing our Admin List
    If there is a confirmed outage, we will email out to our admin mailing list. This is a list of users who are labeled as “administrators” on any projects under our WiscWeb service. You may have multiple administrators on your project so please note that several people may be receiving this message. We do this in an effort to ensure that someone on your team (who edits the site) gets the message right away.
  2. DoIT Outages Webpage
    DoIT has an outages webpage that is kept up-to-date with any outages occurring on campus: https://outages.doit.wisc.edu/. We will update this site when we have a confirmed outage. We strongly advise that you check this site to confirm and check the status of an outage. Please note that if there is a planned service outage, you will likely have already been alerted by the WiscWeb team in advance. Therefore, please make sure you check the “Unplanned Outages” feed first.
  3. Default Index Page
    When our systems go down, we often have the ability to add a custom message to our sites via the index page. Once an outage is confirmed, we will update this page with a notice that describes the outage and will include other relevant information, when possible. If you see this message (rather than a generic server message), it is a good indication that we are aware of the issue and are already working to fix it.

Am I going to lose content?

When we experience outages, there is a real chance that updates you had made before the outage could be lost. Typically, downtime only occurs for a short period of time (< 1 hr) and does not influence anything that was edited or created before the outage started. We try to mitigate the potential for data loss as much as possible and in most circumstances, you will not be affected. If, however, you suspect that you have lost some recent work, please notify us (via our support mailing list) to see if we can recover your edits. In these circumstances, sending along descriptive information regarding what pages had been edited and at what time are extremely helpful for us.

Thoughts?

If you have specific questions or comments about WiscWeb outages, we want to hear from you. Please email our support list to get the discussion rolling: cms-support@doit.wisc.edu.