TypePad seems to creaking under the strain of its own success. For some weeks now, I've been observing (and experiencing) constant server timeout problems when posting to this blog. And I'm not the only TypePad user who's in this position.
[...] What's been happening is that, on average, about two posts out of five don't publish correctly usually due to a server time-out or data-receive error. That's generally been the case for many months. It means I then have to log in to TypePad and re-publish from there. A real pain.
I did have lots of discussion with TypePad support in July/August and I do appreciate some of the tech issues they had at that time. And I'm certainly not having a go at TypePad with some minor little irritations or frustrations about the odd server difficulty here and there.
No, this is far more serious.
My experience for the past month or so is that I will encounter a problem with every other post I try and publish. For 50% of the time, I will get a server timeout error when publishing. Sometimes I get a ping timeout error. In all cases, publishing posts takes an awful long time, 2-3 minutes in most cases for each post I'm trying to publish. That's ridiculous.
It gets worse - I have similar timeout errors when I try and publish comments and trackbacks. For those, I have to log in to my TypePad account and do it from there, which is when I actually see server timeout errors like this:
The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.
That's the most common and frequent error message. Sometimes there's one like this:
Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Whether I get server errors or not, everything just takes so much time. I sit mesmerized by the "Waiting for TypePad..." message in the browser status bar or the "Adding post to server..." message in ecto. As I said, with every post being published, and with every comment and trackback, it's 2-3 minutes each time. Sometimes 4.
I even had an really alarming issue earlier this month when a US colleague sent me a screenshot of what he got one time when he visited my blog. The error said:
Access to the weblog you have requested has been suspended.
He said he was getting a similar error for his blog as well.
Although TypePad support said it was a temporary error, this type of thing is definitely not good at all. Anyone seeing that message on a business blog would likely be wondering about you and what's going on.
Using TypePad is worse every day from mid afternoon (my time) onwards. I'm in Amsterdam so that's 6 hours ahead of the US east coast. That slowdown clearly coincides with when everyone over there gets up in the morning and starts blogging.
I like the TypePad service very much. I've been a subscriber since July 2004 and I'm paid up through to August 2006. Even though I will soon be re-locating NevOn to a new location on my own server - most likely using WordPress, although I still haven't fully made up my mind yet - I will still keep this TypePad account open.
When I speak to companies about corporate blogging, TypePad always enters the conversation. It's a service I often suggest to people to use in their experimenting stages, or even use the service for their actual business blog. Yet based on my own experiences since mid year, I'm beginning to worry about saying that now.
Is TypePad really suitable for business blogging? is a question Rich Brooks asked yesterday writing in Business Blog Consulting. Debbie Weil is asking a similar question. And I see today that Toby Bloomberg is asking the same thing as well.
I'm asking, too.
It's good to read Mena's post and see that Six Apart is acutely aware of the issues such as I've described here. Even better, her post includes detailed commentary from her husband and co-founder Ben Trott on what's been happening and what they're doing to address and resolve all these problems.
The bottom line:
[...] Our operations team—and the rest of the company—have been working day and night to understand and overcome these issues. And yet, as a user of the service myself, I can fully understand why that might not sound good enough. But we're committed to providing an amazing service for our customers, and we have been really, really striving to deliver that over the past month. We're working very hard to make November and beyond a better experience, and to get back to the quality of service that you've always received from TypePad.
Over the next week you should see significant improvement in performance as we get extra equipment on line and finish moving data off of heavily loaded servers. By the end of the move we will have five times the bandwidth we had before, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars of new equipment, and room and power to add more equipment as needed.
We apologize for the poor service you've experienced over the past couple of weeks, and also for the lack of official communication on Mena's Corner or Everything TypePad. At the same time, I know that an apology sounds hollow until we've fixed these issues and the service is stable once again.
We're going to do a better job of giving you updates on our status as we work to improve the service. Thank you for your loyalty, and we're working very hard to earn back your trust.
That's good for enough for me for the moment. Benefit of the doubt time. For a little while longer.