Radio Today technical update

Staff Writer

Over the past few months, from February to April, you may have noticed that Radio Today was having consistent technical faults. We know many of you noticed, because you complained to us, and that was fair enough.

These major technical outages coincided with Radio Today moving our hosting on 12 February to a company called Ventra IP, and ultimately were resolved by moving away from that company.

Given the massive disruptions we wanted to outline what happened and why.

Radio Today, following this move away from Ventra IP, has now been stable for 3-weeks. Tuesday, the release of the 3rd metropolitan survey, the site was robust, stable and didn’t miss a beat.

On February 12 we moved to Ventra IP under a hosting plan on an unmanaged economy VPS.

At the time of moving to Ventra IP, they advised us, and assured us, that this hosting plan and structure was sufficient for the kind of site we run and the traffic we receive.

The technical problems following our migration to Ventra IP started within days, and we started having multiple offlines daily. Following discussions with Ventra IP, we began spending a fair bit of money on developer work, and repairs to the modules, at their direction; which was essentially that Radio Today had some faulty modules causing the site to crash for a variety of reasons.

Under Ventra IP, the site started crashing 6-7 times a day, and most notably at times of heavy demand, such as at survey release times. In fact, we crashed and went offline at the precise time the metropolitan surveys 1 and 2 were released, and when Canberra and Newcastle were released. On a couple of those occasions, we were offline for over 90 minutes.

As the leading radio industry site, this was embarrassing and infuriating, and it took considerable time from Mark and Jay to try and repair; at all hours of the day and night.

Whilst we had trusted the advice from Ventra IP that the fault was with our site, and spent money on repairs accordingly, nothing worked.

Finally, on 24 April, we engaged an external audit at significant cost from a diagnostic company who are experts in the Joomla CMS, and on server diagnostics. We gave them all our passwords, to the site and to Ventra IP, and asked them to come back with their categorical position on what was causing our issues.

After a week of testing and analysis, they advised us that whilst some of the module repairs had been useful for site performance, in the end they were not the root cause. The continual outages were caused, in their view, by the disk server at Ventra IP and that ultimately Ventra IP fixing that issue for us, or us moving to a new hosting company, would be the ‘fix’ to put in place.

On 6 May we moved away from Ventra IP to an SSD based SAN premium cloud provider, and have not had a single outage since then. Literally not one. Zero.

Ventra IP’s position on the 3 months of outages was to maintain that the site was at fault, and their server was fine. That said, they did acknowledge that in hindsight it was possible they had us on an insufficient hosting plan, and could have addressed that whilst we were with them, however this was the extent of any acceptance of liability.

3 months of massive technical problems, over $6,000 in costs incurred, all whilst hosted by Ventra IP. And no acceptance of blame from Ventra IP, aside from an ambit offer to give us a refund on our hosting charges and various other fees, which would have totalled less than 10% of the money we spent trying to fix the problems that we suffered under our Ventra IP hosting plan.

The intent of this article is simply to offer an explanation for what went wrong, and for you to know two things.

Firstly, the team at Radio Today were working overtime to address it and fix these problems. We were embarrassed, we were angry, and we were spending money on it to fix the issues.

Secondly, to assure you that the site is now working beautifully and the technical problems we suffered so badly from when Ventra IP hosted us are now behind us.

Thanks for your patience.


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