Oct. 30, 2012 — -- It was inevitable. With power out along the Eastern Seaboard for millions of people, the data centers and servers powering many websites were also hit, knocking popular websites offline for hours.
The biggest casualty? Datagram, the Internet service provider based in New York City that powers news sites like Gawker.com, Huffingtonpost.com, and Buzzfeed.com. When its servers went down on Monday night due to flooding, the sites it powered went down with it.
"Unfortunately, within a couple hours of the storm hitting Manhattan's shores, the building's entire basement, which houses the building's fuel tank pumps and sump pumps, was completely filled with water and a few feet into the lobby," Datagram said in a statement on its site. "Due to electrical systems being underwater the building was forced to shut down to avoid fire and permanent damage."
As a result Gawker, owner of sites such as Gawker.com, Gizmodo and Jezebel, also went down late last night. "We're continuing to work on our servers and will be back online as soon as is possible. We miss you already. Stay dry," Gawker tweeted from its account last night.
Gawker switched to Wordpress and Tumblr, different website and blogging platforms, as backups for its site. Gizmodo has been live blogging the aftermath of Sandy on its Sandy 2012 Emergency Site.
"While we're obviously disappointed with Datagram, our priority has been getting back online for our readers with an alternate publishing platform, which we've now done with all sites, thanks to Tumblr," Scott Kidder, Gawker's Executive Director, Operations, told ABC News.
Buzzfeed.com and The Huffington Post were also affected by Datagram's outage. Buzzfeed, a site that has surged in popularity in the last couple of months, was able to recover its full site, though, more quickly than others were.
"Elements of BuzzFeed's site and many story pages are back online, thanks to a Content Delivery Network, Akamai, which hosts the content at servers distributed around the world," Buzzfeed wrote on its blog yesterday.
"Two key things helped BuzzFeed recover: After Hurricane Irene last year, BuzzFeed commissioned an offsite datacenter that replicates everything in near real-time. More recently, the site started using Akamai to cache content. That means that when Datagram was offline, the site and its pages should have stayed up — and many did," Buzzfeed's Matt Buchanan said in a post on Buzzfeed's FWD tech site.
Similarly, The Huffington Post had a backup server in Newark to rely on.
"Between Monday night and Tuesday morning, HuffPost was accessible via a temporary site -- status.huffingtonpost.com -- and writers and editors relied on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter to post stories and information during the storm," the Huffington Post said on its site following the outage.
MarketWatch also went down for a brief period of time, but it is unclear if that was a result of Datagram's outage.
On Tuesday afternoon Datagram had reported that Consolidated Edison and city workers were helping to restore the services and that there were "at least five pumps pumping water from the basement into the street."
While Datagram will eventually come back online, Kidder added that Gawker will be speeding up its plans to have a second data center. "We -- as other publishers -- had counted on Datagram's ability to withstand anticipated natural disasters, which seems to have been misplaced."