There may have been an extended website outage this morning from 9:25am to 10:55am Canberra time (11:25pm Friday – 12:55am Saturday GMT) due to a major power outage in Orem, Utah where this website is hosted. At this stage I’m not sure whether this website was completely down, intermittently down or not down at all, but I do know that about half of the Bluehost servers were down.
Bluehost CEO Matt Heaton wrote to customers a short while ago:
This evening (July 14th) from about 5:25pm-6:55pm many of our servers were offline causing significant downtime for many of our users. The outage was due to a severe power outage in the north end of Orem, Utah where our servers are located. We do have UPS backup as well as diesel generators, but at about 5:30 they finally gave out. The power outage
was for much longer than that period of time, but the reserve power was eventually consumed in its entirety. When it rains it pours.
The Bluehost Forums  elaborated a bit, saying that the cooling systems in one of Bluehost’s buildings failed during the power outage, and naturally you can’t run a room full of servers in a rapidly heating room and expect them to continue working.
I suppose that I could look through the logs and work out if this website was one of the severely affected websites or not, but it doesn’t really worry me all that much. Based on statements by Bluehost support people on the Bluehost forums, and the one which follows from Matt Heaton’s email to customers, it would appear that Bluehosy have learnt from the incident and are in the process of improving the contingency systems.
The downtime is extremely regretable. We apologize profusely for the inconvenience to our customers and in turn to those who were trying to visit your sites during the outage. With the fixes we have put in place in the last few days coupled with other upgrades you should experience MUCH better uptime in the future.
Thanks for you patience,
Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com
These things will happen, and in my experience Bluehost is much better than many other hosting providers out there. I trust that they did all they could to keep the hosted websites up and running whilst ensuring the safety of the servers, and that they will learn from the experience.