Just when the squad is prepared for the righteous conquest of our movement and the world, the interwebz breaks.
What started as a personal platform soon grew into a large grassroots movement with support from around the globe. People recognized that what we were doing with the magazine was something that the community needed and we tried our best to fulfill the void.
We quickly realized that we didn’t have the capacity to support our rapid growth and that we would need to find a new home. Finally, the day arrived when we were forced from our dreadful shared hosting to something powerful, expandable and dedicated that would accommodate the high traffic load and our high resource usage. That place was Digital Ocean, a self-managed cloud hosting platform.
I’ve managed a server before, granted I was thirteen and it was a Ragnarok Online private server that could host a few hundred players, but it was a server nonetheless. I also had decent working knowledge of Linux and command line after working with Ubuntu for a few years. Hosting a website is the same thing right? Let’s just say I forgot there were lots of other components involved, many of which were new to me, and making sure they all played nicely wasn’t as simple as I imagined.
Startup campaign emails ready, new platform releases ready, and there goes shit hitting the fan. Our server management software didn’t like some of the simple changes I made in the command line and decided it would take a fat deuce on all of our hard work. The crumbling MÜV Empire only had one hope: the Great Magician India.
India had brought us back from the dreadful 500 Internal Server Error after just a few days and we thought we were in the clear. It wasn’t until later in the week that we started noticing some bizarre issues in the backend of our platform. Long story short, our database had become corrupt. Then those fateful words left India’s fingertips, and as I received them on my screen, I knew we had fucked up: “Hey Andrew, do you have a database backup?”
“Yeah, hold on,” I said as I dug through the incalculable folders within our backup space. But of course, the database backups were nowhere to be found, and with our only database left corrupted, our hopes turned toward India’s sorcery.
It wasn’t long before we had realized that our initial recovery efforts were in error; a mistake that would cost us a good bit of money and even more time. In the end, our attempts were unfruitful. We should have known that because the issue stemmed from a conflict with our server management software that their support would cover issues pertaining to their software, and it did. However, even their powerful wizards were no match for our ruined database.
After some deliberation and a few angry wall punches, we knew there was only one option: rebuild our fallen empire. The real question surfaced: How do we rebuild something quickly that initially took us years to make? The answer to this question came in two parts.
Somehow, our original platform still lingered in the ether; accessible by the public and mysteriously complete with full administrative access. Even more incredible was the fact that all of our information remained intact even after such a disastrous failure. However, due to the fact that our database had become corrupt, we had no option but to transfer everything: All the posts, every page, each piece of media, every user account, countless customized settings, and all remaining data, word by word…file by file…manually…by hand….one at a time. Needless to say, this has occupied all of our time the last several months.
The process was grueling, and for the most part, extremely repetitive. Hundreds of hours of selecting the same options, resizing thousands of images, and reformatting broken post layouts. The process went between simply copying and pasting data to working with our server management team to recover things after they’d fallen apart again in a seemingly infinite loop of disasters.
But you’re reading this because we’re here and we didn’t do it alone. Nor could have we. The real help came in the form of donations from people all around the world who believed in our mission, and what we’ve done to get to where we are. People who believe in our mission to create a space for our communities’ internal dialogue: a space for questioning, discussion, creation, and enjoyment. A space to form the collective voice of our community to what often seems like an outside and misunderstanding world.
So thank you, Andrew Juntunen, Andrew Seidenstat, Angie Sherman, Ben Musholt, Carlos Hudson-Bey, Christopher May, Cici Pacheco, Cordelia Storm, Daniel Broccoli, Dominic Soons, Dominik Tujmer, Eric Falquist, Filip Stempien, Francis Lyons, Gregory Milano, Henry Blue, Jacob Carson, Jason Budd, Jason Paul, Jay James, Jesse Danger, Joe Cannato, Joshua Cavalier, Justin Davila, Lonnel Hobbs, Lorena Abreu, Marko Putnik, Matthew Poprocki, Matthew Willis, Max Henry, Meiling Huang, Nikolay Timofeev, Noah Mittman, Roland Hannigan, Sammy Binkin, Sean Murphy, Shaun Wood, Toby Rutter, Víctor Javier Martíinez Villa , Wenxin Yang, Will Endres, and Zachary Kekac. You are the reason why MÜV Magazine still exists. Not only did you keep this space afloat when it was sinking, you gave a new face to our home, as well as helped to provide a ton of new features and a better user experience for everyone.
We know that we cannot do this without you. That community is the key to creating something beautiful for the community, and without you, we would be nothing.
We definitely have learned another important lesson from this, one that we should have learned from our years as creators, and one we hope you may learn from as well: Make sure you have backups and that you have backups of those backups. And while you’re at it, backup the backups of your fucking backups. Like now. Are you backed up yet?
As for MÜVMAG, this is just the beginning. Now that we’re back in action, we’ll need your help more than ever. If you love the things that we’ve done, and will continue to do, please consider becoming a sustaining subscriber or making a one-time contribution to make sure we can continue providing the content you love. If you can’t help financially, share the things you enjoy, become an active part of the community, and just fuckin’ stay tuned for everything we’ve got coming for you.
Illustrations courtesy of Andrew Obenreder and Thamara Monroy