As Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc along the eastern seaboard Monday night, several news sites covering the storm went down after power failures at the data centers that host their web servers. Outages brought down The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and Gawker Media sites at various times on Monday into Tuesday.
Huffington Post communications chief Rhoades Alderson told Poynter that its primary data center in New York, Datagram, went down, as did the backup in Newark.
"Those host the fronted web servers, while the comments, statistics, analytics and data are all hosted elsewhere in places unaffected by the storm," he told Poynter in an email.
Shortly before noon, Mr. Alderson said in an email to Ad Age that the site was back up but that data-center issues would be "reviewed once we know the site is stable."
Gawker Media founder Nick Denton tweeted Monday night that his company's sites had run into the same problem:
Gawker sites down after power cut off at Datagram, our data center down on Whitehall St. Backup power didn't kick in fast enough.— Nick Denton (@nicknotned) October 30, 2012
For now, Gawker Media sites such as Gawker.com and Deadspin.com are using the microblogging platform Tumblr to publish posts.
BuzzFeed has also had issues. Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith tweeted Tuesday morning: "Buzzfeed's data center flooded out, so our site is live, but static." At about 12:20 on Tuesday, BuzzFeed's homepage displayed a message splashed across the homepage: "We're Up, But Still Recovering From Sandy…Get fresh buzz on our Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook" with links to those sites.
A BuzzFeed spokeswoman said in an email that the site began noticing issues with Buzzfeed.com at 7 p.m. on Monday. "Datagram, who hosts BuzzFeed's servers, was flooded with massive amounts of water in lower Manhattan and lost power last night," she said.
Datagram said in a series of posts on its website that it was battling flooding and fiber outages. "Water continues to be pumped from the basement," it said in an update early Tuesday afternoon.