It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
Okay maybe I am exaggerating a bit but I was long overdue in changing hosting providers. Let’s just say that I am not a big fan of elephant hunting. Enough said. I figured it was also time for a blog theme refresh so I threw caution to the wind and applied a facelift after I moved the content to the new provider. Moving the blog contents from one hosting provider to another turned out to be relatively straight forward and quick. Ditto on applying a new Theme. Ditto again on transferring the domain ownership of infoboxinc.com. Reconfiguring all the widgets and plugins? Uhhh, not so straight forward and quick. Widgets and plugins for one theme may not be compatible or even exist for a different theme. Waiting for the DNS changes to propagate so my domain email accounts worked correctly was nail biting. But in the end, all systems are green. I’m happily motoring away on the new hosting provider so let’s have a Toast to the newly refreshed InfoBox Blog.
So what did I learn in all of this? Despite all the advances in blogging technologies such as WordPress, email hosting such as Google Apps and internet DNS we still operate with the assumption that we don’t need to accommodate any downtime or that we can handle DNS propagation delays.
When I was changing the MX records for the infoboxinc.com domain I discovered that some email sent to my infoboxinc.com email accounts was getting rejected. A quick Google search of the error message turned up the following from Google Apps help information:
Avoid bounced messages after changing MX records
Any time you change your MX records, it can take up to 48 hours for your new records to propagate. The duration varies depending on your hosting company and may be less than 48 hours; however, during this time, mail sent to your domain may bounce. While there’s no way to avoid downtime entirely, there are several steps you can take to avoid bounces during the transition to Google Apps email.
Make the transition during an evening or weekend
To reduce the number of possible bounced messages when you change your domain’s MX records, we recommend scheduling the change for an evening or weekend or other time when your email volume is low.
Wait, what? You seriously expect me to potentially have email sent to me bounced for up to 48 hours while the MX record changes are propagated?
Once all the DNS and MX record changes had successfully propagated and all was working again I finished configuring the blog and was getting my blog writing tool (aka Windows Live Writer) refreshed with the new theme. Again, the inability to gracefully put the blog in some sort of offline mode to prevent the following would be great:
Oops. Pretty sure the temporary post created by Windows Live Writer was not intended to be a Daily Best on the HR Tech Central site. So even though Windows Live Writer created and then immediately deleted a temporary post several feeds such as HR Tech Central picked up the temporary post in that split second it existed.
I don’t think this situation will be changing anytime soon so I guess it’s a fair warning to everyone that although we now expect the internet to work 24×7, the tools that power our usage may not actually be ready for 24×7 use.