Anglican Watch

Episcopal News Service and main Episcopal website have now been offline for more than a week

Episcopal News Service has been down for more than a week

Earlier today, we learned that Episcopal News Service (ENS), the online media face of the Episcopal Church, is offline. The outage appears to be ongoing and related to its server configuration., which monitors sites across the web, reports the site has been down — get this — for over a week. Same for the main site,

Full disclosure: We suspect isitdownrightnow is wrong, due to the limited traffic the church sites receive. The earliest comments we found on reddit are, as of this post, about 17 hours old. Even so, that is a shocking period of time to be down.

For the record, brief outages happen to everyone. But even as tiny as the Episcopal Church is, its news operation should be sufficiently professional that, at a minimum, key people get an alert and bring a backup or mirror site online in 30 minutes or less.

Indeed, Anglican Watch, a fraction of the size of ENS, maintains backup copies and a failover site, plus a hidden mirror site, for these situations. If we get knocked offline—and bad actors have tried to make this a reality on multiple occasions — it’s a small matter to point our DNS records to a backup site and keep on trucking.

We also note that there are no issues on the denomination’s gigabit internet provider, Stealth Communications, which provides business connections to companies in Manhattan.

Thus, we are left shaking our heads. Even as catastrophic system failure should have fixable with 10-20 minutes, simply by pointing DNS records to a new location. (The church DOES have daily backups, right?)

Meanwhile, the church has issued a statement on Facebook that its network is down, which suggests that the church foolishly self-hosts. Far better a secure shared serving space for $120 a month, with multiple redundant data centers, automated backups, and more. As things stand, it looks like the church has been sold a bill of goods — over-priced and unsuited to the needs of a tiny denomination.

So, we hope that folks at our sister publication will be able to come back online quickly. And we hope that, along with funding the canonically mandated database of abusive clergy — which the church thus far has failed to do — the church can spend some of its bloated IT budget to ensure that the publication stays online.

To be clear: Both the failure of the abuse database and the extended ENS outage send loud and negative messages about the church, both to third parties and to members. After all, you can’t spread the Gospel if you have no voice with which to do so. Not to mention that the church still has no presence on social media used by younger persons. (Not that Anglican Watch is exactly great in that space, either, but then we have a very different message than does the church.

Meanwhile, get back online, ENS! We need our daily diet of fluff, puff, solar panels and descriptions of meetings with 30 people in them.

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