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It's amazing that is still a just a note telling Lamont to have his buddies stop attacking the site. As a fulltime web developer, and one who has worked on campaigns, I can tell you it takes all of 10 minutes to fix this problem. If you want to know the details they'll be below.

Update: Joe was using Joomla. What that means below.
Update II: The actual host appears to be MyHostCamp who's site also appears down and just has a suspended page (same as Joe's now). Looks like the host screwed up and JoeMentum decided to just milk it for sympathy instead of simply switching hosts. On the cached version of the MyHost homepage they brag about their great service and their "1.0Megawatt 12 cylinder diesel with a 2000 gallon diesel fuel tank" that helps keep their sites up during a power outage and is ironically nicknamed "Little Joe."


According to this, Joe was using the Content Managment System Joomla. I don't use Joomla or Mambo much anymore (I'm a Drupal guy), but it is possible for these sites to get overloaded and go down. However, we would see a different type of error on the site if that was the case. Joomla would return a MySQL error most likely. The site would be running, but broken. From what is happening on the internal pages it looks like the host shut the site off and suspended it, not that Joomla broke. Still, any competent campaign would have this up within minutes (believe me, you watch your site nonstop in the 48 hours leading up to and including E-Day.). Oh, and it could take them all of 30 minutes to get a thier old Joomla data or even a new site up on a new host.

The Host:

  1. Any decent web host promises over 99% uptime and warns a client when their site is going over their limit and needs to be moved.  Joe could've been on a decent dedicated server for 300-500/mo and not had these problems, but he went for the $15/mo option.  Still the web host would have notified the campaign.
  2. Any decent host uses a backup system that means they can easily move a site to another server in a matter of minutes if there’s a problem.

Reality Check: Even a $5/mo web host won’t let their client be down for a whole day.  It would violate their hosting policy of guaranteed uptime, which they never do.
The Domain:

  1. A domain is just an easier way of getting to the ip address, which is where the files that make up a site are actually hosted.  If the Lieberman site was having problems that couldn’t be resolved on a day as important as this they would have either forwarded the domain, or parked it on a new host and server.
  2. Domain companies say changing the routing of a name (DNS entry) can take up to 24 hours to propogate across the web.  In reality it usually takes 10-30 mins.
  3. I’m not sure exactly what they are using, but the Lieberman campaign ran a PHP site likely with a MySQL database.  Their host would likely make weekly or daily updates.  Many even now have by-the-minute updates of the files.  The campaign would certainly backup the database because it contains all their supporter data.  All of this can be uploaded to a new server within minutes.  Also, even when the front end of a site is down, Admins usually have backend access to the files and database.

Reality Check: A decent webmaster would say, “Screw this, we’ll point the domain to a local computer that we run as a server or get new hosting and point the domain name there.”  It would take an hour tops to be up and running.  Of course, a decent webmaster or management company (like me, for example) always backs up client sites and places the files on a completely separate host so there is a seamless transition if it ever comes to this.  Some very recent data would not be up on the new site, but all content would be and the site would be fully functioning.
The Campaign:

  1. Election Day is a big day for a website.  Sure no money is coming in, but tons of new volunteers are. – well, maybe not for Joe, but for a likable candidate.  The Field Director, Volunteer Coordinater, Webmaster, and DoO spend the weeks leading up to Election Day creating an intake and dispatch plan to handle the confirmed volunteers and expected walk-ins.  The Webmaster is key because many people decide to help on Election day and go to the website to find out how.  A site being down would be a disaster for a regular campaign, but maybe not for one paying all their Election Day “volunteers”.

Reality Check: No campaign would allow their site to be down for this amount of time, let alone on Election Day.

There is no website attack that could keep the site down this long.  Usually the host would fix the problem in a matter of minutes…an hour at most.  If that still didn’t work they could simply move the files and database to a new host and be up and running in no time.
It is clear that regardless of what caused the site to initially go down (crappy cheap hosting), the Lieberman Campaign chose to keep the site down and blame it on Lamont and his Whacky Commie Bloggers -- desperate lies of a desperate man.

The Lie:


STATEMENT FROM SEAN SMITH: "For the past 24 hours the Friends for Joe Lieberman's website and email has been totally disrupted and disabled, we believe that this is the result of a coordinated attack by our political opponents. The campaign has notified the US Attorney and the Connecticut Chief State's Attorney and the campaign will be filing a formal complaint reflecting our concerns. The campaign has also notified the State Attorney General Dick Blumenthal for his review."

"We call on Ned Lamont to make an unqualified statement denouncing this kind of dirty campaign trick and to demand whoever is responsible to cease and desist immediately. Any attempt to suppress voter participation and undermine the voting process on Election Day is deplorable and has no place in our democracy."

Originally posted to jasonwhat on Tue Aug 08, 2006 at 07:55 PM PDT.

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