Updated News websites and other top sites have fallen over, or reverted to 2002-era my-first-blog themes, after their hosting platform, WordPress.com's premium VIP Go service, broke down today.
Readers of the UK's Sun and Metro newspapers, and Rolling Stone magazine, online, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, Quartz, Electrek, among many others, have no doubt noticed the sites no longer display their normal page styles, but rather a default theme, or no theme or any content at all.
Crucially, advertisements do not appear to be showing either, potentially costing the publishers thousands upon thousands of dollars in lost revenue. The outage has been ongoing for at least an hour at time of writing.
"We're still experiencing ongoing issues with the VIP Go platform," the Wordpress.com team said in a status update posted at 1727 UTC. "We’ll continue to share updates as we work on the issue. We’re currently experiencing issues affecting sites hosted on the VIP Go platform."
In further updates as we were preparing to publish this article, the biz implored webmasters not to make changes, or they will be lost during the recovery process:
Update 18:14 UTC: We’re working to resolve inconsistencies across containers for VIP Go sites. Please do not make updates to VIP Go sites as they’re likely to revert back due to ongoing issues. Please also refrain from visiting the Themes page as this will cause the site to load a default theme.
Update 18:02 UTC: We’re seeing inconsistencies across containers for many sites, resulting in intermittent errors or issues in sites displaying the correct information. We’re working to resolve those inconsistencies to ensure full recovery.
WordPress.com parent company Automattic did not respond to a request for additional comment on the matter. Its status page acknowledges a small service disruption to VIP Go but otherwise alleges systems are all normal: we can tell you, they are not. Automattic has also seemingly torn down a webpage listing customer case studies, perhaps in an attempt to shield them from embarrassment, though you can find an archived copy here.
Publishers of the affected sites were, understandably, less than thrilled with the developments...
Wordpress VIP Go outage affecting all 9to5/Electrek/DroneDJ sites currently. https://t.co/PQCWWc50MW— Seth Weintraub (@llsethj) June 11, 2019
We’ve reverted to default Wordpress theme until the issue is resolved.
WordPress VIP sites — including TechCrunch — have been hit by outages. https://t.co/7qd64yn1Bn— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) June 11, 2019
The VIP Go service is aimed at larger sites, and publishers, allowing developers to have more flexibility in designing and managing the look and feel of their online titles. There is no word yet on when the issue could be resolved. This is an ongoing story and we will provide regular updates. ®
Updated to add at 1832 UTC
Some websites appear to be getting back on their feet as the VIP Go team whack their servers back into shape. In an update in the past few minutes, the biz said: "We’re implementing a fix to address the current availability issues on VIP Go. We’ll continue to keep you updated as this fix is implemented across the platform."