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Old April 18th, 2018, 09:17 AM
As many of you are aware, we had a protracted service outage of Hero Lab Online on Tuesday. This outage was not planned. It began due to a misconfiguration by our hosting provider and then became something more serious as we worked with them to repair the issue. While we first thought it would be resolved relatively quickly, that turned out not to be the case. In the end, we were down for close to 12 hours while we scrambled to get back up and running through the early morning hours. We apologize for the frustration this caused our users.

Everything is online and operating normally now. There should be no loss of data and we are working with our hosting provider to ensure that an issue like this one cannot recur in the future.

To those who reported our maintenance messaging error, we extend our thanks. The “down for maintenance” message was not intentional, it is automatically shown when certain conditions apply. Those conditions are intended to occur only when key servers are, in fact, taken down for maintenance and we typically manually update the appropriate links for announcements beforehand. Once everything was offline, our focus was on getting HLO restored as swiftly as possible. The developer in charge of this message was kind enough to log in and update the announcement link for us before boarding a plane during his scheduled time away and even dove in with everyone else to help solve the issue as soon as he was able, which was greatly appreciated by the rest of the staff (Thanks David!). Ensuring we have an automated message available for emergencies has been made a priority on our punch list, along with creating the appropriate email lists to reach a broader audience with potential HLO outage updates.

As has been the case for a few months now, we strive to provide advance notice about maintenance downtime and will continue to do so. Typically, these maintenance windows are when we roll out new updates, such as those you’ll see toward the end of April/beginning of May for our Pact Worlds release. We do our best to schedule them during times that minimize the impact on users. We also strive to provide announcements on our forums and social media when maintenance is scheduled, as well as when the maintenance begins and completes. If you see a server proclaiming it’s down for maintenance and no such announcements have appeared, it’s likely an emergency patch that should be quick or something went sideways – as happened yesterday. While we can’t make absolute guarantees that nothing like this will happen again, we are doing all we can to ensure there are no more sideways incidents in the future.

While everyone is still in the free time granted new users during this time of testing and growth, rest assured that adding the ability to grant free time for any such future incident is also on our punch list.

We apologize for the inconvenience this caused our users and want to extend our thanks to those who offered words of encouragement and understanding while we worked. Thank you for your patience and continued support as we move through these growing pains.
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