Wild Ones’ National and Chapter Websites Restored

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Wild Ones’ website host experienced a system-wide outage

On Thursday, Wild Ones learned that its website, hosted by Bluehost, had crashed. This included the national website, as well as our chapter’s websites. Since Wild Ones staff and national officer emails are also located on the server, our email service was disabled as well. On behalf of Wild Ones staff, board, and chapters, I apologize for this disruption. It is unacceptable, and we are taking steps to prevent future issues. Our members and supporters deserve a more stable system.

What happened and Wild Ones’ response

Wild Ones’ website tech support, Rick Sanders, immediately contacted Bluehost. He learned that the company’s entire server crashed, knocking out service to all of its customers, not just Wild Ones. Bluehost was unable to provide a timeline for when they expected to server to be fixed. Rick spent the next 48 hours working with Bluehost’s customer tech support asking questions and trying to get more information.

The Wild Ones website was restored on Saturday, January 18 at approximately 3:30 PM CST. All chapter websites on the wildones.org domain are working again as well. To visit a chapter website, click here for your closest chapter.

Path through a garden

Looking forward: our next steps

The national office’s tech support service is in the process of moving all Wild Ones email addresses to a new Microsoft Office 365 server. This will protect Wild Ones emails from being disabled if our website’s server ever crashes in the future.

Wild Ones is also in the process of migrating all of our wildones.org websites to a different hosting service. We are making this change to improve the security of your personal data, speed up the website’s response time, and reduce costs by 85% at the same time.

Here are some of the key features being upgraded to improve your Wild Ones website experience:

  • Malware Detection and Removal
  • Spam and Anti-Virus Protection
  • Domain Privacy and Protection
  • Daily Scheduled Website Backups (previously done by Wild Ones tech volunteer)
  • Free SSL to safeguard personal information and sensitive data (we previously paid for this service)
  • Unlimited Web Storage that uses Solid State Drives (SSD) for faster website browsing

What this service disruption means to you

Any emails sent to an email address ending in @wildones.org since Thursday afternoon were not received. Senders should have received a “bounce message” informing them that the email was not delivered. If you received such a reply, please resend your email.

If you have joined Wild Ones, renewed your membership, or made a donation recently, there may be a delay in receiving confirmation of your membership or gift. This is because staff utilizes email to send out these confirmations. These transactions will be entered and confirmed as soon as possible.

Wild Ones staff and national board volunteers worked together to post updates about the status of our website on Facebook, both on the public page and in the private group just for members. Social media is another great way to keep up with all things Wild. If you are not yet following Wild Ones on Facebook, please click here for our public page. Wild Ones members can also click here and ask to join the private member group.

Thank you!

We are grateful for the patience of our members and supporters during this communication and information disruption. Our server issues have been caused in part by “growing pains”. As Wild Ones members and chapters continue to reach new markets to share the importance of native plants, our numbers have skyrocketed. Wild Ones membership has increased by 25% in just two years! In the past year, we have chartered four new chapters, including two states where we did not previously have a presence, Arkansas and Maryland.

Wild Ones’ new website hosting system and unlimited web storage will enable the organization to continue adding more educational information about the crucial role native plants play in the health of the environment. Thank you all for following this path with us, and for your commitment to make a difference every day. We are truly grateful for your support of both Wild Ones and the environment!

Stone path through garden

One Response to “Wild Ones’ National and Chapter Websites Restored”

  1. Pat Clancy

    I am sharing this by e-mail with my chapter board members. I did not see it in my e-mail before, just saw a Facebook post here. I am distressed that this is the second major crash in two years! I know the tech support committee went through a major overhaul of the website when the last crash happened, and to have it all fall apart again is not good. I hope this new server with prove safer and more efficient.

    Greater DuPage Chapter President