I’ve gotten a half-dozen or so emails about this issue over the past few months, so I figure there are probably lots more of you experiencing it and NOT emailing… so I better address it!
Our web servers have some anti-spambot tools running at all times, watching for computers accessing the sites in aggressive ways. See, spambots will sometimes hit Offbeat Empire webpages hundreds of times in a minute, and when several of them do this at the same time, it can threaten to take down the entire server.
Once our anti-spambot tool thinks it’s identified a spambot, it blocks that IP address from accessing the server at all for three days. Basically, a spammer hits the sites too many times, too hard, too fast, and they get locked out.
But some of you readers like to hit it hard and fast too. And sometimes our anti-spambot tools get confuse and misidentify legit readers as spambots, and dark them out. The pages just stop loading. There’s no error, no messaging… there’s just NOTHING. You’ve been darked out.
Now if this happens to you, don’t feel bad! Even members of our staff have accidentally been locked out — it happens. Here’s what to do if you accidentally get darked out:
- Go to downforeveryone.com to make sure it’s just you. The Offbeat Empire is pretty stable these days, but the sites do still have hiccups.
- Once you’ve confirmed that it’s just you, go to whatismyip.com and copy your IP address. It’ll look sorta like this: 12.34.567.890
- Email me letting me know that you think you’ve been blocked out, providing your IP address.
It’s super quick and easy to get you reinstated quickly… otherwise you have to wait three days for our server to let you back in, and we all know y’all can’t handle three days without your Offbeat Empire stories!