Thank You! Thank you to everyone who took the time on Saturday to signup for GoVoluntr and retweet it or re-share it. We cannot thank you enough.
We also have to say sorry. As you probably know, Young and I had been working on GoVoluntr for quite a while. At the time of launch, we had been going just about 30 hours straight – we were exhausted! But, we wanted to get GoVoluntr into the hands of our users.
Around 2:30pm or so, we began sending out invites to those on our mailing lists and some of you got them. (Congrats Suzi for being our very first signup!) Some of you, however, did not. A couple of hours later, we had noticed that more issues were popping up on the server. Users were no longer able to sign up or send invites. We cannot thank you all enough for reaching out to us and letting us know.
After a bit of peeking under the hood, we saw that our server was using over 130% of its memory allocation. We were also running into SMTP errors (that is the thing that sends out your email.)
We attempted to fix the issue by moving the app to a new server and faced the same issues. Can’t seem to create new users or send invites. At this point, some of you were seeing one version of the site and others a different version with different content and we were still running into errors!
After a lot of back and forth with Young and our amazing developer Justin Powers, we were able to narrow down the problem to sending emails. Signing up users and invites all take sending an email. Although we still did not know the problem, we were moving closer. Finally, we had figured it out.
The one place that you say, ‘ah that won’t be an issue’ becomes the issue. Unfortunately, unpredicted or foreseen by us, we had reached the Gmail daily limit for sending emails. GoVoluntr runs its business off of Google Apps, including Gmail. We had used that for sending invites, unaware of the fact that Gmail allows only about 200 emails a day and we had flown past that. Because our site depended on sending out emails and we could no longer do that, the site began to deteriorate.
We have now resolved the issue. We have worked with our hosting company to allow us to send email from our own server. This means, of course, no limits. This process includes obtaining an SSL certificate (it is what provides the little lock icon in your web browser) so we may also see some cool features come out of our shop store.
The short story is we have learned. You need to hope for the best and plan for the worse. You also need to make sure that you know the limitations of your services. So now, you shouldn’t be running into any issues. If you are, please reach out to us with firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com – we would love to hear your thoughts and feedback!
Professional Do Gooder