("tl;dr at the end, for all the lazy ones^^)
Okay, Fur Affinity is back online, it took quite some time and I’m sure it was hard work for the stuff, but yeah, “we” are back up.
But, once again, as with previous outages before, we should learn from this. This will especially regard artists, but in general most users as well. And as said in the title, this is NOT a rant, does not only apply to FA, and is, well, just something to consider.
So, FA was offline. Any website could face such a problem, and most likely every website will at some point, because there will always be hardware failures, there will always be hacker attacks, and there will always be too many people trying to access the same ressources.
So, you this is stuff you should always consider, especially if you’re an artist doing commissions, or general stuff with a financial aspect included:
ALWAYS have off-site contact information of your customers, people YOU work for, or the artists you commission, that work “for you”.
You set a deadline for a birthday commission and the artist agreed? You are said artist and don’t want to let your customer down? Well, you WILL, once the site goes offline, you have no contact info like e-mail addresses, and that deadline passes before the site is back up. Such a case is sad and it can easily be prevented. Always have SOME way to contact such people. E-Mail is great, because it additionally supports direct file sending, but in the end everything that allows you to communicate in any way is okay.
Do keep your commission list and descriptions off-site. Be it your general progress (“Commission for RandomUser123 = 20% finished), or the full description you got from your customer.
Simple, once again. It’s important in general, but ESPECIALLY if you agreed to some deadline. If a customer sent you the commission description, save it somewhere safe. Be it your e-mail inbox, some cloud storage, printed sheets of paper, whatever. Sure, your e-mail provider might also be offline, but let’s face it, chances that Google Mail will be offline for a long period of time is much smaller than the same thing happening to your everyday furry gallery. Just make sure it’s safe, you have copies, or something else that can save your ass. It will be quite embarrassing to admit you missed your deadline because you “lost” the description. Even worse, when you totally forget about an already paid commission.
In addition to that: If you’re a friend of cloud-storage that supports sharing and/or collaboration, this might also grant you nice features for you and your commissioner/artist: Live-discussions directly inside the commission descriptions, IF you want, up-to-date info on the progress, and, as the artist, editing the file spares you from always sending a new status-update by mail to your customer. (You should both, of course, agree on that in advance, though.)
Save finished commissions somewhere else besides your website gallery, at least until the customer successfully received it.
I think most people keep the files on their HDD, at least for some time, but still: Sometimes a website is just down for a bit, has proper backups, and soon everything is okay again. But SOMETIMES data is lost. And you sure understand that a customer will not be happy about an old “here’s your pic” link he can finally read after a site is back up which links to...nowhere, as the image in question was lost in the downtime. And even if it’s “not your fault”, it won’t feel very good to tell that person you have no copy of the file left anywhere.
So, yeah, I guess those are the important points.
As I said, not a rant, this can and most likely will happen to all sites at some point and YOU, no, WE all should be prepared for that.
Keep the dangers in mind, and remember the importance of this: redundancy.
Always have backups, always have a “plan B”.
Asking for an e-mail address and keeping it saved for a month isn’t very hard and your customers will be happy and have an even better opinion about you.
That’s it, my thoughts on this, I hope some of you agree, and I hope none of you lost or missed anything in the downtime.
Keep files, commission- and contact info redundant and safe, don’t rely on the services of a single site, and you and your customers will be all happy.^^