Friday, March 4, 2011

Everything's up again!

My web host, MediaTemple, had a severe outage between Monday and Wednesday in which all web, email, FTP, and SSH were offline. That meant I couldn't access email and visitors to my websites were greeted with an ominous and confusing Forbidden 403 error. It was extremely frustrating to say the very least.

What on earth would first-time visitors think? What it made me think was that I needed to be really careful not to put all my eggs in one basket, not on my own computer, not on Google's computers (which hosts this blog as well as my emergency gmail account), or on MediaTemple's.

I'm going to work out some strategies in the next few weeks to figure out how to react to such downtime in the future. Because it will happen again. Suggestions welcome.

Thanks for your patience.


  1. Hoooray! Liz, I'm a new fan, and I've been wrestling with the creation of my first EPUB file this week. You may have been offline, but you still got me through my first project. (You even managed to deliver the indispensable Fixed Layout Miniguide!) So, thank you!

    We're hosted through SoftLayer and haven't had any downtime in the ~18 months we've been with them. But of course, disaster can strike anyone anytime. Someone recently suggested Amazon's cloud-based hosting services as an even better guarantor of uptime. Even if you don't want to move away from MediaTemple, backups to S3 might be a worthwhile addition to your strategy.

    So glad you're back up.

  2. Hi Liz,

    Your book, EPUB Straight to the Point, and the Fixed-Layout chapter have been invaluable tools for creating ebooks.

    There is, however, one problem we have come across that we don't quite understand. We received the following error when submitting via iTunes Producer: ERROR ITMS-9000: "Unmanifested file found /__MACOSX/META-INF/" at Book (MZItmspBookPackage)

    It is our understanding that this file is not required to be listed in the manifest; so why receive the error, and how do we fix it? Thank you in advance.

  3. @Anon: You're right, the displayoptions file does not have to be listed in the manifest. I'm not sure what the problem is... does it pass EpubCheck?

  4. Liz, to manage in the event of a ISP outage separate your DNS account from your hosting and keep a current copy of your site one a backup drive. If your main ISP has an outage you go to the ISP with your DNS account and fire up a hosting account (or maybe you keep one there for someone else). Upload your site and change the DNS to point to the ip address at the new host and you'll be back online in a couple of hours.

  5. Hi Liz,

    This is in reply to the iTunes Producer error:

    The file does pass EpubCheck-1.1 successfully with no error, but it does list one warning which is similar to iTunes Producer's error.

    Item exist in zip file but is not declared in the OPF file.

    This fixed-layout book displays correctly on my iPAD and iPHONE, and all functions seem to work appropriately.

    Appreciate your advice. Thank you.

  6. @Anon: Which item? Is it a DS_Store file or the iTunesMetadata.plist file? The former is an invisible file in each folder in the Mac OS and can get inadvertently added to your EPUB (and of course is not listed in the OPF). To keep it out, use as the second zip line:

    zip -Xr9Dq file.epub * -x *.DS_Store

    (which means "zip everything except those pesky DS_Store files which might be in any folder"

    To keep the iTunesMetadata.plist file out, don't copy the file to iTunes, since iTunes actually adds the plist file to your original EPUB file when you drag it to iTunes.

    If it's some other file, well, does it belong in the OPF?

  7. Hi Liz,

    Reply to @Anon: iTunes Producer error

    The file in question is: file

    The iTunesMetadata.plist file is not in the ePUB and therefore not an issue.


  8. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for all your advice and input.

    I found out my error: I've been using Springy to compress the file into the ePUB, in doing so I failed to deselect Preserve McIntosh Content. This simple oversight (selection box) was the cause of all my problems.

    It is my hope that this will be helpful to anyone that comes across a similar problem with Springy or any other compression software.

    Thank you!

  9. Liz,

    You are a rock star.

    I was working through my epub file - cleaning things up w/ epubcheck & having trouble w/ a warning message about a .DS_Store file. A quick search on Google, brought me to your blog, which clearly and concisely offered a solution.

    Thank you,


  10. hello

    while submitting my epub(mine is an epub3) through itunes producer,i found 3 errors.
    ERROR 1:Apple's web service operation was not successful
    ERROR 2:Unable to authenticate the package:B_FUEL_FOR_YOUR_LIFE.itmsp
    ERROR ITMS-5107:"FuelforYourLife-TheUltimateCookBook.epub:Fixed-Layout books must supply a guide." at Book(MZItmspBookPackage)
    i had tried more than 20 times uploading the same stuff,but i could not upload it ,after that i had tried uploading it on next day,but no luck !!! can any one help me with a solution
    Any help would be appreciated


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