The Fair Lawn borough website is on the mend with a new web host after the subcontractor tasked with hosting the site unexpectedly went out of business earlier this week; but the recovery phase could take a while.
For now, the borough has decided to move forward with a shell of its former website, focusing on restoring the homepage with the information it feels is most vital and worrying about the site's look and its internal pages later.
Borough manager Tom Metzler said this week's website failure is likely to expedite the town's recently-discussed plans to move ahead with a complete website makeover.
"There are capital funds available to us to do that so I’m going to make a recommendation to council that we just go ahead and do the upgrade now," he said. "Why not just do it now as opposed to spending the time and money to restore this, and then spending it again six months from now to put the new version of what we’re looking to do up?"
Fair Lawn's borough website and email system went down Tuesday afternoon, rendering the site inaccessible and its email system — used by employees, as well as the mayor and council, to connect with residents — non-functional.
Despite multiple attempts to contact its web host, MJR Solutions, the borough heard nothing for almost two full days. It finally received the unfortunate news from MJR late Thursday morning.
"We have been made aware by our original website host provider that they subcontracted our website hosting to somebody else," assistant borough manager Jim Van Kruiningen said. "That company, they believe, has gone out of business. They’ve just locked their doors, shut everything down and have gone out of business."
Van Kruiningen said the borough was unaware that its hosting had been subcontracted to a third party. He said he had no idea when the contract was subbed nor the name of the apparently now-defunct subcontractor.
Within an hour of learning that its web host had gone under, the borough got in touch with Hawthorne-based Go Big Studios, the police department's website host, to take over hosting of the borough and community center websites and begin transferring over their website data. As of 9 p.m. Friday, the nuts and bolts of the borough website homepage and some internal pages had been restored, but the community center website was still down.
Metzler said Thursday afternoon that he expected full e-mail service would be restored by Monday, if not earlier, and that an unformatted version of the borough's former website would be up by the middle of next week.
"It’ll stay up that way until council either says, ‘No, restore what’s there,' or 'go ahead and spend the money and move forward with the new system,'" Metzler said.
Metzler said at the next work session he'll recommend the council contract with Connecticut-based Qscend Technologies, Inc. to perform the town's website overhaul, which will improve the site's interactivity and allow residents to conduct municipal business from the comfort of their homes, 24 hours a day.
Qscend has 46 municipal customers in New Jersey, including the village of Ridgewood and eight other Bergen county municipalities, Van Kruiningen said.