November 13, 2008, 8:30 AM — Barack Obama had a slight advantage over rival John McCain during the U.S. presidential campaign: His Web site was online more often.
In fact, Obama's Web site never went down in the six months prior to the Nov. 4 election, according to Web site-monitoring company Pingdom. "His technical staff has obviously done a good job running his website," Pingdom said in a note on its Web site.
McCain's site did pretty well too, managing to be up 99.96 percent of the time. But it was offline for nearly two hours in total -- never for more than 25 minutes at a stretch -- during the six-month period.
McCain's site used Microsoft's Internet Information Server software; Obama's used something called PWS, which PingDom believes is custom software designed by the site's hosting provider, Panther Express.
Web site uptime was big news in the 2006 midterm U.S. elections.
Two years ago, representatives from U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman's re-election campaign claimed that supporters of his main rival, Ned Lamont, had knocked Lieberman's site offline. Earlier this year a federal investigation blamed Lieberman's own campaign for the crash.
In the 2008 campaign the Internet played a bigger role than ever, and many observers say it gave Obama a crucial edge in mobilizing supporters and raising money.
Pingdom's uptime numbers are remarkable considering a Newsweek report that both campaigns had computer systems hacked by an unnamed "foreign entity" looking to steal information.
In June, the Obama campaign posted an advertisement saying it was looking for a network security expert to help lock down its Web site. The position may never have been filled, as the ad was still live on the Barackobama.com Web site Wednesday.