One of the most comprehensive websites dedicated to post-Revolution Cuban cigars has suffered a complete data loss and is now offline indefinitely, as CubanCigarWebsite.com, a site that was rich with images of countless cigars now sits as a single page of text.
The site has been down since Dec. 7 due to the data loss, and according to current owner and operator Alexander Groom, faces a complete rebuild from the ground up.
“All is lost,” Groom said in an email forwarded to users of the site, including halfwheel, adding that “all data on the CCW server is irretrievably erased.” Groom said that the company who hosted the site told him that the failure was in the software that manages the servers rather than the server itself, and as such the backups that did exist are corrupted and cannot be restored.
While Groom noted that some copies of the site are still in circulation via web caching sites, they aren’t full versions of the site and don’t have a database behind them. He plans to begin an accumulation of these sites as well as files he has held onto himself as the starting of the site’s rebuild, and anticipates uploading a barebones version of the site as early as this weekend. It will be without search functions and some of the more recent entries, but will restore at least some of the site’s content.
He says he will begin the full rebuild during the Christmas holiday with hopes of having something up by the Habanos Festival, which begins in late February. He acknowledged that he isn’t sure what state the site will return in once relaunched and will likely be a bit of an evolution.
While he is aware that it will be a long process, he was also optimistic that it would give him the chance to improve a number of things about the site, such as its mobile functionality and overall performance, noting that the site was built on technology from 2008.
The site was originally launched in 2006 by Trevor Leask and became an invaluable resource to those interested in Cuban cigars. Groom joined the site in 2008 and began moving it to a database version, with enhanced search features added to make finding cigars by nearly any criteria easy, and by 2012 he had taken over the day-to-day operations of the site. In 2014, a collection management feature was added, giving registered users of the site the opportunity to track inventory, write reviews and compile wish lists.
While the broader cigar community will certainly feel the temporary loss of the site, it is the users who built personal online collections on the site that will certainly be most impacted, as Groom said that all the data in the collection management portion of the site has been lost.
Groom was sure to extend his thanks to those who have contacted him regarding the site. “It has made me immensely proud to see how many people from all over the world are fans of CCW,” he added.