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  Hosting PhysicsOverflow at Bielefeld University

+ 8 like - 0 dislike

Thanks to Christian Pietsch http://www.ub.uni-bielefeld.de/~cpietsch/ from the library of Bielefeld University, who is also a co-founder of the OpenScience Q&A community https://ask-open-science.org/ (restarted outside the SE network after an unsuccessful SE beta, using support from our side) we have obtained the offer to move PhysicsOverflow to a server of the library of Bielefeld University.

The moderators agreed to accept the offer; thus in the near future, PhysicsOverflow will be migrated to a server at Bielefeld University. To avoid any tiresome administrative procedures or even obstacles, this will at present not encompass an official endorsement of PhysicsOverflow by Bielefeld University. In the long run, obtaining the latter should probably be tried at some point in the future.

Moving to the university library of Bielefeld will have several advantages:

  1. It will do away with the technical issues and glitches caused by our current hosting provider One.com that polarkernel had to deal with without being given proper access to the server.
  2. It will provide direct and personal technical support as well as root access for polarkernel to the new server. This will ease debugging in case of future technical problems with the server.
  3. It will ensure additional support for keeping the PO-server running. As Christian Pietsch is the administrator of the new server, he will be able and willing to help if needed to ensure that the PO-server runs smoothly, for example in case (as last year) polarkernel is on holiday without a good internet connection.
  4. The move will constitute a big step forward to ensure a long time perspective for PhysicsOverflow and towards solving our long-standing issue that there is only a single person who can technically ensure the smooth running of the site.

Generally, users should not be negatively affected by the upcoming migration. Users should hardly notice anything special during the migration - certainly less than in the past during problems with the current provider. In the worst case there will be a break of at most 24 hours until the new domain address has propagated to all domain name servers in the world. However, our domain name “physicsoverflow.org” will not get changed by this migration.

In case of such a break the PO blog


will inform about the current status and what is actually going on.

asked Apr 5, 2017 in Announcements by Dilaton (6,240 points) [ revision history ]
reshown Jan 2 by Dilaton

I personally do not mind, but without an official endorsement by Bielefeld University it looks illegal and thus risky, at first glance.


Thanks for your concerns.

Of course, the necessary people and instances are informed and did give PO the permission to live on the server of the library of Bielefeld University.

But official endorsement by Bielefeld University is more involved administratively, so it will as already mentioned, be a longer term goal.

I would like to clarify the confusion that arose about @polarkernel's use of the word “endorsement”. Of course the management of Bielefeld University Library has given me permission to host this Q&A site on one of the library's servers. In fact they are proud to do so. In due course, we may want to put something into writing. Maybe that unwritten document is what @polarkernel called “official endorsement”.

@ChristianPietsch It was not me that used the term "official endorsement", but it may be a good idea to put something into writing. Shall we discuss this subject by email first?

3 Answers

+ 5 like - 0 dislike

Yeah, PhysicOverflow is back :-)

Thanks for the great work Polarkernel and Christian


answered May 17, 2017 by Dilaton (6,240 points) [ no revision ]
+ 3 like - 0 dislike

Great news! Also with the announcement of the retirement of the cdn.mathjax.org :


Do you think it would be advisable to change the site to allow a different cdn? For example, if you have been using the latest MathJax version (v2.7.0) change

<script type="text/javascript" async


<script type="text/javascript" async
answered Apr 11, 2017 by anonymous [ no revision ]

I know about the retirement of cdn.mathjax.org since a while. Therefore I have installed a local version of MathJax on our PhysicsOverflow server since about a week.

+ 3 like - 0 dislike

Christian Pietsch and me have finally prepared all aspects of the announced migration of PhysicsOverflow to the University of Bielefeld. It will take place at Wednesday, 17. May 2017, starting at about 07:30 UTC. Please save all your drafts before this time. During this migration, we have to shut down the server, move the content to the new server and also move the domain name to another registrar. This process may take up to 24 hours for users, that are far away from Germany, given by the time required for the new IP to be propagated to all DNS servers of the world. We will keep you informed about the status of the migration on our Blog here.

After the migration, Christian Pietsch will continue to keep the server running in case of any issues and will replace me for this task when I am absent. Therefore I increased his level on PhysicsOverflow to SuperAdministrator. He will also be our advisor for questions around our webserver. It is a great progress for me to be released from this responsibility during my vacations and I like to thank Christian for his commitment. Naturally I will continue to take care of the code and its future development. However, on the long run, we will need a replacement also for this job.

answered May 15, 2017 by polarkernel (0 points) [ no revision ]

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