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2015-04-08 06:17:59 UTC

The Archive of Our Own started out as a pipe dream: What if we, the fans, actually owned the servers that house our fanworks? What if we got to write our own Terms of Service, and weren't dependent on for-profit companies to host our fannish spaces?

Defying the odds, the Archive of Our Own settled into its first set of servers in September 2009. A few months later, the initial framework for managing accounts, posting fics, and exchanging comments was considered ready for public testing: The AO3 entered its "open beta" phase, allowing anyone to sign up for an invitation and create an account.

The OTW's first servers (all two of them)

The Archive homepage when the site first went into open beta

In the last five years and change, we've seen the Archive grow in a way nobody even dreamed of when those servers were put in place. Today, we host over 1.5 million fanworks and count 7 million visitors every month. To accommodate this growth, we've been adding servers and improving our infrastructure along the way.

Three weeks ago, we reached an exciting new milestone in our history. The servers owned by the OTW moved into their very own rack (as opposed to each sharing a space with other servers across the colocation facility).

The outside of the OTW server rack: two rows of cabinets  All fifteen OTW servers in their rack
A close-up of the server rack and a bundle of wires

Now that our servers have a rack of their own, our tireless Systems volunteers are hard at work planning new server purchases to replace some of these old machines. All this has only been possible thanks to your generous donations to the OTW, and from the bottom of our excited hearts, we thank you!