Rutgers Registrar explains limited WebReg hours
Rutgers' Web Registration System is a site needed by all students for course planning and scheduling sign-ups. Despite its importance, the site is not always available.
WebReg is not live 24 hours per day, unlike most websites. It is only open between 6:30 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on weekdays and 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekends.
Mohit Mori, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, was not able to search for courses during the add/drop period on WebReg during its downtime.
“I wanted to change up my schedule, but I wasn’t really able to look at what classes were open and what classes I wanted," Mori said. “I feel like if it’s 24 hours, it would be more convenient for everyone.”
Colin Pieters, a Rutgers Business School senior, has also tried to access WebReg multiple times during its downtime, mainly in an attempt to register for classes.
“I tried to access it after midnight, since I’m a late studier sometimes it hits me that I need to figure out my life at 1 o’clock in the morning, and WebReg is not compatible with my sleep schedule,” Pieters said. “I don't see why it can’t be 24 hours, it's only beneficial.”
WebReg is not live all the time because the the site needs to run backup files for the student record databases, said Kenneth Iuso, an executive University Registrar. This means that any data that may be lost due to an accident is backed-up and saved on off-campus servers between midnight and 6 a.m.
Accidents include anything from building fires, floods, other natural disasters or technical problems that could risk the information on the systems, he said.
The process of downloading the files takes about five to six hours every night, luso said. That data is downloaded to a separate file and shipped off campus so Rutgers can recover the files in case of an emergency that damages the computer system.
“We have had some serious issues at other universities during storms and floods where their administrative buildings were flooded and they lost data in the data files and computer systems,” luso said.
If the administrative service buildings were to ever catch fire, that data could be potentially destroyed, and if they did not back those files, they wouldn’t know what courses students registered for, what grades students had, what financial aid students had or what term bills were paid, he said.
“You don’t want a system where you can lose data and not be able to recover it,” Iuso said. “Certainly fires are a problem, flooding could be a problem and those are the two biggest concerns you want to protect against.”
The data is stored on files that are updated throughout the day, but the files are locked from editing after midnight, he said.
The website also has to be down while these backups happen because the systems cannot download data that is in the midst of being changed, he said.
If WebReg were live at all times, the data would not be backed up accurately because while the data is changing while the system is backing it up. The backup that takes the files would not have accurate data, Iuso said.
WebReg is not the only site that has downtime.
All administrative systems close down at midnight to back up and store their data.
The websites themselves do not go down, but changes to data are prevented, luso said. Students can log in to a website and get information, but anything that could change, including registration and grades, are frozen.
Students can still make requests for a change in the data, but the request will not be processed until the site comes back up.
During the class registration period, WebReg stays open until 2 a.m, longer than its usual run-time.
“I am totally okay with having a downtime as long as I know what time it will be back up,” Mori said.
Nick Huber is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum. He can be found on Twitter @njhuber95Huber.