Whoa. Couchsurfing is dead.

Just got an email from Casey Fenton about how the entire Couch Surfing project just collapsed because of IT problems. First, a hard drive crash, and second, backup failure.

I used the CouchSurfing project to meet some great folks both here in Montreal and during my travels abroad. Recently, during a conference, I was able to stay in Saint-Louis for a couple days thanks to a great family (and now friends) I met on the site. I've helped out and showed around several visitors to my fair city, one in particular who I consider myself incredibly lucky to have met (you know who you are)! :p

Can you grow emotionally attached to a social network? If Flickr went down tomorrow, I wouldn't bat an eyelid. If, all of a sudden, all of these "Blurb 2.0" applications went up in flames, I'd shrug and get back to my work. But CouchSurfing was something different. Casey's brainchild, it was a way to try and make the world a smaller place for those who can't or don't really want to travel and stay in big hotels. I'm genuinely sad about this right now.

An example I often give of the world I'd like to live in is one where "anyone can go anywhere regardless of anything". I'd like to live in a place where a kid in Nairobi can wake up one morning and decide that he wants to visit Brazil today. Obviously we're a long way from that - the market economy doesn't plan for equity. CouchSurfing was a big, big step in the right direction, and we're worse off without it.

I'd like to thank Casey, the entire CS team, and everyone who every registered on the site for being part of that rare something on the web that goes further than generating revenue and profiting off of our content. CS was the real deal - a "web community" - that I've so far never found (or wanted to find) anywhere else.

Goodnight, CouchSurfing. Here's to your spirit sparking up more bright flames to make the world a better place. Now, I'm going to have a drink.

Dear CouchSurfers,

Two days ago CouchSurfing experienced what
could be described as the perfect storm. The database administrators we
hired made two critical mistakes. First, we had a major, avoidable hard
drive crash. Secondly, the incremental back-ups weren't executed in the
correct manner, and twelve of our most important data files didn't

I have been working non-stop trying to
repair the data, but as difficult as it is for me to say, it has become
clear that certain essential pieces are not recoverable. This crash
happened at a particularly vulnerable time, in a transition between two
back-up methods. If the crash had happened a week ago, or next week, we
would have had a different outcome.

It is with a heavy heart that I face the
truth of this situation. CouchSurfing as we knew it doesn't exist
anymore. We've had an amazing two and a half years.

Members write "CouchSurfing has changed my
life" and I know what they mean, it has certainly changed mine and I am
eternally grateful.

My vision transformed. CouchSurfing was
born out of a dream I had to meet the most interesting people in world
and experience their cultures, and it grew into a living, thriving
family of almost a hundred thousand. This community has blossomed in
beautiful ways I hadn't even anticipated. It was no longer about what I
got to experience, but rather, what genuine, heartfelt good this
community can offer the world. We have all opened not only our homes,
but also our hearts, our lives. In sharing important moments, deep and
meaningful connections have crossed oceans, continents and cultures. I
saw in CS, in you, the power to change not only they way we
travel, but change the world itself. Thank you, CouchSurfers. You have
shown me more than I could have even known. Your generosity and spirit
is a gift to humanity.

I have devoted the last three years of my
life to CouchSurfing. I have literally poured every cent I have into
the site. I've sacrificed my health, my time, and my own ability to
travel and meet people. In many ways I've put my life and wanderlust on
hold to build this network. I'm not complaining; it's been a fantastic
ride. As devastating as it is to consider, it looks like the ride is

Life is continuously changing, evolving,
dying and being reborn. After a fire, the earth is replenished; after a
storm, the air is cleared. It feels to me like this loss of
CouchSurfing is how it's meant to be. This crash is like a sign from
the universe. Too many random factors aligned to make it as damaging as
it is, and though I've tried everything I can and engaged the best and
brightest database managers, there's just no way to get it back. In
many respects it's heartbreaking, but at the same time, what we've
built together is not dead, it lives on in each of us. It lives in the
connections we've fostered and the culture we've created. I want us all
to take this CouchSurfing spirit and continue the mission out in the
world. We've all experienced this common vision and the potential it
has to transform the way people relate to each other. Now it is time
for all of us to not bury the dream, but rather nurture it's growth in
our own ways, in new explorations and ventures. We all own a piece of
the CouchSurfing flame, it's up to us to keep the fire going and light
the world. So let's do it, let's light the world! What will you do with
your flame?

Goodnight, CouchSurfing. May our flames burn bright.

I love you,


If you wish to send your thoughts, encouragement or positive messages, contact us at shunyata@couchsurfing.com


Friday, June 30th, 2006
éliz's picture

Dear Casey and couchsurfers,

I am so sad to hear of your misfortune. I had just recently heard of your amazing project thanks to a documentary done about your endeavours, which I happened to stumble upon watching a little bit of tv (something I do very little lately).

I was very much impressed with all the idea, the structure and the concept of your endeavours, just like Steven mentioned, it brought the world one step closer to and ideal I too share... community, making it possible for all to meet and move freely in order to exchange face to face and have a lively experience hands on.

I share your pain and your sadness in seeing a great project, a life mission, die and I wish you all the best in your second life... you are right about the rebirth and the Phoenix...

I unfortunately have not had the pleasure of experience couchsurfing yet, probably never will, since it left, but I have hosted and invited friends from afar, people who knew people I knew... so in a way a small couchsurfing networking without the help of others... see there is hope.. that your idea keeps rolling and I am certain it will!

Thanks for all your hard work and your dedication still!

an admirer,
Montréal, (Québec) Canada

Tuesday, July 4th, 2006
bontour's picture

CS will be back soon - in the meantime i can offer a video on www.couchsurfing-phoenix.com
Greetings from an active CS member.

cya, Marcus

Wednesday, July 5th, 2006
stevenmansour's picture

Yeah, I'm closely following the developments on the life support efforts of the CouchSurfing community. Don't know what I can do to help (besides re-registering, which I did), but if there's anything, let me know.


Wednesday, July 5th, 2006
Élizita's picture

Hallihallo Marcus!

Vielen danke!!! I am so happy that you are giving a second life to Couch Surfing!!! I am even more amazed that it be done in Eisenstadt, the town where many of my friends are and that I had not seen yet.

Although it might be far fetched, if you meet a Cristoph Stasny whom studied Cinema there and would be about 25-27 years old now, please send him my best wishes from Canada!

I look forward to hearing lots more from you, and I am right away going to your website in order to subscribe to your newsletter!

Ser gut und auf wiedershen!
Liesel aus Kanada

Saturday, July 8th, 2006
nelson's picture


The spirit is not dead, and other virtual communities share
the same dream Couchsurfing had.
I'm part of Hospitality Club, a similar club to C.S. whose site
has now more than 160.000 members worldwide.
Take a look, you all are welcome

See you around the globe
(nick HC: nelsonc)

Sunday, July 16th, 2006
stevenmansour's picture

Thanks for the update; I knew about hospitalityclub but never really had a chance to check it out. I will now.

Monday, January 26th, 2009
Amjad's picture

sine last night am un able to open couchsurfing. how it happen and when it will be open.any who give the information please.

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