As some US government websites have gone dark during the shutdown, others remain up, and some are up but have notices saying they’re not being updated. It seems like there’s no rhyme or reason to these decisions. So what’s the deal?
"It's that you need people to run them,” a former White House budget official says. In a shutdown, non-essential personnel are sent home, and that includes IT employees. In other cases, websites are managed by outside contractors who can’t get paid without Congressional approval, so those sites, too, go dark.
Basically, until Congressional funding is restored, it is illegal to do anything that would give someone an excuse to ask the government for money when it re-opens—and that includes hosting fees and electricity bills. And the varied responses underscore how confusing and messy it is when the government has to stop usual operations on a dime.