As far as I can tell, FreeBSD 8 tickled something in the driver for my ethernet card, and caused it to behave unreliably. Rather than muck around with half-tested kernel patches or ifconfig settings, I slapped a $30 Whatevertheyhadontheshelf-3000 (read: common chipset that’s been debugged by a lot of people), and as far as I can tell, things are now working as they should. If the site stays up for a year, I guess we’ll know.
I also took the opportunity to add some memory. So whoo-hoo all around.
And while I’m at it, I should point out that FreeBSD is like a VW Bug: not the prettiest thing to look at, especially compared to various Apple or Linux offerings, but in a crunch it’s nigh-indestructible. Wanna run with a root partition that’s over 100% full? Sure thing. Boot a 7.2 kernel with a 8.0 /usr? No problem.