Website Outage

The website was offline for a few hours this morning due to a power outage at Fasthosts – who are the current registrars for the onthefencedevelopment domain. I say ‘current’ registrars because while the outage was due to circumstances beyond their control the fact that it took ALL of their systems offline is cause for concern.

Now, Fasthosts have a number of safeguards in place for such a scenario and these include UPS and Backup Generators which should keep things running in the event of a power failure. So what happened? Well apparently while the backup systems did come online as required there was a ‘networking failure’ which resulted in 1000s of websites going offline and even the Fasthosts website & Status page were inaccessible. Customers had to turn to Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for information – which was very slow to come.

The fact that the entire Fasthosts system was offline means that they must all be housed in a single location, or at least rely on services at a single location. The fact that they could not update their own Service Status page during the outage it a bit of a joke – although fellow customers I interacted with on Twitter was not laughing. Many had eCommerce site which were offline and potentially costing them money while everyone speculated whether the recent bad weather had caused the problem.

While I was not affected to the same degree I was hobbled by not being able to access my issue tracker or source control repository (both hosted behind OTFD URLs). Not a major issue but pretty frustrating.

So I’m now looking to move my domains to another registrar and the favorite looks like Hover (part of TUCOWS) at the moment. I’ve heard good things about them and I’m trying to educate myself a bit on domains and the transfer process to see what I need to do for a smooth transition (not my day job).