Know your hosting partner

Know your hosting partner

Thousands of websites deleted

Did you see the news that 123-Reg, a large domain and hosting company accidentally deleted some of its customers’ websites in a clean-up error? 123-reg, which has 800,000 UK customers and no server backup, said that a simple coding error in its software for maintaining VPS systems “effectively deleted” a whole load of websites at once. One affected customer told the BBC: “This will wreck my business and plenty of others.” One can understand his frustration with having his website removed.

It just goes to show, this sort of thing does happen. And when it does, sited that backup to remote cloud storage like Dropbox, Amazon or our prefered route Stash have nothing at all to worry about. With a couple of clicks they can access their backup, restore the contents and it’s business as usual!

What went wrong?

Websites are hosted on computers called web servers that dish up pages to thousands or millions of people at the same time. Most people host their websites on the basic hosting provided by the likes of 123 Reg. With these they are sharing the server with hundreds and maybe thoussands of other websites.

123 reg

A private server is expensive for more users and a good compromise is a VPS or Virtual Private Server, a machine that can host hundreds of websites, but mimics the functionality of a private server.

123 Reg said it was performing a “clean-up” operation on its systems when a coding error in its software “effectively deleted” customer websites. Since the maintenance mistake was made on a shared server it was able to wipe out many websites in one go. 123-reg told the BBC it did not have a backup copy of all its customers’ data, but was working with a data recovery specialist to “manage the process of restoration”.

“Our basic server product is an unmanaged service and we always recommend that customers implement backups to safeguard against unexpected issues,” the company said. “Customers who had purchased 123-reg backups can be online now.” “Many of our customers keep their own backups.”

The poor customer with no backup are just plain out of luck.

The data loss has left the affected online businesses without a website to trade from and 123-reg has been flooded with messages on social media criticising its limited communication.

One customer noted: “Fault still described as ‘VPS connectivity issues’ when in fact it seems they lost everything.”

“There must be some information available right? What exactly are they working on?” asked another. “We need details as we need to start planning on how to salvage anything.”

“This will wreck my business and plenty of others,” said another affected company.

In an email sent to customers on Sunday, 123-reg said it had “begun copying recovered VPS images to new hosts” and expected some websites to be restored overnight.

It said it would audit all its automated scripts and prevent customer websites from being deleted without human approval in the future.

“The fault was limited to 67 servers out of 115,000 across Europe,” the company said.

“We are investigating the restoration of each VPS on a case-by-case basis and are working individually with customers to keep them informed of the website recovery process.”

Full story at BBC Website.

All Taybridge Hosting plans include real-time backup as well as nightly server backups. We don’t and never have recommended 123 Reg.

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