back to article 1&1 botches Microsoft Exchange update

Budget hosting provider 1&1 Internet has hit problems while updating its Microsoft email platform. Customers have been unable to access web mailboxes for more than 24 hours. Reg readers quickly spotted the problem and were told that the firm, which also owns gaffe-prone West Country hosting oufit Fasthosts, didn't know when …

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  1. Tom Robinson
    Thumb Down

    It's now just Outlook Web Access

    I've been unable to access my Exchange account from Outlook 2007 since yesterday. Funnily enough OWA is fine for me at the moment, but has been up and down - sometimes I can log in, sometimes I can't.

    Here's what 1and1 had to say:

    "We do apologize for the inconveniences. Recently we encountered some technical problem on our exchange servers but it is now being fixed. Please check again your account and let us know if the problem you have still exist."

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    So much for...

    ...German efficiency - Schlunde are the company who now own both 1&1 and Fasthosts!

    Too much to hope that they'd bash old FH into shape!

  3. simon maasz
    Happy

    In defence of 1&1

    When I retrieve my POP email, I simultaneously access accounts from 1&1, BT and Plusnet, and have done for 7-8 years. Short outages have been most common on BT, less common on Plus and almost non-existent on 1&1 in that time. I also use their hosting service and have had almost 100% up time over the same period. Other peoples experience may differ, but 1&1 works for me, and I have no negative comments at all.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Can't you just smell them?

    All the let's-bash-ms-for-any-reason-we-can-find types who are about to jump on this headline and start screaming about how crap ms are. They probably won't even read the article to find out the problem is with DNS and not exchange in their hurry to tell the world how this wouldn't have happened with osx/*nix/bsd

  5. Robert Ramsay
    Thumb Up

    I also have to say

    ...that I've been with 1&1 for over 6 years now and I've only experienced one short email outage in which time nothing was lost. tinyfish.org has been running on it for two years without a problem.

    I am not connected with the company, they haven't paid me, etc. etc.

  6. Matt
    Unhappy

    @Simon

    I can assure you that I don't share your positive experience. Less than 4 months into a hosting plan with 1and1 I suffered the additional costs of setting up an alternative hosting solution and still paying for my full 12 months with 1and1, transferred all my domains over and left 1and1 hanging. I know they don't care - if they did, they would have responded to support requests when my DNS stopped working, mod_rewrites stopped working (for no reason and with no amends at my end) and various other problems.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't mind problems - problems happen, but when a money-grabbing organisation ignore problems or don't have the infrastructure available to respond appropriately then they deserve everything they get.

  7. Rhyd

    Stuff generally works

    But the support is bloody useless.

    I have a dedicated server support hotline number, whenever I ring it I get put in a queue for a few minutes, then it fails over to 2nd line support in India that check if dedicated server support are available, which they never are, so I get told to try again in half an hour "because there's only 1 engineer in and he's been on the phone for 20 minutes". Rinse and repeat.

    Shouldn't really complain though, I'm paying peanuts for it.

  8. Kwac
    Gates Halo

    @Can't you just smell them?

    erm, no.

    I DO hear the "lets defend MS at any cost before anybody criticises them" fanbois rushing to defend them.

    Shows how worried they are.

  9. Robin Strong
    Thumb Down

    We left 1&1...

    In my previous job, we used 1&1 for hosted Exchange server and there were so many outages we switched to Cobweb. No bad feelings - we went with a cheaper solution and got what we paid for. The more expensive solution was better for us in the long run...

  10. Chris Hardy
    Happy

    Also happy

    I've also been with 1&1 for many years, running a couple of root servers and only had a couple of minor probs. Once i'd spoken with a techie (in the UK!) they were resolved fairly quickly. (one even turned out to be my own fault!)

    Chris

  11. Jodo Kast

    1&1 Customer Service is horrible

    I suffered with them for a couple years.

    They have the worst customer service/tech support I have ever seen.

    They cram 1000+ website accounts on one server. Don't even think about creating any type of SQL web application; their systems are too slow.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    What?

    1. Reduce RR TTL from M to 0 or to an arbitrarily small number N within the boundaries of human patience.

    2. Wait M seconds.

    3. Change the RR.

    4. Increase the RR's TTL from 0 or N to M, if desired, again.

    There. Now, was there any substantial downtime for all that? Nope. The only inconvenience is the possibility that a human will wait just N seconds for service to be resumed (1800 minimum should be fine). Of course you want caches to cache, but neither can you make switchovers without expecting downtime. So use a TTL small enough to both get benefits of caches according to your load while making the vast majority of queries otherwise made to you redundant.

    And a web host should know this. And so should you all, really, which means I'm a sad bastard with nothing better to do than bitch. Damn, nearly nine - better get ready for my weekly nip of nectar and ambrosia at the Three Crowns.

  13. Daniel Noakes
    Thumb Down

    You get what you pay for

    Just goes to show that if you buy a budget service they don't have the time or money to put back in to testing, planning and continued development.

    I work for Cobweb and we spent a huge amount of time planning and testing the first phase of our Exchange 2007 upgrade. BTW, it went without incident.

    www.cobweb.com

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Blackberry

    Just get a fucking Blackberry and let o2 manage it.

  15. Humph

    I've been with 1&1 ...

    For 6 years or so. Back then we were so impressed with them that we started using them for all our client's webspace, email, etc.

    I concede that their "support" has deteriorated quite badly over recent years. When I first signed up with them they had a team based in the UK who were both knowledgeable and helpful.

    These days "talking" with the outsourced providers is an exercise in futility, as they seemingly have no comprehension of basic English, and (this is not really their fault!) I sometimes have severe difficulty understanding them over the incredibly bad VOIP line.

    That said, *my* website(s), email, PHP and databases have been available without noticable interruption for that whole 6+ year period. Sadly one or two of our customers have not been quite so lucky.

  16. Jonathan Jenkyn
    Boffin

    Outlook 2003 fails... iPhone fine

    Oddly my iPhone 3G stopped picking up mail on/around the 7th August, after having been fine until then... I tinkered with it and finally (by adding "exchange\" infront of the username) got the blasted thing to work... then all of a sudden Outlook 2003 on my lappy stopped working, with continual "Please enter your password" error. The DNS flush doesn't work for me. I can pick up mail with OWA... but then who want's to use that... it's a backup IMHO. I'm a bit stuffed at the moment, having to rely on iPhone to send and recieve all my bussiness mail.

    1and1 have been okaaaaaay. Support experience with 1'n'1 ranges from incompetence and ignorance to blindingly fast and informative, but nothing inbetween. This is the 2nd exchange outage I've noticed in the last 12 months.

  17. Andrew Holt
    Unhappy

    IMAP also

    IMAP access is also affected which means I can't get email on my mobile phone. 1&1 haven't been very forthcoming with information which is the most disappointing thing. If Schlund own both Fasthosts and 1&1 couldn't they add an RSS feed like Fasthosts have?

  18. boris24
    Unhappy

    1&1, The nightmare has ended

    Their office dictionary must define the word 'support' as :- To antagonise, to confuse, to mislead, to keep someone hanging on to your premium rate help line for 50 minutes at a time. I cancelled all the hosting and e-mail packages I had with them earlier this year and my life has been joy laden ever since.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft are crap - this is all their fault. Happy now?

    It's also their fault that Russia and Georgia are at war and that Africa is starving and that the moon is too far away to run a bridge across to it.

    I also have them in mind when me and the wife are shouting at each other.

    Here's the clue - Microsoft really are crap but everything is not their fault. Even though it's fun to kick this particular cripple those of us with something other than caffeine and fat in our heads often refrain. Patience, after all is a virtue (and virtue is a grace and grace is a little girl with mud on her face).

  20. Alex
    Pirate

    1&1 terrible

    Are simply terrible.... it's obvious it's a joke.

    Those who say they are happy with them:

    a) Have never hosted with any other company so don't know how much better it could be

    b) Have never rang them

    c) Probably only have a few static html pages up on the web

    d) Are related somehow with 1&1

    e) Have never left them, then been billed 12 months later for a service they no longer have.

    For the rest of us, they are impossible.

  21. Richard Lloyd

    Changing IP address? Listen on both...

    If the new IP address for the Exchange server was in the same subnet as the old IP address, then what they could have done is listen on both the old and new IP for a while until the DNS change had propagated. BTW, someone suggested lowering the DNS TTL when changing IP - sounds good in theory, until you realise that many ISPs cache DNS according to their own rules (often hours) and lowering the TTL actually has little immediate effect (i.e. it's ignored more often than not).

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Poor service - weeks of failure.

    This recent failure is just one of many that we have experienced. We all accept that things go wrong from time to time, but it is the absolute failure of the support team to a) first admit there was a problem (seems to be the default position whenever you report a problem), and b) to be able to do something about it.

    We have been reporting exchange problems for over two weeks and only get told that we will have to wait whilst it is investigated and 'no' they cannot tell me how long.

    This most recent cock-up was not resolved by clearing the cache as suggested and this was pointed out at the time - having attempted to access a clients OWA using a different machine (with their permission) - and goes much deeper.

    They could also have told us that they were going to undertake this upgrade, at least we could have been on stand-by when the phones started ringing.

    The bottom line for me. 1and1 is okay so long as you don't need something sorted. It is cheap, but no longer suitable for business use.

    From September I will be migrating all my accounts elsewhere. I simply cannot rely on these guys anymore.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Still no access

    I still can't get into my email through OWA. Looks like more than an IP propogation issue for some of us.

    Paris, because she never has trouble getting hers.

  24. Damien Jorgensen
    Gates Halo

    ms fan boys worried?

    about what lol

    linux hahahah yer right

  25. Geoff Mackenzie

    Re: Can't you just smell them?

    MS are crap. If an incompetent administrator changes a server's IP address, Linux pops over to the data centre and has a quick read of the sticky label on the front of the server, updates its resolver, allows you to use your mail, and composes a polite email to the administrator advising them to update their DNS servers (enclosing a concise bash script which will handle it, for their convenience). Then it looks up El Reg, searches for a vaguely MS-related story, roots through the comments for a desperate MS fanboy and posts a clever, original rebuttal of his last assertion.

    In the meantime, a daemon (fantasticd) corrects for user error, restores from backups you never made and steals from the rich to give to the poor, resolves conflicts in Georgia, Iraq, Afghanistan (amongst others) to the satisfaction of all parties and deletes the records of innocent people from the national DNA database.

    After bringing down oil and gas prices, patching the ozone layer and re-freezing the poles, a small script called from cron (/usr/bin/awesome) generates blueprints for practical flying cars.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still no access

    Since the 8th I am have no access via Outlook.

    I can access email via OWA or but no IMAP/POP or Exchange.

    1and1 just keep telling me there is a problem and no-one know when it's going to be fixed.

    What the hell can they have problems with that can take nearly 5 days to sort out.

  27. David Torrens
    Unhappy

    1and1 Exchange Email with Outlook 2003 Stopped Working Again

    My Outlook 2003 connection stopped working on Friday August 8th. Came back on briefly on Monday and now Tuesday 12th has stopped working again.

    The replies to my emails to Support were unhelpful. They made no mention of the business about IPs and DNS addresses mentioned on the register page.

    I rekon they have a system on their Email support that gives automated replies. They do not even seem to read the emails as the questions in the email do not get answered. This is no way to encourgae email support in preference to more costly phone support. Consistently the emails are nor read properly.

    While trying to fix what I thought was a problem with my computer I found that the help/FAQ pages in 1and1 for exchange Email were very unhelpfull and inaccurate. They needed updateing.

  28. Nigel Smith
    Unhappy

    Me, too!!

    I've been without Outlook access since Friday - must have spent 1 hour or more on the phone to support since Saturday.

    I got an email back from them today, admitting to the issue with no eta for resolution - just what have they done and why can't they roll back?

    Surely for an organisation of this size, there must have been contingency planning??

  29. Luke Wilson
    Alien

    and the list goes on....

    Since Friday morning I've been without Outlook Client Connectivity, and without everything since Sunday morning, their Support borders on the outrageous !!!! I deliver support to small businesses and would've got no where fast if i delivered a similar level !!!!! I would love to know how such a simple upgrade can be screwed up so badly ????? Golden rule ALWAYS leave a way back !!!!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    and me as well - not for the first time.

    As above I have been without Outlook client access since Friday (only OWA "works") - the same thing happened twice last year as well, but it has never been quite this long. As usual - updates don't make thing better, and before they starting messing around is was working fine ......

    As usual they don't like admitting failure. One email I got told me to "delete everything in my "Outlook Application Data" folders". Hmmmmmmm....

    Jiovidani Usman replied to this one: "I heartfelt apology again for this inconvenience. I have just received a report that the work around that was given to you is not 100 percent effective for all UK exchange customers. Our admins are still currently working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Don't worry, I will monitor this case and if I receive any information within my shift, I will email you immediately for the update.

    Thank you so much for your patience and understanding."

    Then, when I replied one time I got a blatant stalling attempt: "Could you please specify the email address so that we can double check it here.". If they can't work out my email address when I have just sent them an email then maybe they're in the wrong business.... !!!?!

    The latest, received today:

    "Thank you for contacting us.

    The problem is still ongoing and our administrators are currently working with microsoft engineers on how to solve this issue.

    We would like to apologize for the inconvenience.

    If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

    --

    Sincerely,

    Roy Pulvera

    Technical Support

    1&1 Internet Limited"

    Still - at least my webserver is up and running at moment - it'll be that next week .......

  31. David Pithouse
    Happy

    Here's a fix which worked for me....

    After a lot of complaining they said that you can change the servers to exchange.1and1.com in the HTTP server setup for exchange from exchange.1and1.co.uk, they are a bit slower but it works!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Outlook access still fubar

    I lost Outlook client connectivity late last Thursday. I can get in via the web interface (OWA), but as with the others in the same boat, I'm very disappointed with their approach to resolving and communicating their plans to fix - no attempt to offer an ETA. I'm off to sign up with sherweb..

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    That fix works

    Thanks David - works for me! I changed 2 things in the http proxy settings thing from ".co.uk" to ".com" and now all fine - no speed issues or any side effects at all.

  34. Richard Nash

    Clear cache & cookies!!!??

    I had a long & difficult to understand call to the helpline.

    I was told it was 1am in the Phillipines which may have contributed to the confusions.

    Advice I had was to clear cache & cookies - when I said won't that lose all my remembered passwords there was begrudging agreement & I was told to install FireFox. That did work once - but now does (cache & cookies again?)

    Switching to HTTP server setup from exchange.1and1.co.uk to .com sounds an idea - but I'm now sure how.

    I thought advice to clear cache & cookies without explaining the downside was professionally irresponsible

  35. Arran Jamieson
    Boffin

    The fix

    OK - this only works if you haven't messed with everything else and assumes standard setup....

    Simply:

    Make sure Outlook isn't running

    Control Panel

    Mail

    Email Accounts

    Double-click on the Microsoft Exchange account

    More Settings

    Connection

    Exchange Proxy Settings

    then change the 2 ".co.uk"s to ".com"s

    Then ok everything

    Just restart Outlook and make sure the username hasn't been changed, then type in the password and all should be fine.

  36. Duncan Kerridge
    Thumb Down

    .com didn't work for me

    I tried the .com fix and it couldn't find my username on those servers.

    A call to support yesterday had me setting up my Exchange account again on my PC - of course it didn't work, then she goes to speak to her supervisor - 'oh it appears there are some connection problems with Exchange clients', you don't say - why aren't the support staff aware after a week !?!

    Then I discovered that deleting the old Exchange profile and setting up a new one also deletes the local information store - web access still works but for some reason i'm not feeling too happy about having the only copy of my historic emails at 1and1 ...

    And today emails are arriving in a non-chronological order, and some I know have been sent have not arrived at all. Not happy.

  37. Duncan Kerridge
    Thumb Up

    .com working

    Update - the .com fix is working for me now, just have to wait for my mailbox to download again. Thanks David and Arran

  38. Nick Peck
    Thumb Down

    Depends where you are

    2 companies I do support work for use 1&1 exchange hosting

    Same as everyone else it all went wrong from friday morning onwards, with OWA available a short while after - Outlook access still down.

    Their support is hopeless really - bad VOIP lines to poor english Philipines first line support (who try their best I guess). They can't (or won't) give me an expected resolution, their attempted fixes are ridiculous (create new profiles etc), and switiching to the .com server in the proxy settings is not idea as it is very very slow (do a tracert to exchange.1and1.com to see why). Anyone in IT will forgive problems - but I can't abide poor communication, and with 1&1 this is non existant. I have never ever managed to get past 1st line to speak to one of these fabled 'admins' who reside in the land of Narnia.

    Outlook connectivity now works for everyone unless they are connected via BT as their ISP - so it seems there is a routing issue going on. Changing DNS settings to non BT servers hasn't fixed the problem.

    Don't know what to suggest. I hate not knowing info - at least they can attempt to give us an idea of probable timeframe to resolution, but they can't (they never can).

    My clients are forced to use OWA in the office - which is not ideal.

  39. Russell Eagling

    1and1 suggest moving to .com

    Its now 11 days since the service went down - and for the first time 1and1 have contacted me with some information.

    I've copied their email below - but they suggesting the move to the .com servers that Arran detailed above. Why its taken them this long to get round to spreading the good news I don't know. Even the Outlook Web Access that we were using throuhgout the last week has been unreliable over the last couple of days.

    The amount of flak I've taken from colleagues in my office is considerable. 1and1 need to be offering substantial compensation for the hassle I've had from them - let alone the shear frustration of not be able to use outlook for a week!

    "...

    Thank you for contacting us.

    We apologize for the inconvenience you have encountered. We were given updates from our administrators on how you can check your emails now through exchange account set up on Microsoft Outlook.

    Please check the instructions below for the settings that you need to

    change:

    Click Start > Control Panel > Mail > Email Accounts

    * Click the Microsoft Exchange Server Set-up

    * Click on More Settings

    * Go to Connection tab

    * Change the server settings from exchange.1and1.co.uk to exchange.1and1.com

    and from msstd:exchange.1and1.co.uk to msstd:exchange.1and1.com *Apply the changes and save it *Launch Microsoft Outlook again

    If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

    --

    Sincerely,

    Gretchen Lyn Insular

    Technical Support

    1&1 Internet Limited..."

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