back to article Fasthosts' dedicated servers go titsup

Gaffe-prone web hosting outfit Fasthosts has suffered another major outage today, this time taking down many of its customers' dedicated servers. Multiple Reg readers report that websites and services hosted by the Gloucester outfit went titsup in the early hours of this morning. A status message posted by Fasthosts at 2.59am …

COMMENTS

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  1. Denys
    Thumb Down

    Oh god, not again!

    ...

    "We do understand the inconvenience caused by issues of this nature and will do our best to fully understand the causes of this issue so that we can minimise the chances of the same thing happening in the future."

    ...

    Right.. I think I know a way to minimize those chances...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    took yer time

    I've been waiting for this artical to appear all morning...

    Anyway, we have 15 websites and 3 online stores. All completly M.I.A.

    We were told at 11am that they we're workign on a fix that should rectify the issue within an hour maybe 2. Then at noon they updated their status page to say that they expect restoration "mid-afternoon".

    Paris wouldn't let this happen if she was running the joint!

  3. Neil
    Stop

    As the saying goes...

    you get what you pay for... this is common place for 1&1 , constant screw ups. even when your product does work its overloaded and overheated.

  4. Chris Byers
    Paris Hilton

    EduGeek down since 10:30

    The sooner I get my site off these clowns servers the better. Can anyone recommend a decent server co-location host?

    Paris, because when she goes down no one complains!

  5. Gavin Melling

    Here goes

    We now believe that resolution of the connectivity problems suffered by some of our dedicated servers is not likely to be complete before mid-afternoon. We will update this announcement every hour, on the hour, until the problem is fixed.

    We apologise for the ongoing nature of this problem and do understand the impact of this problem on those of our customers who have been affected.

    Last time I tried talking my manager in letting us take the time & effort to move. This time I will demand it.

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  7. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    "Mid-afternoon" fix

    They are promising hourly updates on their systems status page and the last one "promises" a "mid-afternoon" fix for all servers.

    Not had a problem with the dedicated servers I run on FH since last summer's floods (then I had 6 hours downtime)....but this is a big cock-up with considerable downtime (3 hours and counting). Not good.

  8. tardigrade
    Linux

    Peanuts and Monkey's Again.

    I constantly get customers coming to me with the latest Fasthosts advert asking me if I will match their budget prices. This is why I wont do it. If you cut corners to cut costs, your screwed.

    @Chris Byers

    Rackspace they don't co-lo your own equipment but supply managed servers. Get a Dedicated Root server with them, backup and a cisco firewall. I used them for 3 years never had any downtime, support and service was always exceptional. I have no complaints about them whatsoever.

    What's the catch?

    £249 per month for 1 server. Real servers and service costs money, but it was worth it.

    ( Note that was 2006 prices don't know what they are now so don't quote me.)

  9. Peter Mount
    Unhappy

    Mine went down about 11:30

    Just noticed the problem when my jabber server went offline about 11:30 this morning.

    At least I don't have anything important on it, and everything is duplicated at home (various open source projects).

    At first I thought it was Level 3 cocking up again (had them send the work's site into a black hole early last week), as the routing seemed to end with them.

    I'm now starting to see FastHost kit in the routing now, but so far not a sausage from them about the downtime...

    Anyhow you get what you pay for, and as I'm not making money from it anyhow I'm not too worried... yet :-(

  10. John Shaw-Miller
    Pirate

    EDUGeek

    Chris, whats your name on Edugeek and I will IM you (when it comes back)

  11. Dave Thompson
    Pirate

    we should have known

    Lets face it, fellow fasthosts users, we should have heeded the signs when they f**ked up our passwords - maybe this will finally spurn us to finding another company who are worthy of our business.

    It's worth paying twice as much for a decent server!

    Skull and crossbones, because Fasthosts are pirates amongst the Internet seas... 'yarr...

  12. Simon Green
    Thumb Up

    Update from Fasthosts

    13:00 The underlying cause of the connectivity problem experienced by some of our dedicated server customers has been identified as a hardware failure in one of our core network switches. We are working to bring the affected servers back online as quickly as possible and now anticipate that this work will be complete within the next 2-3 hours.

  13. Dr Who
    Thumb Up

    Rackspace all the way

    They ain't by any means the cheapest, but they're worth every penny. Even on the very rare occasions when there is a problem (and every network has the odd problem) they are quick to admit to and identify it, quick to fix it, and quick to pay the compensation due under their SLA.

    You're not going to get a Rackspace server for 49 quid a month though, so if your business model depends upon that kind of price you're a bit stuffed.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Rackspace isn't the only option ;)

    I'm sure my hosting company (posting anonymously because shilling / dissing competitors isn't cool :) ) isn't the only one that gets a flurry of new orders following every Fasthosts screw-up. To the guy who's paying Rackspace £250 for a single server - shop around and you'll find plenty of hosts offering fast dedicated servers and better technical support (I speak as a former customer too) for well under £100. But I'd be personally suspicious of anyone selling dedicated servers for much less than £50 in this country!

  15. Chris
    Thumb Down

    Surly...Not again

    When i phoned them around 11 today I was told they didnt know what the problem was or how long it would take to fix! We know how they treat their customers but we cant be expected to give the same excuses to their clients.

    This was the final straw for me. We're moving data centres and co-locating at a place called Node4 in Derby.

    Fasthosts never cease to amaze me! Poor show once again.

    Oh yea, i jsut rememberedm they cocked up once before and I asked about a 'personal engineer' thats supposed to be on hand 24 hours a day (£160/ph).. they didnt have oen available for about 2 weeks from memory!

  16. stmcgill

    Hate them!

    I have recently moved from fasthosts to 1&1 (although I see that 1&1 own them...) My server went down 5 times in 3 months and each time it took 4 days to fix. The last time took 12 days! When you phone you are 25th in the queue and have to wait 30 minutes and then they can't help anyway. Terrible company!

  17. Chris Birch
    Linux

    Another Way

    We used to have a dedicated server from Fasthosts around 4 years ago. It was a server appliance (like a Raq3) but made by Intel and came with a control panel. However, it became apparent that Intel stop supporting the machines but Fasthosts didn't do anything about migration, there were no updates or patches anymore so there was nothing that could be done about security vulnerabilities! Topping off that were various network outages that we felt we had no control over, nor could we advise our customers, so we opted to buy our own servers and collocate them in a data centre. It's been bliss since, 1 outage (during the storm in Dec 2006) since 2004.

    Try searching for "1U colocation" in google, some reputable data centres in the north crop up with reasonable prices.

  18. Doug Bird

    recomendation

    A recommendation for Chris Byers and anyone else: ServerBeach.com

    I switched to them from 1and1 a little over a year ago, havn't had a single problem since, not even a small network blip, not one problem. Also, Gandi.net is offering an extremely promising virtual server hosting product, been using it since its launch. Cannot say enough good things about it, and not a hitch. Planning to migrate 100% to Gandi.net because of the vast price difference (without performance penalty)!

  19. Phill Holland

    monkey farm

    £20 says that a majority of the rejects from the apprentice now work there.

    our servers our down and we are riding the wave of phone calls from our clients. and me as a supposed IT expert can do nothing apart from wait.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I like it!

    Just think, hopefully this will convince several more customers to leave, which will free up some extra bandwidth for those of us who realise: a) you get what you pay for; and b) If something is critical, you NEED redundancy (at a separate site/host).

    From my point of view, they are a decent host for the money. Yes, you could pay more for an extra 9 or two, but price-performance wise they're pretty good.

    We will be staying with them, just maybe looking into a better disaster recovery plan (I'm thinking a mirrored server on an ADSL line, maybe).

  21. Martyn Pearson
    Thumb Down

    claim your downtime compensation (those on SLA)

    You would thinky they would use this publicity to explain that customers are entitled to a days worth of service charge back for every hour down time. That was 10 hours for 3 servers for me. Dont forget about it, claim it, even if it is peanuts!

  22. Steven Hewittt
    Stop

    How....

    Can it possibly take this long to replace a switch?!

    For a start, they should have redundancy on their switches, or at least enough capacity on other switches to place customers back on the net within a couple of hours. Maybe a spare switch onsite...?

    Failing that, then you'd have thought they would have a 4 hour SLA with their switching vendor. (Juniper do one for under £300 for a 3 year, 4 hour hardware replacement with an engineer onsite). New kit in 4 hours, upload your backup config onto the unit and shove the cables in.

    Pathetic

  23. Chris Byers

    @John Shaw-Miller

    I'm Dos_Box

    I look forwards to your PM.

  24. Chris
    Happy

    Fasthosts?

    now THERE'S a surprise...

    Customers, please don't whinge here - by now you should know what to expect!

  25. Rob Scott
    Unhappy

    If you pay peanuts

    We're with Fasthosts because they are cheap, and we needed a reasonably large server (their top size) to test our new domain - see if it was profitable - before investing in a more substantial and expensive server. Unfortunately, we would have got away with today's outage had it happened next month - we're all ready to move to a proper host now we're making sufficient revenue.

    A shame then that this is losing us money hour after hour today.

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  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is a title required?

    I'm quite surprised by this...surprised that they've still got any customers left after their innumerable number of problems in the past.

    Anyone who is still using this bunch of clowns by now surely knows what sort of service level to expect from them, so can't really complain at all when they're getting the expected service.

  28. Andrew Wigglesworth

    An interesting excuse

    "a result of an unexpected hardware failure"

    I thought that the whole point of having redundant architectures etc. was because hardware failures aren't "unexpected", they are inevitable and foreseeable.

    I wonder how Fasthosts are so cheap?

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  31. Brian
    Stop

    SLOWHOSTS

    Any idea when the buffoons will be desciding to put the servers back on line, or can they not afford the 60 per half an hour to pay their staff?

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  33. Ian M
    Thumb Up

    Fasthosts are not that bad

    Well im going on the defence of this situation, problems happen to alot of providers, and just because fasthosts dedicated server network has gone down you lot are screaming your mouths off, well it's understandable, however shit happens at times..... if this happened to another provider like rackspace, you'd all be saying the same, ive used fasthosts for years and years now, and i think their service is great. get a grip people

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    5 nines downtime since 11:30

    The title of this post says it all.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They are pretty bad

    We're using 2 different hosts and had them both for about 18 months. During this time host a has had about 1hr downtime, fasthosts has had (for us, including the password farse), Fasthosts have had about 4 days (I'm not joking) and we pay about the same for them.

    It's not that it's happened this time, it's that it's such a regular thing now and they take ages to fix it every time!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Fasthosts

    I recently moved from Fasthosts to Star (www.star.net.uk) they have been fantastic. No problems with the migration and fantastic support compared with those clowns at Fasthosts.

  37. Scotty
    IT Angle

    If you're looking...

    Never had a problem with 1&1 dedicated servers (windows) in 2 years (have 2 enterprise servers with them) but their technical support are pretty clueless.

    I would recommend memset.com if people are looking around though (I have never had a single unplanned outage in 8 years now - they appear to be a pretty down-to-earth company with a good technical support.

  38. Jack
    Thumb Down

    Never had a problem with my Host

    I've been with Global Gold (www.globalgold.co.uk) for a long time and never had any problems. Not the cheapest, but Its like a few people have said, you pay for what you get

  39. Rob Wood
    Stop

    Good news bad news

    Good: At 15:00 fasthosts tell us everything is back and they should be able to confirm this in 30 minutes

    Bad: its 15:10 and all of our hosted servers are not contactable again... Just after I had contacted our customers and told them that their services had been restored.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    I don't believe it

    Yes any host can have an issue however an issue like a switch going down should be resolved quite quickly, as others have mentioned spare kit on site would be good or at worst quick replacement covered under a maintenance contract. Mind you any decent host would have some sort of redundancy.

    If you have stayed with them through all the recent problems then really you only have yourself (or your manager) to blame. Expect more of the same or move on.

    Yes its a pain to move but better one short organised outage to a better host than problems like this.

    We moved some servers to intrahost.co.uk about 6 months ago and have had no problems since. On the few occasions we have had to contact support they have been very helpful. As well as colo I understand they also do vps and dedicated servers.

    Victor

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  42. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I've moved to Streamline.Net

    It's about £40 a month and I've had no complaints.

    Paris cause she loves going down!

  43. Chris
    Stop

    Whatever you do...

    Do not go with IPowerWeb. I made that mistake and ended up with a server on 1/3 upstream speed, absolutly chronic support and a harddrive failiure, all in less than a year.

    They also got me into some sneaky contract renewal which i promptly got refunded.

    Definate no no.

    Im still moving from FastHosts. Co-lo at Node4 as soon as I can.

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  45. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    www.star.net.uk: Java != JavaScript

    Visit www.star.net.uk with Firefox and NoScript, you get a nice graphic in the middle of the page with the Java coffeecup logo crossed out, and a message telling you that JavaScript is disabled.

    If they can't tell the difference between Java and JavaScript, I'll steer clear...

    http://www.star.net.uk/images/NoScriptMain.gif

  46. Jason Thoms
    Flame

    Ye get what ye pay for.

    So a discount web host goes tits up and people bitch about the money they lost... no surprise there - you should see the status blog comments at Dreamhost when they have a network glitch or data center fuckup... it's insane.

    People pay ten bucks a month for a 1/100th of a server (probably a lot less)... but then they put their business on it? For christsakes... pay a few extra bucks and go with a dedicated server. If you can't swing that go for a dedicated virtual server like slicehost.com.

    It's like not voting, but still bitching about who got elected. stfu and go away!

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Farcehosts

    They probably tripped over some cables in the DC with their massive clown shoes.

    Seriously though, I was with farcehosts for a couple of years and just got fed up with being treated by a pleb everytime my server was down, which was costing my business money. Moved to a more expensive host, but have lost less in the long run and slepp better at night.

  48. Damien Jorgensen
    Gates Halo

    news?

    Is this really news?

    I dont see you reporting when UK2, PoundHost have similar issues, and all these budget DCs have issues

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Jason Thoms

    We rent two dedicated servers from them at a rate of nearly £400 pm, hardly what you'd call budget pricing. Perhaps if I was one of their £3.99pm shared webspace customers I'd be less bothered. As it is, (and as Phill Holland in an earlier post mentioned), I'm left as an IT professional looking sheepish as there's nothing I can do about a bit of hardware somewhere across the country.

    @Steven Hewittt: their website guff promotes the following:

    "Overall maintenance

    In a co-located environment, a company must take steps to ensure they have a disaster recovery solution in place in the event of equipment failure. For a truly robust solution, a company needs, at a minimum, a ready spare for every component in the configuration on hand, as well as level 3 technicians ready to diagnose and address the problem.

    Specialising in dedicated server hosting, Fasthosts has all the necessary equipment, multiple spares of every component and level 3 technicians on hand 24/7/365 to ensure that our customers receive the best service."

    For a fault that was initially logged on their system status page at 2.59am, a 12 hour fix to replace a piece of hardware ("readily spare", one assumes) seems excessive.

    I shall be asking for my compensation as per their SLA, and watch them try to wriggle out of paying it, before relocating to somewhere that actually seems to give a damn.

  50. Gavin Melling

    @Jason

    It's the dedicated servers which went down!

  51. Richard
    Thumb Up

    Still offline - walk this way!

    This probably won't be appreciated because it's a pitch, straight out of the box, but if it'll help get people back online, it's worth it!

    If your a Fasthosts refugee, call Aventure Host on 0870 080 1744 (aventurehost.com) and we'll sort out a recovery plan to our servers or VPS, we've taken on hundreds of ex-fasthost since the middle of 2007.

  52. yeah, right.

    availability?

    I'm wondering exactly what kind of IT folks work for Fastnet. Last I checked, and admittedly this was several years ago, the concept of "single point of failure" was something that needed to be mitigated. So if you have a "core" switch, you plan for when that switch goes dead by having another one available that things can route through.

    Seems that either (1) the IT people at Fastnet were hired because they had newly minted MCSE certificates, but in fact don't know anything about high availability or redundant systems or anything else that makes a quality installation.

    or (2) The IT people at Fastnet know this, but the company is run by accountants who nixed the idea because it was "too expensive".

    Either way, the people responsible for the failure to have realistic backup plans should really be fired for being such incompetent twats.

  53. Robert M Jones
    Thumb Down

    Guess who BT's Webwise site is hosted by?

    Just to add to the general hilarity - BT's Webwise site was having problems earlier today, and it appears to now be hosted by Fasthosts - hence the difficulty. Regular El Reg readers will remember that up till recently it shared IP's with Phorm, 121Media and a variety of other sites with a history of involvement in the lower reaches of the adware industry. If this is the infrastructure BT are relying on for running Webwise on their network, it looks like those browser hijacks that will be needed for the next lot of "trials" could take quite a time to resolve where they are headed.

    Nice to know BT are supporting the "budget" end of the hosting market.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Its all lies

    They say they have fully redundant switches. If thats true then why does an entire network segment go down when a switch dies?

    I have a few domains with Fasthosts, thank God none of them are critical to my monthly income.

    Paris because she probably knows more about web hosting than Fasthosts.

  55. kain preacher

    fasthost

    Has there every been a positive article done about fast host ??

  56. Richard
    Coat

    Re: fasthost

    I'm sure when they do something positive there will be one, one day.

  57. Joe

    Oh dear...

    Just had a first call from a potential customer, and he's talking about his website. So I go on to have a look, only to be met with a "Warning: mysql_connect(): Can't connect to MySQL server..." error. (He wasn't aware of it, either, and says it worked fine on Friday!) So I checked the whois to find the host, and... you guessed it, Fasthosts!

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FastHosts dedicated servers: 3 problems in 2 years

    To be fair to FastHosts, I've had 3 dedicated servers with FH for over 2 years. In that time we had downtime in June 2006 with a fibre-optic outage in the Gloucester area (6 hours), downtime in July 2007 because of the floods in Gloucester (6 hours), and then yesterday (5 hours). Honestly for the price I pay for each server, I consider that acceptable. That's downtime of around 6 hours per year. I haven't experienced any other downtime.

    The passwords fiasco in December affected shared servers in the main, and for dedicated servers we had to make sure to reset the admin passwords for each server which took me 10 minutes over 3 servers to do.

    Other than that I've had constant uptime with FastHosts.

    By the way, when I was hosting with FH using their shared servers, I had nothing but trouble - slow response times with servers and downtime.

    I just want to give a balanced opinion to this thread.

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