Lengthy Downtime for Fasthosts

Many sites hosted at Fasthosts, one of the UK's largest hosting providers, were unavailable for about 9 hours Sunday. Fastshosts hosts approximately 560,000 hostnames. The outage knocked out Fasthosts' own site, along with customers including Net4Now, which attributed the problems to a fiber cut at Telewest/BlueYonder. The fiber cut also affected cable TV service to about 100,000 UK subscribers who lost their signal just prior to the start of Sunday's World Cup soccer game, in which England defeated Ecuador 1-0.

Net4Now wondered how a fiber cut at a single connectivity provider could affect so many sites, given Fasthosts' statement that "every server enjoys a fully redundant Tier 1 connection so our customers never experience slow-down or service interruptions." The outage can be seen in this chart of the uptime for Fasthosts' main web site:

Fasthosts web site performance

A dynamically updating chart of Fasthosts' web site performance is available. Continue reading

UK Betting Sites Hit By Outages During World Cup

Several popular UK-based betting online betting sites have been hit by brief outages this morning, interrupting wagering on the World Cup. Sites operated by BetDirect and UKBetting were offline for periods of between 45 minutes and two hours during the same general time period.

Industry observers say as much as £1 billion ($1.84 billion U.S.) could be wagered on this year's World Cup, five times the betting volume for the 2002 event. It's not clear whether heavy traffic was a factor in today's outages, but that type of betting volume makes downtime quite expensive for online bookmakers. Historically, betting sites have been targeted by DDoS extortionists during major sporting events.

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Netcraft offers a web site performance monitoring service that provides detailed uptime charts, along with e-mail alerts when an outage occurs.

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Scoble News Bogs Down Podtech.net

It's not often that a hiring announcement knocks a web site offline. But the blogosphere is abuzz with the news that Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble is leaving to take a position at a video blogging start-up. The news has triggered a burst of traffic to Scoble's new employer, PodTech, whose web site is struggling to handle all that link love. The Podtech.net web site was unavailable early Sunday and offline again this morning. A dynamically updating chart showing podtech.net's web site performance this morning is available.

"PodTech’s site crashed this morning under *massive* traffic surge under the Scoble-effect," the company said Sunday when its site returned to service (but before today's outage). "Slashdot wasn’t a factor, since it didn’t carry a link to PodTech. The site crash was all from massive blog traffic." To date few blogstorms have invited comparison to the Slashdot effect in their ability to overwhelm sites with traffic. Slashdot reported on Scoble's departure, but linked to the announcement on the Scobleizer blog (which will continue, as it is hosted at WordPress.com rather than Microsoft).

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Six Hosting Companies Most Reliable Hoster in May

Ranking by Failed Requests and Connection time,
May 1st - 31st 2006

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Six hosting companies share the top spot this month, with INetU, Hostway, IPower, New York Internet, Pair Networks and Tiscali all sharing the top spot as the most reliable hosting company site this month.

The six-way tie is a first for the reliability survey, as three and even four providers have shared the top position in the past. The showing reflects a strong month for hosting reliability, as the winners each had just 0.01 percent of their DNS responses fail, just a hair short of a perfect showing. All six companies have finished atop the survey at least once previously.

It was a particularly good month for providers hosting their home page on FreeBSD, four of whom (INetU, iPowerWeb, NY Internet and Pair Networks) shared the top spot with two hosts on Linux (Hostway and Tiscali). Overall, five Linux sites are found in the top 10 this month, four on FreeBSD and one on Windows.

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Cogent Network Outages Affect Some Sites

Network services provider Cogent experienced network outages this morning, which reportedly caused broader availability problems for web sites and networks that rely on Cogent for connectivity. Traffic on major backbones appears to have returned to normal.

Cogent's network spans 29,500 miles of fiber and connects with 1,750 networks in major U.S. markets. Our monitoring of Cogent's business web site (cogentco.com) shows a brief outage this morning:

Cogent web site performance

A dynamically updating chart of Cogent's web site performance is available. Netcraft offers a web site performance monitoring service that provides similar charts, along with e-mail alerts when an outage occurs.

WorldCom.com Disappears from the Web

WorldCom.com has been taken offline, erasing the web's last traces of the brand that became a symbol of white collar crime and the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. The domains worldcom.com and worldcom.net have been taken out of the DNS database, meaning requests for those URLs return no response. The domains continue to be owned by MCI, Inc. the WorldCom successor that was bought earlier this year by Verizon for $7.6 billion.

When a company is acquired, its domain names are typically redirected to the web site of the acquiring company to capture potential customers searching for the old URL. Redirection services are freely provided by most registrars. But worldcom.com and worldcom.net have no A record listed in their DNS settings, suggesting the domains have been intentionally taken offline to "retire" the name.

worldcom.com web site offline

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