back to article 123 Reg suffers deja vu: Websites restored from August 2017 backups amid storage meltdown

The UK's self-proclaimed number one website provider, 123 Reg, is having yet another very bad day, although arguably not as bad as those of its long-suffering customers. We're told 123 Reg has hit upon the ultimate method to protect users' website files from hackers by, er, losing them. The hosting biz suffered a storage …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well

    In principle the terms and conditions should clearly state whether backups are the responsibility of the hosting provider or the customer. In the former case, they should state the extent and frequency of backups.

    I've no idea about the specifics in this instance. Was the provider responsible for backups in the first place? (Not that that exempts users from having their own whenever required)

    1. John Lilburne Silver badge

      Re: Well

      It depends is the corruption due to some fuck up at their end?

      My webhost upgraded/moved my website to a new server and in the process only copied over a tenth of a perfectly good database. Now whilst I did have an up-to-date backup, I wasn't going to tell them that. Let them sweat and find the original that they should have backed up before embarking on move stuff about. Took them about a day.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well

        > It depends is the corruption due to some fuck up at their end?

        What does your contract say about that? And are you really in a position where it is more efficient to get into a contractual argument, lost business etc., than having proper preventative measures correctly implemented and tested?

        I would be curious to hear of an example where that may be the case.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Why do people still use 123reg ?

    I suppose that their customers must be those who are new enough to this to have not realised that, as far as 123reg in concerned, cheap means expensive in terms of time lost.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Why do people still use 123reg ?

      Same reason people use the likes of Capita - the bad news stories don't get as far as we think.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Why do people still use 123reg ?

      I only ever used them for domain names, and even now I've stopped doing that and used someone else.

    3. 's water music Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Why do people still use 123reg ?

      because it looks unprofessional to use a facebook page and yahoo email addy for your business?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Contact us at airbus1970@hotmail.com

        > because it looks unprofessional to use a facebook page and yahoo email addy for your business?

        Yahoo email most likely yes (or was that just to signify a generic freemail provider?). Farcebook page, depends very much on the nature of the business.

        Like, for a local business (café, bakery, plumber, toy shop, ...) I would not find it inappropriate, probably quite the opposite as it may be an indication of good resource management.

        For certain activities such as IT consulting, web development, etc., I may be a little sceptic.

        For Airbus or IBM it might show a slightly overzealous approach to IT and communications budgeting.

      2. tin 2

        Re: Why do people still use 123reg ?

        yes but for the love of god use someone else other than 123-reg (and the massive pile of shit companies that 123-reg's owners also own)

  3. Jeyell

    123Reg ?

    1....2....3....Regress.

    1. Richard Boyce

      Re: 123Reg ?

      Rename to Reg321.

  4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
  5. adam payne Silver badge

    Hardware failure yeah that happens but backups dated last year should not be happening ever.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      backups dated last year should not be happening ever

      To be pedantic, yes they should be happening...but so should backups dated last month, last week and yesterday as well.

      1. Anne-Lise Pasch

        To be pedantic, no there should be no backups at 123's end, of anything but the placeholders and hosting configuration as standard. The website backups should be the sole responsibility of the customer... Although this should also be better explained to customers.

        That's not to say 123 shouldn't also offer a proper backup service tailored to the data storage and resiliency needs of each customer, but data should be retained only for the needs and purpose for which it is needed, and that's never one-size fits everything. And having deleted things restored willy-nilly after an outage is a definite no. There's all sorts of possible legal and compliance issues.

        At best, an offline copy of the websites should have been offered to customers.

    2. Remy Redert

      What if you make a back up on 31-12-2017 and your machine drops dead on 01-01-2018? We can make an exception for that one right?

  6. Lysenko

    Clowns

    The fact that a 7-month-old backup is even available tells you all you need to know. A backup (which should be) 34 revisions out of date ought to be squirrelled away in dusty LTS by now - if it exists at all. One (inherited) 123-Reg domain to port away come renewal time and I'll be rid of them permanently.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: Clowns

      Most likely situation...

      Machine died and in the process they discovered that it hasn't been backing up for months. The backup monitoring routine didn't alert them to this because they haven't got one.

  7. John Lilburne Silver badge

    The web is ephemeral ...

    Any data on it has the lifespan of a spooged on wad of tissues. Get over it.

  8. adnim Silver badge

    It is safer to presume

    that any service provider will at some time fail to provide the service that one subscribed to. And despite all the promises, guarantees and assurances they will lose, delete or otherwise destroy your data.

    If it is important data, don't pass responsibility for the back up of that data to a third party who's terms and conditions often protect them from any failure to provide the service.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: It is safer to presume

      As much as I agree; you want to be posting that to mumsnet and places where readers don't understand that, not here where most people do.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: It is safer to presume

        'Fraid so. Users of 123Reg etc. are usually not techies, just small businesses or individuals buying a package like they would buy a new desk. It is sold as a commodity. These people are, if anything, ahead of the curve in terms of tech. They at least are having a proper hosted web site and a domain. But it's a very big curve.

      2. Dr Who

        Re: It is safer to presume

        Agree with Jason. @adnim, at some point you have to trust others with stuff that you don't want to or can't do. Most self employed people will relatively blindly trust an accountant to compile and file all the correct returns and keep them out of trouble with HMRC. If you've ever bought a house, did you make sure you fully understood every last legal technicality of the conveyancing process, or did you trust a solicitor to ensure that the property was legally yours and unencumbered at the end of the process. There are many things that need to be entrusted to others, including rock solid backups if you're not technically minded. The art is choosing good suppliers.

        1. Remy Redert

          Re: It is safer to presume

          Both of your examples, the accountant and the solicitor are legally responsible for any repercussions should they make a (terribly negligent) mistake and should be insured against the costs of any such repercussions.

          When I trust an accountant to do my accounting and he loses the last 6 months of accounts, he has a problem with the tax man, not me. When I trust a solicitor to check a contract for me and it later comes out it has a clause that is severely to my detriment, I can sue the solicitor for the resulting costs and thus be made whole.

          When I trust a hosting provider to host my website and manage back-ups, I have no legal recourse when they fuck up. Since there are no repercussions for failure on their side, I shouldn't trust them unless they've earned that trust in other ways and should assume that they will fail.

          1. tin 2

            Re: It is safer to presume

            "When I trust an accountant to do my accounting and he loses the last 6 months of accounts, he has a problem with the tax man, not me"

            Completely the reverse of my understanding of the situation. I bloody well expect my accountant to get it right, but I'm liable if it's wrong.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It is safer to presume

            > the accountant and the solicitor are legally responsible for any repercussions

            Do you understand the difference between a regulated profession and an unregulated service?

            Here's a hint: an hour with either of my accountant or my lawyer pays for well over a year of web hosting with a quality provider.

            As has been said above, unless your hosting service's T&Cs include server backups and an SLA, you have no grounds (legal, moral, or common sense) to complain in the event of data loss. It becomes just a reputation and customer service issue, if anything.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It is safer to presume

        > As much as I agree; you want to be posting that to mumsnet and places where readers don't understand that,

        And there we go with the unwarranted generalisations. What exactly precludes a highly skilled IT worker from being a subscriber of the website in question¹? As an exercise, you may want to try posting a very technical question there--from previous analogous experience, I would not be surprised if you obtained excellent answers.

        > not here where most people do.

        See above. Works both ways.

        ¹ Curiously, I know at least three blokes who regularly post there but not a single lass. :-)

      4. PNGuinn Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: It is safer to presume

        "As much as I agree; you want to be posting that to mumsnet and places where readers don't understand that, not here where most people do."

        Mmm ... some things are best just forgotten.

        Are you really sure you should be posting that to mumsnet?

  9. Spudley

    I've lost stuff thanks to blundering hosting companies more than once, and not with 123Reg (because I've not used them). I've also been employed by several web hosts. 123Reg is bad, but so are many others. Behind the glossy front-end websites and control panels lies a lot of really crusty old code and scripts that are in desperate need of retirement but are kept running because the devs are too inexperienced to know better and the management are too complacent to care.

    The problem is that bad practice only shows up when things go wrong, at which point its too often late.

    1. tin 2

      Not sure about this. 123-reg's crusty old scripts were a damn sight better than the new(-er) ones they put in. Every now and again some obscure function will drop you back into an old crusty script and everything works great.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For people who've lost stuff like blog posts, there's an outside chance that they may be recoverable via Archive.org. When I lost my blog in a hosting meltdown a few years ago, I managed to recover the text of about half of my posts that way.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "they may be recoverable via Archive.org"

      Not exactly a reliable back-up method, but I suppose it's free :-)

  11. Charnwood

    Even their own Press Release uses the phrase "Our service teams are continuing to help customers restore from their own backups". That's all they can do, is hope the customer had the common sense to keep their own backups, and provide a token gesture of help.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Joke

      "Our service teams are continuing to help customers restore from their own backups"

      Website and email etc on 123Reg must be free (anything more would be fraud, imho), I will check them out ...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: why

    1). As said most customers are only just a little technical.

    2) WordPress is the name of the game and most WordPress backup plugins simply don't (maybe a database here or an theme there, but the number of meticulous backups I trawled through to find no actual complete back up is amazing).

    3) after they screwed something else I got a year's free vps (worth £127 they say) when it's done I'm long gone and only using it for very non critical data/websites.

  13. jb99

    Is it godaddy?

    Is 123-reg part of godaddy?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Host_Europe_Group seems to imply that they are part of host europe which is in turn owned by godaddy? Or am I confused?

    Worrying, after I got fed up with 123-reg a few years ago I started using daily.co.uk who appear, after tracking all the ownership of various companies to owned by the same group anyway and therefore I didn't really move at all :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it godaddy?

      GoDaddy bought HostEurope Group at the beginning of 2017. Daily were acquired by a HEG subsidiary (Paragon, who also own Tsohost and Vidahost) about 3-4 months before that in 2016.

      They are a subsidiary of a subsidiary of GoDaddy. As far as I know there's very little actual contact between the UK brands, they mostly operate independently. I wouldn't take the quality of one to be any endorsement or condemnation of any other. I'd doubt it will remain that way for long however, once GoDaddy get through munching up the Germans they'll probably come for the UK brands.

  14. handleoclast Silver badge
  15. ma1010 Silver badge
    FAIL

    This is what you get...

    ...when you trust someone else do do your backing up.

    If you have a web site or anything else out "in the cloud," you need to take charge yourself of backing it up and keep at least one current local backup, or consider it not backed up at all.

    1. MrBoring

      Re: This is what you get...

      So do you backup your business critical Office365 email/sharepoint etc, drag it all back on-prem ?

  16. Tezfair
    Devil

    it's a bugger when

    your raid 0 on the web server loses a disk

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: it's a bugger when

      > your raid 0 on the web server loses a disk

      Nah, you still have about (n-1/n)*100 percent of the data *and* since now there is less of it, it compensates for whatever impact the disk loss may have on access speed. Look at the bright side, Mr Glass Half Empty! :-)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Server Tools

    I was updating a website (a simple website that grew way too big) on a server 'on the fly', no website is down for maintenance notice here,

    I'd downloaded all the files and was deleting the old files from a root directory,

    I selected files to delete across two screens in the file manager and watched the deletion, as the server tools file manager kept deleting beyond the files I had selected and proceeded to delete all the directories of my new installation. Ahhhh!

    It just kept going up the screen. Ahhhh! Ahhhh!

    It killed all my permissions, almost everything ! 1000's of pages.

    I fired off an email to the admin of the server, but they said 'huh !'.

    So I to quickly download an FTP program and was able to reload everything in about 1/10 of the time it had had taken me to painstakingly upload them using the server tools supplied.

    Nothing beats a local backup.

    Last time I use server tools.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More to come

    The servers that host the 3.5k affected websites are going to get decommissioned anyway, and 123 Reg really really want to force customers to move to newer & more profitable hosting services. I suspect the lack of backups was deliberate. Why spend money on a platform you're going to kill?

    They are even offering affected customers a couple of months free service on the new hosting platform. You would be utterly stupid to take that offer up...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cloudy?

    If 123Reg ever talks of cloud, just think mushroom cloud.

  20. Anonymous IV
    FAIL

    August 2017 backups? Luxury...

    The Windows Secrets forums have just been restored, after at least a fortnight of downtime, to 1st June 2017. Yes, over nine months' ago. It would have been possible to have had a baby in that time...

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