Where have all the Web sites gone?

Botched upgrade at Freedom To Surf

A botched upgrade by ISP Freedom To Surf (f2s) is to blame for deletion of all the Web sites on one server.

The sites of those unfortunate enough to use the f2s's server 26 were offline for 48 hours before they were informed that an Apache upgrade had resulted in the loss of their data. No back-ups were kept by the ISP and users were told they would have to republish their sites from their own data.

Instead of their sites, users were faced with the terse message in their home directory: "Due to a critical fileserver error this website now needs to be republished. Please republish your website using your chosen method, either ftp or FrontPage. Our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused. Technical Services, Freedom To Surf."

Both free-hosted sites and paying customers were affected by the problems, and The Register has received a number of emails complaining about the problem.

Chris, a member of f2s' technical support staff, said the problem was limited to one server and was caused by a disk failure. He apologised to users and said the ISP would now review whether it needed to provide back-up services.

The ISP did not purposely delete files but he admitted "its not nice for people to find their files have gone if they don't expect it".

"Unfortunately we had a fileserver failure on one of our web servers. At the moment we currently do not seek authority, copy, archive, externally store or act as big brother to our members' Web server files. In the near future we will be offering the ability for members to choose f2s to manage web file backups if they so wish," he said. ®

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