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Fasthosts admits email destruction fiasco

Human error × no backup = whoops

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Fasthosts, "the UK's number 1 web host", has admitted to a botched update to its mail server that permanently deleted customer emails.

The cockup last week was compounded when the firm's backup system failed, meaning about half of the affected emails are lost forever.

Fasthost sent us its side of the story:

Following a human error during an update to our mail server housekeeping processes, a number of Fasthosts Advanced POP3 mailboxes unfortunately incurred a failure resulting in a loss of stored emails. Although approximately 50 per cent of emails were able to be restored from our backup, we regret that any lost emails will not be recoverable.

Unfortunately for the other 50 per cent of emails, the backup processes ran soon after the error, and hence these emails were non-recoverable.

The problem has affected a small number of Fasthosts Advanced mailboxes - not Standard mailboxes nor Exchange mailboxes.

The firm apologised and says its fix means the same disaster cannot happen again.

One Reg reader, who wished to remain anonymous, was using Fasthosts to host his email during an extended period away from home. "It seemed a good idea to have an email account independent of my ISP," he wrote in an email.

He only discovered the loss after raising a complaint with Fasthosts' support, who immediately refunded his subscription.

Fasthosts was recently in the news for its role in the Alisher Usmanov affair. It pulled the plug on two servers after threats from the Kazakh billionaire's libel lawyers. ®

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