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1&1 botches Microsoft Exchange update

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Budget hosting provider 1&1 Internet has hit problems while updating its Microsoft email platform. Customers have been unable to access web mailboxes for more than 24 hours.

Reg readers quickly spotted the problem and were told that the firm, which also owns gaffe-prone West Country hosting oufit Fasthosts, didn't know when the problem would be sorted.

We received this statement from 1&1 on Friday afternoon explaining the outage:

Some of our customers using Microsoft Outlook Web Access have in the past 24 hours experienced a problem accessing their mailbox. No customers using 1&1's Linux mail servers nor MailExchange customers have been affected.

Following preparations for an update to new software for Microsoft Exchange 2007 Front-end, one server serving the Outlook front-end has partly been inaccessible as a result of a change in its IP address. The IP address of this server was apparently made available too late for some DNS servers for some ISPs, resulting in some hundred customers using these DNS servers not being able to access their mailbox via Outlook Web Access.

The vast majority of DNS servers have already incorporated the change to this Exchange front-end server, however, due to different DNS server configurations run by ISPs and users, a number of users may still be experiencing a reduced performance. Customers experiencing such an issue can try to refresh their DNS cache with the command IPCONFIG/flushdns. An alternative work-around would be to use a different mail-client other than OWA until the DNS-server has fully updated.

We apologise to affected customers for any concern or inconvenience caused by the configuration error.

So now you know. It's not the only time in recent memory 1&1 customers have struggled with email access, mind. ®

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