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Fasthosts in day-long email FAIL

You say 'intermittent.' I say 'You're rubbish!'

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Customers of Fasthosts - the UK-based webhost - have been without both POP and web-based email for much of the day, complaining that such outages have become, shall we say, far too prevalent in recent months.

A half-dozen users have contacted The Reg about the outage, and countless others have complained via posts to the web. According to web posts, the problem began as early as Monday evening.

"Whats going on with Fasthosts, Used to be reliable, now days completely unreliable, must have been down now 5 or 6 times in the last month!" wrote one user. Another says he endured outages on November 2, 9, 10, and 16. And today.

The Reg reported on a major weekend outage in early June, and since then, multiple readers have complained of similar outages on August 26, October 12, and November 16.

Fasthosts acknowledged today's outage in an email to The Reg and said the problem has been fixed. "We did experience performance issues with our email platform today which resulted in intermittent access to the email service for some of our customers for which we apologise," the email reads. "The full service was restored as quickly as possible today and we thank our customers for their patience and understanding. Customers can also rest assured that no emails have been lost due to this service interruption - all emails were queued and delivered at the earliest opportunity."

The company pins the problem on the file system underlying the email platform. It first acknowledged the outage this morning on its "system status" RSS feed, and this too said the problem was intermittent. "Some customers may be experiencing intermittent issues connecting to our mail servers via POP3 and Webmail. Our engineers are investigating as a priority," the company wrote at 8:53am UK time.

But some users question whether intermittent is the right word. "[Fasthosts] have been saying all day that the issue is intermittent but I have over 200 customers who say otherwise!" says one user. "No one has received email today, except 1 client who has received a very small handful! FH are rubbish and there will certainly be a large chunk of those 200 people moving away."

At 4:15pm UK time, the company's feed said: "We are now in the process of restoring full email service to our customers. Service has been restored for a significant number of customers, and we are working hard to restore full access to everyone else." Indeed, though some users continued to say they were without service, others have said their accounts have been restored.

Some users have also said that at various points during the day they've been unable to log onto the company's support site or reach the company on the phone. "As usual phoning Fasthosts is of no use (on hold forever before being told to email by a recorded message which of course you can't)," one user tells The Reg. "Even if you have a Hotmail you need their support PIN, which if you need a reminder needs to be sent to your registered email. So you are back where you started!"

But Fasthosts promises that things will be better from now on. "We sincerely regret any disruption for our customers and have been making significant investment in technology and services over recent months to ensure our new email platform has both stability and high levels of availability going forward," the company tells us. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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