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Fire safety gaffe knocks out Webfusion data centre

False alarm triggers mass server shutdown

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A bungling fire safety contractor caused a complete shutdown at hosting firm Webfusion's data centre today, crippling thousands of websites.

The firm's domain name arm, 123-Reg, was also temporarily offline.

"An external third party was carrying out routine maintenance in our data centre, and testing our systems for fire prevention," Webfusion said in a system status update.

"Unfortunately, due to human error, our fire prevention systems were in fact triggered.

"As a result of this, and acting as the system should in the event of a real fire, all of our servers were sent in to a safe mode whereby they went offline.

"Safety is our biggest concern, hence the system is configured to react in this way to avoid a major incident and permanent data loss."

The firm's £2.5m Leeds data centre, designed by IBM, opened in February last year. It disappeared from the internet at around 12pm, and customers are still reporting connectivity problems.

Webfusion said: "We deeply regret any problems this may have caused you, and assure you we are doing our utmost to return to normal service levels as quickly as we possibly can." ®

Update 4.40pm

Webfusion got in touch to say everything is now up and running again.

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