1000s of websites vanish as TalkTalk lets domain slip
Updated TalkTalk has apparently let the ukgateway.net domain slip from its DNS servers, knocking thousands of small business and clubs off the internet.
The problem emerged on Thursday when sites using the ukgateway.net domain started disappearing, and now the entire domain has vanished leaving the sites orphaned and untraceable, while those who phone technical support are reportedly being told their routers might be faulty.
UK Gateway, the original owner of the domain, was bought up by Tiscali about a decade ago, and Tiscali was in turn acquired by TalkTalk in May 2009. Thousands of small businesses, clubs and personal pages are still hosted on sites within the ukgateway.net domain, and have thus fallen off the internet.
That means that, beyond the Google Cache, there's no trace of Fly Electric (everything you wanted to know about Glow or IC power flyers), David Element's Wildlife Pages (wildlife photographs accompanied by informative text and full species indexes) and the campaign for the restoration of All Saints Leighton Buzzard (arguably the finest parish church in Bedfordshire) amongst others.
Those sites probably haven't gone altogether, but without the Domain Name Server entries which turn written addresses into IP numbers they are inaccessible to those who don't happen to know the dotted-quad for such useful resources as the "directory of choirs, orchestras, chamber ensembles, opera groups, and bands in Cleveland".
Hopefully the outage is temporary; TalkTalk hasn't yet responded to our enquiries. ®
Update: TalkTalk tells us that as of 16.30 on Friday afternoon the problem has been fixed, and so it seems. Quite what went wrong and what's to stop it happening again we don't yet know.
Overloaded business model
Let's see how this works: webhost company gets bought by small ISP which wants to provide cheap webspace to customers as a marketing feature. Large cheap ISP buys small ISP and doesn't understand technical maintenance of webhost maintenance when it comes to costcutting. Skilled staff leave, domain doesn't get renewed, webhost maintenance becomes a liability, pissed off customers left stranded.
Moral of the story - keep your web and email addresses on a domain the registration of which you maintain yourself and which you can move between providers, and if you pay nothing for the service don't bother complaining if your digital assets get consumed and excreted during or after an act of corporate cannibalism.
When I complained about sTalk sTalk's bot which does nasty things (like storing sessions that belong to Talk Talk users and then basically re-running those session when they’re actually still live). I got bounced from pillar to post by people who were only technical because that was in their job title... with their eventual response to my request being "Well its only bandwidth so whats the problem".
Talk Talk as a company are useless and incompetent - and actually sent a debt collector after my parents when Talk Talk in fact owed them money.
"But alas, I doubt I could find a fast, unlimited connection for £15 elsewhere..."
OK, so you've got to decide whether you want "Cheap" or "Value For Money".
Pay the extra and use someone like Zen, and you'll get a reliable connection, with good support on the rare occasion that you do need it.