123 Strikes Again

You may have noticed that some of our sites have not been responding for the last few days. This is because 123-reg.co.uk had a name server outage. They didn’t tell anybody or apologise at all, they just decided that several thousand people could do without their sites for a couple of days. People are generally pretty upset about it – just check out these damning blog entries.

123 have always been pretty useless, but to date I’ve not found anyone offering a decent professional service that also covered .co.uk domains. 123’s big feature is that they are extremely cheap, unfortunately in every sense. This low price means that many of our customers have registered domains on there that we have ended up managing, so we have inherited their choice of registrar and default DNS host.
123 have NEVER responded to my requests for support, and I’ve reported major problems with their web interface many times – despite their takeover by pipex, their web interface has not changed at all (though the shiny home page has). It’s not possible to log in to more than one account (something we need to do often) as their authentication system is totally useless – it’s also impossible to log out (yes there is a link, but it doesn’t actually do anything)! At least there are Firefox plugins to work around their ineptitude.

When transferring domains to 123, it’s not possible to set up the DNS before the transfer has completed (or for them to simply retain existing name server settings – they always reset them to theirs), so it’s impossible to transfer a domain to them without downtime and exposure of a nasty parking page on your domain.

Their “managed” hosting service is nothing of the sort. Steer well clear. I blogged about that quite a while ago.

All this adds up to something that is a lot less than professional. So from now on we’ll be hosting our domains elsewhere, and suggesting that all our customers do the same.

I’m very happy to see that one of the better registrars I’ve used has finally got .co.uk accreditation.
They have a pretty and functional web interface, full access to zone files (if you want it), and they’ve answered every support request within a couple of hours (and with a certain Gallic charm). I’ve also had good experiences with enom.com, though while they are relatively expensive for uk domains, they have a UK support line that’s not premium rate and is actually staffed by people who can do something about your request! The aforementioned blog post mentions Everydns, which looks like something to bear in mind if price is a real issue.