Friday, June 8, 2007

Domains Finally Fixed

On the sidebar of this blog are links to other blogs and websites. Several of these links failed a couple of months ago while we were on the road. The links are to domains I had registered at I started using RegisterFly more than four years ago to register my domain names and actually had all my domains registered there, about 14. They were very responsive and I liked their services and user interface for domain management. The prices were excellent as well. A good combination.

I liked them so much that when they offered Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting, I signed up. They hosted all my domains for a couple of years and I was really pleased with the service. The VPS cost $20/month and hosted all my domains and provided separate unlimited email servers for each. Life was great.
Something happened about a year ago. Their VPS server crashed and all my websites went down. Now, none of them are vital but I do like them to be working. After several online service requests and numerous phone calls, I gave up on them after a week of being offline and setup hosting at another ISP, WestHost. The new host cost more but I wanted to get on line. I was on the road so the Datastorm Satellite Internet paid off when setting up the sites. Fortunately, I had backed up the sites a week previously so not much was lost that couldn't be redone. Interestingly, one of the services supposedly provided by RegisterFly was daily backups. Guess not!. That was one of the reasons they could not restore the servers. It took a long evening to restore all the sites and some time the next day to update for the lost posts. Then, two days later, RegisterFly emails me to say the server is back up. Unfortunately it's blank and I'd need to restore myself. No thanks!. Another interesting thing is that I had just renewed for another year of service at RegisterFly a couple of days before the server failed. I ask for and got a refund, of sorts. It was a credit for their services.

I still had all my domains registered there and hadn't ever had any problems with that, so I used most of the credit to renew domains. Turns out, I should have used it all. A few months ago, Enom, the parent registrar for domains that RegisterFly was using sent me an email message saying who they were and that they were having problems with and receiving complaints about RegisterFly and were terminating their relationship. I was offered an opportunity to have Enom pull my domain names from RegisterFly and work directly with Enom in the future.

I was a little concerned thinking maybe it was another domain heist effort that many registrars try. But, they were kosher so I agreed. It hadn't been too long since the server disaster and I wasn't interested in staying with RegisterFly, just in getting my moneys worth from them.  Enom pulled the registrations from my account at RegisterFly but there was a problem. Isn't there always? They only pulled about 12 domain names, some of which were no longer mine but were former customers. Six domain names were left at RegisterFly. Evidently, RegisterFly had had to utilize the services of another registrar when Enom started having problems with them so those domains that were left there were recently registered and were not pulled to Enom. No problem, the domains still worked, as did the domains for the former customer.

That didn't last. A couple of months ago, the customer calls and says that their email server wasn't working anymore. I had notified them previously of the domain registration problem but wanted to fix it when I returned home. We worked out the registration problem and they were then ok. But, my domains names that were still at RegisterFly were now reporting DNS errors (couldn't find the host servers) when trying to access the sites. That's not good, but of the domains affected, only one was actively used. The others were either for future use, testing, or little used so I was going to wait until a more convienient time, when I was close to my blood pressure machine to work with RegisterFly to restore them. Note, I had sent them online service requests and tried to phone them when the outage was noticed. Neither was any help.

A couple of days ago, I started to work on this problem again. RegisterFly still hadn't responded to either online service requests nor phone calls. Not a good sign. I eventually found a tiny note somewhere on their site that ICANN, the registration authority for the affected domain names was preparing to pull the plug on RegisterFly and assign the names to goDaddy. I checked the ICANN website for more information. It was almost as confusing as the RegisterFly site in that they had postings and updated postings and it was difficult to determine what had occurred from what might occur. The end result was, I eventually found a link to goDaddy where I was able, eventually, to set up an account with goDaddy get access to the nameservers and reactivate the websites for those domains, at no cost. I say eventually, because goDaddy's user interface is nowhere near as good as was RegisterFly's, but it did work.

One additional problem thrown into the mix was that I had been using RegisterFly's nameservers (that's probably what went down and killed the websites) and goDaddy didn't provide nameservers, except at additional cost for hosting on their servers, so I had to use the nameservers at my web hosting service. GoDaddy just provided the registration and a place to set the nameserver addresses.

The end result is an unnecessary evening's effort and the eventual restoration of the websites. Isn't this fun! I'm leaning more and more to just using the computer as a door stop.

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