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#4650 - 10/03/09 08:47 AM Moving a domain name
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
Has anyone any experience of moving a domain-name host?

(It might be better if only UK members replied; or those with UK experience - the technique/protocol/system is probably different in the US.)

Situation: my domain name is hosted by one ISP who also provide business email services. I pay for these, annually. (My broadband comes from another ISP who are totally reliable. The reason for using two different firms is not to have all my eggs in one basket.)

In the last 48 hours, the domain-hosting, email-providing lot have had one of their servers down. Experiments prove that it's the server which handles incoming post (the POP server?) because my outgoing post is performing as usual.

So, for the last 48 hours I've had nearly zero business mail coming in. Sometimes I can fleetingly see the list of emails awaiting on their Webmail on their website. Sometimes I can even open an email on their Webmail despite not being able to download any to myself. Sometimes the mere act of clicking on an email to open it, on their Webmail, makes the connection go dead again.

I've had two long "conversations" with their people on their website using so-called Live Help Desk. That's like wading through treacle too. All they do is say sorry sorry we are trying to fix it sorry sorry. I just hope their sorrow is reflected in a lower bill in January.

Overnight, they'd got in new kit and it worked again. Good. By this afternoon, it was all dead again. Know what? They didn't even realise until I angrily contacted them again. They scurried off to have a look at their POP (?) server after hearing from me and then admitted that the problem had reappeared.

Well, I'm fed up with this. I pay for business email provision and it's affecting my business. I'm therefore thinking of dumping them and switching domain-name hosting and email provision to my other ISP.

HOWEVER, I don't understand the process of switching domain-name hosting. I can not have any interruption in provision. What happens? Has anyone done it?

Thanks

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#4658 - 10/03/09 02:05 PM Re: Moving a domain name [Re: Bensheim]
...JER Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
USA.--When I moved mine (my hosting business ceased doing business and didn't tell anyone), there was less than a day before the DNS registry caught up to the change. Supposedly, the emails would keep trying for a day too, and would not be lost. I don't have a business, and my volume of email is only about 20-30 per day. As far as I know, I didn't miss any. Your new ISP should provide you with name servers names, and mail server names. I would think it would work the same in the UK.

That being said, any ISP can have outages. My Dotster mail server was interrupted twice last week, but only briefly.


Edited by ...JER (10/03/09 02:07 PM)
Edit Reason: added 2nd paragraph
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#4660 - 10/03/09 03:52 PM Re: Moving a domain name [Re: Bensheim]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Generally, the procedure you will follow is something like this:

1. Set up Web hosting on your new service provider. (Note: Web hosting and domain registration are two different things. You will not register your domain at your new provider, nor transfer your existing domain to your new provider yet. You'll buy a Web hosting package, but that's all for the first step.)

2. Upload your Web site files to your new Web hosting package. The new hosting package has no name yet, so you have to upload it using the IP address rather than using www.yourdomain.com or whatever.

3. Once the files are uploaded to your new site, you will either instruct your existing domain name registrar to change your domain name to point to the new site--or, if you have access to the DNS records for your domain name, you can change it yourself.

After you do step 3, there will be a period of time--usually 24-48 hours--while the rest of the Internet becomes aware of the changes. During that period of time, some people who go to your Web site will see the old server, and some people will see the new server.

4. When the changes have propagated, which will usually be in 48 hours or less, you tell your old Web host to cancel your hosting account.

If you want to, you can also transfer the domain name registration from the old service provider to the new service provider as well. This is not necessary; the hosting and name registration are separate things. You can do it if you like, though, or if you don't trust your old service provider. (I generally like to keep all my domain names registered at the same place as my hosting is done.)
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#4702 - 10/05/09 11:55 AM Re: Moving a domain name [Re: tacit]
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
Thank you for your notes, Tacit. I do appreciate you replying to me at such length. However, no website file movements will be required.

Regarding my business email service provider, six days later, yes SIX DAYS later, with only fleetingly intermittent or zero service, they have finally posted a notice on their Support page. This is because I asked them three times why they had not bothered to keep their customers informed. It is as follows, and I would really like to hear FTM peoples' views on this:

Please bear in mind that we had to wait six days for proper information.

Hardware issues are affecting email access for some hosting customers.

Dear Silverserve hosting customers,

We are currently experiencing issues with one of our hosting servers, garm.silverserve.com. During the evening of Wednesday, 2009-09-30, one of the disk drives in the RAID storage array attached to this server failed. This type of failure is not unusual, and normally the array switches to a spare drive transparently and our engineers replace the failed unit without an outage. However, an unusual set of circumstances have caused the drive array to operate more slowly while it switches to using the replacement drive. This in turn has caused email retrieval to be slow for most POP customers on this server. Customers on other servers are not affected.

We assure you that no email has been lost, only delayed in its delivery to you.

We have temporarily limited the number of connections the server will accept until the drive array finishes rebuilding. This is expected to finish tonight, at which point normal service will resume.

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.



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#4707 - 10/05/09 12:39 PM Re: Moving a domain name [Re: Bensheim]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
However, an unusual set of circumstances have caused the drive array to operate more slowly while it switches to using the replacement drive. This in turn has caused email retrieval to be slow for most POP customers on this server.

It's very normal for raid performance to stink while its rebuilding a missing slice, particularly if you don't have a high end (totally hardware-based) raid. Linux JBOD raids can be very very slow to rebuild especially if they were made incorrectly.

One can only assume they have a (possibly very reliable) raid that's not meant for high availability during a rebuild, which is a really bad choice for an email provider with clients that expect a lot of 9's.

It's also possible the raid is suffering a multiple simultaneous failure, or that they do in fact not have a safe raid and are actually in the process of restoring from backup while trying to hide the fact. Some of those backup tapes can take quite awhile to reload.

All of that be as it may, there's not nececessarily reason for "some" of their customers to have slow access unless their customer base is split across several raids. (which is quite possible) It's much more common for hosts to say "some" or "a small number of our customer are..." when they mean everybody.
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#4709 - 10/05/09 01:09 PM Re: Moving a domain name [Re: Virtual1]
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
Virtual, Hi

I've read your reply twice.

SO, in English, they're alarmed, right? They're disturbed, yes? They're really surprised and don't know how to fix this?

Looks like that to me.

As to the "all your emails are safe" and "sorry for the inconvenience" stuff, there's no point getting copy on deadline six days late, is there? We've had to set up an emergency email - at yahoo which never goes down - and tell people. This makes us look amateurish.

mad

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#4713 - 10/05/09 02:38 PM Re: Moving a domain name [Re: Bensheim]
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
See that "this is expected to finish tonight" in their announcement?

It's 10.30pm here and it's still not working.

You have no idea how pissed off I am, because I have not told you so. They have, however.


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#4729 - 10/06/09 07:21 AM Re: Moving a domain name [Re: Bensheim]
donikatz Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Gotham
And you have every right to be pissed off. It's bad enough for a hosting provider to have one day of such poor performance, but to have it go on for this long means they are incompetent either technologically or managerially. What kinda hack provider can't even DR over an entire weekend? Definitely agree it's time to switch.
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#4732 - 10/06/09 08:58 AM Re: Moving a domain name [Re: donikatz]
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
DR? confused

It's working today. It's all working as it should, at the speed that it should. That shouldn't be remark-worthy, should it?

<rolls eyes>

Oh, and they did not publish my response on their support page. I'm not surprised.

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#4740 - 10/06/09 12:28 PM Re: Moving a domain name [Re: Bensheim]
donikatz Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Gotham
Glad you're back up. If after all this you still decide it's too much hassle to switch (don't know your business situation), at LEAST demand $$$.

DR = Disaster Recovery. No service provider can possible have a DR plan in which taking a week to recover is acceptable. Even if your server exploded, they should still have you back up in a day max. Clearly they had no plan... and no idea what they're doing. Either that or they just don't care about your business.
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