Website hosting provider 123-reg has accidentally deleted an unspecified number of customer websites.
123-reg boast being the largest domain provider in the UK. They also provide cheap shared and VPS hosting solutions from £2.49/month for over 1.7 million websites.
In a recent clean-up error they have accidentally deleted a “small portion” of the 800,000 UK customers websites.
“We can conclude that the issues faced have resulted in some data loss for some customers,” the firm admitted.
What does this mean?
Websites and emails are hosted on specialist computers call servers. These servers are always on and can serve your website to many visitors at the same time.
There are several options when it comes for hosting your website on a server. These range from Shared, where you share space on the server with many others, to Dedicated, where the entire server is reserved for your use only.
The middle ground is a virtual private server (VPS), where the server is split into several virtual servers that mimic the functionality of the physical one.
The company said that a coding error while performing a clean-up operation on their VPS systems has “effectively deleted” their customer websites.
As many companies use VPS servers to host multiple websites, the chances are this “error” deleted many customer websites in one go.
How can those involved recover?
In a statement to the BBC, 123-reg have admitted that they do not have a backup copy of the deleted websites, but are working with a data recovery specialist to “manage the process of restoration”.
As 123-reg offer an unmanaged service, the responsibility for taking regular backups of their websites falls into the hands of the customers. This means there is a chance that a customer who did not backup their solution may lose their website(s) for good.
In the mean time, customers are left without a website to trade from, making a huge impact on their businesses.
“This will wreck my business and plenty of others,” said one affected company.
What’s the solution?
This recent news highlights the importance of choosing the right provider and bests hosting package to ensure your business is protected. For many businesses, a break in website operation can be hugely detrimental. Potential business is lost through missed enquiries, reputation is damaged and advertising investments are lost.
For some business, where the day to day operation of their business relies on access to their website, this damage could be irreversible.
While the blame may be with 123-reg for the coding error, business owners can be pro-active in avoiding total business disruption.
Many business opt for cheap web hosting, either because the don’t believe hosting is a service worth their investment, or because they were oversold on the service they opted for.
Here are our top tips for ensuring you pick a robust hosting solution for your business:
- UK business should use UK based servers.
- Setup automated backups or schedule manual ones.
- Pick a solution with off-site backups – where your data is securely stored away from your live website.
- Ensure a good service level agreement (SLA) is in place – where issues such as hardware failure are resolved within a specified time limit.
- Avoid sharing servers with many unknown websites.
While professional hosting may seem like an unnecessary expense to some, the risks to your business are real. These are not only limited to errors like the above. Website owners are affected daily from malicious attacks, with Wordfence reporting 18000 attacks per minute on their websites, and business owners becoming their own worst enemy when accidentally deleting important data.
Quality website hosting doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many solutions available that balance high level service with reasonable cost. A good provider will be able to advise the best solution for your immediate and future business needs.
Stay tuned for more information on website hosting!
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