Web host goes AWOL after outage

The outage was bad, but being left in the dark was worse, says customer

Wellington-based Allister Jenks has six websites hosted by Waffell, an Auckland company he has been using since 2004. But after a three-day outage, the company seems to have disappeared off the face of earth.

All of Jenks’ websites suddenly went offline three weeks ago, from Saturday morning until Monday night. During this time, and since, Jenks could not get anybody to respond to him about what was going on.

The website only lists a number of email addresses and a mobile phone number, which is inactive.

Jenks emailed every address listed on the website, but the support address bounced, and the helpdesk was non-functioning due to a licence expiry error, he says. A few of the addresses didn’t bounce but no one got back to him.

Two of Jenks’ sites are commercial sites, so the outage may have lead to lost sales and dismayed customers, he says.

Jenks was able to enter a helpdesk ticket on the Monday night, and he demanded a response.

“I got a techie respond saying he was passing it on to management,” he says. That was three weeks ago, and no one has got back to Jenks since then.

Waffell’s servers are in the US, as far as Jenks knows. He “trace-routed” the server on which his domains are hosted and worked out who he believed was Waffell’s host. He spoke to that host provider who said there were no general issues at their end, he says.

Jenks also posted a plea for help on Geekzone.co.nz, hoping that the community there would know something about the company, but had no luck.

Computerworld has also emailed Waffell but has got no response.

Jenks has had minor problems with Waffell before — a couple of technical issues and email outages, he says — but the company would usually communicate around these issues and reply to questions, says Jenks. “On the whole, it has worked,” he says.

Jenks says that the outage three weeks ago was bad, but it is far worse that the company did not contact him to tell him what was going on, and that it has not replied to his emails.

Jenks would have let it slide, he says. But now, he is looking for a new provider.

The company has also been known as Online Web Solutions, but according to the Companies Office that company was struck off the register in 2003. Waffell is not registered.

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