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How 123reg Almost Crippled My Business!

Check out my Google Analytics traffic for this website for the past 2 months. Notice anything?

Disastrous traffic loss due to 123reg error

If you’re a regular follower of this website, you may have noticed the dip in traffic between February 20th and March 11th (2013).

Let me be the first to apologise!

Looking back over the past few weeks, I can feel relieved. Yes, my website was down for two weeks, but it could have been much worse!

The problem: 123Reg!

There was actually nothing I could do to prevent this severe downtime. It wasn’t an issue with hosting, or DNS… I could have fixed that.

No, the problem was that my domain registration company, 123reg, lost my domain name and failed to get it back for more than two weeks.

Here’s a screenshot of my 123-reg control panel, showing my domain as having renewed for another 3 years.

123reg showing domain renewed for 3 years

Update: I had a call with the head of support from 123-reg last week, who told me:

“It’s the customer’s responsibility to manage their own domains.”

… and went on to say that I could have been checking the WHOIS record for this domain around the renewal time, so that I could have spotted when it didn’t work.

Needless to say, this is an unacceptable excuse. I paid 123-reg to manage the registration — and renewal — of my domain name. Why else would I pay? And to suggest that it’s my fault is literally adding insult to injury!

Here’s the support ticket chat from March 1st (after the site had been offline for about 10 days).

123reg failure to respond

That request for reassurance went unanswered! My top comment above was the last comment on the thread.

What’s more, they could not reassure me that my domain name would actually come back online until March 4th — when my site had been down for an incredible 18 days!

123-reg took 18 days to respond

What Went Wrong with 123-reg?

This was the first time anyone had told me what was actually happening. The problem was, as I understand it, that 123reg were changing registrars, and that resulted in a huge administrative mess-up.

You may not know that the company you buy your domain names from is probably not actually a registrar. The true registrars, who can actually directly register a domain name, license their services to multiple other agencies, who compete for your domain name business.

That is part of the problem here. The company whose client I am could not really control my domains. They depend on APIs and relationships with other companies.

I have tried to figure out whether there are any direct registrars out there, from whom we can manage our domains directly, but I haven’t found many so far. (See the comments for readers’ input.)

123reg by Łukasz Bogaczek

Funny graphic sent to me by Łukasz Bogaczek

The Scale of the Catastrophe

Let me outline what I actually lost, to put this into some perspective.

  • First, I estimated that my business lost £200 ($300) in direct revenue for every 24 hours the website was offline. That’s a total of about £3600 ($5200) in lost income!
  • Potentially more damaging is the loss in Google’s trust in my domain. Who lets their website disappear for over 2 weeks!? Traffic to my site last week was 20,251. In the previous full week before 123reg’s failure, I got 27,216 visits. That’s a clear drop of 25 percent! Will that come back? How long will it take to recover? Who knows.
  • The worst-case scenario was that I could potentially have lost my domain name entirely! Because I could not get a direct answer from 123-reg, I turned to one of my other registration companies (thanks Namesco!) who very kindly cleared up what was going on for me. But, as far as they could tell, my domain was at risk of going into “pending delete” status, at which point it would not have been recoverable. That means someone else could have bagged it on a back-order, and I would have lost an asset worth (at the very least), $100,000! It is no exaggeration to say that that would have crippled my business!
  • Plus, there’s the hit that my mailing list took. I depends on my mailing list to keep in touch with my followers, and to tell them about any new products or developments. Check out the monthly sign-up rates (bearing in mind that the global average value to a business of one name on a mailing list is about $15 — which would mean this loss of about 500 sign-ups two months running would be worth — on average — $15,000 to me in the long-term).
123-reg slashed my email list subscribers

My mailing list has missed out on about 1,000 new sign-ups, worth at least another $15,000 in lost long-term revenues.

Unfortunately, it took 123reg an incredible 18 days to reassure me that that would not happen.

Appalling Customer Service

Now, I know shit happens! Even the most well-meaning companies can mess up from time to time. That’s normal, and acceptable.

If 123reg had done what was in their power to reassure me that my business wasn’t about to go down the pan, I would not be writing this now, and I would still be their customer.

However, it is totally unacceptable to leave your customers in the dark, panicking that their business might go up in smoke.

It’s unacceptable to fail to deliver a full apology, and to offer even a token compensation.

I have requested nominal compensation from 123reg, and this is all the response I have received so far.

123 reg no compensation

Update

Here’s an update from last week. As I mentioned above, I finally got a direct phone call from someone at 123-reg: the head of their support team.

He was friendly, and did express regret for the impact on my business of their mess-up, but also said they don’t provide compensation, because “It’s the customer’s responsibility to manage their domain name” (!!).

Although they do not offer compensation, he said he was in a position to offer me ten of their “unlimited” web hosting packages. When I checked online, these were worth £6.29 per month (about $9.50 today). So ten packages is worth $95 per month. Considering I have probably lost somewhere between $5000 and $20,000 in revenue from this disaster, that sweetener would take between 52 and 210 months — between 4 and 17 years — to begin to compensate for my loss. Pretty pathetic huh?

I have received no formal response to the letter I sent to 123-reg’s legal department.

(April 18th) Here’s what has happened with my website’s traffic, 5 weeks after I got the domain back!

Before 123-Reg messed up, I was getting 27,000 – 30,000 visits per week. Since I got my site back up, that has dropped to 18,000 – 20,000. In other words they’ve destroyed 1/3 of my marketing reach, with no offer of compensation. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what that says about this company’s attitude to their small business customers.

123 reg traffic not recovering

123 reg traffic not recovering

My Advice

Here’s what I’ve learned from this scary episode…

  1. Don’t use 123reg. This company has lost my trust completely, and I am now moving all my domains across to another provider.
  2. Don’t shop on price alone. Just like hosting, any domain registration company that tries to compete in price (what we call in marketing “a race to the bottom”) is likely to be cutting corners, unless they’re very big and very efficient.
  3. Try to use a direct/root registrar. I’ll put together a list of these at the end of this post, as I discover who they are.

I hope this is helpful for you, and may serve to prevent just one business from going through the torment I suffered over the past few weeks.

More Information on 123 Reg’s Service

What You Can Do

First, please share this post, to help get the word out to everyone who might be affected. (Just scroll down for social sharing buttons.)

Also, I would love to hear if anyone else has had similar experiences — with this company or others. Please add your comments below.

Thank you!
Ben

About the author

Ben Hunt

Ben is the creator of Web Design From Scratch. He started writing articles about web design to kill time on a long train commute, and is now one of the most influential figures on the subject of effective web design. He has written three books and spoken at multiple conferences internationally.

Jonathan Perez - last year

I would suggest wpengine.com and for domain registrar, I use godaddy but I’m hearing really good things about name cheap and hover.

What 123 Reg did is completely appalling and the fact that they won’t compensate you on your loss is even worse, especially since everything was their fault!

Screw ‘em, move on!

John - last year

My experience of 123-reg is just as bad, their DNS hosting has improved now I think but when I had clients whose domains were registered with them, my monitoring would pick up issues there before they knew anything about it! The number of times I’d call support and they’d say ‘Nothing’s wrong here. Erm, oh, wait…’ was ridiculous. I would neither use or recommend them.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Thanks John.

Tim - last year

VentraIP in oz are direct registrars – that’s who I use. 101domain?
Melbourne IT are a rip off.
Look at Auda.org.au/registrars/accredited-registrars

amaneric - last year

oh, the company is very terrible…Godaddy maybe more better :)

Doug - last year

“Might cause some of our customers inconveniences from time to time” – just love that. 18 days downtime doesn’t sound like an inconvenience to me.

Their lack of concern and the “talk to our lawyers” response doesn’t make you feel like a valued customer. Shame really as in commodity markets like domain hosting, customer experience and service is the best way to differentiate yourself from the competition.

How many people know just how dependent their business is on a service provider with no quality of service guarantee or any kind of compensation.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Great points Doug. I think even to offer token compensation can go a long way to protect your brand’s image.

    “A reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep their eyes on the spot where the crack was.” ~ Joseph Hall

Peter Cooper - last year

You had a much worse experience than me, but I had a recent experience with them that got me wondering..

I’ve always had a good time with 123-reg till recently when I started getting expiry mails from the “.za” registry for a domain of mine. I had to e-mail every day to stop the domain getting deleted at the registry and 123-reg were not very responsive on their support system. Eventually after a month, they paid the registry and the domain was safe, but end customers shouldn’t be dealing with registry to registry friction.

As part of this, I’ve noticed a significant amount of complants around 123-reg recently on social media. A lot of it seems to be in the last month or two in particular, especially around renewals. I wonder if they’ve had a big staffing change, a financial hiccup, or maybe even changed their bank accounts around and had to update all their details with other registrars..

Whatever it is, I hope they get it sorted out, because they’ve been a good registrar in the past and I’d prefer to stick with them, but it hasn’t filled me with confidence, and nor has the rather worse story you have to tell..

John Romaine - last year

Shit, and here I was thinking you’d “given up” on the site! I was eyeballing the domain myself Ben, but don’t worry, I would’ve given it back to you mate.

Good to see all is back up to speed.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Thanks John.. I’m sure you would have :-)

Sue - last year

This is a really frightening story ….I’m so glad you’ve got your domain back …I discovered your site in 2006, Ben, it would have been a terrible loss.

I’m wondering whether it would afford any protection if one bought the domain with several extensions from different providers and had them all pointing at the site? Anyone who really wanted to find you would then get there with webdesignfromscratch.co for example, even if the dotcom disappeared. I know that wouldn’t make up for the huge losses you’ve calculated, but might offer some peace of mind.

I’m not an expert, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who would appreciate your advice to help avoid your predicament.

My domains are registered with 1and1 and namecheap.com I’m very happy with the latter. I also have a domain registered with my host.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    I just had a phone call with the head of their support, who said “It’s the customer’s responsibility to maintain their domain name.” (!!!) I asked if there was anything I could have done, and there wasn’t.

      James Conaghan - last year

      Hi Ben

      Whilst I’m not sure of the complete story here, I’m kind of on the inside of the industry being a bona fide registrar of Nominet (the .uk registry) and a 2nd level registrar (reseller) on the gTLD side; i.e. .coms etc.

      The sad fact is when a .com reseller or registrar lets you down there seems to be more hoops to jump through before you can “maintain” your domain name than if it was a .co.uk for instance. With .uk registrations, you can pick up the phone to Nominet and they are a very helpful bunch of people and will usually point you in the right direction within minutes if not sooner!

      On the .com side however, I often hear horror stories from people who contact me asking if I can help them get their domain back or get it working again. From the viewpoint, there are a number of things you can do to safeguard your domain and its and your future! The first thing any .com (gTLD) registrant should do is ensure they have their secret code, sometimes called Auth. Code, or other variations. This is the code that identifies you to the top level registrar as the registrant. The second thing is, to ensure you always have a working email address as the registrant and admin contact email of record (and I mean one you use or can access). That way if you need to transfer your domain to another registrar you can do it without bothering with the current registrar or reseller if they’re being unhelpful or downright uncooperative.

      HOWEVER, this is where the system sucks. The ICANN system allows up to 5 days between a transfer request being made and being actionable. So, unless you have a friendly LOSING registrar who pushes it, you can be without the domain or DNS service for 5 or more days. I say “more” because even when you get it transferred it can take anything from a few hours to 3 days for DNS to propagate. And all this in an age which is supposed to be technically superior. Go figure!

      Anyway, I hope some of that is helpful. If you have any probs in the future with any domain just nudge me and I’ll look at the situation for you and give you my best advice on a way forward.

      I can’t really comment on 123 by the way, not only because they’re bigger and badder than me, but because from what I hear (being on the inside of the industry) they migrated their whole backend to domainbox.com (which their Parent Company Host Europe bought up recently). For what it’s worth, domainbox.com is reputed to be the best registry/regisrar backend on the planet and I don’t doubt it, but I would hazard a guess this may be why you and a fair number of others may have lost their DNS service over that particular time. Not sure that’s the case, but it seems likely.

      Regards
      James Conaghan

      Ben Hunt - last year

      Hi James. Thank you so much for your input.

      It really is a bit of a minefield. I hope that the technical side of their service does get better – but that still doesn’t excuse the awful way I was treated!

      I believe good customer service is the best marketing investment you can do (and poor service is the worst)!

      If you’re interested, James’s company is NameDropper

    Grant Lewis - last year

    Sue
    I do not think that would work, because the domain you are pointing to must be active. Once that home domain looses its active registration, all the other domains that are pointing to it would not find it.

    Here is an interesting article from ICANN on their upcoming procedures to put EBERO,Emergency Back-End Registry Operator. A plan to take over registered domains from accredited domain registrars that have failed. 123-reg did not fail as a company though, although they did fail to do their job. http://blog.icann.org/2011/12/ebero-plan-moving-forward-rapidly/

Jim Murray - last year

123-reg is a shockingly bad company. I don’t mean to sound racist, but a company this incompetent could only exist and continue to operate in England, which they are based.

It is clear that they have given up on the challenges of trying to fix their servers, and instead operate a SCAM where they lure you in to sign up to various packages. The thing is, you receive no service afterwards.

Some of my businesses almost went under, due to their hosting servers always being unacceptably slow, or down. When I asked for a refund, you get the runaround, and they hope you will give up.

Well, I just started a claim through Paypal and won. Be extremely careful when dealing with these crooks. Yes crooks, they are criminal scum.

I expect this scam will go on another year at the most, before they enter administration or the owners get jailed…

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Wow!

Lucy J - last year

I’m having a terrible time with 123.reg. I cancelled my domain name and hosting and now they have taken payment from a credit card which had expired I’ve contacted the card company and reported it as fraud but i’ve had to change my card account details because of them. I should know more about this by about 25/03/2013. Personally, I feel the company has breached data protection many times. On the phone they asked me for my password and yet they also ask you to store credit card details- (which i have never done) in your site login anyone can have access to at 123.reg. I’m in touch with icaan and trading standards and action fraud to put a stop to this companies corrupt practices. They have used my credit card without my permission to renew products and yet are selling the domain on the open market, yet pointing it to my web space, I haven’t purchased but they have bought using my card!

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Sorry to hear that Lucy :-(

Steve - last year

Just read this. Terrible service. I have a few clients who have gone out and got their own domains through these people. I never use them myself. I have used Easyspace for a few years now and although they aren’t the cheapest, the customer support and service levels are awesome. Based in Glasgow, I believe. I’m not an affiliate or reseller either. Just a happy customer.

Gary Ward - last year

Hey, Ben. Where’s that list of direct/root registrars? I don’t use 123reg, but I am a bit worried about my hosting company.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Hi Gary.. I’m still not clear on this. There are different levels of registrar, I think.

albert - last year

Hi Ben

I have just had the same problem with 123-reg with my domain name.

Here is what they put in your 123-reg Control Panel

“Unfortunately your domain name cannot be modified at this time due to an admin update that is currently being processed.
This update should be completed by the 28/3 after which time you will be able to manage your domain as normal.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

The domain name is now linking to a paid web site ie pay per click which has nothing to do with the domain name or web site. So who is making the money ?? here then. I have ask the to Remove this immediately, fat chance they will do that.

Here are the companies:
GX Networks
123-reg (UK domain names)
Heart Internet (UK hosting)
Host Europe (German hosting)
Webfusion (UK, USA and Spanish hosting)
RedCoruna (Spanish hosting),
Mesh Digital and
Domainbox (international domain names)

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Sorry to hear that Albert. It’s disgusting, isn’t it.

      Albert - last year

      Hi Ben thank you for the reply
      I sent a review to http://www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/www.123-reg.co.uk#4136956

      As you can from the 123 reg reply They told no one as to what they was doing and are trying to save face by adding someting in there support/answers pages too.

      quote from 123 reg: “To do this we need to transition the domain names across, and we are using the domain name renewal as the trigger for this. In the majority of cases the domain names will auto renew 7 days prior tot he expiration date and this will mean that the transition will complete before the expiration and ensure a smooth continuation of services for our customers. ”

      Still no answer from 123 reg as to why all web pages that have been moved are pointing to a Pay Per Click Page. Who is making money from the transition?

      Ben Hunt - last year

      Thanks Albert. I notice in 123reg’s reply on that page that they say they’re now a direct registrar.

      If that’s the case, it could mean a far smaller chance of something like this technically happening again.

      But there’s always the issue of pathetic customer service. I would certainly never trust 123 Reg with anything important ever again.

      James Conaghan - last year

      Hi Ben

      Hope you don’t mind me keeping things a bit factual, but my understanding of the rather complex nature of ‘who’s who’ and ‘who does what’ in the Host Europe Group is this.

      It isn’t 123reg who is a direct registrar per se. 123reg is part of the Host Europe Group who, last year, bought another company called Mesh Digital who in turn owned another company called DomainMonster which is ICANN accredited. Apparently Mesh Digital has, for years, provided back-end registrar/registry services to the Host Europe Group and is now part of that same group. With me so far? :)

      As an aside, I believe Webfusion, another of Host Europe’s companies, is also ICANN accredited. Life, she is not simple… business and the taking over of worlds is even less so… apparently!

      Ben Hunt - last year

      Thanks for the… is clarification the right word?.. James :-)

      It’s a rat’s nest, isn’t it?

      Bottom line, however they arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, I ain’t staying on board!

      To quote Joseph Hall..

      “A reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep their eyes on the spot where the crack was.”

      Grant Lewis - last year

      Hi Ben
      On http://www.123-reg.co.uk/about.shtml they do have mention they are part of Webfusion, listed under their Legal Bits header. I do not see any mention of what company they use to register directly with ICANN.

      They also say they won loads of awards, but do not say if they are positive or negative awards.

      This ICANN announcement http://www.icann.org/en/news/announcements/announcement-30jun10-en.htm details 123 Registration, Incs loss of ICANN accreditation in June 2010.

Chris Ashford - last year

Ben, I’m glad to hear you jumped ship, given me the push to stop procrastinating. These guys are terrible, they tried telling me that my 1.8% bounce rate site went to 69% in a day because of me, not the insanely slow hosting that was making people leave straight away (email campaign day). Other issues too, but glad I found this.

That’s me going elsewhere…

Jim Murray - last year

what do you expect from the english..being incompetent is their nature

    Ian - last year

    racism lives.

Martin - last year

Ben that is a real shame. So glad you put the time in to warn other webmasters of their scammy services – i moved from them years ago and tell all my clients to find a professional service for domains and hosting. Oh, and Jim Murray is a bit thick isnt he, ahh bless.
All the best

Mary - last year

I’ve used a number of companies over the years.
I’ve been pretty fortunate.
* GoDaddy
*NameCheap

I stay away from 1&1 and Network Solutions NOT because they are bad, but because they often try to UPSELL. NS is good for a client who wants to “own” their domain name yet is clueless on how to manage it, etc. 1&1 ? Emails and telephone calls for more ‘stuff’.
GoDaddy calls once in a very blue moon, and that’s OK.

Abe - last year

Ben,

Sorry to hear about this issue. I have or manage several Domains at GoDaddy.com and this has never been a problem. Guys please use master registrars and not third party re-sellers. For my domains I have the following setup:

A) Locked with automatic renewal
B) Any change in DNS or settings alert is sent out.
C) Use a tool for secondary alerts at domaintools.com
D) To avoid domain settings issue point to IP in A record if you have vanity DNS.

Again, bottom line stick with primary registrars and don’t consider pricing as the only factor.

Simon Dunn - last year

Check out TPP Wholesale and Enom for wholesale domain registration directly from a registrar. Just emailed you some more info Ben.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Thanks Simon.

Mike Little - last year

I left 123-reg a couple of years ago now after poor customer service; some frankly ignorant responses to technical issues; attempting to renew a domain I had cancelled and that had never been set to auto-renew (thankfully the credit card had expired); and the final straw — demanding I add a current credit card, even though I’d never had any services on auto-renew and had actually moved all my domains away!

I can recommend gandi.net — based in france with an office in the UK, not the cheapest but lots of unusual domain endings, and best of all, a company motto of “no bullshit”!

Mike

Elke - last year

Hello,

since 1995 I only use: http://www.hetzner.de/en/

This is a great company !!! They help you straight away – super service!

My friends told me about really bad problems with: http://www.1and1.com in Germany, but I do not know if there are the same problems in the US or GB …

Good luck !!! greetings from Elke

Larry White - last year

I don’t know if they are a direct registrar but I’ve used Misk, misk.com, for over 10 years without any issues. Very easy to do everything and you don’t get any up sell offers when conducting business on their site.

Wil - last year

Hi Ben,

Thanks for letting everyone know about 123-reg.

People are too often quiet when it comes to things like this and more and more people lose out.

I’ve been with Heart Internet since 2006. They are a direct registrar and their support is fantastic.

I moved from Dublin to Sydney last year and I often need to raise support tickets for client sites during my workday which can be 3-4am GMT.

I usually get a response within minutes.

Great support is key to what we do.

Wil.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Thanks Wil.. In this era of connectedness, we do have a lot of power.. when we get together!

    James Conaghan - last year

    Just a small snippet of info and kind of ironic considering the title of this thread. :)

    Heart Internet is now part of the Host Europe Group, which also owns the 123-reg, Webfusion and Donhost brands in the UK, as well as hosteurope.de in Germany.

    http://www.heartinternet.co.uk/web-hosting/host-europe-faq.html

      Wil - last year

      Hopefully having a successful registrar on board will sort out those that are underperforming.

      I love irony! :-P

Lisette - last year

Thank you for the heads up as I am about to register a new domain name. I will definitely bypass 123 reg. When a company fails to own up and be accountable, it says a great deal about who is running this company.

Again thank you

David Merry CPA - last year

Ben, I have posted a link on my website as a warning to businesses not to take Domain Name registrations to lightly and to add procedures and controls so that the same does not happen to them. This risk needs to be better understood by auditors and accountants in general.

Horus - last year

I use GANDI and would suggest some of you domain vets take a look @ what they offer their slogan “NO BULL***T” in my opinion really does sum these guys up.

I buy all my domains and host them here ..

Check them out they have some interesting information the other registrars aren’t in a hurry to tell you, they offer a great package with any domain registered with them I yr free ssl 3 free pages hosted as long as your domain is with them, which I personally think is amazing free email they have a great free package go check ..

These guys are definitely ahead of the vast majority and improving there service all the time.. This isn’t in anyway an ad for Gandi just a happy customer trying to add my two cents and possibly help someone in the long run, avoiding what Ben has been through…

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Thanks Horus.

    That’s two strong votes for Gandi.

      MassimoM - last year

      make it three for Gandi… I’ve been with them from the start (their), I manage my own and my clients’ domains there and I’m happy with the service.

Neil - last year

Ben that’s absolutely nuts. You should seriously consider speaking to a solicitor about suing them for damages.

I think if it was me I’d nearly do it because of what their “head of support” said. Telling you its your responsibility when he knows the reason for the downtime is because they are moving their back end isn’t just stupid and poor customer service, its dis-honest.

It really pisses me off the way hosting/domain name companies constantly give their client’s the run around with BS of one form or another. I’m still not sure if its incompetence or just plain dishonesty most of the time.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Hi Neil.

    I agree with you, but I thought I’d give them the chance to compensate me first. I don’t like litigation.

    They basically refused.. Well, they’ve told me it’s not their policy to compensate their victims, and have not responded further.

    Even if I did take them to court and win some compensation, what’s more important is to warn everyone else not to use this company. I’ll be satisfied with getting the word out in this way, and hope everyone links back to this article, so that we can get it to rank in the top 5 on Google for a search for “123reg”.

Laco - last year

Hi Ben,

I believe, this is official list of all registrars:
http://www.internic.net/regist.html

InterNIC belongs to U.S. Department of Commerce and is operated by ICANN.

Hope it helps,
Laco

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Brilliant, thanks Laco!

    Yes, this seems to be a list of everyone who’s entitled to register .com domains (which equates to every registrar).

James Conaghan - last year

I’d like to reinforce David Merry’s comment that we shouldn’t take domain name registration too lightly whether we are individuals or businesses. How many registrants are actually aware of the prevailing Terms and Conditions (Ts and Cs) of registration yet it’s part of the overall registration process that the registrant (that’d be you) is aware of and accepts the applicable Terms and Conditions.

On the .co.uk side for instance, Nominet makes it a requirement for their bona fide registrars to make their customers aware of the Ts and Cs, it’s part of the overall registrar contract and best practice terms that each Nominet Registrar has to sign up to. Conversely, how many Registrars take their responsibilities seriously enough?

There are many dangers in not ensuring your registrant name is correct and that your registrant contact email is kept up to date and working or that your street address is valid. You can lose your domain name if any of that isn’t valid. It’s in the Ts and Cs.

So check all your domain name registrations NOW and ensure all your information is correct! It’s the age old phenomenon… you never know what you’ve got till it’s gone!

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Great points, thanks James.

    Grant Lewis - last year

    A tip: Your domain admin contact email should not, repeat should not be from the the same domain.

    If your domain is down or has problems the email attached to it will likely not work.

    Use something like gmail that is not connected to any of your domains.

      Ben Hunt - last year

      Very good point Grant!

Heather Burns - last year

A few years ago I had the misfortune of losing nearly all of my web sites for a week due to a botched server move at 123-Reg’s sister company, WebFusion. The disaster hit many of their customers, and cost me an angry client.

During the hours and days I spent on hold and speaking to them trying to get my server back online I learned that the Pipex group, including 123-REG, runs its customer service as a call centre, on call centre lines, as opposed to running a tech support hotline working on an issue resolution basis. That means

1) They drop everything and go home, come hell or high water, at 5 PM. The “24 hour help” outwith business hours is just an answering service.
2) The priority is on processing and closing tickets. It’s a numbers game about quotas and targets. The priority is not solving problems.
3) In responding to your support requests they will very often fob you off by pointing you to an irrelevant answer in their FAQ, and close the ticket. Target achieved, quota exceeded.

I’ve now switched to Krystal Hosting. When I need help, the fellow I get an email from is the fellow who answers the phone when I call. He uses his real name. He’s not in a call centre. He’s not going to fail to reach his daily target if he spends as much time as I need with me to sort the problem.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Thanks for sharing your insights Heather.

Wahida - last year

Hi I have one live website hosted with 123 and have recently bought another domain name from them for another business. Was about to start hosting and building through them for my second site. Now tempted to leave. What companies do you recommend? I need one with easy template builder software. Thanks

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Hi Wahida. I’m not very familiar with easy website builders, but I’ve heard that Wix.com has got a lot better recently.

    Horus - last year

    @ Wahida Gandi.net offer BASE KIT 3 free page for ever without looking not sure if this offer applies to domains created elsewhere… ok I just looked unfortunately BK it only free for domains created there I believe they give you a years free SSL certificate with transfers and offer a ten page package
    Personal Pack

    100% intuitive
    10 pages
    Ad-free
    1 GB of storage
    10 GB of traffic included
    Member management
    Dynamic widgets

    for £5.38 per month -15% per annual subscription, excellent customer service and so much information available if you get stuck on anything, I really can’t sing these guys praises enough and have no doubt they will soon be regarded one of the best registrars.

    They had a blog post recently covering a lot of issues raised above about information needing to be correct etc,, and other important facts, we need to know…

    These guys seem to be in it for the customer 100% because inevitable that’s what make them their bread and butter they have site builders etc I’m using the 3 free pages of basekit which I got free with my domains I have 11 domains with them now and you get the same package with every single domain so inevitable I have 33 pages free for as long as my domains are registered with GANDI no ads ,

    I didn’t even realise they were hosted too and had my first three sites sat contemplating which hosting package to buy. Just seemed to good to be true, there not the cheapest but definitely upfront and honest they also give you the option to hide your address and personal info accept your name, the importance of having your real name attached to your domains and correct information registered is all covered ..

    Since being with them I have seem so many people migrating domains from other well known brands that don’t perform as well…

Eileen - last year

Thank you for the heads up Ben. I started with GoDaddy years ago but switched to 1and1.com and have been very happy with them. I wouldn’t risk going with a cheaper service.

I feel secure with 1and1 and trust them, but yours is a good lesson not to get too complacent. Unfortunately it is all good until something goes wrong.

Albert - last year

Hi Eileen
I am sorry to say 1and1 had a problem too. Two of my clients had a problem with them when someone who hosted with 1and1 Brock into their system and added Malicious code to web sites hosted with them. They told both my clients it was there problem. 2~3 weeks later after they paid out money to fix the problem, I found out on the internet their system was bracken into, only then they fessesed up to the problem.

It is always the case they get too big and forget about the little customers who got them where they are today.

thank god I learned my lesson 10 years ago a got my own servers.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Great.. We really should all be sharing and communicating, so we can figure out which companies do provide a reliable service.

    So keep the comments coming!

Virginia Nicols - last year

My stomach was clenching as I was reading this entire thread. I will be sharing it widely. Back to the “secret code” or “auth. code” mentioned by Jame Conaghan — how do I get that?

    James Conaghan - last year

    Virginia

    If it’s a gTLD like .com, .org, .net etc, and if you have control panel access to your domain names through your registrar or hosting company, there should be a link under domain name management that allows you to see your secret code or auth code depending what they call it.

    If you can’t see it or can’t find it, email their support address requesting it. Under ICANN rules they have to provide it if requested and even if they are a reseller under an accredited registrar they still have to provide it. The same rules and regulations that apply to the Accredited Registrar apply down the line to the reseller.

    If it’s a .co.uk domain it’s (usually) even easier though not a lot of registrars will tell you this stuff… probably because it isn’t in their interests… but a good place to start for .co.uk domains is: http://www.nominet.org.uk. Top right of the home page follow the “Log in to online services” link. On the next page, even if you can’t log in you can follow the “Having problems logging in” link and it’s pretty self explanatory from there.

    Stefan Zwijsen - last year

    Hi,

    Good info from James.
    You should be able to get the Authorization code / Auth code / EPP code at your current registrar. Check the web admin panel for your domain, or if you have no access to that the registrar should send it to you upon your request.

    Bye,
    Stefan

Nico - last year

I use name.com and networksolutions.com
Never had trouble with either, but the customer service at networksolutions is outstanding, but with the number of domains I have, it’s just too expensive, so just one or two domains remain to keep their hosting packages (windows, unix and wordpress).
So, perhaps my lack of bad experiences with these two companies could mean something to someone.
Glad to hear you are back online, Ben.

Grant Lewis - last year

Ben
Here is the ICANN link http://www.internic.net/regist.html of all accredited domain registrars.

I have not read all the above horror story comments, so me culpa in case someone else already provided this.

Here is their overall listing of where to lodge official compl,aints and other helpful information. http://www.internic.net/index.html

Louis - last year

This beggers belief….. Don’t worry Ben, You can’t keep a good man down and you will come back bigger and stronger than ever.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Thanks for your kind words Louis.

John Graham - last year

I realise this is not quiet the same problem but I would like to highlight mine which is kind of similar and nearly crippled my business as well.
I was persueded to switch my domain from Chapter 8 to BT 2 years ago’ but had to have a new site created’. There was an unbelievable amount of mistakes (I could use another word) and lack of contact that eventually when my website was transfered it was down for 6 weeks. This was over the summer months which our busiest period costing us around £10,000. Business was very quiet for the next few weeks and it was only when a customer telephoned us to say they had sent 3 emails and recieved no reply’s that I found out the contact page wasn’t published (another £10k/£20k lost.
At no time did BT admit the problem was theirs. They constantly passed me around the office each time trying to blame either me or someone else. The main people I dealt with @ BT are below. Please please do not deal with these people. BT are good @ phones NOT websites.
jamie.mclaren@websites.bt.com
steven.tuffin@websites.bt.com (I would tell him where a birds nest was)
niamh.mcardle@websites.bt.com
anthony.simpson@bt.com
h.henderson@websites.bt.com (sales person and probably a dodgy 2nd hand car saleswoman in a former life)
I am now stuck with BT as host’s and have personnally rebuilt 100% of my site. I have managed to get on page one of google again (for Scotland which is my main area). This took me around 6 months. I would move hosts again but believe I would loose my rankings. The fact that is if this kind of thing could happen to a profesional web designer puts me off even futher.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Sorry to hear about your horror story John.

    I’m thinking of putting together a register of the most trustworthy service providers that all of us can rely on.

    How many people have the time to trawl through the web to dig up all the positive and negative reviews, in order to make a considered choice?

    If you search for anything like “web hosts compared” or “best web host”, most of the results you get back are FAKE comparison sites, on which every link is an affiliate link.

    We really do need a really trustworthy source. The ideal UK source for this would be Which?, but the landscape can change quite quickly too.

      John Graham - last year

      I changed my BT broadband and phone in Feb from business to personal account and asked them to add my web hosting bill to this account. Just received my BT bill with no web hosting on it. Called BT and they said I cancelled this account and I would have to re-apply. WTF. My domain is registered with 123reg and apparently I haven’t paid for my hosting for 4 months. Just waiting on my website shutting down??? I would like to transfer my hosting but unsure what or where. The site was built by a ‘BT professional web designer’ so much so that I changed 100% of the website. BT are total crap but as an amateur I have to rely on these people to create templates and then re-design myself. If anyone knows how I can transfer my domain and hosting in the UK please. BT use Joomla which I’m happy with but would probably require some kind of templates.
      Ben my business does not justify spending hundreds of £/$ so cannot afford to sign up right now. There is no way for a small time business man to design their website. I’ve tried Google but everybody wan’t to design it for you and charge you for it
      Can someone please help an un-educated self web designer. I do not want to become a web designer I only want to keep mine on page one of Google (for my area which is Scotland)

John Graham - last year

If I do switch host’s which one would you recommend in the UK?

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Not sure yet, but I’m very happy with Namesco, so that’s where I’ll be moving my domains.

    The proof of the pudding is always in the customer service.

Stefan Zwijsen - last year

Hi Ben,

Apart from the technical issues, that’s a bad customer experience!
I have a small hosting and design company myself. Giving clear and honest feedback to your customers in time should be a number one priority. Even if you messed up real bad, telling your clients what they can expect about downtimes, estimated time of solution, etc. can keep your customers confidence. Problems can happen (although what I’ve read so far about the issues at 123reg I think could’ve been avoided). During the past years I’ve had one server down for about a day. The next day, most of the customers that contacted me didn’t complain but praised me for the clear info they got about the problems. That’s quite a difference. And whoever asked for it got a free month of hosting. That’s a small investment to get/keep happy clients.

I can’t totally agree with you saying you should try to avoid domain resellers. Maybe since I’m a reseller myself… :-) Last year I changed to another (ICANN accredited) registrar. The previous one didn’t have a bad technical service, but communication was very poor. This new registrar is always very clear and ready to help, just like I handle business myself. Domain stuff is indeed handled via API, but I don’t see a problem in that. If the link should get broken we can interfere manually or contact the registrar for help.

To see the positive side of the technical issues you came across: maybe the downtime of your domain is an interesting case for investigating how it influences ones business over time ;-)

See you at UWD,
Stefan

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Thanks Stefan.

    Maybe it is not an issue with being a root registrar vs. reseller.

    The difference might be as simple as how much of a shit you give about every customer.

    I’ve used fantastic big hosting companies, fantastic small hosting companies, and rubbish ones of every size too.

      James Conaghan - last year

      Ben,

      You’ve hit the nail on the head. It isn’t whether a person is ICANN accredited or has loads of awards that matters in the end, it’s how much they give a damn about the customers who keep them in business. It has been my life experience that the bigger the company the more complacent they seem to be, not because the company mission or commitment has changed but because commitment to customer service inevitably gets diluted the further down the chain of command it goes. So when it gets to the call centre operator on the end of a phone, there’s an inordinate disconnect between company commitment and what they feel their duty is.

      Just like Stefan, I had a server down for a whole day about 2 years ago, there was nothing I could do about it because it wasn’t a problem I could fix myself. The problem was at the communications centre and everyone who colocated servers in that centre had the same problem. The only thing I could do was be truthful with the customers who contacted me. Some of them were understandably unhappy but I got through it, moved comms centres, and (touch wood) haven’t had that kind of downtime since.

      However, in my humble opinion, it doesn’t much matter who you host with or who you register your domains through, it’s like a helicopter pilot once said: it’s not so much IF you’ll have an accident but WHEN. That’s how precarious flying helicopters is and that’s how precarious the domain and hosting business is. Even BT who provide most of the backbone have regular issues. All this hype about 100% uptime is a myth. There are simply too many variables between a centre like (for instance) Telehouse London and the hops between there and the end user to make the certainty of 100% uptime a reality. Technology, alas, is not infallible.

David Fleck - last year

I use 1&1 and they are great. I have talked to a few people that said they had a lot of problems. My website has been up close to two years and never had a problem. I knew nothing about building a website and their customer service helped me every step of the way and never charged me a dime above what I pay for the site. If anyone is having problems with their host I recommend 1&1

Eldred Curwen - last year

For goodness sake don’t promote MelbourneIT, they are awful. Their control panels suck and the server speeds, even when accessing from Melbourne when using subdomains are terrible.

Fedman - last year

Add mydomain.com to the list of companies who will fuck you up

Ben Hunt - last year

Update: This article has entered the SERPs at #31!

Thank you for all your support!

Please keep sharing and linking so we can get into the top 5!

James Conaghan - last year

The problem with trying to put together a list of domain name registrars/hosting companies you trust, is exactly what’s been indicated above.

For every person who’s had a positive experience you can almost certainly find another who hasn’t.

This could simply be because a big registrar or hosting company will have tens or hundreds of thousands of customers and the Law of Averages dictates that at least 1 in 3 of them will have some kind of issue.

The challenge is how these issues are dealt with and if a company doesn’t treat its customers with an acceptable degree of consideration, then it’s reputation will most certainly suffer and quite quickly in today’s world of online fora and social media.

So, putting together a list of companies one can trust is not as easy as judging by our own experiences. One of the best ICANN accredited registrars I ever partnered with, let me down overnight (bigtime too) and caused me grief with dozens of my customers’ .com domains, yet they had given me nearly 10 years of great service.

Prior to that, if anyone had asked me who’s the best registrar, I’d have said them. They’re still in business but do you think I’d recommend them now? Here’s a clue. The answer isn’t yes. :)

Martha - last year

Hi Ben,

I just wanted to express my shock. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for telling your story and helping us not make the same mistake.

As for me. I use MelbourneIT. They’re wonderful. I would totally recommend them.

Tipi - last year

I have also years of domain, DNS, hosting etc. business experience and very shortly my opinions about the companies already mentioned here:

-Hetzner works 100% if you have technical skills and understanding how the domain infrastructure works.
-GoDaddy can go f**k themselves for my opinion. It is a huge international company managed by advertising people. They just think about getting your money and don’t give about a one little customer. Good example is the “Domain Back Order” which GoDaddy somehow made up. That has to be one of the greatest customer hoaks there is. :D

P.S. Top level registrar list from ICANN is here [1] but I cannot say how updated or accurate it is. Maybe someone has more info?

[1] http://www.icann.org/registrar-reports/accredited-list.html

Mike Mindel - last year

We use Namecheap and have done for many years. No problems, great UI, job done.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Thanks Mike. That’s a recommendation from someone I know I can trust :-)

      Sue - last year

      I can endorse Namecheap too. I researched options before purchasing a bunch of domains a while back and have not regretted my choice. As the name suggests, their domains are cheap, but their service isn’t and as Mike says, great UI.

Mark - last year

For the past few years I’ve been registering all my new domains with Namecheap but I’ve still got a load of domains registered with 123reg.

I’ll be transferring them all next week.

Thanks for sharing Ben :)

Steve VanHove - last year

You get what you pay for. We have been using Network Solutions for years. Never a problem, great customer service.

Shabeer Dewan - last year

The IANA Root Zone Database represents the delegation details of top-level domains. Refer http://www.iana.org/domains/root/db or http://www.iana.org/whois to find appropriate root domain registrar for desired domain name. Then find a registrar certified by the root domain registrar.

For a list of all current ICANN-accredited registrars, please see http://www.internic.net/regist.html. Ensure that your registrar is on the list.

Fabio Baroni - last year

Check this, it’s very good. https://www.nameterrific.com/

John - last year

That’s terrible the way 123 reg treat people I definately won’t be using them and will let anyone else I know not to use them

Peter - last year

I too have had appalling customer service from both 123-reg and Webfusion who own 123-reg.

Its one thing to make mistakes as t hey do but another to provide ignorant and rude service in response to attempts to put things right by the customer.

I’m joining the mass migration from such an unpleasant and unhelpful company.

Peter

Peter - last year

Please notify me of followup comments via email. I didn’t tick the box first time round.

I am happy to supply full details of my experiences to any interested party.

Peter
15/05/2013

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Hi Peter. Sorry, but I don’t know how to do that.

Kelly - last year

How awful.. My website ranked in the organic searches on the first page of google for over 4 years, for several search phrases some national but most in my county and local area… my website has been totally dropped from google it isnt even found if you type it in the URL. Im currently waiting for a reply from 123 reg =(

Andreas - last year

THATS NOT MY WEBSITE ANYMORE!
And hi, the website was mine for 3 days, I’ve just started off a national driving school with over 1000 driving instructors, I named our company and set live a cheap one page budget site to the name of flash driving school, I won’t go into depth because this is very fresh to as 123.reg today WITH NO WARNING told me this (please note I opened up a case and found this out they did not contact me and I only found out when I googled my site) they basically said there very sorry but there system had a malfunction and stated a domain name was available when in reality they said it was not.
WELL THANKS FOR FXXXING TELLING ME! the sites was live (my version) FOR thre days! And now they told me wer very we have refunded you!
so I’m based in the uk AND FORCED TO BUY A SHITTY .eu site.

Thanks for listening
Kind regards.
Ps: very sorry to hear about your losses and hope all is restored .

    Ben Hunt - last year

    So sorry to hear that Andreas.

David Nicol - last year

Hi all,

Does anyone have a phone number that will get me to someone ‘high up’ at 123 Reg?

I am trying to help someone who is currently in the middle of another 123 Reg horror story, and I really hope someone may be able to help me.

The situation …

My web development company looks after a website for a guy who runs a successful small business. His domain name was registered for him by someone else through 123 Reg. The guy in charge of the domain name didn’t renew it a couple of days ago when the expiry date came around (he says he didn’t get any warning about the upcoming expiry), and as a result the site went offline. We spotted this very quickly, and the domain name was renewed again. It had only just entered the ‘grace’ period, so no problems getting it renewed.

However …

Despite the domain name being renewed it seems to now be in some kind of limbo ‘transition’ period and there are no options to control any DNS settings or similar. The site is still not back up, and 123 Reg say that it may not be live again until 23rd July (6 days wait in total).

123 Reg have said that they are “transferring their registrations from tucows to Domainbox” and this domain name has been caught up in that process. The transfer of domains from one registrar to another is, they claim, an automated process over which they have no control. We asked about contacting Domainbox directly but 123 Reg say that without a client ID and relevant security info they would be unlikely to entertain any such contact.

They say that it will take 6 days for the transition period to be complete, and estimate that it won’t be until 23rd July.

This is clearly an utterly ridiculous situation, but I don’t know what we can to speed things up.

(Also, for various reasons this is the worst possible time that it could possibly happen to this client. It’s his busiest period and he’s just embarked on a massive advertising campaign).

So, does anyone have any advice about how to get 123 Reg to speed up this ‘transition period’?

Does anyone have a phone number I could use to speak to someone high up at 123 Reg?

I really hope someone can help.

Huge thanks
David

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Hi David. It sounds very much like the situation I found myself in. 123reg just threw up their hands and said there was nothing they could do.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t have the contact info you need.

    Giles - last year

    This is for attention of David Nicol.

    Did you ever get your domain name sorted with 123reg and how long did it take? I have client who is now in the same position having forgotten to renew it on the 3rd August. The message 123reg sent them is:

    “Unfortunately your domain name cannot be modified at this time due to an admin update that is currently being processed. This update should be completed by the 11/8 after which time you will be able to manage your domain as normal.”

    123reg are saying it will be the weekend – 6 days – before the dns will update again, which would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.

    With thanks
    Giles

David - last year

Hi Ben,

This is happening to me at the moment,What really gets my goat is they did not even email me to advise me of this.I first heard of this via my client that their website is down.

My first support ticket to them was answered over 11 hours later to advise me they were doing an internal update of domain.whats funny though,just after sending my support ticket i got an almost instant email from 123 reg asking me to fill in this customer service questionnaire asking things like will you recommend 123-reg,Rate help provided and so on.That’s over 11 hours before they decided to even answer.So i cannot wait to fill this in and send back.

I only got the domain from 123-reg because being a .es domain they did deal in this domain extension but i do host the site elsewhere but unfortunately they do not deal in .es domains.

At the same time i sent a support ticket to 123 reg i also sent a support ticket to my regular hosting company just to make sure it was nothing at their end.They replied to me twice to my questions within 30 min.Thats what you call customer service.

123-reg have said sorry but to pay for a domain that we have had for around 4 years and have to wait around 10 days whilst my clients business site is down is just not right.

Does 123 reg seem to care,well with the time frame between support ticket answers and the content within them i think not.

So if you read this post by Ben-He speaks the awful truth.DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH 123-reg.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!

To end this comment just to let you know i have just secured a client but only by advising them to let me transfer their .com domain away from 123-reg to my regular hosting company who i have been with for over 8 years and find them to be faultless year in year out

Dave

knobkerie - last year

Here are some contact details for 123reg/Host Europe Group.

http://ro.linkedin.com/pub/alina-roibu/27/a3a/b14

David Nicol - last year

For the attention of Giles:

Unfortunately, we just had to wait until the domain name became available once again, once their internal transfer was complete and the ‘transition period’ was over.

As a result our client’s site was down for more than a week. We was absolutely livid, and rightly so, but there was absolutely nothing that we could do to speed things up or to otherwise assist him. It was truly horrible being in such a helpless situation.

I wish I could give you some better news, but I suspect you will simply have to wait until the transition period is complete.

The only tiny crumb of comfort is that in our case the domain name did become available again on the date they had told us it would. So you should be able to plan ahead for that day.

Good luck, and best wishes
David

Mike chart - last year

I have never come across such incompetence as the 123-reg company. My site has been down for a week and they don’t seem to give a stuff……Who do you contact or what can you do???

knobkerie - last year

@ Mike Chart

Try all 3 of these emails, you might at least get a reply:

Matt Mansell mm@hosteuropegroup.com
Pete Osmond po@hosteuropegroup.com
Oliver Hope oh@hosteuropegroup.com

I am told these people more or less run the show on domain names now – 123 is transferring all its domains over to domainbox.com with or without your knowledge or approval for that matter – see pics here: http://www.domainbox.com/team/

If you want to copy in the CEO of Host Europe Group who is Thomas Vollrath: tv@hosteuropegroup.com

PS: DomainBox.com is now part of Host Europe Group who own 123reg.

+

Curtis - last year

I’ve been using 123-reg for many years and in the last year and a half things have gotten really bad. I have nearly 200 domain names and controlling them becomes full time work.

The first big problem I noticed (this is not just your website going offline or having issues with service) was when I started to get emails from a company selling me my domain names that I own for over $2000. I considered it to be spam…. Boy was I wrong! My domains were no longer owner be me but some company I think based in Australia. Wow how could this happen, all my domains are on automatic renew or at least last time I checked.
It has been brought to my attention though continually checking and constantly monitoring my account with 123-reg that sometimes something happens in their backups or restores that take auto renew off.
I contacted them very often over many issues but have found them to be very unhelpful, not to mention you have to pay for a premium telephone number.

Just to end this rant I lost many domains due to their lack of care and no recourse what so ever. I am writing this here now because I have been trying to access 123-reg.co.uk and domainbox.com for the last two hours without success. This is what I get.

The connection has timed out

The server at http://www.123-reg.co.uk is taking too long to respond.

The connection has timed out

The server at http://www.domainbox.com is taking too long to respond.

Don’t use 123-reg or any affiliate!
I only hope I can get my domains out of there!

Ian - last year

Ben, you write in your article “Try to use a direct/root registrar. I’ll put together a list of these at the end of this post, as I discover who they are.” Did you get around to that? It would be very helpful for others like myself.

Many thanks.

    Ben Hunt - last year

    Hi Ian. I didn’t get round to that, just because I’m really really busy. But if you go through the comments you may be able to pick out a list. If you send that to me, I’ll be glad to add it.

Tony Sellick - last year

I had all my domains originally with Supanames and had no problems. Then 123reg took over and it all went steadily downhill. I didn’t have a major problem as described on this site but I suffered very bad customer support and just got the impression they couldn’t be bothered. I took all my domains and moved them to ipage where I get fantastic service. Out of interest I still get the occasional email from 123reg telling me some domain or other is about to expire even though I don’t have anything with them anymore. In summary I concur with Ben and wouldn’t go near 123reg again.

J Smith - 11 months ago

I too am now caught up in the auto-retardation that is 123-reg!

A domain I look after was renewed with 123-reg but upon the renewal date I noticed the site inaccessible on certain ISP. Digging into it initially myself I figured what was going on re: DNS, and had to really hammer it home to their support; actually the guy on the phone understood what was going on but the ticket system was woeful.

Now 6 days later it’s still not sorted but, at least yesterday I got out of them it’s their own want to move from tucows to domainbox that’s made a mess of it all.

I got put onto this thread last night and pretty much just want to vomit.

    Ben Hunt - 11 months ago

    Always shocking to hear each respondent’s experience. Sorry to hear that John.

    There should be no room for service this poor in the web sector in 2013!

DAS1951 - 11 months ago

James Conaghan’s comments are the ones to look at, pointing out that nobody is perfect and giving some perspective to domain issues. 1&1 is just one example of different experiences reported in this thread. A friend of mine from Germany now living in the UK thought 1&1 was lousy.

1&1 is in the stable of Host Europe’s major competitor.

My own experience with 123-Reg over several years has not been so bad. I have just had domains with them and more recently web hosting and email. I was even thinking of moving my main email service to them (because of Pipex mail possibly disappearing – see next paragraph) as it would cost me nothing extra, as have not used up my quite generous mailbox quota accompanying web hosting.

One reference earlier in this thread to an incident many years before has no relevance to today since 123-Reg was spun out of Pipex years ago and, indeed Pipex itself has been subject to various ownership changes, currently being owned by TalkTalk. I am speculating that the Pipex brand will eventually disappear.

As has been mentioned, Host Europe, a German company, recently took over 123-Reg and Webfusion, and there was/is the registrar-related migration.

I am well aware of the mixed reviews 123-Reg gets on various forums on the web (including raves), but so do others.

Some weeks ago we had a problem where we did not renew web hosting in a timely manner. Although we were perhaps a month late the website was back up immediately. Late October we did not get a renewal reminder — it appears their system was thrown by the out-of-the-routine payments — and the website was again inaccessible (suspended, in this case), but the related mailbox was not even stopped. Within <24 h of setting up a new payment structure the website was up and running. No complaints!

As it happens I have one current (non-critical) issue regarding Webfusion's WHOIS contact info where I have had little sensible response from Support, more like from robots, so today I wrote to Thomas Vollrath, stated as being Host Europe's boss and whose name and e-mail address I saw in this thread.

Let us see what response I get…

    Ben Hunt - 11 months ago

    DAS, my experience with 123reg wasn’t so bad either, until they f***ed up so catastrophically that my business is still suffering financially.

    My organic traffic is one QUARTER what it was a year ago.

    No company of this size that can do that amount of damage through its own negligence – and fail to compensate – deserves to remain in business.

      DAS1951 - 11 months ago

      Ben, I am sorry to hear that (negative impact), of course. In your article you have no dates, e.g. date of original article or “update”, so it is difficult to see if it coincided with any tech changes at 123-Reg. Ownership changes should not make any immediate difference, of course.

      It looks like the man who called you is the same as the senior support manager I mentioned. He told me that they do monitor blogs in many places, including this one.

      Customer support (mainly the people responding to the web-based queries) should also get better. I had raised the fact that staff need to give targeted and confidence-inspiring responses, something that is not always happening.

DAS1951 - 11 months ago

Amazing! Thomas Vollrath (indeed the CEO) send me a read receipt this afternoon and soon afterwards I received a friendly call from a senior support manager at Webfusion 123-Reg. Mr Vollrath is actually on leave and the 123-Reg manager is obviously not at work today (a Saturday). He uasked if he could do something right away and said he would look into it in depth on Monday morning.

Impressive!

He also said that business integration is proceeding, so I am hopeful that things will improve all round.

I did link to this blog and thread so, perhaps, he/they will see the problems some people have faced.

Thanks to knobkerie (August 29, 2013) for posting the CEO’s email address. I had been wondering how to contact a senior person…

DAS1951 - 11 months ago

PS. I also took opportunity of discussing the expensive non-geographic contact telephone number on the 123-Reg website and I was pleased to hear that this should change in 2014.

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