The popular German web host 1&1 suffered its second autumnal attack on December 10. The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack happened at 4pm local time on a Tuesday afternoon, leaving the host scrambling to care for its DNS infrastructure. It was down a total of 14 hours, and the hosts reported updates in real-time on their Twitter account. However, for their clients who depend on the web host to keep their sites up, running, and profitable during the holiday season, over an entire business day’s downtime was crippling.
The same type of attack happened exactly two months ago for 1&1 on October 10. According to the Public Relations Manager for North America, Kelly Meeneghan Peters, “While most of the affected customer websites came back online throughout this period of time, the last of these were restored after 19 hours.” That’s almost an entire day wasted, and for e-tailers during the holiday season that could keep them from getting into the black. It had some customers forgetting about the threat of natural disasters and questioning whether the web host could even manage to keep decent uptime on a daily basis.
DDoS on the Rise
DDoS attacks have been increasing lately, especially with Sony and Fasthosts (who both experienced downtime in the past 30 days). In Q4 of 2014, DDoS attacks have been spotted on the rise with a plethora of web hosts—and there seems to be no end in sight. During the latest 1&1 attack, the hashtag #1and1 was created with a number of the host’s businesses complaining publicly about the downtime—including Kizi Garden Recods, Lucky Girl Candles and Comvigo Software. These small businesses are already doing everything possible to grow online, and this kind of downtime has proven detrimental to their bottom line.
According to the last official 1&1 update, “We are prioritizing work to fully resolve the issue as promptly as possible and apologize unreservedly for any inconvenience. Please continue to check status-1and1.com for additional information.” Finally, on Twitter, the company posted, “Tech admins have indicated that the DDoS attack is nearly resolved. Most sites should be accessible, remember to clear your cache.”
The Wait is the Hardest Part
During the attack, servers, control panels, shared hosting, email and MyWebsite weren’t available. However, even after the “fix”, the 1&1 blog warned, “A small number of our customers may still encounter limited availability of their domain names as a result of this issue.” There was never an official announcement promising that all services were completely restored, perhaps as a means of protecting any lingering bugs.
Obviously, communication and updates are critical for good business and good hosting. While 1&1 may have been playing it safe by not promising everything was running smoothly for everyone, is that really in their best interest? It’s unclear how many, if any, customers left the company due to this déjà vu incident, but there are thousands of other hosts out there happy to welcome clients looking for better communication and higher guaranteed uptime.