22 September 2007
How to keep your site on-line
Following on from last night's posting, it has emerged that it wasn't only Craig Murray that had his blog taken down by Fasthosts, the inaptly named hosting company. So did quite a few other bloggers. The likes of the Conservative MP Boris Johnson and a Labour councillor named Bob Piper had nothing to do with the dispute between Craig Murray and the Uzbek oligarch, but Fasthosts seemed to have gone into a panic and pulled all the blogs that they hosted.
How can a person protect his blog from actions like this? The answer is fairly straightforward. Firstly, do not have your domain either registered or hosted in Britain. Secondly, ensure that the company that holds your domain registration is different from the one that hosts your site. Thirdly, make sure that you register and host with large companies - I suggest Yahoo, but there are others equally big.
The registration actually doesn't matter all that much, but if you are going to put the site overseas you might as well as go the whole hog and register your domain via a foreign company as well. Make sure that the company that holds your registration is not some fly by night outfit that will try to force you to host with them. Many smaller companies offer tempting packages that involve free domain registration along with the hosting. The problem is that if a customer decides to change his host, they drag their feet about changing the two name servers. These are two short bits of code that tell a computer where a site is actually located.
A large company isn't going to do this. When you register your domain with Yahoo, you are given a control panel that includes a spot for the primary and secondary name servers. You just write them in and click save. It is as simple as that to change a host - if your domain is registered with a large company. If it isn't, then you have to rely on someone in the company that holds your registration making the change for you. Big really is better, especially if your host has just kicked your site into touch and you need a new one immediately.
Had the British bloggers followed at least some of this simple advice they would have been off line for a matter of hours at most. Their mistake seems to have been having their domains registered, and their sites hosted, by the same company. Had the domain been held by somone else, then when Fasthosts decided to close them down, they could have rented space with another host, changed their name servers to that new host and then uploaded their sites to that new server.
On the other hand, had everything been held abroad, they would not have gone off-line in the first place.
They made a mistake, but it is one that we can all learn from: register with one company and host with another: that way you keep your site on-line.