NinerNet Communications™
System Status

Server and System Status

NC031: Emergency maintenance complete

26 December 2018 12:18:17 +0000

We took server NC031 (the primary web server) down for eleven minutes today to correct an issue related to memory usage. The server was offline between 10:32 and 10:43 UTC.

We will be replacing this server early next month, and migrating all websites to the new server.

Our apologies for this inconvenience. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact NinerNet support. Thank-you.

NC036: Maintenance complete

15 December 2018 19:57:20 +0000

Our scheduled maintenance to increase the storage space available for email accounts on the mail server (NC036) is complete. The ability to send and receive email was not available between 19:17 and 19:44 UTC. The expanded disk space has been tested and all is running normally.

If you have any issues or question, please contact NinerNet support. Thank-you.

NC036: Scheduled maintenance underway

15 December 2018 19:14:54 +0000

The scheduled maintenance to increase hard drive space on server NC036 is underway. We will post progress reports or notice that the maintenance is complete as necessary.

NC036: Scheduled mail server maintenance

14 December 2018 07:03:01 +0000

During this weekend’s maintenance window we will be adding hard drive storage to server NC036 to continue to provide more storage space for a growing number of growing email accounts. This maintenance is scheduled to start at 19:00 UTC and we anticipate it will last less than one hour.

During the maintenance the ability to send and receive email will not be available, both via standalone email programs (e.g., Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.) and the webmail. Incoming email will be queued on the sending servers until our server is back online again, after which it will then be delivered to our server and your email account. This may result in a delay longer than the planned hour of the maintenance though.

Please monitor this status page to be notified of the start and end of the maintenance. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact NinerNet support.

Thank-you for your patience as we continue to work to improve our services to you.

NC031: Database overload incident

14 December 2018 05:51:47 +0000

On 13 December (UTC) the database server on server NC031 (the primary web server) failed twice, the second time resulting in our deciding to reboot the server. We believe this to be the result of a marked increase in denial of service and hacking attempts against this server over the last few days.

The database server went down at 01:55. We immediately logged into the server to determine the cause, and restarted it at 02:37. Shortly after that the problem manifested itself again, we did a full reboot of the machine at 03:03, and the server was again online and fully functional at 03:06.

The database failure resulted in database-based websites — e.g., WordPress websites — generating “error connecting to database” errors.

This issue highlights an issue on this server that we intend to address very early in the New Year, that being a necessary upgrade of our firewall system to better handle such attacks in the future.

We apologise that this issue occurred. If you have any questions, please contact NinerNet support. Thank-you.

NC031: Data centre power failure

19 July 2018 05:09:49 +0000

At 23:04 UTC on 18 July connectivity issues were reported at the New York, US, data centre. The cause of this problem was later identified as a power outage. The data centre is currently reporting that power was restored to the data centre at 00:38 UTC on 19 July, but our own logs on the server itself indicate that it was only down between 22:55 and 23:50 UTC on 18 July. We are expecting a full report from the data centre and will post further details here when we receive that.

This affected our primary web server, hosting most clients’ websites, including our own primary website (www.niner.net).

We later soft-rebooted the server at 04:07 UTC on 19 July, and it was back online at 04:08.

This outage affected automated daily back-ups on the server. These have been restored and will run as scheduled at the next scheduled time, which is at midnight UTC on 20 July.

We apologise for this outage. The data centres we select are supposed to have redundant power systems to ensure that this kind of event never happens. However, clearly it did in this case and, as mentioned above, we are expecting a follow-up report from the data centre to explain this failure.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us to let us know. Thank-you, and we again apologise for this incident.

NC036: Migration update 25 — Final

18 June 2018 08:54:43 +0000

The migration of all email accounts from server NC027 to server NC036 is complete. In fact, it was successfully completed at 04:00 UTC on 4 June. What followed over the next few days was an unprecedented avalanche of misinformation and red herrings that resulted in our moving the new server to another data centre (a move that took ten times longer than the previous move from the data centre where NC027 was located) where the same “problems” experienced by only some of our clients magically reappeared.

We planned the migration to have absolutely no impact on existing email configurations. We did this by pointing legacy sub-domains of the niner.net domain that named server NC027 — e.g., smtp27.niner.net — to server NC036. At the conclusion of the migration these sub-domains were indeed pointing to the new server. In other words, on Monday morning (4 June) email programs would have thought they were still downloading mail from the same server, not realising (or needing to realise) that they were in fact downloading from a new server.

However, it turned out that a significant minority of email programs were somehow misconfigured with settings that worked on the old server, but stopped working when connecting to the new server. Those clients who were using the correct settings experienced no disruption at all, and when those clients with incorrect settings corrected them on the morning of Monday the 11th, the problems were fixed instantly.

Over the rest of that week (11-15 June) we helped a few clients with some issues unique to how they use email, especially where those practices clashed with current best practices for email transmission. We also dealt with some issues of senders whose mail servers were behaving improperly, causing their emails to be blocked because they looked like spammers. This notably affected email from the ZRA, but their emails are once again flowing unimpeded.

We’re monitoring the spam filtering on the new server. Any message that the server identifies as spam will have the subject of the message prefixed to add “[SPAM]“. You can use this to configure your email program or the webmail to deal with spam automatically, by filtering it into your “junk” folder or deleting it entirely. We recommend filtering to the junk folder so that you can catch the occasional legitimate message that is misclassified as spam.

Finally, in recognition of the fact that the emergency migration of the server to a new data centre on 6 June disrupted all clients’ email, and the fact that those clients with misconfigured email programs experienced a week of disruption before the issue was identified, we will be applying a one-week (quarter month) credit to the accounts of all clients hosted on server NC036. We apologise for the difficulties caused, and will apply what was learned this time to future migrations.

Thank-you, as always, for your custom and patience.

NC033: Maintenance complete

11 June 2018 00:45:06 +0000

Server NC033 is back online. It was down between 00:37 and 00:43 UTC.

NC033: Maintenance

11 June 2018 00:35:57 +0000

Server NC033 (the primary nameserver) is going down for maintenance in a few minutes for maintenance related to solving the mail server migration issue.

NC036: Migration update 15 — Possible return of connection issues

6 June 2018 16:35:16 +0000

As happened on Monday, after initial success with setting up the new mail server, we’re again receiving reports from clients in Zambia (so far) that are starting to have their connections to the server dropped by their ISPs. This is incredibly frustrating, certainly for you, of course, but also for us.

If this is happening to you, you can help us help you by submitting what’s called an MTR report. MTR is a network diagnostic tool that gives us quantifiable information we can analyse and (hopefully) act on, showing where the network problem affecting your email lies so that we may possibly contact the organisation responsible for the problem.

If you’re running Windows, please download WinMTR. The file you will download is just a zip file that contains the actual program (32- and 64-bit versions). Read the “README.TXT” file for instructions on which version to use. All you need to do is double-click the appropriate file and the program runs; it’s not actually installed on your computer. Then type nc036.ninernet.net (yes, that’s ninernet.net, NOT niner.net) in the box as prompted, and select the start option to begin generating report data. Once you’ve gathered enough data, please use the copy or export functions to send us the report.

Please also send us the following information:

  • Your IP address.
  • The name of your ISP. If you have access to multiple connections, an MTR report from each ISP would be greatly appreciated.
  • If you have a reliable contact at that ISP, his/her name, position, phone number and email address.

Please email this to our usual email address, or send it via our contact form.

Thanks.

NinerNet home page

Systems at a Glance:


Loc.SystemStatusPing
Server NC020, Chicago, United States of America, OPERATIONAL.NC020OperationalUp?
Server NC023, London, United Kingdom, OPERATIONAL.NC023OperationalUp?
Server NC028, Vancouver, Canada, INTERNAL.NC028InternalUp?
Server NC031, New York, United States of America, OPERATIONAL.NC031OperationalUp?
Server NC033, Toronto, Canada, OPERATIONAL.NC033OperationalUp?
Server NC034, Lusaka, Zambia, INTERNAL.NC034InternalUp?
Server NC035, Sydney, Australia, TESTING.NC035TestingUp?
Server NC036, Amsterdam, Netherlands, OPERATIONAL.NC036OperationalUp?
Server NC037, Seattle, United States of America, INTERNAL.NC037InternalUp?

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General Information:

This blog provides information about the status of NinerNet Communications systems. Dates and times of posts to this blog are in the UTC time zone, and dates and times given for events are also in the UTC time zone, although conversions may be offered for some time zones common to our clients. Please use the World Time Server to ensure accurate conversion of dates and times to your own time zone.

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