NinerNet Communications™
System Status

Server and System Status

NC036: Migration update 17

7 June 2018 09:12:19 +0000

We continue to track the intermittent connections in Zambia. They simply don’t make sense. For example, some MTN customers have no problems connecting, but some do. And some people can connect on MTN, but not Realtime/HAI, or they can connect on Paratus, but not MTN.

But we are slowly managing to narrow things down with a resolution in mind.

We did receive a call from a client who has talked to at least one ISP up on the Copperbelt, and they informed him that they allow some connections but not others, and they allow some connections intermittently such that it works one minute and stops working the next. This is exactly the behaviour our clients are seeing, and it seems to be intentional on the part of at least one Zambian ISP! Now, these are very vague statements, but our client asked us for an email explaining how our system works and is configured that he could send to them. Herewith a copy of our email:

Thanks for your phone call. As I said on the phone, this mail server operates in exactly the same way as the old mail server. There is simply no way to operate a mail server on the Internet that does not conform to the same interoperability standards as every other mail server on the Internet. Sure, the are minor variations on how some things are done internally on all servers, but for server A to talk to server B and deliver an email — or for a personal computer or phone to get that email to server A in the first place — they all have to be talking the same language.

Also, I find it very difficult to understand an ISP saying that they allow some standard behaviour and disallow other standard behaviour. And it’s even more bizarre that they say they allow some behaviour intermittently; what’s the point of that?!

With that editorial out of the way, this is the configuration of both the old and new mail servers:

SOFTWARE:

  • MTA (mail transfer agent, i.e., mail server software, SMTP): Postfix
  • MDA (mail delivery agent, i.e., POP and IMAP): Dovecot
  • Web server (control panel and webmail): Nginx

PORTS (all TLS/SSL):

  • POP: 110/995
  • IMAP: 143/993
  • SMTP: 587
  • Web: 443

This is a 100% standard configuration, and as I’ve said before, is exactly the same as it was on the old server … EXACTLY the same.

Any ISP is welcome to contact me directly, by email or phone, to explain why users on our system should be subject to some sort of arbitrary blocking of anything. And they’re welcome to contact me just to ask questions or for a friendly chat. Everyone in the world (barring repressive dictatorships, which I don’t think Zambia has become just yet) uses these same port numbers and configurations.

Please keep me informed. Thanks.

Craig

NC036: Migration update 16

7 June 2018 05:43:46 +0000

Are you wondering if our mail server is really up or if we’re “having problems”? We could be lying, but this third-party service will uncover our lies:

https://downforeveryoneorjustme.com

Every time we check, mail.niner.net and webmail.niner.net are up. Please check for yourself. In fact, we suggest contacting your ISP and asking them why you cannot reach a server that is alive and well.

You can also check the pop, imap and smtp sub-domains of niner.net, as well as the old pop27, imap27 and smtp27 sub-domains, all of which are working.

We actually do strongly urge you to contact your ISP about the fact that you can only intermittently connect to our mail server. They are the only ones who can help you with your connection to the Internet when it is not working properly.

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.

NC020: Reboot

8 May 2018 00:38:35 +0000

Due to an issue with the FTP server on NC020 we rebooted it at 00:27 UTC. It was back online at 00:28.

Primary NinerNet website down

15 February 2018 10:29:34 +0000

We are aware of an issue with our main company website and some of the services directly connected to it (such as parked pages) that has started within the last 24 hours. We have not yet identified the cause of this problem, but we are working on finding it and fixing it.

This does not affect any client websites, nor does it affect email. It also does not affect most websites on sub-domains of niner.net — e.g., status.niner.net.

If you are having trouble accessing something that is on the root niner.net (or www.niner.net) domain, please email support.201802@niner.net and we will help you.

We apologise for this inconvenience.

NC020: Server networking issues

17 December 2017 12:27:45 +0000

Due to a misconfiguration of server NC020 by data centre personnel in response to a networking request from NinerNet that resulted from a change in one of their policies, this server stopped processing email properly earlier today. This resulted in some instability and the rebooting of the server three times between 07:22 and 08:06 UTC.

These problems affected only email processed for NinerNet domains, not any client email. However, because there are still a few client websites hosted on this server, including this status blog, these sites would have been down and up for some time this morning.

We have corrected the networking issue and have remonstrated with the data centre over the issue. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will endeavour to ensure that this does not happen again.

NC031: Database restarted

16 October 2017 21:30:51 +0000

The database on server NC031 was restarted at 21:25 UTC and is online and working again. We are investigating the cause of this issue.

NC031: Database issues

16 October 2017 21:03:09 +0000

We are investigating a database issue on server NC031 that is affecting database-driven websites. We will report details here.

NC018: Server back online

9 September 2017 14:39:20 +0000

No sooner had I clicked “publish” on that last post than the server was put back online. Again, we apologise for the service interruption.

NC018: Server taken offline prematurely

9 September 2017 14:30:56 +0000

Somebody at our data centre jumped the gun, and has taken server NC018 offline two days earlier than it should have been taken offline. This is (or will shortly be) causing a problem for all services on most domains, including our own.

We are waiting for the data centre to reactivate the server, and will update this ticket as it’s possible to do so.

We very sincerely and humbly apologise for this situation.

NinerNet home page

Systems at a Glance:


Loc.SystemStatusPing
Server NC023, London, United Kingdom (Relay server), OPERATIONAL.NC023OperationalUp?
Server NC028, Vancouver, Canada (Monitoring server), INTERNAL.NC028InternalUp?
Server NC031, New York, United States of America (Web server), INTERNAL.NC031InternalUp?
Server NC033, Toronto, Canada (Primary nameserver), OPERATIONAL.NC033OperationalUp?
Server NC034, Lusaka, Zambia (Phone server), INTERNAL.NC034InternalUp?
Server NC035, Sydney, Australia (Secondary nameserver), OPERATIONAL.NC035OperationalUp?
Server NC036, Amsterdam, Netherlands (Mail server), OPERATIONAL.NC036OperationalUp?
Server NC037, Seattle, United States of America (Mail server, secondary mail server), OPERATIONAL.NC037OperationalUp?
Server NC040, Toronto, Canada (Web server), INTERNAL.NC040InternalUp?
Server NC041, New York, United States of America (Web server), OPERATIONAL.NC041OperationalUp?
Server NC042, Seattle, United States of America (Status website), OPERATIONAL.NC042OperationalUp?

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