123-reg accidentally deletes customers' websites from its servers

Popular budget hosting company 123-reg has deleted hundreds of websites during a clean up operation on its VPS servers.

Unmanaged Service

123-reg has accidentally deleted hundreds of its customers' websites from its server while performing maintenance, and it seems to be struggling to restore them. In fact, it sounds as though some of the data may not be able to be restored.

"Our teams have been working long into the night to restore as much as we possibly can. We have also invested in external consultants to recover, in the best way possible."


Ross County's website was one of those deleted (Alasdair MacNeill)

Scottish League Cup winners Ross County, who rely on their website for ticket sales, were amongst the businesses affected after the error on Saturday. Time will tell whether the outage will be merely an 'inconvenience' or whether some websites are lost will need to be rebuilt from scratch at the customers' expense.

The cock-up occured when 123-reg were wiping sites that were no longer under contract and wiped a lot of sites that were. The company didn't seem all that sympathetic.

"Our VPS product is an unmanaged service and we always recommend that customers implement backups to safeguard against unexpected issues," the company said. "Customers who had purchased 123-reg backups can be online now."

Preventative Measures

After the event it can be too late to do anything if a site doesn't have back up measures in place. 

We recommend making sure you have an automated backup system at a site separate from your live servers that takes a copy every 24 hours. A service like this shouldn't be expensive and it means that you have a back up in the unlikely event there is a human error - as in this case - or if its something more malicious like a hack or even if the data centre hosting your servers has a disaster like a fire.

A lot of people will recommend taking a manual back up regularly, and this is a good idea too, although it can require more time resource. 

At Orange Punch, we take a manual backup of the website whenever there are major changes and automated backups of sites we maintain on a daily basis.

As a final measure, it's worth testing that you can restore from your automated backup system.