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123-reg: Where it all went wrong

Apr 19, 2016

Category: Websites

You may have seen in the news over the last few days that 123-reg have got themselves (and a large number of their customers) into a bit of a pickle.  We have put together a brief overview to explain what’s happened and, if you have been affected by this, what you can do.


123-reg are the largest website hosting company in the UK with over 800,000 customers, and they host 1.7million sites here alone.  This means that they host approximately 1/5th of the UK’s active websites.


Whilst “cleaning up its servers”, hosting company 123-reg have managed to delete a phenomenal number of their clients’ websites and files, some of which are irretrievable.

Those affected were companies whose websites are hosted on 123-reg’s Virtual Private Servers (VPS).  Virtual Private Servers allow numerous accounts to be hosted on a single server, as opposed to Dedicated Servers, which are allocated to a single user to host their own website(s) on. 

It wouldn’t have been too horrendous if 123-reg had temporarily deleted their customers’ files but had automatically backed them up and were able to retrieve them…

123-reg don’t automatically back-up any of their customers’ data and this is, quite frankly, careless. 


The short answer: Not particularly well.

123-reg announced their apologies in a statement, saying:

“[we] would like to extend our apologies to affected customers and assure them that we are doing everything we can to restore their data as quickly as possible…” 

But, alas, 3 days later thousands of people have still seen no sign of their website.

It only takes a quick Google search to discover the outcry that has erupted online from a number of (understandably!) disgruntled customers, which has only been exasperated by the fact that 123-reg doesn’t have a telephone line for customer support, only sales.


123-reg’s reaction to the outcry on Facebook and Twitter"Our VPS product is an unmanaged service and we always recommend that customers implement backups to safeguard against unexpected issues".

“All our web hosting plans, including the cheapest one, are filled with the features needed to keep today’s websites up and running…”

Surely this implies that backup is included and doesn’t fall on their customers to organise themselves?

123-reg’s most basic hosting package (ironically named “Essentials”) doesn’t include “Website Backup and Restore”; their website clearly targets the mass market, and could be criticised for taking advantage of those with limited technical knowledge.

 What Happens Next?

Unfortunately, many people have begun receiving emails informing them that their websites have been deleted forever, which is disastrous for so many people whose businesses are solely online.

For the rest, they are currently either still on hold or waiting for a response to their emails, Facebook messages and Tweets.

Let us help.

In contrast to 123-reg, here at The Creation Lab, we don’t offer cheap inadequate alternatives to decent hosting for our clients’ websites. 

We host our clients’ websites on dedicated servers which are backed up numerous times a week and offer their customers 24 hour support, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Sometimes things do go wrong, we’re not denying that, but at least we can give you our word that we will always be able to restore your website.

It’s not too late.  We can get a brand new site up and running for you in no time.  If there’s anything we can do to help, even if you just need to hear a friendly voice on the end of the phone to give you some advice, then please get in touch.

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