UniForum the .co.za Domain Registrar Crashed
The UniForum .co.za domain registrars’ website has been down since sometime late on Saturday. That’s about 72 hours now that the only source for Top Level domain registrations for the entire .co.za domain space has been unavailable.
No one (including private companies that offer domain .co.za registrations to their clients) has been able to check the availability of domains, confirm any who-is type information for existing .co.za domains, nor change, update or register any new domains at all.
UniForum are the only licensed agency allowed to provided access to .co.za registration services. And that service is (when the site works) pretty tedious and administratively long-winded as it is.
The system to update an existing domain for example involves submitting requests via email, waiting for 24 hours for “voting tickets” to be processed, and then only getting your requested changes processed. For things like changing Domain Name Server information when you move your site to a different host, this is a ridiculous waste of time and trigger for all sorts of issues with the site.
That’s what we wanted to do over this past long weekend. Thinking that the Interwebnets would be pretty quiet we put into place the long-standing plan to move BlaBla from our existing host (see here for part of the reasons why) to a new and improved provider. Files were copied across, settings were checked and all that had to happen was the submission of the new hosts’ server details to the registrar. And that’s where we are now. Still. 3 days later.
And we are not alone in our frustrations with the situation of essentially having the nations’ entire top level domain space controlled by a single organisation, using an archaic system, and dealing with the problem with the “screw you” attitude typical of monopolies:
From one of the threads tracking the problem on the MyBroadBand Forums:
- Just called them now and spoke to their tech support. The guy I spoke to wasn’t phased at all that the only .co.za registrar in the country has been down since Saturday “because they don’t work weekends” and that “we should be up soon” .
When I asked him if “soon” meant today his answer was “maybe”. I kid you not, .co.za “may” be up today sometime or tomorrow.
- This is causing havoc with my business.
- We have a dozen or so domain to register since Saturday and some people are getting very testy.
There are many other irritate comments just like it here as well.
So who do we bitch to about the situation?
Update @ 10:30PM/06-04-2010: Statement from UniForum Director Calvin Browne as reported on MyBroadBand. Despite what he says in the interview, the site is still not functioning. Still finding it hard to understand why such a crucial service has no backup servers, plan or crises management process in place. 3+ days to restore services to a power spike damaged system? Please. Their servers shouldn’t be subjected to a power spike in the first place!