Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Service Announcement

I’d better let you know that I’m in the middle of a tag change, which could mean possible downtime or strangeness over the next few days.

You may be aware that back in March my account with Freedom2Surf was suspended after a flood attack hung their server. Because they refused (and continue to refuse) to reinstate my account, I was forced to find hosting elsewhere, eventually choosing the rather groovy 3050 Hosting.
However, Freedom2Surf also managed my domain, and this service had not been suspended. In the meantime I was able to point the DNS entries at 3050’s servers to keep the site running, but come the 20th September this year, it would be likely that Freedom2Surf would merely ‘detag’ my domain – it would still be registered in my name but couldn’t be used for… well… anything.
Firstly, I tried emailing Freedom2Surf, to ask them politely if they would change the tag on the domain so that all the DNS was controlled by 3050hosting – thus the domain would still operate beyond September and until March 2004 at the very earliest when my contract with 3050 expires (although it is very likely to be renewed). But they didn’t.
Fortunately, there was a plan B. Nominet, the non-profit organisation which runs the UK registry, allows registrants or their official representitives to change the tag manually, so if there is a breakdown in communication between the registrant and their agent (like in my case) then the registrant, the legal owner of the domain, still has a way of managing the domain.
“Hazzah!” I thought. But it’s not quite so straightforward. In fact, it is reassuringly difficult – I have had to print out a signed form out with my details to say that I authorise the transaction, and include a copy of my driving license/utility bill/bank statement to prove my identity, and then send it by snail mail to their offices in Oxford. And it isn’t free either – £15 plus VAT per domain per transaction.
On the upside, you get a reference number and password so it is possible to check up on the status of the tag change, and at present my form has arrived at their offices but nothing has been changed as yet. Apparently I will be contacted when the change does take effect. It is annoying about how long you have to wait and how much information you need to divulge but it is reassuring that any old Joe can’t fake your identity and then steal your domain, as happened with a few years ago (and that has only just been sorted out, several years on).
The change application hasn’t been approved yet, and it may still get rejected, in which case I lose my £17.63 and have to implement plan C, which I really hope I won’t have to. Although plan C is cheaper than what I am doing, the additional stress that it will require outweighs the savings. And when you consider that this is coming from a stingy Yorkshire student who owes the government £3000, that is a lot of stress :).
Basically it means changing the domain to (which I’m hoping I can do through my current host), then pointing at another web server which can redirect traffic with 301 (permanent) redirects to the new server. Then, there’s the task of getting everyone who links to me to update their links, and changing my email address where I’ve signed up for something with neil @at Let’s just hope I don’t have to do that.
I probably should have done this sooner – while I do have just under 3 weeks until ‘the day of reckoning’ it’s still not a very long time for everyone to fix their links. Though at least I’m not panicking on the 19th hoping that I’ll still have a web site the next morning.

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