Over recent days a number of our customers had problems accessing their Standard or Advanced Mailbox using POP/IMAP or Webmail services for which we offer our sincere apologies. Whilst customers on POP or IMAP were able to send email and inbound emails were delivered to mailboxes, a number of our customers experienced connection problems when trying to retrieve and download mail during peak business hours. Customers who only access via Webmail experienced the issue more acutely. Customers using hosted Exchange were not impacted at any time.
The underlying problem originated with our email storage platform which hit performance issues despite no increase in email usage. This impacted the number of concurrent customer connections it would support. Therefore during peak hours customers would experience intermittent access rather than the usual seamless service that we strive to offer.
All services were restored as quickly as possible by migrating some customers to additional infrastructure, however we fully recognise that for many of our customers, we haven’t delivered the level of service that is expected from us nor that we expect to deliver. This problem was compounded when customers queued to get a response from our call centres due to the increase in demand associated with the service issues. Throughout this time, our team were working with our infrastructure suppliers, with all possible resources, to restore full service to all of our customers impacted as quickly as possible.
We would like to reassure you that absolutely no emails were lost as a result of the service interruptions, as all emails were queued (where necessary) and delivered to customers mailboxes. The issue was one of a lack of access to the received mail not a loss of mail.
To resolve the problems we have distributed the email load even more widely across our storage clusters than should normally be required. We are also adding in further storage capability as an additional safeguard this weekend to further expand the resources available to our customers and provide the highly available service we always aim to deliver. Work will continue over the coming days to ensure that from a hardware, configuration and processes point of view Fasthosts delivers the resilience and availability of the email platform to a high standard.
On behalf of Fasthosts, I would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding during this incident. Rest assured we do not take this for granted and we will deliver a more robust solution going forward having worked through this experience. If you have any comments for our senior team on this issue, please visit our blog for more information on how to send your feedback.
Again, I apologise unreservedly for the inconvenience caused to those customers affected, and fully recognise the importance of email in your daily professional and personal lives.
Customer Services Director
Fasthosts Internet Limited