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How not to do a site cutover

We had been with NetRegistry for several years of hosting several of our sites until they cut them over to AWS. That was a disaster!

One afternoon, we were greeted with a web page on all of them stating our account was suspended. Puzzled, I contacted them, to which they stated that our sites had been cutover from their own servers to AWS. I suspect that normally that would have been a benefit, but instead, it has been a nightmare.

The issues have been:

  1. a.There was no warning, so I could not do a site backups.
  2. b.We were not told it had been done, so we don't know how many hours the sites have been unavailable.
  3. c.There was no automatic redirection of the sites to the new domain servers, so I had to do them all manually. I was only told that after I contacted them. At the time, we were with NR who could have done the DNS changes, but now with Namecheap (1/2 NR price).
  4. d.Told that it would take 2-4 hours to redirect to the AWS servers. I has now reached 9.
  5. e.I had to contact them to get the new URL for our cPanel site, so that I could at least see what was going on.
  6. f.The sites then consisted of the versions as they were on a week and two weeks earlier. Yes, two versions of the content.
  7. g.We still have not had any contact from them.

NetRegistry even had the audacity to ask us to pay AU$150 to restore to their latest backup, citing that I had done changes to the websites while the cutover was going on. That was only because they didn't tell us that they were going to cutover.

They did not taking any responsibility for initiating a faulty cutover process (thousands have suffered disruption over the several months of this progressive AWS rollout) without telling us so we could take pre-emptive action.

NetRegistry was a thoroughly dishonest company that did not taking responsibility for the problems that they created by:

  1. a.Continuing to rollout a known faulty process.
  2. b.Failing to notify the affected customers of their intention to do the cutover so that they could prepare for the worst case (which seemed to be the norm).
  3. c.Failing to inform customers of the likely poor results.

When I asked them to change to a less insulting page, they stated that they couldn't do it because the name server cutover was underway. Nothing like a page stating in big letters Account Suspended to give the sites' visitors the idea that we have done something heinous, when it had been the hoster's own incompetence. I suspect that if anything like this happened to any large retailer, NetRegistry would have been hit with a law suit claiming damages for loss of reputation.

The manager who authorised and oversaw this abomination of a cutover should have been sacked immediately for their total failure to follow any proper change management process. If someone ever claims in a resume to have overseen a successful cutover to AWS at NetRegistry, don't hire them. Save yourself the headaches of lost support staff time and insults to your customers.

Prior to all this, NetRegistry had been getting a lot of 5 out of 5 review on several external review sites, but over a couple of months they nosedived to 1 out of 5. NetRegistry now brand all their pages with WebCentral, which is their owner company formerly known as Melbourne IT, so they are not taking chances with getting any negativity resulting from their doomed cutover. However, NetRegistry still appears as the copyright owner on all their pages.

These problems spurred us to get alternatives quickly. Firstly, I transferred all our domain names to Namecheap, halving our domain name costs. As well, they provided free contact information hiding (for privacy), as opposed to NetRegistry's $10 per year. Then when the sites were finally stable after the cutover, we immediately went to A2 Hosting, with the added benefit of not having limits on things like numbers of add-on domains or email addresses and the like. A2 Hosting has always provided prompt responses to technical queries, compared to NetRegistry's days or weeks or never responses.

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