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Stephen Years
Entrepreneur. Dad. Rugby Fan.
Entrepreneur. Dad. Rugby Fan.

Stephen's posts

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A nice blog post in Librarianlifestyle about!

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John Saddington points out why it is important to curate your personal brand online. My favorite quote: "You have an online brand whether you like it or not. Sorry – there’s no way around this."

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Originally posted at

If you tried to access your on Thursday February 9th, 2012 between 6am and 6pm PDT, you will have noticed that you were unable to do so.

Let me start by apologizing to our user community. This kind of outage is unacceptable on every level, to you and to us. We will explain what happened, what the fix was, and how we plan to prevent such an outage in the future.

The .vu top-level domain equates to the island nation of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 miles off the coast of Australia. The name server infrastructure is operated by Telecom Vanuatu. In an unlikely sequence of events, there were a series of earthquakes followed by two cyclones (think hurricanes south of the equator) that caused mayhem on many of the 83 islands that comprise Vanuatu.

We are not exactly sure, because we still haven't been able to speak with anyone from Vunic or Telecom Vanuatu on the phone, what caused the name server infrastructure to go down - but the natural phenomena provide a plausible reason for the name server outage. We speculate that at some point during a recovery action, a dated DNS database was restored that contained old (bad) internet addresses for the servers. We caught and corrected this as of 7am PDT this morning.

At this point, we believed the DNS root would read the new information and propagate it throughout the internet bringing the service back into action. However, some subset of the DNS infrastructure in Vanuatu was still inaccessible and thus the changes did not take effect in a timely manner. Persistent attempts to contact the Vunic postmaster and Telecom Vanuatu did not yield results. Ultimately, they seem to have addressed these issues and brought the broken infrastructure fully up around 6pm PDT this evening.

Since there seems to be no reliable news source on Vanuatu at this moment, we don't really know what the situation is on the islands. We certainly wish the people and the country well as they recover from these natural disasters.

While we have planned and tested for all sorts of different outage scenarios, this outage, we did not anticipate. We believed that TLDs have adequate fault tolerance and redundancy built-in in order to qualify as and operate a TLD. In order to prevent future outages of this sort, we will be working with the Ministry of Telecommunications and Post to insure that a resilient name server infrastructure is put in place and TESTED.

Additionally, we have taken the step of creating an alternate domain path to keep things up in the case of catastrophic failure in the form of -> credentials, URLs, etc are consistent between and i.e. is equivalent to

Again, we apologize for the inconvenience. We take this sort of situation very seriously and will do everything in our power to make your personal brand site stable, secure, and useful. Thank you for using

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UPDATE: We have set up a fall back site at - just login like normal and you can access your page there. This is a temporary work around until the main site comes back up. I have a report from upstate New York that people have been able to register an account and access the main site - so hopefully DNS is propagating East to West from Vanuatu.

Post has attachment Site Status Update:

To everyone in the community, we are truly sorry for the site being inaccessible, and can provide the following information.

Between 6 and 7AM PST, the domain became inaccessible.

Apparently the entire .vu top level domain experienced some kind of catastrophic failure.

Following the failure, we believe that VUNic - the operators of the .vu domain - were driven to use a backup which contained badly dated DNS entries. This compounded the fallout for, as the old entries pointed to a server that hasn't be used in 6 months.

We edited our DNS entry and notified the administrators at VUNic. Unfortunately, at this point it was 3AM in Vanuatu (, where the name servers for .vu are hosted.

VUNic updates their primary name servers every 24 hours, and their secondary name servers every 12 hours.

It might take a whole day for to become accessible to you again.

We are truly sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused any of you. We hope our effort to keep you informed has been helpful.

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The YouTube version of my interview with +Amber Mac and +Sarah Lane during The Social Hour podcast is now up!
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