WestHost

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WestHost
Type Private company
Industry Web hosting service, Web design, Domain registration
Founded 1998
Headquarters Providence, Utah, USA
Key people Brian Chambers, Jeff Hunsaker, Phil Male
Products Web services
Website http://www.westhost.com/

WestHost provides Web hosting and domain registration services to individuals, organizations, and businesses. Founded in Providence, Utah in 1998 by Chris Russell, the company currently[when?] hosts over 100,000 domain names. MountainWest Capital Network identified WestHost as one of the top 100 fastest growing Utah companies in 2004.[1][dead link] In 2008 the company was acquired by UK2 Group.[2][dead link] UK2 Group was acquired by Lloyd's Development Capital (LDC) in 2011.[3][dead link]

Hosting infrastructure[edit]

  • SAS 70 Type II certified data centers
  • Tier 1 connection to the Internet backbone through multiple Gigabit Ethernet connections and multiple OC-3 lines with scalability to OC-48 and beyond
  • Uninterruptible power supply from battery bank (15 minutes) and 750 Kilovolt diesel generators (3–5 days)
  • Fire suppression via Inergen people-safe oxygen dilution system
  • Virtual Private Server technology for shared, semi-dedicated and dedicated servers
  • Proprietary control panel also provides client access to a diverse selection of Web site applications and development tools
  • WestHost ranked in the Netcraft top 10 list of most reliable Web hosting providers, including several top 10 rankings throughout 2006, 2007, and 2008.[4][5]

Structure[edit]

WestHost is one of the many webhosting brands of the parent company, UK2 Group, an ICANN accredited domain name registration, web hosting, and Internet services company. UK2 Group was founded in 1998 by Ditlev Bredahl and is based in London. Other brands associated with UK2 Group include Autica, WingSix, VPS.NET, MidPhase, AN Hosting, Resell.biz, Dotable, Virtual Internet, Supreme Support and 100TB.com.[6] 100TB.com, which previously was known as 10TB.com claimed it was the first company to offer 100 Terabytes (TB) of bandwidth and 1GigE port as standard with every dedicated server.[7] WestHost is the largest brand of the UK2 Group, and is based in Providence, Utah.

Service outages[edit]

On February 20, 2010, an incident occurred that resulted in prolonged downtime for many WestHost customers.[8] The incident occurred during a routine fire system inspection. During the inspection, a mistake was made that triggered the release of Inergen, causing damage to servers. WestHost initially stated that the problem was caused by an issue with Sphera virtualization software and could be fixed in less than 6 hours. However, when the downtime for some websites surpassed 48 hours, several WestHost users became increasingly vocal, citing poor communication from the company.[9] At this point, Jeff Hunsaker, President of WestHost parent company UK2 Group, provided a more detailed explanation and apologized for inaccurate information given by support staff. Although the websites for most customers were back online by the time of his letter, he stated that they were still in the process of restoring data from backups and some users might experience over 6 days of downtime.[8]

A few days after the beginning of the outage, some users began to wonder if WestHost was being honest about the cause of the problem. The speculation began when a Twitter user noticed that the Wikipedia article for Inergen was edited to indicate that Inergen can damage hard drives.[10] The edit took place shortly after the start of the service outage. Previous to the edit, the article made no mention of possible damage to server equipment. Furthermore, the IP address was traced back to UK2 Group. Soon after, the CEO of UK2 Group confirmed rumors about the edit: "Yes, we added that - I feel we had the proof to do so, and it was only fair to warn others. Can you blame us?"[11] The speculation intensified when a WestHost customer talked to an Inergen vendor who stated that it was highly unlikely that Inergen would cause the damages reported by WestHost.[12] Jeff Hunsaker responded to the rumors and confirmed that Inergen was indeed the cause of the problem.[13]

As a result of the data outage, WestHost provided affected customers with free hosting credits [14] Also, WestHost has chosen to move customers from the problem data center to another data center, C7 Data Centers, a premier data center based in Lindon, Utah.[15]

Homeland Security controversy[edit]

In June 2005 various news media outlets carried a story concerning an Iraq insurgency fundraising site established by an Italian group, Campo Antiimperialista.[16] The story generated widespread condemnation of the site, along with a flood of complaints to WestHost, the site’s unwitting hosting provider. Unknown to the public and media, WestHost had operated for over a year under a secret court order to provide all antiimperialista.org logs and files to the US Department of Homeland Security, along with an active tracking system that reported a site visitor’s Internet protocol address.

After days of denouncements that WestHost supported terrorist organizations, DHS finally allowed WestHost to shut down the site as it failed to obtain cooperation with foreign authorities to further the investigation. Nevertheless, Italian police later raided the home of a Campo Antiimperialista member and seized a computer and files used to create and maintain the site.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Utah 100 recognizes WestHost for its significant contribution to the state and its expanding economy.
  2. ^ UK2 Group Acquires Web Host WestHost.com
  3. ^ LDC acquires UK2 Group
  4. ^ Most Reliable Hosting Companies in November 2008
  5. ^ New York Internet and WestHost are the Most Reliable Hosting Companies in December 2008
  6. ^ http://www.uk2group.com/
  7. ^ "UK2 Group Announces an Industry-Changing 100 Terabytes With Every Dedicated Server". PR Newswire Association LLC. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Members Area | Westhost
  9. ^ WestHost Community Forums
  10. ^ Twitter / ESawdust
  11. ^ Web Hosting Talk - Inergen vs. Water in Server Room?
  12. ^ WestHost Community Forums | #303
  13. ^ WestHost Community Forums | Data Center Incident Report
  14. ^ at https://corp2.westhost.com/outage-credit/
  15. ^ "UK2 Group Chooses C7 Data Centers for Premium Web Hosting". Data Centers, Inc. March 31, 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  16. ^ National Security Watch: Eurolefties fund Iraq insurgency
  17. ^ National Security Watch: Eurolefties fund Iraq insurgency–Part II

External links[edit]