Two of the largest web hosting companies experienced lengthy outages Tuesday.
Customers of Bluehost reported being offline for several hours this afternoon. The downtime was attributed to a major power outage in Provo, Utah, apparently due to human error during maintenance at a city-owned substation. "While they were doing maintenance, they caused the 138 KV breakers to open at the Tanner Substation," Tad Smallcomb, operations manager for Provo Power Systems, told KSL.com. Bluehost staff told customers that generators at the company's Provo data center functioned properly and the facility never lost power. The problem: much of Provo lost phone service, apparently including the Internet connectivity for Bluehost.
Meanwhile, Media Temple was hit by a denial of service attack on its DNS server, resulting in downtime for any hosting customers that used MT's nameservers. "At approximately 3:50 PM PDT, (mt) Media Temple experienced a UDP flood against our DNS servers which has resulted in the unavailability of our nameservers," the company said. "Due to the sophistication of the attack, our normal DDoS firewall prevention techniques didn’t block the attack adequately, as the traffic appears to be legitimate." At one point Media Temple blocked all traffic from Asia, South America and Mexico to help reduce the impact of the attack. Those blocks were later lifted.
Each provider hosts approximately 1 million names, according to stats from WebHosting.info, which finds 1.04 million domains at BlueHost and 993,000 at Media Temple.