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Bug takes out HostGator, BlueHost for a day

Kevin Murphy, April 17, 2014, Domain Registrars

Endurance International, the domain name registrar that owns some of the world’s biggest web hosting brands, has been hit by a “network firmware” bug that took out one of its data centers.

It’s not currently clear how many many of the 10 million+ domains that EIG hosts were affected, but the outage seems to have lasted at least 17 hours and is only just being resolved right now.

Customers of EIG brands BlueHost and HostGator are among those known to be affected. HostGator alone hosts over 9 million domains, according to Wikipedia.

The outage, affecting a Provo, Utah data center, seems to have begun at 11am local time (7pm UTC) yesterday.

On the BlueHost Facebook page, the company wrote at about 8am UTC today:

Our NetOps team addressed the source of the problems affecting some customers: a bug in the firmware utilized in our vendor’s hardware. We worked very closely with this vendor and we have implemented a bug fix that is beginning to propagate across the network now. You may find some performance inconsistencies during this rollout, but they should resolve fairly quickly.

In more recent updates on Twitter and Facebook and forums, the companies said that some customers may still be affected by the bug, but that they’re quickly coming back online.

Endurance owns dozens of domains and hosting brands. In the registrar space, its best known and largest are probably FastDomain, Domain.com, Dotster and, following the recent acquisition, Directi.

Today’s downtime is the third significant outage in the last 12 months.

The same data center was hit by a prolonged outage in August 2013, which was followed by a shorter outage on December 31.

Domain.com owner files for $400m IPO, to spend $110m buying Directi

Kevin Murphy, September 10, 2013, Domain Registrars

Endurance International, owner of Domain.com and HostGator, plans to raise up to $400 million in a Nasdaq IPO, and said it will spend up to $110 million of that buying Directi, India’s largest domain registrar.

As part of the proposed acquisition, Endurance has also agreed to bankroll Directi’s new gTLD auctions to the tune of $62 million.

The acquisition is not final, and appears to depend on a number of targets related to the IPO and Directi’s revenue performance. Endurance’s S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission reads:

In August 2013, we entered into a master share purchase agreement to acquire all of the outstanding capital stock of Directi from Directi Holdings, the seller, for an amount we estimate will be between $100 million and $110 million in cash or, at the election of the seller, a combination of cash and shares of our common stock, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of specified customary closing conditions and the achievement of specified financial targets.

The acquisition would close in the fourth quarter this year.

As well as running a top-ten registrar (and a few dozen others), Directi subsdiary Radix Registry has 29 active new gTLD applications, 26 of which are contested.

Endurance proposes to help Radix win these contention sets. On new gTLD auctions, the S-1 says:

in connection with our proposed acquisition of Directi, we entered into agreements with entities affiliated with Directi Holdings related to participation in the auction of new top level domain extensions and domain monetization activities, pursuant to which, among other things, we may be obligated to make aggregate cash payments of up to a maximum of approximately $62 million, subject to specified terms, conditions and operational contingencies.

Endurance is a complicated company. Its most familiar brands include Domain.com, iPage, FatCow, Homestead, Bluehost, HostGator, A Small Orange, iPower and Dotster.

But since December 2011 it has been controlled and majority owned by Warburg Pincus and Goldman Sachs, which paid a reported $975 million.

Its annual revenue for the last three calendar years has been $87.8 million, $190.3 million and $292.2 million. It’s currently not profitable, recording a net loss of $139.2 million in 2012.

It has seven million domains under management and had 3.4 million customers at the end of June 2013.

Judging by the S-1, the company has over a billion dollars of debt. Directi acquisition excluded, most of its IPO proceeds would go towards paying off some of that debt.