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I feel a plead... a plead for speed: FastMail naps amid network blunder

Not our fault insists email slinger as customers twiddle thumbs

Email slinger FastMail took some time out to smell the roses this morning, much to the dismay of its paying users.

Problems for the Melbourne-based mail provider began at 07:39 UTC this morning, with FastMail admitting that it was experiencing network issues. These "issues" took down pretty much the entire service, as users observed:

FastMail was quick to point the finger of blame at a network provider as its services gradually staggered back into the light, beginning with Pobox, Listbox and Topicbox at 0858 UTC. It finally got its core email service up by 1008 UTC, some two-and-a-half hours after the outage began.

FastMail has been around for nearly 20 years, and was owned by Opera for a few years before a staff buy-out saw it regain its independence. It originally offered free email, but is now an exclusively paid subscription service, making an outage all the more embarrassing.

This is, of course, not the first time FastMail has taken a nap. It was the subject of a DDoS attack back in 2015 that saw it beefing up defences. This time around the cause for the outage appears considerably less sinister.

FastMail is proud of the fact that it owns its own servers, located in the Netherlands and the US. Sadly, that same pride is unlikely to extend to its networking provider. As a number of Twitter users noted – reliance on a single supplier is rarely a good idea, no matter how much redundancy is purportedly offered.

The Register contacted FastMail, which confirmed the issue was a routing problem outside of its systems. It went on to promise to share its plans in a blog once investigations were complete.

FastMail CEO Bron Gondwana told El Reg: "Our customers expect transparency from us, and they know they can expect a public post-mortem like this one from 2014. Sharing this information lets customers know they can count on our team to learn from issues like this, and continually improve." ®

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