asti.ga downtime - 4th-6th June 2023
From the morning of 4th June until the afternoon of 6th June, asti.ga was completely unavailable. The website was not reachable and neither was Astiga's web player, community forums, and apps will not have been able to contact asti.ga to playback music.
The reason is that, on the 4th June, ANINF, the organisation responsible for the .ga TLD, abruptly terminated their contract with the existing TLD registry operator, Freenom. asti.ga was registered at Freenom (although its DNS records were not hosted there). It is not clear, at this time, what decision was taken about existing domains, but at the time of writing it seems that ANINF simply decided to not transfer any domains from Freenom. Only a small handful of .ga domains appeared to be online (those of the Gabonese government) following the takeover.
As a previous sufferer of Freenom's abysmal attempts to fulfil domain registry services, we at Astiga support the transfer of management to ANINF and we hope the .ga TLD will be much better served in the future. It was a shame, though, that more could not be communicated about this, to allow us to plan and avoid the downtime.
What we did (in the short term)
We reconfigured the Astiga servers to use the astiga.audio domain that we purchased to use in the event of further domain unreliability. We managed to get the web app working again, but because the Android app is hardcoded to use asti.ga, this meant it was still not operational. We sent out our progress on social media so affected users could use these workarounds.
After being prompted by one of our users, I re-checked a social media conversation I was involved in, and found that an alternative registrar for .ga domains existed; gandi.net. I thus re-purchased asti.ga, configured the domain, reconfigured our servers again, and now we should be back up and running.
The situation now
As far as I am aware, our systems are fully operational again. As ever, please let us know if you find issues.
ANINF's migration process is documented to run until the 7th June. There's a possibility there may be more disruption during this process. If that's the case I'll roll back again to astiga.audio to allow as many people to access the service as possible.
What we're going to do next
In some ways it would be easiest to say "f*** it, we're going with astiga.audio".
Unfortunately, it's not that easy, because there are a number of factors that make remaining on asti.ga more attractive.
The obvious first one is the mobile app - we'd have to roll out a new version which used astiga.audio, and this would put people at some inconvenience. And then there are the other apps too.
More worrying is the brand and marketing "power" we've built for asti.ga. A lot of our traffic and eventual customers come from Google, and Google ranks websites (with a bunch of other factors) according to how many high quality references there are to our domain. If we lose the domain, we lose the marketing power. We can "redirect" that power to an extent, but it's probably not a 100% transfer.
So here's what we're going to do:
- We're going to remain on asti.ga for now, and be especially wary of changes in the short term as the ANINF migration completes. Outcomes of that migration may influence our decision as to which domain to remain with.
- We were going to do this anyway this quarter, but we're going to add the ability to fallback to an alternative domain in the Android app, so that can keep working if there are further problems with asti.ga.
- We're going to re-imburse everyone for three days lost access to the service. For monthly users, we'll call that 1/10th of your bill (3 days lost/30-ish days paid for) and for yearly subscribers that will be 3/365ths of your bill. This will be a manual process so bear with us on this, it might take a week or so.
I've just read this message back and realised I haven't apologised. I do apologise; I recognise the ultimate responsibility for the availability of the Astiga service is with us. I hope that both the .ga registry takeover by ANINF and our next steps will improve the service availability further.
I'd also like to say thank-you to our users. 100% of the messages I received during this period were supportive and constructive. Services where the customers and suppliers work together are those that develop for mutual benefit, and everyone wins.