Is BT blocking sites on me?
December 6, 2007 12:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm with BT for my broadband and over the last few days I've been unable to access some sites in the US. Notably my own web host Mediatemple. Anyone else with BT experiencing problems?

I'm tearing my hair out here. A couple of weeks ago I noticed I couldn't access my email or any of my web sites. Thought it strange I hadn't got a text from pingdom monitoring service. Checked the sites on my mobile and they were working fine. Couple of hours later the problem seemed fixed and I thought no more about it.

Then two days ago same thing happened. I have no access to my site or any of my clients. I can't get on to any site hosted by Mediatemple. Things got more worrying when I asked around and found everyone I know on BT also couldn't access these sites.

Phoned BT yesterday and they predictably blamed Mediatemple. Phoned Mediatemple who got me to email them a traceroute to help them build up a case against BT... they said both they and BT are well aware of the problems and it's not just affecting Mediatemple but other US hosts as well.

Just off the phone to BT. Tech guy was nice but useless. Apologetic but had no solutions. One thing he said that I found strange was... "are any of the sites you are visiting of questionable material?" Are BT censoring sites?

What is or could be going on? Anyone knowledgable about these things help me out. I hate not knowing exactly what the problem is and I need to know if I have grounds to cancel my contract with BT and move to another provider... that's two days so far I've been unable to do any work to my sites. Not to mention two days without email.

It would also be helpful to be able to know what's up so I can inform my clients.
posted by twistedonion to Technology (10 answers total)
Response by poster: Forgot to say - the furthest I've got with BT now is that the guy I was talking to would write a note for his manager.
posted by twistedonion at 12:07 PM on December 6, 2007

When this type of thing comes up around here, it's sometimes a faulty dns issue. Try and see if you can connect to your websites by number. ==
posted by philomathoholic at 12:18 PM on December 6, 2007

You need PingPlotter.

Also, next time you can't reach your web site, try going through a proxy.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:38 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

I had this before with another provider. You just need to find a non-official bt support forum. Someone will have already worked out the answer.
posted by gatchaman at 12:57 PM on December 6, 2007

Response by poster: Cheers for the proxy tip unfortunately that doesn't help for ftp or email. Connecting by the ip doesn't work. Infuriating.
posted by twistedonion at 1:43 PM on December 6, 2007

Yes, BT blocks some sites. I really hope you don't visit those ones.
posted by Helga-woo at 2:20 PM on December 6, 2007

Response by poster: Definitely not! I doubt any of my sites could be considered any kind of porn. The thought did cross my mind though that whatever software they use could block sites that are completely unrelated though.

Got an email from Mediatemple basically saying that BT seemed to be having a connection problem to the US and to hassle them and get as many people as possible who are having issues to let BT know. They say it's a pretty wide range of sites that are being affected.

So I guess I'll just have to keep hassling them. I guess I could use a service like Relakks but knowing that people could be going to my customers sites and thinking they are not working freaks me out a bit.
posted by twistedonion at 3:07 PM on December 6, 2007

Same problem - BT Broadband. A traceroute on MT's IP ( gets as far as and then times out. Problem only started a couple of hours ago - I tested it when I read this post earlier this evening and all was fine.

There's nothing on the DSL Reports UK forum about it, at first glance.
posted by blag at 6:39 PM on December 6, 2007

The reason you should use PingPlotter is that it will give you excellent evidence to use when you yell and scream at BT. Leave it running to ping your remote server every 10 seconds, or something like that. Let it run for several days. (Leave your computer on, if necessary.)

It will allow you to say "Connection lost at 20:43, regained at 21:37, lost again at 22:16, lost until 03:33 the next morning." When they blame it on your remote server, you can say, "My pings stopped inside of BT's network without reaching anything in the US."

And so on. PingPlotter does a periodic traceroute, and stores the resulting data, and presents it to you graphically. Anyone getting screwed over by BT should own it -- but you don't actually have to buy it. It runs for 30 days for free. (THEN you have to buy it, if you want to keep using it.)

And you can run multiple copies of it simultaneously, each pinging a different destination. So you can have one going to your server, and one going to Google (maybe) and one going to some other site that you know is also intermittent for you to reach. All of which gives you solid evidence you can stuff down BT's throat when they try to brush you off and blame it on MediaTemple.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:57 PM on December 6, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks Steven, I'll have a look round and see if I can find a mac program that does something similar. Did a traceroute and it stops somewhere in the UK.
posted by twistedonion at 12:17 AM on December 7, 2007

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