Still looking for the perfect registrar.
Portfast appears to be a provider of hosting, virtual servers, and domain names. They offer native IPv6 (cool), they have a good name (Portfast), and they operate out of a .CO.UK domain name (portfast.co.uk) which is something I like to see. They appear to offer a no-nonsense service, and have sensible prices..UK domains are priced at £6+VAT per 2 years and .EU domains are priced at £9+VAT per year.
I liked what I saw so gave them a phone call. The phone was answered quickly, and the first person I spoke to had the technical ability to use the phrase "regular expression" in the conversation, and also the ability to recognise (in about one minute of conversation, starting from cold) that I would be able to understand that phrase. With other companies, this sort of ability doesn't manifest until about third-line support. I liked what I heard, so thought I'd give them a shot.
I have now taken my .CO.UK and my .EU over to Portfast.
There was no charge for taking the .CO.UK over. There was an annual renewal charge of £9+VAT for taking over the .EU, but that is par for the course because EURid charges registrars for transfers.
The .CO.UK went over fine. But the .EU appears to have hit a snag in that all the nameservers were lost in the transfer. This meant that there were no nameservers registered, which of course will have broken the domain name's operation. Fortunately Portfast offers on-line nameserver setting, and it seems these are pushed through to the EURid WHOIS and EURid nameservers within a matter of seconds, so it was easy enough to get things going again.
I asked Portfast about the loss of nameservers, and they replied quickly to indicate that this was not something that they expected to happen, and that their systems were specifically programmed not to touch the nameserver configuration over a registrar transfer. So a bit of a mystery there.
There is still a snag though. Portfast offers on-line configuration of IPv6 glue for .UK domain names. But for .EU domains, on-line configuration of glue records for .EU domains only goes as far as IPv4 glue and does not include IPv6 glue. To Portfast's credit, this is not a limitation imposed by them but rather by OpenSRS who Portfast use to register .EU domain names.
(It is not unreasonable for registrars to subcontract .EU domain name registrations to other registrars because of the somewhat onerous terms imposed upon registrars by EURid, for example the lodging of a €10,000 deposit.)
OpenSRS do not currently support the setting up of IPv6 glue on .EU domain names via an automation interface. So .EU domain name resellers using OpenSRS cannot reasonably offer automated IPv6 glue configuration to their customers.
(Despite APNIC being a mere 10 days away from running out of IPv4 addresses completely, the world does not seem to have realised that the time for saying "Oh we'll be handling IPv6 at ... [waves hand in a dismissive fashion] ... some point in the future" has long since passed.)
So I am currently pursuing the possibility of having Portfast pursue OpenSRS to set up IPv6 glue manually.
So far, OpenSRS has replied to say that they don't support IPv6 glue on .EU domain names. Unfortunately for them, I do not believe they have the option of taking this this position because under the registrar agreement they have with EURid, they will be obliged to offer all services to customers that EURid provides. I've submitted a request to Portfast that OpenSRS be asked again, and where we are now is that that request is currently outstanding.
Thus far Portfast has been entirely helpful and professional.
So at the minute it seems that Portfast per se are absolutely fine.
The problem I have left is that OpenSRS appear to be being a bit dim.
Results so far:
|AAISP||Reasonable level of technical competence within the organisation, and reasonably easy to get through to technically competent people on the phone. However they do not support on-line configuration of nameservers — you have to submit a support ticket, which is quite pants. Nor do they support automated registration of new domain names — you have to put in a support ticket, which is utterly hopeless if you are looking to "grab" a domain name. A generalised lack of automation on domain name handling — "all handled through tickets". Support tickets would be fine, however it typically take 1+ business days before you even get the initial response on a ticket. UK domain names quite pricey at £12+VAT per year. I don't know if they even provide .EU domain names. Recommendation: Not good for domain name registrations on their own, but OK if buying registrations along with other services, and you aren't cost conscious.|
|NamesCo||Technically incompetent. Don't touch with a bargepole|
|Nominate a.k.a. BB-Online||Technically incompetent. Don't touch with a bargepole|
|Portfast||Technically competent in and of themselves. Very reasonable pricing. Portfast handles IPv6 glue on .UK domain names "natively" through their on-line system. Unfortunately Portfast uses OpenSRS for .EU domain names, and it remains to be seen how OpenSRS will behave on IPv6 glue for .EU domain names. Recommendation: Seems to be good for .UK domain name registrations; the jury is still out on .EU domain name registrations.|