HostGator, along with a number of other major web hosts, has dealt with the problem of millions of IP addresses being blocked by online hosting networks. The issue prevented emails from being received if they came from one of the blacklisted networks. The IP addresses impacted were those used for email gateways.
Currently, some customers are still experiencing the problems, but most people have now had their IP addresses removed from the blacklists. HostGator was one of the first companies to realise there was a problem and consequently deal with the situation. They have been working with other web hosts to help relieve the problem.
Many of these problems are confined, resulting from a failure to keep all hosting account scripts updated. HostGator said the problem manifested a few months ago.
The issue mainly affected websites hosted using the Joomla framework. A number of known vulnerabilities were found in the framework as hackers worked around previous fixes. They uploaded a number of emailing scripts through malware programs, most of which were activated at the same time. This spamming is what led to many emails being blacklisted worldwide. AOL users were especially hard hit.
HostGator has helped with the problem by posting warnings on a number of hosting forums. They have also released a guide on how to prevent this problem from happening in the future.
The current figure for financial damage caused is unknown. Many businesses were also shut down in the process. As they could not contact their customers, it is likely that they lost significant business because of it. While this was not a HostGator-centred problem, it caused a number of complaints from these customers.
Critics say web hosts like HostGator are doing well to make it easier to update back-end scripts. The next step, presumably, will be to provide automatic updates that do not require any user input.