Taken for granted by hundreds of millions of Internet users on a daily basis, domain names are part of the crucial glue holding the Internet together.
Websites can exist without domains but finding sites using IP addresses alone represents a huge step back for most humans who find words more convenient than long sequences of numbers.
Last week The Pirate Bay had a serious issue with one of its key domains, when the original ThePirateBay.org was suspended by its registrar EuroDNS due to an ICANN verification complaint.
That problem was fixed several days later with a switch to a new registrar but the site has issues affecting a much broader range of domains.
First up and illustrated below, ThePirateBay.com is now under suspension following action by EuroDNS. Once again the problems appear to stem back to verification issues with domain governing body ICANN.
Since January 1, 2014, ICANN has required that the contact details provided to register a domain are verified annually. If this doesn’t happen, problems like those now facing The Pirate Bay can occur.
As a result, similar suspension pages are now also displayed on several other Pirate Bay related domains including ThePirateBay.net, PirateBay.net and PirateBay.org. While none of these domains are currently being utilized as main domains for the site, all were being held as backups in case of an emergency.
Also affected today are domains related to Pirate Browser, the TOR-based anti-censorship tool released by The Pirate Bay during August 2013.
Less than a year after its release the tool had been downloaded more than five million times but earlier today its three main domains – piratebrowser.com, piratebrowser.net and piratebrowser.org – were all reporting suspensions.
It’s somewhat ironic that one of the most popular website/domain unblocking tools has itself become blocked due to a domain issue. However, for those keen to download PirateBrowser the site still exists at its less-memorable IP address of 184.108.40.206.
All seven domains identified by TorrentFreak as being under suspension are registered to the same person, Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij. He is also the official registrant of dozens of other Pirate Bay-related domains but the others are not registered with EuroDNS and don’t appear to be affected by the current issues.
Since last week’s problems with ThePirateBay.org were solved by transferring the domain to Canada-based EasyDNS, it’s likely that a similar process will bring the currently suspended domains back to life in the not too distant future.
In the meantime The Pirate Bay sails on, almost as if nothing had happened.