UK domain price rises

February 5th, 2016 by
You could save as much as this by renewing early

You could save as much as this by renewing early

On 1st March, Nominet (the UK domain registry) are raising their wholesale prices by 50% for all registration periods except 1 year registrations (which are rising by less, but are currently disproportionately expensive), and we will be applying corresponding increases to our prices for these domains.

If your domain is due for renewal in the next six months, you can save a few quid by renewing early.  You can renew your domain in advance for up to nine years.

Our new and old prices are as follows:

Old price
(ex VAT)
New price
(ex VAT)
1 £5.42 £5.83
2 £7.50 £11.25
5 £17.92 £26.67
9 £30.00 £45.00
10 £32.50 £48.75

Free SSL certificates for hosting accounts

January 29th, 2016 by

Customers with hosting accounts on either yali or onza can now get free SSL certificates for websites, allowing you to have an https version of your website. We’re using the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority to provide the certificates.

To get a certificate and enable https hosting for your site, simply press the button in the control panel, and within 5 minutes you should have a working https site.  You can find the option under “Web and Email Hosting“.

Free SSL at the press of a button

Free SSL at the press of a button

Let’s Encrypt certificates have a short expiry period, but we will take care of automatically renewing them for you.

Why use HTTPS/SSL?

Using SSL on your website means that traffic between our server and your user’s computers is encrypted and can’t be intercepted (despite David Cameron’s desires).  It allows browsers to guarantee that they are indeed talking to the website shown in the address bar, even if they are using an untrusted network connection.  Even if you don’t view the security aspects as a benefit, Google have previously announced that they will boost the page ranking of SSL-enabled sites.

Sphinx accounts

Unfortunately, this service is not yet available to customers on our sphinx server.  We are working on that, and will have it enabled in the near future.

IPv4 to IPv6 Reverse Proxy & Load Balancer

October 5th, 2015 by

IPv6-only in the cloud just became possible

We have been offering IPv6-only Virtual Servers for some time, but until now they’ve been of limited use for public-facing services as most users don’t yet have a working IPv6 connection.

Our new, free IPv4 to IPv6 Reverse Proxy service provides a shared front-end server with an IPv4 address that will proxy requests through to your IPv6-only server. The service will proxy both HTTP and HTTPS requests.  For HTTPS, we use the SNI extension so the proxy can direct the traffic without needing to decrypt it. This means that the proxy does not need access to your SSL keys, and the connection remains end-to-end encrypted between the user’s browser and your server.

The service allows you to specify multiple backend servers, so if you have more than one server with us, it will load balance across them.

The IPv4 to IPv6 Reverse Proxy can be configured through our customer control panel. Front ends can be configured for hostnames within domains that are registered with us, or for which we provide DNS.

BOGOF on .uk domains, cheap .beer and lots more

September 4th, 2015 by

Nominet are celebrating 30 years of .uk with a buy one, get one free offer on .uk domains. The offer applies to one and two year registrations of new .uk,, and domains bought within a 7 day period.

If you’d like to take advantage of the offer, simply register the first domain through our website in the normal way, and then email us with the name of the second domain you’d like to register.

We’ve also got promotions available on lots of other domains. The discounts offered vary quite a lot by registry, particularly when it comes to multi-year bundles. Some of the best discounts are available for .beer, .host and .site.

Please see our Domains Page for the full list of current discounts.

Snapshot Backups – Public Beta

August 21st, 2015 by

VPS snapshots
We’ve just launched a public beta test of a new service available on all of our virtual servers: snapshot backups.

Snapshot Backups make it trivial to set up backups of your virtual server. Simply select how many daily, weekly, and monthly backups you’d like to retain, and what time of day you want the backups taken, and we’ll do the rest.

Snapshot backup configuration

Snapshots work by taking an instantaneous image of your virtual server’s disk, which is then placed into our storage cloud.

The service is priced based on the size of your server’s disk, and the number of backups you choose to retain. You can alter your backup retention policy at any time.

During the public beta, the service is being charged at half price. If you want to try it out, simply click on the “Backups” section of your virtual server’s control panel. If you have any feedback, please do let us know.

Five reasons why you should have your own domain for your email

July 24th, 2015 by


0. We sell domain names

OK, we lied, it’s six reasons, but the first probably isn’t very compelling so let’s get it out of the way first: buying domains gives us beer money.

Obviously we’ve got a commercial interest here, but Mythic Beasts exists because a bunch of students spotted that their university-provided email addresses would stop working once they graduated. We’ve now had the same personal email addresses for over 15 years.

1. Provider independence

This is the big one. Changing your email address is a massive pain. Not only do you need to tell all your human correspondents about your new address, but you need to tell just about every site that you’ve ever logged on to. Most sites use your email address to identify you, and that’s the only address that you can get a password reset sent to if you forget it.

Not so long ago, many people used the “free” addresses provided by their broadband (or dial-up) provider. This had the obvious problem that changing broadband providers meant changing your email address. Having your own domain puts you in control.

2. Real provider independence

Realising the problem of having your email address tied to your connectivity provider, many people have switched to using an address from a free email provider such as Gmail or Yahoo!, but this is really just moving the same problem elsewhere: your email address is now tied to your email provider.

What happens when you get fed up with the amount of advertising you’re exposed to in order to fund your “free” email account? Or your provider changes their email policy in a way that causes your address to be banned from mailing lists? Or you discover that the provider’s anti-spam policy is binning your legitimate email? Or they simply change their web interface in a way that you don’t like?

By using your own domain name, you retain choice of email provider.

3. Disposable addresses

It’s hard to do anything online without being asked to provide an email address, but how can you trust that your address isn’t going to be added to a spam list? If you have your own domain, you can have as many addresses as you want. You can even have “wildcard” addresses so that you can make up new addresses on the spot. For example, if my address is and I want to sign up to a service at, I could invent an address of:

If I start getting spam sent to that address then firstly, I know which site lost or sold my details and secondly, I can easily setup a rule to bin all mail to that address.

4. More interesting and memorable addresses

Unless you’re lucky enough to have a particularly uncommon name, any address you can get at the big free mail providers is likely to be some complex variant of your name. With your own domain name, you’ve got complete control. You could even have just a single letter such as

This also means that it’s less likely that your email will end up in someone else’s inbox by mistake. If one of your friends forgets that you’re rather than just, the email will get delivered to someone else. With your own domain, it’s far more likely that typo-ed addresses will get bounced, and the sender will notice the mistake.

5. Domains are cheap

EDIT 22/2/2020 – prices have gone up since this post was written, but domains are still cheap.

We sell UK domains for just £6+VAT £12+VAT for two years. £3.75 £7.20 is a year is a tiny price to pay for being in control of your own online identity. There’s also now a huge variety of generic top-level domains that can be had for not much more – .beer, .bike, .click, .cymru, .engineer, .guru, .scot, .wales, .wtf and hundreds more.

Of course, to use your domain, you’ll need somewhere to host it. We can sell you a hosting account too, but you don’t have to use us if you don’t want to. That’s the point!

The hazards of 301 (permanent) redirects

June 15th, 2015 by

When you visit a web page, you’ll often see the URL change as it loads.  For example, if you attempt to visit you’ll end up at .   This is achieved using HTTP redirects, a response from a server that tells your browser that the page it is trying to load has moved.

HTTP redirects come in two flavours:

Permanent (301)
This tells the client that the page requested has moved permanently, and crucially, if it wants to load the page again, it needn’t bother checking the old URL to see if the situation has changed. This is a good way of redirecting something that you never want to undo, for example, if you’re permanently moving a website from one domain to another.
Temporary (302)
As the name suggests, this tells the client that the page has moved, but only temporarily, so the client should continue requesting the old URL if it wants to load the page again. This is a good way of telling users that your site is down for maintenance, that they they don’t have enough credit to access a site, or of some other issue that is likely to change.



Getting this wrong can be a massive pain for your users. For example, Three use a permanent redirect if you’ve run out of credit on your data plan, or you’re trying to use tethering in the wrong country, or some other temporary problem.

So imagine what happens when you run out of data on your plan. You attempt to visit your favourite website, say, . Three tell you that that page has been replaced by Permanently.

Now find a working internet connection, attempt to load, and find that your browser quite reasonably takes you straight to the Three fail page, even if you’re no longer using a Three connection. Shift+Reload doesn’t help, even restarting your browser may not help.

Three have told your browser that every page you visited whilst out of credit has moved permanently to their fail page.

Expiring permanent redirects

The example given above is very obviously a place where a temporary 302 redirect should be used, but webmasters are often encouraged to prefer 301s in the name of improving search rankings. 301 redirects allow you to tell search engines that your site really is the same site as your .com site, thus accumulating all your google juice in the right place. They also save a small amount of time in loading the page by avoiding an unnecessary HTTP request.

Even when used legitimately, 301 redirects are obviously hazardous, as there’s no way to undo a permanent redirect once it’s been cached by a client.

The safe way to do a 301 redirect is to specify that it will expire, even if you don’t expect to ever change it. This can be done using the Cache-Control header. For example, the redirect that we issue for includes the following header:

Cache-Control: max-age=3600

This tells clients that they can remember the redirect for at most one hour, allowing us to change it relatively easily at some point in the future. We use the mod_expires Apache module to create this header, which also produces an equivalent “Expires” header (the old HTTP 1.0 equivalent of Cache-Control).

.htaccess example

The above can be implemented using a .htaccess file as follows:

ExpiresActive on
ExpiresDefault "access plus 1 hour"
Redirect 301 /

This example uses mod_alias and mod_expires which may need enabling globally in your web server. In Debian, Ubuntu and similar distributions, this is done by running the following command as root:

a2enmod alias expires

mod_rewrite example

Redirects are often implemented using Apache’s mod_rewrite. Unfortunately, mod_expires doesn’t apply headers to RewriteRules, but mod_headers can be used instead:

RewriteRule ^.* [L,R=301,E=limitcache:1]
Header always set Cache-Control "max-age=3600" env=limitcache

The RewriteRule is used to sent an environment variable which is used to conditionally add a Cache-Control header. Thanks to Mark Kolich’s blog for the inspiration.

Again, you may need to enable mod_rewrite and mod_headers on your web server:

a2enmod rewrite headers

Escaping 301 hell

Fortunately, if you’re unlucky enough to get caught by a broken 301 redirect, such as the one issued by Three, there is an easy way to get to the page you actually wanted: simply append a query string to the end of the URL. For example, Browsers won’t assume that the cached redirect is valid for this new URL and websites will almost always ignore unexpected query parameters.

2015-07-03 – Updated to add mod_rewrite example
2020-03-16 – Updated to note that the relevant modules may need enabling


May 29th, 2015 by

We’re please to announced that we can now set DS records for any domains registered with us.  At present, only UK domains can be configured  through the control panel.  For any other domains, please email support and we’ll put the records in place for you.

Control panel integration and other DNSSEC improvements will be coming soon.


Virtual Server Snapshots

May 18th, 2015 by

VPS snapshotsWe’ve just rolled out a beta of our snapshot functionality for our virtual servers.  This allows you to take an instantaneous image of your servers disk space which can then be restored at a later date to either the same or a different server.  This can be used for cloning a virtual server, for backups, or just to take a copy of your server before making significant configuration changes such as an operating system upgrade.

Snapshots are stored in our distributed storage cloud, which replicates the image across three separate data centres.

The system is in beta testing at the moment, and during this beta we’re offering free storage for images.  Once the beta is complete, storage space will become chargeable, but we’ll contact all customers who’ve made use of the service prior to issuing any bills.

If you want to try it out, simply use the snapshot panel for your server in the customer control panel, or use the snapshot command on the admin console.  Hopefully it’s self-explanatory, if it’s not, tell us and we’ll make it better!

A non-party political broadcast from Mythic Beasts

May 6th, 2015 by

Here at Mythic Beasts it’s fair to say that our staff hold a wide spectrum of political beliefs, but I think one thing we can all agree on is that all the major political parties have at least some irredeemably stupid policies (and possibly also that some of the minor parties only have stupid policies).

This makes voting for a political party a pretty depressing prospect. So, what about voting for an elected representative who will look after our interests?

Our founders reside in two constituencies with notable MPs: Witney and Cambridge.

The MP for Witney is notable for being the Prime Minister. The MP for Cambridge, Julian Huppert, is notable for being a Liberal Democrat and yet still being highly regarded by a large number of his constituents.

Now, if you want good data on whether your MP is any good or not, you should head over to the excellent They Work For You and find out what they’ve been up to in Parliament on your behalf.

But who wants good data when you can have some anecdotes? Let’s look at two issues that have got us wound up recently.

Firstly, the EU VAT MESS, which causes us an administrative burden far in excess of the value of the affected revenue.

Julian Huppert was very active on behalf of the constituents who contacted him on this issue (Mythic only got as far as a tweet…), including submitting written questions in parliament, which received a predictably useless response.

On the other hand, Paul wrote to David Cameron twice (the first letter went AWOL), and received only a hopeless response which completely failed to address any of the issues raised.

Secondly, banning secure encryption. As a hosting company, the ability to undertake transactions securely online is quite important to our everyday business (see previous notes).

The appalling jeering by other MPs, and the pathetic response given by Theresa May, to Julian Huppert’s questions asked in Parliament demonstrated the he was clearly one of the few MPs who actually grasped the implications of the proposal, rather just resorting to rhetoric that fuels the fear that terrorism relies on.

As for David Cameron, well, it’s his idea.

So what can we conclude from this? Not a lot, except that we’d probably be in a far better place if parliament were full of representatives who listened to and understood their constituents, rather than those who get in on the strength of a party political vote.