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8chan goes dark after hardware provider discontinues service

‘This is not tolerable,’ said server rental provider Voxility

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Internet hate forum 8chan has gone dark after web services company Voxility banned the site — and also banned 8chan’s new host Epik, which had been leasing web space from it. Epik began working with 8chan today after web services giant Cloudflare cut off service, following the latest of at least three mass shootings linked to 8chan. But Stanford researcher Alex Stamos noted that Epik seemed to lease servers from Voxility, and when Voxility discovered the content, it cut ties with Epik almost immediately.

“As soon as we were notified of the content that Epik was hosting, we made the decision to totally ban them,” Voxility business development VP Maria Sirbu told The Verge. Sirbu said it was unlikely that Voxility would work with Epik again. “This is the second situation we’ve had with the reseller and this is not tolerable,” she said.

Epik’s website remains accessible, but 8chan — which was available earlier this morning — now returns an error message. Epik didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, so it’s not clear what its next steps will be or how heavily it depended on Voxility. Over the past year, Epik has raised its profile by working with far-right-friendly sites (like Gab) that have been banned by other web service companies. Earlier this year, it acquired the denial-of-service protection service BitMitigate, which has previously stepped in to protect sites like the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer.

CEO Rob Monster confirmed that Epik was serving 8chan this morning, though he said Epik had not proactively solicited business from the site. “Our services fill the ever growing need for a neutral service provider that will not terminate accounts based on arbitrary reasoning or political pressure,” Monster wrote. “From what little we know so far, the chans are not lawless and do have moderation, especially in regards to DMCA and content which is illegal in the United States.”

Cloudflare, by contrast, said that while 8chan “may not have violated the letter of the law in refusing to moderate their hate-filled community, they have created an environment that revels in violating its spirit.” Cloudflare noted that its actions were unlikely to keep 8chan offline, but Voxility has at least temporarily done so.