Microsoft's Remote Web Access feature is down for small-business users working from home

Some small-business users attempting to connect remotely through Windows Server Essentials have been reporting connectivity issues since July 23.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Starting on the evening of July 23, there have been reports of connectivity issues by a variety of small businesses, managed solution providers, and users of Microsoft's Remote Web Access feature. This morning (10am ET), the number of reports is growing and there's been no official response from Microsoft.

Some speculated that Microsoft may have lost control of the remotewebaccess.com domain. But as Luke Roberts (@LukeRobertsNL on Twitter) noted that he sees the domain changed DNS servers, resulting in the service being completely broken for his client's employees who are all working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jim Reid (@reidjim76) on Twitter posted screenshots from the WhoIs.com site showing that the nameservers for remotewebaccess.com were changed on July 24 to a new host in the UK, NSGBR.COMLAUDE.CO.UK. However, the IPs of the new nameservers which are pointing to remotewebaccess.com do seem to belong to Microsoft, Reid said.

"I have over 30 small businesses working remotely due to the pandemic all with no access because of this," said Dan Brown (@tdanbrown on Twitter).

Remote Web Access is a feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, which Microsoft is scheduled to continue to support until October 2023, as well as a feature of Windows Server 2016 Essentials, which will be supported through January 2027.

I asked Microsoft again this morning for an update on what the company plans to do to fix this. No word back so far.

Update (2:40pm ET): "This issue is now resolved," a spokesperson told me via email. I'm asking for further details about what happened. If Microsoft is providing any, I'll add them to this post. 

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