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After Nearly a Year – Vodafone Broadband Trying to Fix Imgur Bug

Tuesday, Jul 17th, 2018 (8:08 am) - Score 8,167

An intervention by ISPreview.co.uk appears to have encouraged Vodafone to finally try and fix a long running problem with their UK home broadband ISP platform, which for many months or possibly even years has been hampering the ability of their customers to access the popular online image sharing service Imgur.

We don’t know exactly when the problem began but in September last year ISPreview.co.uk started receiving sporadic complaints from customers of Vodafone’s fixed line home broadband service, which all suggested that they were struggling to access the popular online Imgur image sharing service.

At the time we couldn’t find enough feedback to confirm that a problem actually existed (the ISP is still comparatively small) but fast forward 10 months and the issue continues to crop up. Essentially Vodafone’s customers complain that they find the Imgur site and connected services either slow to load, failing to display all of its images or not loading at all.

Various topics can be found about this on Vodafone’s community and other forums (examples here, here and here etc.), most of which date back to 2017 and one even goes all the way back into 2016. A small number of other sites and web services also appear to be affected in a similar way, although Imgur is perhaps the most prominent.

The issue does not appear on other networks and it seems to occur irrespective of whether or not the customer has enabled or disabled Vodafone’s Content Control feature (i.e. website filtering / blocking). Despite this their Content Control system may still be at least partly to blame as it appears to intercept page requests, even when disabled (proxy filters caused similar issues for other ISPs a few years back).

Vodafone Broadband Customer Andehh said:

“[I] recently moved from BT to Vodafone for my broadband, both high 20mb, but am finding that imgur (heavily used by reddit) is massively slower then before, to the point where I turn off my wifi and use normal 4G to make it vaguely usable. Instantly solves it doing this. Never had this with BT, and the fact that turning off wifi instantly solves it has me confused.

It’s the only site I have found that is effected this way. Any ideas why? A way around it?”

Vodafone Broadband Customer PipefishUK said:

“For the last month or so I’ve noticed images on totally innocuous message boards not loading (I switched to Vodafone Broadband on the 1st of June this year), I didn’t really link it to anything and it didn’t massively bother me.

I also noticed images in my Reddit app coming up with an error when they were clicked on, and not displaying. I thought this was a problem with the app (Sync Pro) as it is often updated and thought they might have broken something – I was waiting for the next update to fix it…

Anyway after finding this thread whilst browsing the forum – I thought I’d try changing my DNS servers on the off chance, and it worked. Everything is fixed now, all sites and images load correctly.”

The good news is that Vodafone are finally working on a fix after we raised the problem with them a couple of weeks ago. The bad news is that there’s still no ETA for when this might be resolved.

Industry observers may recall that various ISPs suffered similar problems between 2010 and 2013, mostly while trying to get the implementation of a filtering system for the Internet Watch Foundation’s (IWF) list of child abuse sites working.

A Vodafone UK Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We are working on fixing this issue, and hope to have it resolved as soon as possible”.

So far the only way around this has been for customers to manually change their Domain Name Server (DNS) settings to use a free third-party alternative (e.g. Google Public DNS, OpenDNS, Quad9 etc.), as opposed to the automatic setting of using Vodafone’s own DNS servers. We suggest doing this with Content Control also being disabled.

Ideally this DNS tweak should be done on the router (assuming it allows that) and merely involves changing or updating two IP address numbers (e.g. for Google Public DNS you’d use Primary DNS: 8.8.8.8 and Secondary DNS: 8.8.4.4), although it can also be done for individual devices but that is more of a hassle (especially on mobile phones).

The fact that this long running problem is only now becoming more noticeable is likely to be a reflection of either Vodafone’s rapidly growing broadband base or the sporadic way in which it can affect different customers. We will keep tabs on this and update once they’ve resolved it.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
11 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Tom says:

    Having dealt with this, it was constantly pushed to private msgs and then dropped. It’s pretty disconcerting that Firefox would detect the security certificates coming from Vodafone as tampered with. It’s basically a man in the middle attack, perusing traffic. the electronic equivalent of steaming open an envelope and then sealing back up again, but badly in Vodafones case.

  2. Avatar photo arf says:

    How can a large ISP in 2018 fail to run a proper DNS for over a year?

  3. Avatar photo un4h731x0rp3r0m says:

    Sounds similar to the imageshack issue BT had about a year or two back

    ISP DNS is often rubbish particularly for cloudflare and similar sites.

  4. Avatar photo Gordo says:

    Okay so the solution to this is actually easy.
    Dump their shitty DNS and put in 1.1.1.1, and 1.0.0.1 for dns.

    To do this log into your router and set the DNS to the above options.

    Then Imgur loads… And less snooping occurs.

    Or if you’re lazy pay for tunnelbear.

  5. Avatar photo BARRY FITZPATRICK says:

    I had a similar problem earlier this year with Vodafone Broadband, which would block IMAP calls, plus a couple of other services. Customer Services would remove all content control despite it supposedly being off anyway, everythjng worked for 24-48 hours and then recurred.
    Despite escalation to Vodafone CEO (well his office at least) still no resolution. I gave hard evidence of outages, but tech dept denied that there was a problem. Now moved to another ISP and all is well.

  6. Avatar photo Chris Nevill says:

    They do the same with https://prnt.sc which is used by lightshot for screenshot uploads. Taking to their support about it is beyond hopeless. They don’t have a gain of usefulness between them. You might as well be talking to a bot.

    I will be leaving Vodafone as soon as my contacts up.

  7. Avatar photo chris says:

    urrg .. they still haven’t fixed it. was googling this problem and came across your article. cant believe this problem has been ongoing for so long!

  8. Avatar photo Bri says:

    This has been going on for three years now, as they were fixing it “as soon as possible” in 2015 already!
    https://forum.vodafone.co.uk/t5/Pay-monthly/Website-security-certificate-coming-from-vodafone-content/td-p/2454980

    If the aim is to “fix” Content Control instead of disabling it, they’re not lying: intercepting https traffic without the user knowing about it is not possible.

  9. Avatar photo Peter says:

    Hmmm…. switching DNS to 1.1.1.1 certainly helps, but I’m pretty disgusted they think it’s ok to pull man-in-the-middle stuff like this, and unimpressed at their failure to resolve…

  10. Avatar photo Dominic Bonham says:

    An easy fix is using Google’s DNS server of 8.8.8.8 with secondary DNS 8.8.4.4

    I’ve been using this for the past two years now with Vodafone and every time I move I make sure to switch it again, it’s faster and allows for use of Imgur and any other websites Vodafones DNS has issues with.

  11. Avatar photo Steve says:

    1 year on it has not been resolved. I am not confident enough to adjust server settings, i will ask young nephew to do this and hope for the best.

Comments are closed

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