Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hosting blues

So my hosting company, who I'm generally happy with, decided to move my server physically from LA to San Diego (about a two hour drive). So things were down from maybe 10:00pm last night to 2:00am this morning, give or take. The server changed IP addresses at the same time.

Well, there's a primary and a backup, right? So in this case ns4 and ns5. They updated ns4 to point to the new address but not ns5. So my sites kind of mostly work - if you get lucky and get the DNS off the first one, great, if not then the second one. So as an example if you go to a big DNS site like OpenDNS you can actually pull up what their cache has for the IP and hit refresh and they have five locations around the world and about 3/4 of them will be correct. And then you hit refresh again and they'll all bounce - still 3/4 chance of being right but a different 3/4 just depending on which one happened to have a failure on the primary and bounce back to the secondary.

I sent them a note about it - it will be interesting to see what they say and if it gets fixed promptly.

Update: At 2:00pm - almost six hours after I submitted a support ticket I got an answer back that indicates their own support people don't understand basic DNS issues and they would rather assume I'm a moron than to bump it up to the next tier. I also posted this issue to their support forums and got a response back that they're working on it, and they're different because they're part way done updating. Um, it doesn't take six hours to sync two DNS servers.

I can actually reach all my stuff because I've changed my Hosts file to the right IP 216.97.225.85 but I'm getting email from people elsewhere that can't get to my site. I get the email but slowly - basically it might fail a couple of times but eventually it happens to get the correct IP and goes through. A lot of notes are showing up about an hour after they were written, but it just depends on the site - sometimes they go right through if they have the right one cached.

I'm pretty appalled - these guys used to have really good support. Cost cutting, I guess, but it's looking like I should check out some other options. The problem is that it's hard to really be sure from word of mouth because unless you've had a technical problem like this you don't really know how they'll deal with it.

OK, let's submit this and see if blogger has the right IP address at this moment, or if I'll have to retry every five minutes...

Update 2: Here's a nice site where you can see this at a glance. If you look at the second status line near the bottom of the page you can see them not matching. Last update took three tries, let's try it again...

Update 3: Twelve hours after I originally brought this to their attention somebody finally forwarded it to a technical person. Hopefully they actually know what a nameserver is and how screwed thousands of their customers are. It's so frustrating getting email from folks trying to buy stuff wondering why nothing works and the company that screwed it up won't listen long enough for you to tell them exactly what the problem is, because you, an artist, know more about DNS than they do.

Update 4: It's now 24 hours after I first reported the problem to them, and 34 hours after they moved the server, and their technical person understood how to correct the record and corrected it... for the domain I used as an example. Which was my hobby site. Which is good, because it's actually where I host my eBay images so at least my auctions should be OK now, but they didn't fix it for this site or the hobby site so people's access will be intermittent. It's obvious to me now that I should have written a blindingly step by step set of instructions for them. I've now listed all my domains (I don't trust them enough to say "all of them") and given up on helping them fix this problem globally - I just want mine fixed now.

Update 5: That's more like it - one more hour and the ticket went directly back to a technical person instead of bouncing back to the bozo queue and they fixed my domains. Still no apparent understanding that it's probably other people too, but I'll take it.

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