« Insufficient Warning | Main | Tunnel Vision on Israel »

Avoid HostingMatters.com: Recommendation for 1L-to-be-bloggers

There's a few entries I intend to write before shutting down TYoH, and one will be advice for 1L bloggers. This evening, however, I'd like to get ahead of myself by making one recommendation for any 1L-to-be out there that might be considering keeping a website diary of his or her law school experience: don't use HostingMatters.com as the web host.

Some of you may have noticed that De Novo is non-functional right now, despite the fact that they're hosting their annual "Survivor" competition to pick new authors. My regular readers might (a) recall that for various reasons I do a lot of support work for De Novo and (b) consider a major system failure in the middle of an annual competition to be a less than stellar sign of my competence.

Well, they'd be right on both counts, but only because I should have moved De Novo from Hosting Matters months ago. Yesterday at 1:55 PM, Hosting Matters sent an email to the site owner telling them that they'd be moving the site (from "Minerva" to "Niobe," for those that might have similar problems) in order to balance the servers. It's the single least competent site move I've ever seen. (And for reference, I used to work at a company that hosted commercial sites professionally.)

For over three hours today, you couldn't see De Novo at all. For the remainder of the time, the back end has been shafted beyond comprehension. Given Hosting Matters' limited set of site tools, I can't tell if the problem is that they've moved the site but not pointed it at the new database, or if they've somehow lost data during the site move. What I do know is that, as the site is now, I'm not sure I could move it to a new host in a functioning manner.

The response from Hosting Matters (which closed the ticket):

Your .htaccess had a typo in it:

deny rfom .idrc.org.sg

You would need to be more careful of your syntax. Removed.


Now, let's consider this from a techie perspective. Site working fine before moving servers, and then broken after. Is it an .htaccess problem? Well, maybe. Perhaps the new server interprets .htaccess files differently from the old one, I don't know (and Hosting Matters sure isn't interested in telling me). But then, if one is going to close the ticket, one might check to see that the site works. And sure enough, if you try to post a comment, you get:
You must define a Comment Listing template in order to display dynamic comments.

Does that look like a "my site can't find its templates after you moved servers" error? Why, yes, it does. (The site can't seem to find anything on the back end, either.) Does that seem to have much to do with an .htaccess file involving the Republic of Singapore? Well, let's put it this way: I just deleted the entire .htaccess file, and you still can't post to De Novo.

I'll admit, I'm not a programming genius, but it doesn't look like their "solution" had anything to do with the problem. Now, it would have been nice if they'd given more than nine hours of notice before the site move, as I could have run a backup, but that seems not to have occurred to them.

I've been hosting with Gradwell.com for three years, and while they might have a few downtime issues here and there, I've never experienced this level of absolute contempt from customer service. Ambimb seems to host the Blawgcoop at Dreamhost and hasn't given any complaints despite hosting multiple blogs on multiple platforms. On the other hand, I've dealt with a number of Hosting Matters clients over my time at Columbia, and it's inevitably been because they've made some alteration without allowing their customers time to react.

So dear Wormwood, the lesson to this is twofold. First, always backup information stored online in the same way one would backup your harddrive. Second, avoid Hosting Matters with the same degree of effort one would give to avoid being the subject of gunner bingo.

UPDATE: The "customer service" technician that De Novo is working with
seems to have a history. I have to say, this is singular in my experience. When a CS representative gets a reputation this poor online, a firm doesn't necessarily have to fire her (although that's advisable), but one might at least change the logon name.

UPDATE II: Things are working again. It appears that, contrary to their initial "assessment" of the problem, they failed to copy over all of the database tables from the new server to the old one. ( There may also have been an .htaccess issue (I can't be sure), but if so it arose with the server move as well.)

I have to say, the level of customer service with regards to this problem has been singular. The emails back and forth on this matter are . . . well, suffice it to say that if I'd ever behaved that way while working on tech support, I'd've been canned faster than spam.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.threeyearsofhell.com/cgi-user/mt/mtPleaseLinktoMe.cgi/3413

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Avoid HostingMatters.com: Recommendation for 1L-to-be-bloggers:

» Back To Normal from De Novo
I would like to apologize to De Novo readers for the service outage. De Novo's host, Hosting Matters, decided to move us to a new server because we were having a "negative impact" on the old one. When they did... [Read More]

Comments

Still waiting for the rest of the blogging-for-1Ls advice, BTW :)

Post a comment

NOTICE TO SPAMMERS, COMMENT ROBOTS, TRACKBACK SPAMMERS AND OTHER NON-HUMAN VISITORS: No comment or trackback left via a robot is ever welcome at Three Years of Hell. Your interference imposes significant costs upon me and my legitimate users. The owner, user or affiliate who advertises using non-human visitors and leaves a comment or trackback on this site therefore agrees to the following: (a) they will pay fifty cents (US$0.50) to Anthony Rickey (hereinafter, the "Host") for every spam trackback or comment processed through any blogs hosted on threeyearsofhell.com, morgrave.com or housevirgo.com, irrespective of whether that comment or trackback is actually posted on the publicly-accessible site, such fees to cover Host's costs of hosting and bandwidth, time in tending to your comment or trackback and costs of enforcement; (b) if such comment or trackback is published on the publicly-accessible site, an additional fee of one dollar (US$1.00) per day per URL included in the comment or trackback for every day the comment or trackback remains publicly available, such fee to represent the value of publicity and search-engine placement advantages.

Giving The Devil His Due

Choose Stylesheet

What I'm Reading

cover
D.C. Noir

My city. But darker.
cover
A Clockwork Orange

About time I read this...


Shopping

Projects I've Been Involved With

A Round-the-World Travel Blog: Devil May Care (A new round-the-world travel blog, co-written with my wife)
Parents for Inclusive Education (From my Clinic)

Syndicated from other sites

The Columbia Continuum
Other Blogs by CLS students

De Novo
Theory and Practice
Liberal Federalism?
Good News, No Foolin'


Althouse
Nancy Pelosi covers her head and visits the head of John the Baptist.
Vlogging in from Austin.
Omikase/"American Idol"


Jeremy Blachman's Weblog: 2007
Happy Passover
Looking for Advice re: LA
Google Books


Stay of Execution
What I've Learned From This Blog, or My Yellow Underpants
The End
Mid Thirties


Legal Theory Blog
Program Announcement: Summer Programs on the Constitution at George Washington
Book Announement: Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy by Whittington
Entry Level Hiring Report


The Volokh Conspiracy
Making the Daily Show:
Civil unions pass New Hampshire House:
Profile of Yale Law Dean Harold Koh:


Crescat Sententia
Hillary II
Hillary
Politics and Principal/Agents


Law Dork
Election Approaches
Following Lewis
New Jersey High Court: 'Same Rights and Benefits'


IrishLaw
Homecoming
Surveying the revival
Birds of paradise


Half the Sins of Mankind
Cheney Has Spoken Religious conservatives who may ...
Does Ahmadinejad Know Christianity Better Than MSN...
Borders as Genocide In discussions of climate chan...


pf.org
Progress
For lovers of garden gnomes...and any China-freaks out there
We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming


Ideoblog
Does SOX explain the flight from NY?
More Litvak on SOX effect on cross-listed firms
What did the market learn from internal controls reporting?


The Yin Blog
Iowa City = Riyadh
Jeffrey Rosen's "The Supreme Court"
Geek alert -- who would win between Battlestar Galactica and the U.S.S. Enterprise?


Letters of Marque
Graduation
And there we are
Oil!


BuffaloWings&Vodka
Signing Off


Dark Bilious Vapors
Jim (The Waco Kid): Where you headed, cowboy?
Bart: Nowhere special.
Jim: Nowhere special. I always wanted to go there.
Bart: Come on.
--"Blazing Saddles"

Technical Difficulties... please stand by....
The Onion should have gotten a patent first....


Legal Ethics Forum
Interesting new Expert DQ case
Decency, Due Care, and The Yoo-Delahunty Memorandum
Thinking About the Fired U.S. Attorneys


Ex Post
Student Symposium- Chicago!
More Hmong - Now at Law School
Good Samaritan Laws: Good For America?


Appellate Law & Practice
Those turned over documents
CA1: courts can’t help people acquitted of crimes purge the taint of acquitted conduct
CA1: restrictions on chain liquor stores in Rhode Island are STILL okay


the imbroglio
High schoolers turn in plagiarism screeners for copyright infringement
talisman
Paris to offer 20,600 bikes at 1,450 stations to rent by the end of the year


The Republic of T.
The Secret of the Snack Attack
links for 2007-04-04
Where You Link is What You Get

Distractions for stressed law students

The Other Side: Twisted AnimationsSomething Positive, a truly good webcomic

Syndicate This Site

Sitemeter

Technologies


Stop Spam Harvesters, Join Project Honey Pot