April 21, 2006 / "Control, we've got a situation here." April 19, 2006. The day that blew. I'll take you through it and try to spare you most of the boring bits.

Control, we’ve got a situation here. April 19th, 2006. The day that blew. I’ll take you through it and try to spare you most of the boring bits.

0730: I check my e-mail. Nothing. Check my web site. Same nothing. I think: today is the day that I wish for this not to happen because I have a preliminary job meeting and need to have my web site available for presentation purposes. Still, I think, it’s only 7:30. Maybe the situation will resolve itself in the next three hours? Take a shower.

0800: Nothing. I place a very succinct distress call to my web host’s e-mail support. Need my site today. Need e-mail yesterday. Please let me know what the problem is and when it will probably go away.

Fast Forward…

1640: Well, the meeting went pretty well. The whole web site thing never really came up, which I had known was a possibility since it wasn’t that kind of meeting—more of a precursor to such a meeting. But it pays to be prepared. Anyway, the rest of the day happened. Then I get an e-mail from my web host, which I will quote in full here:

I apologize for this! I am able to access your site. Are you still having trouble?

Support Department

“Yes,” I responded, “I am still having trouble—no e-mail, no web site. And are you able to tell me what is causing this problem?” But it was soon clear I was not going to get a prompt reply on this.


I’d done a little research of my own throughout the day. First thing I did was hit the user forums and noticed that a number of people were complaining of similar problems. However these troubles did not seem to relate systematically to a particular server as they have in the past. Indeed Service Status indicated that everything was fine. When one of the forum users reported having similar problems to mine, but being able to use ftp, I decided to give that a shot and it worked. I discovered that as long as my domain name was removed from the equation (in favour of, say, an IP address) I could access the server. So perhaps this was some kind of name server problem? It was an answer, of sorts. Still, I had no idea why this was causing my site and e-mail to go down for an entire day, but shit happens and it didn’t look likely that the Support Department was going to bail me out any time soon.

Fast Forward…

1700: I decide that I need a new web host. Actually I’d had several in mind for a while now. I’d been deliberating—well, equivocating—all month and from the other side of the world my technical mentor had very patiently answered a million questions I had e-mailed him that hadn’t really gone anywhere. But today was different.

1701: I sign up at TextDrive and I’m told I should expect an e-mail containing setup instructions once a human has processed my application. I have no idea how long this will take and I wonder if my site will be up again by the end of the week.

1940: New message in my Inbox: “Welcome to TextDrive.” My account is ready to go. I plug in the ftp details and start uploading…

0030 (April 20th): There has been no resolution to the problems on my old web host’s side. Seventeen hours after I first noticed the problem my site is still down and I have no e-mail. I have managed to transfer everything to the new account. It’s time to knock off for the day. But first I log into my domain registration control panel and update the name servers to the ones TextDrive sent me.

0800 (April 20th): I wake up my computer and click the link for my web site. There it is. And fast too. Some basic tweaking is required, settings need to be set, some paths in the code need to be changed. It happens quickly. Then I reconfigure my e-mail with my new server info. Messages pour into my Inbox. And fast too.

1050 (April 20th): My old web host sends me a follow-up message:

I do apologize for this. I see that as of today, your site is working. We are keeping an eye on the server to see what might be causing this.

Please let us know if we can answer any other questions.

Support Department

Yes, it’s working. That’s because I moved it to TextDrive. No further questions.

So that’s the story of April 19th, 2006. Enjoy the new digs! I know I am. (By the way, 7700 is the aircraft transponder code for an in-flight emergency. Basically, it’s the aviator’s equivalent of “Oh Shit.”)

4 responses

  1. Dan

    7700 indeed. I had a domain name on the exact same day. Except mine was my own fault – I forgot to pay the bill. Since I had no domain name, I had no email. Since I had no email and couldn’t remember my DNS password, I had a 7700.

    I emailed Webarama.com.au explaining the situation and I swear 2 minutes later, Dave, one of the Webarama directors himself called me on my mobile! I hadn’t even had time to walk from the computer to my car before he called. Excellent service from Webarama.

    I look forward to hearing your reasoning behind Textdrive. That’s not an emotional or critical comment, purely a Academic one.



    April 21st, 2006 at 6:24 pm #

  2. Dan

    I seem to be enjoying a 7700 brain today. I meant that I had a Domain Name Issue on April 19.

    April 21st, 2006 at 6:25 pm #

  3. Ads

    Weirdness about the 19th. Glad you were able to sort it out quickly though. I decided to go with TextDrive for a number of reasons. They offer services that are most similar to the best services I enjoyed as a student, of which SSL IMAP, SFTP and SSH access were the most important. They also don’t oversell their shared hosting services, or if they do they do it less than most, which I find very appealing. I was not required to make a yearly commitment, which I didn’t want to do, so I’m just going from month-to-month at this stage. TextDrive has an impressive online Knowledge Base, which is my first preference for trying to have my questions answered. Finally, they have a very enthusiastic user base, including WordPress users, and the support forums have a pretty good reputation. When I considered all of these things it added up to a more attractive proposition than the others I was considering, namely Dreamhost and Globat (as you know). Not that I think either of those would have been bad choices. In fact I’m thinking of going with one of them (and not TextDrive) for hosting my other domain name when my remaining time at my Old Web Host runs out in June.

    April 24th, 2006 at 4:28 pm #

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