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Category Archives: Administration

Site related administravia that isn’t creative

Indie Web Camp LogoI’m testing out the Known platform for blogging. All that means for this site is that all new posts will now be at http://blog.chooch.us. I’ll slowly move previous posts over there. For now, they’re under the “Articles” menu up top.

Edit 02-03-2015 – for a number of reasons I’m closing the Known experiment down. I never got around to porting past posts over, so now I just need to move the new posts I had made there back here… clear?

Certainly not mine any more!

A few months ago our websites underwent some significant down time. The dust has settled and my schedule has finally allowed a little time to write about it.

Here’s what went down: GoDaddy decided that something was wrong with one of my sites one day and initiated a move of my hosting account to the server ghetto. This is the place where misbehaving children are sent for a time out.

My dozen or so sites were reasonably up to date, but I immediately went to log in and update their code (several WordPress blogs that were in the middle of being consolidated under a single instance as well as some forums, photo gallery sites, etc.). I had never had any problems, so I wanted to check to make sure I wasn’t hacked or anything.

My sites were taken offline during the move to the ghetto, so I couldn’t check anything and people who tried to go to any of my sites got a big blank page. I called GoDaddy support to ask how long it would take, and they said the transfers usually take about 48 hours. I was only hosting around 8 gigabytes of data, so two days to transfer it in what should be a state-of-the-art gigabit per second data center baffled me, but I decided to wait it out and not argue the point.

I asked how long my account would stay on the ghetto server and they said a minimum of 30 days, then it would be reevaluated and moved back to the regular hosting server if everything was OK. I found this terribly insulting. Those ghetto servers are where hacked and infested accounts reside. They are given the least provisioned bandwidth since they are doing “naughty things”, but there is no way for me, a human person, to request my sites be checked and moved back in a timely manner. I get a 30-day “time out”, even though I installed from their tools, and stayed on top of patches. They wouldn’t even tell me WHAT my sites were doing that supposedly violated their terms of service and got me moved to the ghetto, just a generic “using too many resources” message. Did one of my sites just suddenly get too popular for them??

After waiting the 48 hours for transfer, my sites were still down. I called and they said that “something has gone wrong, we’ll look into it. Give us another 48 hours”. I gave it 24 and called back. Still no go. I called back every day. FOR.SEVEN.DAYS. A technician finally looked at their transfer script, fixed the hang up, and the sites finished the move to the ghetto.

Now that my sites were accessible, I checked them over, and nothing was amiss. A couple plugin updates, but nothing was tampered with, and there was no sign of anything going haywire. Things were slloooooooooooow though. I called support and got the runaround about having to wait the 30 days before they’d look at the site to clear it and then initiate the move out of the ghetto.

Screw that, I found another hosting company and had all of my sites moved away in a matter of hours and closed the GoDaddy hosting account.

Things go wrong sometimes, and the people on the phones are friendly and all, but 7 days to copy 8 gigabytes of data is insane. Moving you for no provable reason of wrong-doing is insulting. Leaving your sites on a festering hunk of silicon and steel with a bunch of degenerates for an arbitrary period of time for no reason other than “policy” is ridiculous.

On the recommendation of a friend I signed up for an account on imhosted.com and have been quite satisfied. There have been a couple minor down-time glitches, but all seems to be smoothed out now. I am getting to the point of seriously considering moving away from shared host plans to a dedicated VPS, so that will be the next bit of research to undertake.

GoDaddy’s marketing tactics have always left a bad taste in my mouth, but the prices were good, the bandwidth fast, and service prompt. A seven day outage and uncertain future stuck in the slow lane was enough to make me re-evaluate their value proposition and I am happy to say that the healthy amount of competition in the hosting space means I don’t need to take their guff!

Or, at least that’s what I’m telling myself. I’m in the middle of trying to convert all of my WordPress sites into a single Multi-User install. If it works, this means that I will only have to upgrade and patch a single set of plugins and code and all of my sites will automatically be up to date.

Great for security, and certainly a plus for this lazy admin. Getting there, however, is another story. The documentation makes it seem like a simple act of exporting, tweaking some settings, and importing. I am finding that a lot of things don’t come across with an export though, and a lot of hand tweaking is required to get things to look right.

So, this blog will look a bit strange and some elements may be disappearing and reappearing as I enable things and get it all settled. Then I’ll start moving over the other sites if I’m convinced it won’t break anything.

I’ll update here as things progress

[Update 12/17/2010]

It’s been awhile since I’ve worked on this project. I successfully moved two blogs into the MU setup and they’re running great. I tried to move a podcast over, but the episodes didn’t want to play. I think it had to do with caching but ran out of time to test. I’ve got one more standard blog to move into the MU setup, then work on the podcasts.

[Update 12/20/2010]

I was successful in integrating a podcast. I had to manually touch every post for the mp3 files to link correctly, so it took awhile, but in the end everything seems to be working normally. For the next podcast I may try doing a search/replace within the SQL database dump and see if that works without having to touch every post. New posts automatically worked without issue, it was just the old episodes.

Just a quick plug for a web event happening next week called The Boom Effect. The event will start on Saturday, February 27th at 10AM Eastern time via UStream.

This charity drive is a live, online auction to raise money for the trust fund of Tee Morris’ daughter who lost her mother on January 5, 2010. There will be at least 5 hours of entertainment hosted by Podcasting’s Rich Sigfrit. We’ll be in the live audience cheering everybody on, and likely on camera on the main feed as well. It’s shaping up to be a really fun time. You’ll be able to bid from the chat room, through e-mail, proxy-bid on the website, and I think via video or audio on Skype or UStream.

And with over 70 items up for auction (so far!!) there is something for everyone to get excited about and bid for! Everything from jewelry, to pictures, paintings by celebrities, custom music, book dedications, food, clothes, signed DVDs and books, knitwear, and even Mozart’s Balls!! Seriously, go check out everything up for auction!

Hope to see you there!