Web Provider Fun

August 16th, 2007 by exhuma.twn

Oh yess… rants… I love to rant… and after my adventures of today and reading the last post, I have to dump my thoughts as well. And this one is about one of our web-providers in our oh-so technically advanced country. Or so they claim.

Once upon a time when still nobody in the great public knew what a “web address” was (don’t even ask about the term “URL”), web-programming was still fun. Tables still ruled the designs, frames were not yet demonized — and you still had shell-access to your web-server.

It all started with the decision to get some business logic on to the web-pages. After a lot of googling — wait… that did not exist yet. A better term would be “altavistaing” or “lycosing”… — I StumbledUpon a revolutionary way to write code for web pages. PHP! Cool finally no more need of weird Perl syntax…… Haha… Right… moving on…

After even more research, I found one(!) web-provider that supported both PHP and MySQL. Amazing! They even supported MySQL. So I jumped right in. Support was amazing. It seemed to be a smallish company with only a handful of employees. Immediate shell access to the web-server, full control over all that was neede. Brilliant. And all was nice and dandy.

Until the day the shell-access disappeared. What gives?!? Is this legal? Simply changing features of a running contract? I don’t know. /me didn’t read the EULA. Stupid me! Still it seems kind of dubious. With the shell access gone, lots of things became suddenly more complicated. What about cron-tabs? What about MySQL dumps (no phpmyadmin available yet)… need I say more?

And it didn’t stop there. The company grew, migrated a few time to new locations. Every time linked with annoying downtimes of the servers. Which would be (kind of) OK, if the servers on the new location actually worked. After every migration the whole workflow changed. New URLs for server-configuration pages, new overall folder-layout (which broke some ftp-scripts), new server-side software which broke yet some other scripts. The list goes on. Now they migrated twice already (or was it three times… I forgot) and you might hope that after each migration things should run smoother. On the contrary. Server stability is going down the drain. More than one outage per year seems normal. My favourite was one outage where they blamed it on thunderstorms. Right. So there are no UPSs? Hard to beleive. What’s even funnier, is that the thunderstorms stopped. 4 days prior to the phone call!!!! No no… physics does not apply to them! They use quantum singularities as power source and shit. I’m sure of it. It would surely explain a lot.

Analoguous to the previous post, these guys brag about how they are the best and such. Frankly, the ads I’ve seen in cinema are quite nice. But good ads are not everything.

After many years of suffering and bleeding I learned my lesson. Now I am running two dedicated servers, again with shell access (yay… usefulness!) and migrated everything over to those. Even the migration was no fun. The old web-provider changed the URLs of the phpmyadmin-interface again. After a few calls that got sorted out again and I have my database dump of my last site. Great. So I import the dump and what do I get? SYNTAX ERROR! Oh the terror! Well it turned out to be a minor glitch of the mediocre phpmyadmin version they were running, and it was easily fixed with some search&replace. Still, it made me whince.

I am happy that I moved the last remnant and I am free of the clutches of this amazing web-provider. And I am even saving loads of money.

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