Just Plain Bad Service

I almost lost two of my domains this week – a registrar / hosting company that will not be named decided to close them off without any notice – no email, letter or even a phone call.

15 minutes in a phone queue as the “next to be answered” and a debate with the tech on the other end finally got me the registry keys for both – I certainly won’t be renewing with them or asking for the accounts to be reopened, I’m already transferring them to my GoDaddy account.

Given their focus on “customer service” (even their technical support staff are “e-business consultants”) this is a MAJOR blot and I won’t tolerate it – no more business from me! It’s bad enough that they’re double the price of most offshore competitors but to close down accounts without notice is just plain intolerable.

The irony of the situation is that I worked at that hosting company for years and on realising this the tech at the other end started to agree with my assessment of the situation ๐Ÿ™‚ Additionally I still know their systems better than some of the folks there now! (I talked him through the process of getting the keys)

I was quite pleased to see a WordPress 2.8.1 upgrade hit EPEL quite quickly – new features and a security rollup all in one and before I felt the desire to roll one up myself. Cheers Adrian! This release was rock solid and the upgrade the most painless on record.

My own packaging is slowing up a little due to so little out there that is a) not already packaged or b) not really ready. One I have given a test run is the Miredo client for IPv6/Teredo tunnelling. IPv6 tunnelling is widely available – many places will even have native connectivity – but for those cases where you are behind a restrictive NAT (or just want to tinker like I do) it’s an interesting alternative. Fedora packages from my usual repositories.

Revisting Nagios for monitoring – I can’t just walk over and look at a server several thousand miles away –ย  brought back a few memories, it took a bit more dusting off of the old knowledgeย  (I use Zabbix at work, they’re dragging me into using Xymon which I don’t like as much) but it’s working quite well and the EPEL/Fedora packages are kept well up to date. With puppet / func it’s even simpler to roll out the NRPE checks (which were always tedious when done by hand)

The SmokePing package has also been a boon in the workplace – I used it to successfully convince our network administrator that the packet loss we’d identified wasn’t our imagination and lo, it got fixed as we could track performance. Again it wasn’t hard to install and the configuration makes sense after a pint or two ๐Ÿ™‚

My girlfriend and I have been getting back into yoga – “hot” yoga, which is the standard fare, just in a 35+ degree heat – and the timing is perfect; It’s been freezing here in Brisbane (10-20C on average, which is brisk for this part of the world) and I needed something to keep my mind in check. To my surprise I even held my form despite being away from it for a month or more ๐Ÿ™‚

New hosting arrangements

If you’re reading this (and not a “Page Cannot Be Displayed” or “Internal Server Error”) then I’ve successfully moved my site(s) to the new server.

After years of hosting off my own gear, either at datacentres or literally in-house I’ve moved to a Xen VPS at Slicehost, running CentOS 5. Setup and migration was relatively painless (fat-fingered a DNS record however, I won’t be doing that again..) and their default bare-bones install is an absolute boon for keeping an instance clean – I hate cluttered installs full of cruft I don’t need/want.

I’ve even got low-ping IPv6 to most of the world now via Hurricane Electric (just as I remember it – simple and do it yourself, which also meant pinging the service to keep the tunnel up :-D)

The only nit I’ve found has been the lack of SELinux support on their guests – I’ve had it in Enforcing mode on my servers for as long as I can remember it being offered – it just feels weird and wrong not having it now ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also found that there’s a few Fedora packages not available in EPEL that I just can’t live without (postgrey and linux_logo!). I’m not sure why they’ve not been picked up but I’m tempted to do so myself if there’s been no takers – give EPEL some love, it’s nice and stable and won’t do the dirty on you ๐Ÿ™‚

Sort-of-Emergency Post

I’ll keep this short as it’s a little late and I should turn in.

I’ve had a bit of a hosting hiccup – my now ex-host unceremoniously cut me off and disconnected my server on Valentine’s Day, citing an ESA copyright notice. Unfortunately for him and the ESA, there’s absolutely zero proof or truth to the notice itself. What I found a bit insulting was the null routing of my home IP – to the entire network there –ย  preventing me from accessing the reboot port / console to see what was happening!

I’ve decided to simply move on. I’ve brought my server home (Thanks SteveL!) and my sites and most functions are being served from my “loungeroom datacentre” until I get better hosting.

All mail / web / domain and messaging services are fine. Of the game servers only Battle for Wesnoth is running. NTP is sadly out, as of course the IP has changed. I may or may not rejoin the pool, I’ve not decided.

The Fedora repository is fine (getsnmp and tintin got updates)

No IPv6 though, alas, not until some internal changes are made.

As this is only a DSL connection it’s not ideal but it will do for a week or two – I’ll likely go with a VPS (Xen preferred or VMWare – not Virtuozzo!) and have leaned towards Slicehost or Linode. I’ve had a couple of more local offers, but these two have the backing and experience I like. Suggestions for others welcome ๐Ÿ™‚