My ex-ISP From Hell
I'm doing my best tonight to forget about all this mess... but I need to explain a bit, but if I get REALLY into it, I'll blow a gaskget, so I'm going to try not to do that.
Actually, first I'm trying to figure out how to word this rant just right to do the most Google Damage to the horrible hosting company at cwihosting.com. I know that Google just changed their algorithms, so Google Bombing doesn't count as much, but I'm hoping that'll still have an effect because CWI Hosting is the worst isp on Earth. You can all repeat that last sentence if you like on your blogs.
So what happened already!?! Alright, I'm getting to it! I signed up for their "Linux Power Plan" about 8 or 9 months ago. You pay $30 a month and get your own JVM and 1500 megs of disk space on a shared Linux box. It's not a bad deal at all. They haven't been the most reliable in the world, but for what I was paying I wasn't worried about it. It hosted all of my domains: russellbeattie.com, manywhere.com, simpleface.org, anaasensio.com, hilltopmarketplace.com and the various versions. I had to pay $5 extra for each "web app", so it bumped my monthly bill up to $55 a month, but still, it wasn't bad.
So anyways, on Thursday, I installed OSCache on my web page. It worked pretty well... but I must have misconfigured it - or didn't realize how much memory it took up - and so it sucked a bunch of resources out of the shared server. So they slammed my server. Cool - I have no problem with this. I should have been paying attention. I'd be pissed if I was one of the other JVMs and suddenly the whole box is slow because of one guy.
However, I woke up on Friday and my site was not down, but "access denied", none of my passwords worked and all emails were bouncing. They didn't just shut down my website, they suspended my account entirely.
Which again, is fine. But no one notified me. I had no idea what was going on. I went to the help desk site and submitted this ticket (copied directly from their site):
[Opened] 10/04/2002 01:37 PM
Did I miss a payment? I didn't get any notice of this. Please respond on what I need to do at email@example.com my email and website are down.
[Tech: Randolph] 10/04/2002 01:47 PM
ï¿½ Status: Final ï¿½
Your account is suspended however not for a billing violation. Please contact the CTO@cwihosting.com as the account was suspended due to a police violation. You will receive a message from him promptly if you have not already.
Okay... so I waited for a reply. None came... so I sent this via my Yahoo Mail account:
Subject: Account Suspended?
My account was suspended, but I have no idea why. Please tell me what's going on so I can get my site up ASAP.
My best guess is that the changes I made last night to cache my pages freaked out and took down some other sites. I can fix this immediately.
-Russell Beattie - www.russellbeattie.com
And a couple hours later:
Subject: Account Suspended - second email
My site and email has been down for several hours now - I would really like to resolve whatever happened as quickly as possible! The help-desk said there was a police problem - which I'm hoping meant to say policy problem.
Please email me as soon as you can.
And later after I tried calling and got stonewalled:
Subject: Fwd: Account Suspended?
My account has been suspended, and my email and web have been down for several hours - I contacted the help desk and they informed me it wasn't a billing issue. I then emailed the firstname.lastname@example.org twice (my first message is below) and haven't gotten any response yet. I want to clear up any problems as quickly as possible and get my email and web restored.
I just called your support telephone and she said that there was nothing she could do because the account was suspended and to CC you on my emails.
Please get back to me as soon as possible, I would like to resolve whatever problem there was get my website and email functioning again.
And I got NOTHING in return. Why? Well, my "respond-to" on my Yahoo Mail was set to go to email@example.com which wasn't working. Yep, that was an oversite on my part, but instead of paying attention either to the address or to the bounced emails that these guys was SURELY getting, they just ignored me. Complete assholes.
The next day I returned to the Hell Desk. Note the time differences between the posts (yes, I know it was Saturday, but I really could care less).
[Opened] 10/05/2002 09:53 AM
What's going on? I've called support and sent emails to the CTO and CEO and haven't gotten any word. I don't know why my account was suspended or what I can do to fix it. My email and website have been down since yesterday!!
What's the deal? Why is this happening? Why is no one responding?
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
[Tech: JT] 10/05/2002 03:11 PM
ï¿½ Status: Closed ï¿½
Emails have already been sent to you from our CTO in reply to the address you emailed from. If you have not received these send an email to email@example.com and provide another email address to reply to.
Wonderful, so I sent another email:
I just saw the note on the help desk which says you have responded to my emails, but I haven't received anything. Have you sent emails to this address? firstname.lastname@example.org . I've tested it and it's working fine...
If you sent email to email@example.com, that's hosted by your service and is unavailable to me right now.
And I didn't hear a thing... until Monday around mid day (night here):
From: "Chief Technologies Officer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Russell Beattie" <email@example.com <
Subject: Re: Emails?
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 11:27:50 -0600
I have simply been hitting reply to your emails as I am doing on this email.
However it appears that your reply to on those emails was to your russellbeattie.com domain. I will forward both messages to you at this address.
Ahh... thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day, butthead.
From: "Chief Technologies Officer" <firstname.lastname@example.org > To: <email@example.com > Sent: Friday, October 04, 2002 11:54 PM Subject: Re: Account Suspended?
Your site was suspended today due to the fact that your JSP Engine flooded the server with processes consuming a large portion of the servers memory and CPU time thus causing the load to increase and services to begin to shutdown including HTTP and email. Due to this fact and to protect the integrity of the machine and to keep it from crashing your site has been suspended. Due to the seriousness of this problem and the nature which it occurred, it would be hard to tell when or if this would occur again.
Therefore having no surety that this would not occur again if your site was reopened, you will need to move to a dedicated server or move to a new host as we cannot risk additional problems for our other clients. Within the next 24 hours your site will be moved to our lockbox server and reopened for the space of 7 days in which you will be able to make a decision of whether or not you wish to get a dedicated server or find another host.
Well, isn't that nice. Notice the time? Didn't he wonder why I was frantically sending emails after this original reply? AND WHY didn't I get any sort of email? And WHY take down my entire account including email? And WHY be so drastic if this is my first offense of any kind after being a good paying customer for the past 8 months?
Fine. How do I access this lockbox?
And then when I hear nothing for a couple hours, I try again:
Let?s try this again, please tell me what I need to do to access the "lockbox".
And a couple hours later:
Hi there. I'm still waiting to get at my data. It's very important that I get access as soon as possible so that my website is not down for another day.
Nothing. I send this yesterday morning:
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 09:26:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Russell Beattie" <firstname.lastname@example.org >
Subject: Re: Fw: Account Suspended - second email
To: "Chief Technologies Officer" <email@example.com >
I really don't understand this treatment I'm getting from your company. I was a paying customer for the past 7 or 8 months, paying for 3 extra domains on my site and even promoting your service on my website. Now not only have you cancelled my account due to a simple setup error on my part which I offered to rectify immediately, but am holding my data and email hostage for the past 5 days and not promptly responding to any email I send.
Do you guys have so much business that treating paying customers like this isn't a problem for you?
I ask again, HOW and WHEN can I download my data off your servers? I need access to both my files and MySQL data immediately.
And get nothing in return. Mind you, all this time I kept checking my website and trying to log in... nothing. Finally I get this response (again, notice the time).
From: "Chief Technologies Officer" <firstname.lastname@example.org >
To: "Russell Beattie" <email@example.com >
Subject: Re: Fw: Account Suspended - second email
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 15:12:07 -0600
As stated in my last email your account was moved to our lock box and your DNS forwarded to that server. Therefore you can login just as you did with your regular account. All of your files have been moved. The only difference is that your JSP pages have been disabled. Once you have retrieved your data and wish to close your account you will need to do so as per the policy at http://cwihosting.com/cwihosting.php?page=policy#cancellation
HOWEVER, this doesn't mean shit, since I don't have access AND the name server isn't even responding anymore. I'm about to go through the roof. So I call El Paso again and speak to someone on the phone and - I swear - in that minute while I'm about to have a freakin' coronary (not to the poor shmuck who answered the phone who has to work for these assholes) I get access to my account. It just comes up as if it hasn't been down for five days at all. It's midnight here, but I don't care, I just go to it and copy all the stuff off the server I can as fast as I can (rsync rules).
During the 5 days in the meantime, I had signed up for JohnCompanies' new Linux hosting. It's a bit more expensive than my old setup, but it's all mine. The last Linux server I set up was in 1999 and was RedHat 6.1... So besides having to look around in vain for several hours for inetd.conf (it's now xinetd) it was a synch to set up and get running. Step 1) Get Lynx and install so I can use it as a web browser to download Step 2) the JDK and Step 3) OrionServer just before switching on Step 4) MySQL. Poof, up and running in no time. It took me another day to figure out the new SendMail setup (no sendmail.conf any more -> sendmail.mc... and no more having to do PopBeforeSMTP security.) I guess the Linux world's been moving forward in the past 4 years... Just like Tom Peters said, it's harder to "forget" than to learn...
SO the situation is this right now, all my domains except russellbeattie.com are now pointing to this site. RussellBeattie.com is waiting 24-48 hours for Verisign to reset my password after I faxed them on Monday and confirmed by telephone (again) last night. (This will be switched to another registry ASAP). The server only has 1 IP, but I'm using Orion's kick-ass simple virtual servers to host everything, which means that only web browsers that are HTTP 1.1 compliant can see it... but I'm not really worried about the others right now... If I ever get a complaint, I'll look at other solutions.
Now it's a race. Will NSI switch my domain before CWIFuckingYou.com shuts down my site? Probably not, which means I'll have another few days of mail-outage this weekend. But hey, it's all weblogs and IM now baby... email is so 20th Century.
This is really long. I'll have to fix it up for sure, so I'm posting it now.