Well now that AT&T services have been successfully restored, its comforting to find that the source of a massive service outage, covering approximately 5 states worth of subscribers, can be traced back to a single power failure in my hometown of Bloomfield, MI. How exciting. For the record, a majority of residents in Bloomfield & the surrounding areas are still without power.
The box and packaging is very minimal and the tags are very, very small. The tag is about the width of a small paperclip.
Not being familiar with how the domain names and hosting worked, it took me about a week to figure out that I needed to pay for hosting in addition to buying the domain name. Since the prices for dedicated hosting were astronomical compared to that of shared/resold hosting, I decided to narrow my search down to something within my price range.
Once upon a time, many a year ago, the internet was born. And with that came the need for web hosting companies (web-hosts). Soon the land was filled with hosts, some dedicated and others just resellers of the more expensive services.
On a nice Winter day in 2001, I purchased my very first domain name for ten years! Not being familiar with how the domain names and hosting worked, it took me about a week to figure out that I needed to pay for hosting in addition to buying the domain name. This is where my web hosting adventure begins.
While I can’t remember the name of my first webhost, I do recall they were limited to static HTML pages with no included database technologies and cost me about $5/month. At the time, that was a lot of money to me. That web host worked out very well for me, considering my site was statically generated using Microsoft Frontpage 2000. Unfortunately, that web-host went out of business and decided to transfer all their customers to their "parent". I use the term parent loosely because they were really just the wholesale distributor of hosting service. It was this experience that opened my eyes to some of the real workings web-hosting online. Any Joe Schmo can buy hosting in bulk from a larger company and resell it in smaller packs. Not a bad idea on paper, but obviously not the best for the customer either. This was the end of my experience with my first hosting company.
As I went back to the tubes to try and find another host company, I found it hard to gauge wether or not a web-host had their own servers or was just reselling for another company. Since the prices for dedicated hosting were astronomical compared to that of shared/resold hosting, I decided to narrow my search down to something within my price range. After doing a bit of research, I decided on a company called based Reyox, out of Seattle, Washington. At $9.95/month I thought it was a pretty fair deal. At the time, I selected Windows hosting (not really knowing anything different) and I continued to use Frontpage to build static sites. It wasn’t until I started to build more dynamic sites that I became frustrated with Reyox. At one point all of the Reyox sites got hacked my some hackers in Hungary. My entire site was destroyed along with some of my friend’s sites that I had recommended to Reyox. During my time with Reyox, I always thought it was interesting that when I contacted the support people, I would always be dealing with the same person, Asher Saeed. It wasn’t until after I left Reyox that I realized he owned Reyox and was the only person running the show.
My next stop in the web-hosting world was a company called MediaTemple. I was referred to them by a friend who had raved about their exceptional service, customer service and automated tools. At $20 a month, MediaTemple was more expensive compared to Reyox, but I needed a reliable host with no BS. During my first year of service with MediaTemple, I was relatively happy with their service. They offer all the services you would expect from any Linux provider: PHP, Apache, MySQL, ssh acces, etc. It wasn’t until after my first year that I really started to experience problems. The problems started with the MySQL and PHP simply flaking out at any time up for up to 10 minutes at a time. When I first contacted the support team at (mt), they told me it was because there was a heavy load on my sites. At first I just accepted their explanation, but when it started to happen on a daily basis, and especially when I was working on web projects for my classes I couldn’t stand it anymore. As you can see from the MediaTemple , the issues were originally documented by (mt) at the end of February and continued all the way through May 14, 2008. If you ask me, that is unacceptable for any host. I was giving a presentation for one of my academic projects and the web app completely crapped out. It was right then that I decided Media Temple had to go.
I’m now on a new host. One that is owned called Mosso. They pride themselves on offering both Apache/IIS 7 and everything you would expect from both of those. At $100 a month, it is the most expensive host I have ever used, but it definitely has paid off. I have been on them for 3 months now and from a service standpoint, I have been really happy with the performance of the sites, databases and server side scripting processing. In my opinions, the only thing missing in Mosso is SSH shell access, but I hear it’s on the way. Mosso also has one of the best Reseller interfaces available from any host I’ve used, especially for web developers who handle everything for their customers.
Overall, I’ve been very happy with Mosso and I would recommend their service to anyone looking for excellent web hosting. I know the price is a bit steep, so if anyone is interested just post a comment and we can work something out with the reseller interface.
We understand that backups are critical to any hosting service and we look forward to providing you with a stellar solution that will ensure trouble-free backups.I contacted support (Support ID# 319596) on January 4, 2008 to find out the status of the backup feature and was told a new backup feature would be coming in the next few months.
This is the complaint I sent to MediaTemple about their lack of service:
Attn: Media Temple Customer Service
|Support response: 2008/03/18 10:53|
|We are aware that at times you have been seeing slow response, and at times, no response at all from your server. We are continuing to work on our system that dynamically isolates and allocates server resources among our (gs)Grid Service customers. This system is intended to keep your site running smoothly even when other customers have surges in their traffic causing an unusual server load. This works both ways. If you have a surge in traffic, we want to make sure your pages continue to be served without delays or slowness.
If the capabilities of the SmartPool v.2 shared MySQL server are not adequate for your site, you can purchase a MySQL Container to have your own dedicated MySQL server. You can do this in the Account Center, by rolling over the Domains tab, clicking on your primary domain, then clicking on Manage Databases. From that page, click on the MySQL Container tab on the right of the page, then click Enable Container. Once the Container is enabled, you can use the Query Analyzer and MySQL report on the Container tab as well as phpMyAdmin to get some performance information. The Repair Tables link on this page can also help improve performance by recreating indexes for all of your databases.
We appreciate your feedback and comments as we work to improve this system.
(mt) Media Temple
In a later conversation with the support team, I was directed to this page: http://weblog.mediatemple.net/weblog/category/system-incidents/gs-grid-service-cluster1-service-availability/ to keep track of the availability of the system. Notice this particular blog entry was opened in late February and lasted nearly a month in the system, only to be marked resolved and link to another issue that is still open. I use websites to present projects for classes and other academic projects and during 3 of the last 5 presentations I have given, the site has gone down during the presentation and embarrassed me, my team mates and our faculty sponsors. Even at this moment I am not able to access phpMyAdmin to administer my MySQL databases.
| Second is the lack of a backup feature. One of the reasons I signed up with media temple was the to automate the backup process for my sites. This feature has been "Unavailable" on the control panel for more than 4 months now. The following message has been posted on the site since the feature was taken offline:
Our backup component is unavailable at this time. We are currently developing a new "Data Backups" tool which will offer all the functionality we had previously, plus some new features. We have received a lot of feedback from our customers and cannot wait to show you what we have in store. We plan on launching the new tool in the Q1 2008. We understand that backups are critical to any hosting service and we look forward to providing you with a stellar solution that will ensure trouble-free backups.
I contacted support (Support ID# 319596) on January 4, 2008 to find out the status of the backup feature and was told a new backup feature would be coming in the next few months. As I’m sure you know, we are now in Q2 of 2008 and after checking the page just now I see the feature is still unavailable. As you state, "…backups are critical to any hosting service…" and yet there is no backup feature.
Finally, I am a bit unhappy with the domain renewal service offered by Media Temple. Regarding Support ID 323602, you can see that I requested one of my domains not be renewed. After talking to the support rep, I discovered that the renewal had already been processed, even though the domain had not expired. I found the reminder/notification of expiration email that was automatically sent out to be vague, confusing and inaccurate. The email should indicate that MT will automatically start processing the renewal and state the deadline to cancel the renewal.
For these reasons I would like to request to cancel my service with Media Temple and request a refund for the annual Grid Service that was renewed on January 16, 2008.