DigiHosters Support Statistics for www.theether.org

The support team at DigiHosters is, for the most part, responsive and pleasant to interact with via email. What is becomingly increasingly annoying, though, is the frequency with which things break and the silent changes to accounts that are made on a routine basis. The data below is a sample of the problems I've encountered since first signing up with DigiHosters in November 2002. Note that while I suspect these problems apply broadly to a significant fraction of their users, I have no data to verify this. The data below applies solely to my account based on my experience to date.

Latest Updates

  • 3.2.2005: I continue to obtain web service from DreamHost. They're a decent web hosting service, although downtime (email, web) is not uncommon and they recently had a serious overbilling problem.

  • 9.6.2004: After losing a day's worth of updates on my account due to DigiHoster's broken backup system, I finally canceled my DigiHosters account (as of 9.6.2003 last year). I've since been using DreamHost for over a year now. I highly recommend them!

  • 8.14.2003: DNS servers for customer accounts magically became misconfigured. In this case, lookups for digihosters.com succeed but lookups for www.theether.org and other accounts all time out. The time I observed this problem to the time the problem was fixed: 3 hours.

  • 8.10.2003: DNS servers for digihosters.com went completely dead for nearly two days. No email was sent informing customers what was going on. When DNS lookups for digihosters.com did start resolving again, DNS lookups for customer accounts still failed. Multiple emails to support also went unanswered.

  • 7.16.2003: Web statistics have silently died for the past two days again. From a support email, this apparently is due to support people manually turning off crond in response to high load and (i) forgetting to turn crond back on and (ii) not reexecuting the cron jobs (e.g., web stats generation) that were missed in the meantime.

  • 7.14.2003: Web statistics have silently died for the past three days. Also, I still have yet to receive a technical note (as promised) explaining why this continues to happen. I now have a form letter for reporting this dead web statistics problem to minimize my time wasted.

  • 7.14.2003: The machine hosting theether.org has been seriously pegged for at least an hour now (although I suspect probably much longer). Running top over a few minutes reveals an endless stream of ncftpput, md5sum, gzip, tar, and cp commands, running as root. (CPU load graph).

Major Annoyances with DigiHosters Service for www.theether.org

  • Silently deleting all email forwarding aliases on more than one occasion. In each instance, I discovered this only when friends mentioned sending email to me which I never received.

  • Silently deleting MySQL database tables, users, and all associated data. This has occurred one time thus far and ever since, I've avoided using their MySQL infrastructure completely for this reason.

  • Silently changing permissions on all my files. Apparently, someone wrote a script to copy all my files to a new server without preserving the original permissions (e.g., breaks CGI).

  • Web server crashes fairly often. I really ought to start tracking this. Sample dead dates: 1.18.2003, 2.1.2003, 2.10.2003, 4.26.2003, 5.27.2003, 7.1.2003.

  • Web statistics stop working. This happens frequently and I've yet to receive a technical explanation. Sample dead dates: 2.7.2003, 2.11.2003, 4.6.2003, 6.25.2003, 7.1.2003, 7.2.2003, 7.12.2003-7.14.2003, 7.15.2003-7.16.2003.

  • DNS servers got hacked. Oscillations (for hours) between www.theether.org as (i) a CNAME to a broken A record and (ii) an A record pointing to the correct web server.

  • DNS servers for digihosters.com and all customer accounts went dead for nearly two days. No email was sent informing customers what was going on. Multiple emails to support also went unanswered. Sample dead dates: 8.9.2003-8.10.2003 (subset of dead time) .

  • DNS servers magically become misconfigured. Here, lookups for digihosters.com succeed but lookups for www.theether.org and other customer accounts all time out. Sample dates: 8.14.2003.

  • Home directory copied to a new machine, but old home directory still exists as well. No announcement sent out indicating that files should be updated on a new machine in the future.

  • Silently changing ownership on all my files to root. To be fair, this was likely due to a hasty response to their servers being hacked.

  • Username for my account was changed for no apparent reason. In the process, MySQL accounts and databases (which were based on the old names) simply deleted.

  • Repeatedly asking for my username/password in plaintext via email to fix web statistics problems, despite having fixed the same problems in the past without such information.

  • Selectively deciding which questions in support requests to answer and ignoring all followup requests to address the remaining questions (e.g., why web stats keep breaking).

Minor Annoyances with DigiHosters Service for www.theether.org

  • SSH server occasionally denies access. This may be due to sshd being hosed or potentially the machine running out of resources (e.g., file descriptors).

  • Root partition of server out of disk space. Looks like quotas either broke or weren't implemented properly. "Please ask your system admin to remove any files not in use on that partition."

  • Password for my account for SSH access randomly stopped working. This occurred after my username changed. Apparently, the hashed password for my old username wasn't copied over. Sample dates: 12.3.2001, 7.3.2002.

  • Providing incorrect information regarding https access for managing web hosting accounts. "There is no other link for the WHM other than following..". Probing open ports was enough to find it.

  • Multiple processes (ncftpput, md5sum, gzip, etc.), running as root, pegging the CPU for extended periods of time. Appears to be either a runaway script or inefficient script design. Sample dates: 7.14.2003 (top, CPU load).

Last Updated: Wed Mar 2 02:01:18 PST 2005