Domain Name Problems | April 21, 2004
As a few of you may have noticed, my site has been unavailable for the last 3-4 days. Here’s why.
A couple of weeks ago my hosting company sent me an email saying that they were changing domain name servers, and as my domain name was managed by a third party, I’d need to update my DNS records. This was nice as a few months earlier, they changed some IP addresses without telling me, and my site became unavailable for around 72hrs.
The email sat in my inbox for a while gathering dust, but as the switch off day loomed, I decided It was time I made the change. After work on Friday evening, I went to the control panel for my domain name and entered the new DNS details. Half an hour later, my website dropped off the face of the planet.
I sent a number of frantic emails to my hosting companies tech support, but the response was very slow, and when it did come, it was less than helpful. The first response (around 18hrs later) was simply a copy of a whois, showing the old DNS details. No explanation. No helpful suggestions. I did a quick whois and could see the new DNS details were set, so emailed them this information back. 48hrs later I got another email which essentially passed the buck, saying that it was the fault of the company that managed my domain. Again, I sent more emails asking for a bit more info/help. Another 24hrs later a get a final email saying that the site looks like it’s back up now.
Unfortunately the change has taken a while to propagate. Most ISP’s seem fine, but I still can’t access my site from home using NTL. I’m not sure if the problem was down to the hosting company or the people managing the domain name. However, as this is the second time something like this has happened in the space of a couple of months, I’m more inclined to believe fault lies with the hosting company. Whoever was to blame, I know that, had my hosting company been a little more responsive, a little more helpful, and possibly even a little proactive, the length of time my site was unavailable for could have been greatly minimised.
I am the first to admit that I know very little about hosting matters. This is why I pay a company to look after these things for me. However in my experience, I’ve come across very few good hosting companies in my time. Most seem to treat you like an idiot if you don’t know your A records from your MX records. Rather than being helped, contacting a hosting company usually leaves me more confused, frustrated and antagonised than when I started. The people manning these help desks treat you like idiots because you don’t understand the mechanisms of their business. However, if you did, you wouldn’t be calling them in the first place, and they would probably be out of business.
Many of these help lines work on a system whereby the operators have to answer a certain number of calls an hour. Whenever I’m on the phone to any hosting company for more than a couple of seconds, I can hear in the operators voice that all they want to do is get me off the phone and answer the next call to keep their stats high. So rather than spend 20 min actually trying to help, I end up having to phone them back 6 times and spend 5 min each time getting the run around and leaving knowing no more than when I started. Surely it would be much better just to answer the question first off, than add to your already heavy workload by forcing the caller to ring multiple times until they finally get a satisfactory answer.
Anyway, I digress. For most of you, my site appears to be back online. Until my hosting company decide to change some other setting (probably sometime next month I’d imagine) my site should be fine.
Posted at April 21, 2004 9:29 AM