Not impressed with web host!

So, my web hosting is provided by AtSpace.com and my DNS hosting is provided by Heart Internet. Why are they seperate? Well, it's simply that I originally purchased my domains with Heart but have changed web hosts a couple of times. Since my DNS is configured just how I like it and since it really shouldn't matter who hosts your DNS (as long as they provide the ability to set A and CNAME records) it shouldn't be a big deal. Or so I thought!

Approximately 24 hours ago this website went down. By down I mean it just disappeared off the face of the earth. The DNS was resolving correctly but the site wasn't there. I contacted AtSpace.com (since the problem was the web site was gone) and their response was to tell me that as they don't host my DNS there was nothing they could do. Now, I appreciate that were this a DNS problem they couldn't actually fix it, but:

  1. Their response suggested they hadn't even bothered looking at the problem and were just washing their hands of it.
  2. If it were a DNS issue it was most certainly not a failure to resolve the hostname so unlikely to be a DNS providor issue.
  3. Even if it was the response of "not our problem" followed by the ticket being immediately closed is not good customer service.

​In the end I figure out what the problem was. It seems AtSpace.com had changed the IP address of the server hosting my site but had not informed me of this. Consequently, my hostname was resolving to the wrong endpoint. Now, I appreciate this means it was a DNS problem but it wasn't a DNS hosting problem, it was a DNS resolving to the wrong IP because the web host had changed in problem. I can't help but thing AtSpace.com's support guys could have been just a little more proactive in helping me figure this out. After all, I managed to figure it out with nothing more than the Linux "host" tool and looking at my AtSpace.com configuration settings.

Anyway, I appreciate this is a little bit of a one sided rant so below is the full transcript (personal details have been redacted) of the to'ing and fro'ing between me and their support personal. Feel free to make up your own minds as to whether I am being unreasonable in expecting just a little more help than I actually got!


Ticket #289649  
Ticket Status: Open
Department: Support
Create Date: 11/03/2013 3:23 am
Name: Rxxxxx Cxxxxxx
Email: evilrix@xxxxxxxxx
Phone:  
Subject: My site appears to be down

 

SunNov 3 2013 3:23am
My website is not responding.

 

 

http://evilrix.com/

I get no error, it just fails to load.

Please advise.

 
SunNov 3 2013 3:26am – Nxxx Axxxxxxx Rate this answer: (Poor)  (Excellent)
Hello Ricky Cormier,

 

 

Thank you for contacting us.

Please note that the domain http://evilrix.com/ is not currently hosted by us, since its nameservers are pointed to: 

ns.heartinternet.co.uk [79.170.40.2]
ns2.heartinternet.co.uk [79.170.43.3]

We suggest you contact your Hosting company to troubleshoot any possible server issues on their side.

Feel free to reopen this ticket in case you have more questions or you need further assistance.

Thank you for choosing our services.

Best Regards,
Nxxx Axxxxxx
Dedicated Support Team
Supportindeed.com

SunNov 3 2013 3:34am
The name server for this site appear to be working just fine (as a quick host will demonstrate!).

 

 

$ host evilrix.com
evilrix.com has address 82.197.130.122
evilrix.com mail is handled by 10 mail.evilrix.com.

The A record for my site is 82.197.130.122, according to my dashboard. That would all appear to be correct would it not?

Please advise.

FWIW, I would gladly change my nameservers to atspace but since you don't seem to provide any sensible way of configuring CNAMEs it's not something I am planning on doing any time soon.

 
SunNov 3 2013 3:44am – Nxxx Axxxxxx Rate this answer: (Poor)  (Excellent)
Hello Ricky Cormier,

 

 

Thank you for contacting us.

Indeed the record is correct, however we can guarantee you that your hosting environment is absolutely stable and working properly. We haven't received any complaints in the past days from clients that are also hosting websites on the same server as you. 

Since you're using custom DNS records that you've configured yourself, we recommend you start searching for your issue with the hosting company toward which your domain is pointed. 

We can guarantee you that we're not experiencing any difficulties server-side and we have analyzed your website thoroughly, we can safely say the timeout issue you're experiencing is not because of problems on our end.

Feel free to reopen this ticket in case you have more questions or you need further assistance.

Thank you for choosing our services.

Best Regards,
Nxxx Axxxxxx
Dedicated Support Team
Supportindeed.com

SunNov 3 2013 3:59am
Nxxx,

 

 

I'm confused. If the hostname resolves, correctly, to the correct IP address what else could there be that could possible affect the site that is related to the nameserver settings? Once the IP address has been resolved that's the end of things as far as the name resolution is concerned, is it not?

All of my other sites where the DNS is hosted by Heart are all working just fine. However; just to be sure I can get this resolved, I will temporarily move the nameserver hosting to AtSpace.

I'll be frank, I don't find the level of help AlSpace provides to be particularly encouraging if you are hoping to secure long term relationships with customers. At this point I find myself wondering why I would want to continue hosting my website with a company who's support personel appear more interested in pointing blame elsewhere than they are in actually helping their customers!

I appreciate your service is cheap but it's still a service and, as such, I would hope for a little more effort than just "it's not our fault" – ticket closed! If it's really too much to ask to get a little help I'll be more than happy to have my service subscription refunded and to move my hosting somewhere else.

I'll get back to you once the nameservers have been reconfigured and the TTL has expired (so that'll be in about 24 hours – wonderful!).

-Ricky.

 
SunNov 3 2013 4:24am – Nxxx Axxxxxxx Rate this answer: (Poor)  (Excellent)
Hello Ricky Cormier,

 

 

Thank you for contacting us.

We're sorry if our hosting service is not meeting your standards. However our Support and Administrator team is dedicated to providing the top-quality support our clients deserve. Before we reply we thoroughly analyze any issues the client is describing and we inform them of any changes that we made. 

Having that in mind I will forward your ticket to our Administrator team and personally inform them of your issue, they will look into it and we will return this ticket to you after a more in-depth research on your problem.

Thank you for choosing our services.

Best Regards,
Nxxx Axxxxxx
Dedicated Support Team
Supportindeed.com

SunNov 3 2013 4:36am
Thank you, Nxxx. I appreciate that.

 

 

Meanwhile, I have changed the nameserver pointers to point to AtSpace's nameservers. With a bit of luck that will assist you helping me figure out why my site is no longer loading. Of course, this change will take a while to replicate so please bear with me whilst this change takes affect.

Whilst that is happening, maybe you can assist me with something else? The reason I haven't moved the pointers until now (or, more specifically, why I moved them and then moved them back again) is because there appears to be no sensible way to configure DNS records through the control panel.

I know I can set up a "subdomain" and point it to either a remote URL or a local folder but that isn't the same as being able to configure CNAME records. Am I missing something or is there really no way for me to just edit the DNS records (either directly or via a form)?

I currently host a number of sub-domains and if I am to leave the nameserver pointers pointing at AtSpace I need to be able to configure these CNAME records. If I can't do this I'll have no choice but to move the pointers back once this issue is resolved.

Thanks and regards.

SunNov 3 2013 4:40pm
Right, I think I've figured out the problem. It seems the IP address for my site was changed (presumably by AtSpace — why would that happen?) and so the A record was pointing to the wrong IP address. It used to be (and was pointing to) 82.197.130.122 but the IP address now appears to be 81.209.164.225. I've now updated the DNS for this and I am hopeful that once this has replicated the site will be up again.

 

 

I appreciate that this isn't, specifically, an AtSpace problem; however:

a) The fact the IP of my site had changed must have been due to changed made by AtSpace since I have no control over this. Is this something that is likely to happen again or frequently? One who hope that IP addresses remain static, otherwise this is just going to be an on-going problem.

b) I'm convinced that whilst your support guys had no direct way to fix this it probably wasn't too much to ask that you help spot this and let me know. I mean, I was able to figure this out just by looking at my account settings and comparing them with the IP address returned from a DNS lookup. I'm not a technical support person and yet I was able to figure this out so I don't think it's a lot to expect that your guys could have and should have spotted this! In the end, a little bit of goodwill and help from a support desk goes a long way to securing a long term customer.

At the moment I feel every-so-slightly unhappy that might site was down for over 12 hours and received absolutely no help in trying to figure out why. Yes, your service is cheap but I am beginning to see why that might be the case and am seriously considering moving my hosting back to my previous company; more expensive but their support staff were always very helpful and didn't just close tickets as "not our problem".

As a final though… I never judge any company by what goes wrong (regardless where blame lays); rather, I judge them by what they do to try and help put it right. At this time I'm afraid I don't have a large amount of confidence in AtSpace's ability to provide a level of help that is commensurate with the service you offer. That said, I won't go changing things on a knee-jerk reaction but sufficed to say this experience has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I certainly hope that if I need help from support team again that it will be a better experience.

Anyway, feel free to close this ticket. If my problem still persists after the DNS has updated I'll take it up with the DNS service host; their support guys are generally only too happy to help their customers!

Thank you.

2 thoughts on “Not impressed with web host!

  1. Reading your email tickets I have to conclude that they were not really helpful. However the company’s ticket response time and politeness are good. I think that my web host which is “REDACTED” would have resolved the issue straight away.

  2. I certainly don’t disagree about them being polite. To be clear, my issue was with the action (or lack of) and not the wording of the message being delivered as part of that.

    Also, I hope you’ll forgive me for redacting the name of your company – I’d hate to be seen as allowing advertising or spam comments in responses to my posts. You comment seemed to be genuine enough that I didn’t consider it spam 🙂

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