An Architect's View

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An Architect's View

A day without

June 19, 2007 ·

As many of you noticed (or not?), my site was offline pretty much all of today. A couple of people notified early in the day that there was a problem but I'm used to the occasional outage on a shared host so I didn't think anything of it at first. All the same, I sent an email to HostMySite support asking "wassup?" but instead of the usual (polite, helpful) email response, I got a phone call. Apparently the shared server was being brought to its knees by unusual traffic to my site (it wasn't clear exactly what - only that my site was bringing the server down again every time they tried to restart it). I'm fairly certain it was a spambot attack, possibly combined with one or more search engines trying to index my site. They wanted to move me to a better plan where I'd be more isolated from other users - understandable - and, to be honest, both Lou Honick and Neil Heuer at HostMySite have been trying to get me to move to a VPS for a while, partly because they want me to see how it performs and write about my experience I suspect. I said I was happy on shared hosting but the tech on the phone said they really wanted to move me so I told them to do whatever they felt was necessary. They said it would take several hours - to build out a new VPS and copy everything from my old site. Sure enough, throughout the afternoon, I received a steady stream of emails as parts of the infrastructure were brought up. Once I noticed the site was actually working again, I started to explore the new site admin console and see exactly what they were offering. The VPS uses the Virtuozzo Power Panel which allows you to SSH into the server (via a Java applet in a browser window) and also has a lot of system monitoring and management features. My initial impression is that it's very good. I'll write up more detailed notes in the next few days I expect. There were a couple of lingering glitches that I noticed and when I pinged support again, they called me - on my home phone - and walked me through everything I needed to know about the new setup and resolved the issues I had. I've always had very good experiences with HostMySite but today's experience was above and beyond the call of duty.

Tags: blogging · coldfusion · personal

12 responses

  • 1 Rahul // Jun 19, 2007 at 10:22 PM

    Hi Sean,

    The site response is still extremely slow than usual from here in India.
    This particular entry took more than 30 secs to show up.
  • 2 Michael Sharman // Jun 19, 2007 at 11:22 PM

    Excellent news and great timing as I am considering a VPS plan with HostMySite at the moment.

    Although I'm looking at a windows plan.

    Love to hear more of your thoughts.

  • 3 Joe Rinehart // Jun 20, 2007 at 3:42 AM

    Nothing too meaningful, just fanboyism for HMS:

    Glad to hear HMS did well for you. The box that runs and (as well as sites for Doug Hughes and Scott Stroz) is one of their dedicated machines, and their service over the past few years has been absolutely top-notch.
  • 4 Ken Dunnington // Jun 20, 2007 at 5:21 AM

    Awhile ago, I had mentioned that HMS support and service was slipping, but I'm happy to say that, in my experience, they have done a great deal to address those issues, and I'm quite happy with them once again. It's always refreshing to see a company actually listening to its customers!

    PS - Welcome back
  • 5 Ian // Jun 20, 2007 at 6:51 AM

    I have been pretty happy with Hostmysite. Their tech support is always fast but I am still waiting for word back on three credits they owe me for downtime dating back to April.
  • 6 sal // Jun 20, 2007 at 6:52 AM

    not sure if you remember, but your site was dragging, perhaps we thought it was my firewall... it seems to be running hella quicker now...

    mmh strange..

    cheers to HMS for their excellent CS!!
  • 7 Tom Slaughter // Jun 20, 2007 at 8:20 AM

    So, it was your site. I was worried that it was the one I was working on.

    It really was down for way longer than usual at hostmysite.

    Thanks for the easy day at work!
  • 8 Sean Corfield // Jun 20, 2007 at 8:34 AM

    @Rahul, maybe it's just network latency? Sometimes the page load stalls trying to load in things from other sites (DeveloperCircuit, Technorati, Twitter).

    @All, good to hear other positive experiences with HMS!
  • 9 Sean Corfield // Jun 20, 2007 at 9:04 AM

    There was a residual problem with mail which has now been fixed.

    FYI: If /opt/coldfusionmx is owned by root and ColdFusion runs under the apache user (a common setup), ColdFusion cannot create the Mail folder tree...
  • 10 Stacy Griggs // Jun 20, 2007 at 9:29 AM


    On the credits your waiting for, if you give me a call I can have my team research it and get it resolved.

    Stacy Griggs
    Vice President Sales
    Toll free: 1-866-918-4678x1335
    Direct: 302-709-2157

  • 11 Shaji // Jun 20, 2007 at 10:29 AM


    I am glad that you always had very good experiences with us. I remembered that I fixed duplicate function issue with sandbox security when your site was moved from SmarterLinux to Linux Builder account long time ago (2005?). Contact us if any issues on your VPS.
  • 12 Ian // Jun 21, 2007 at 12:25 PM

    Apology and credit issued in one day. Thanks, Hostmysite!