I Learn Something Every Day

I learn something every day. For example, a web hosting company that includes “web host” in its name doesn’t consider whether the sites it hosts are web-accessible in its uptime statistics. I found the following in my inbox today in response to my reporting yet another instance of blogan.net being “down”:

Please take into account that web service is down is not equal server is down.

I have rebuilt web service configuration files, started it and the summary web service outage time was about 5-10 minutes. All this time the server (Star) was online.

If I wasn’t getting a screaming deal or actually depending on my blog being up, I’d look elsewhere. As it is, I think I’m getting what I’m paying for.1And an education, to boot! ;-)

Is this common? Do all web hosting companies only consider whether the OS is running in their uptime statistics?

Update: When I shared this post on Facebook, one commenter referenced the Wikipedia article High availability, which makes a distinction between “uptime” and “availability.” My host guarantees “three ninesuptime, which it easily meets. I would guess availability is closer to 99.8%.

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    And an education, to boot! ;-)

If my web host was working, your could read this apology…

I’m sorry, but my web host has been providing me flaky service for the last couple of weeks. Today, it sank to a new low. For hours, I couldn’t access my blog at all. My Sitemeter shows I’m not the only one having problems reading my page.

The host’s status page showed my server as down, but no additional information. Now the status page doesn’t even show, but my blog is back to intermittent access. According to their main page, they provide 99.9999% network availability. According to my calculations, that means they can be down no more than 32 seconds per year. Right…

To top it off, I can’t check whether my web host has been attempting to keep me up to date by e-mail because I gave them my Hotmail e-mail account. Yup, Hotmail is down, too.

Update: The status page is back up, but nary a word about my server having been down. Just this:

We had a power failure with our main web server’s bandwidth distribution unit. Because of that all our corporate websites went down for few [sic] hours until it was replaced with the new hardware. *** [name deleted to protect the innocent/guilty] would like to apologize our [sic] beloved clients for this inconvenience.

I don’t know if this applies to me or not. Although the communication’s been terrible, I hope it does, because new hardware sounds like it’s going to get better. It seems a little better.

Second update: My web host now has the following update on its status page:

Star – 03 May 2005 15:33 – Exim
We believe that there could be a spammer on board this server that is creating issues. Tech is working on the server at the moment to detect the account responsible. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Star – 03 May 2005 12:46 – Reboot
The server is being rebooted in an effort to fix the ongoing issues with the server.

“Star” is my blog’s server. It appears that some spammer is eating my blog’s bandwidth to the point that I can’t access it reliably.

Third update: I discovered the e-mail address I gave my web host was the account I received from them. When their server is down, so is my access to my e-mail account with them. Oops! And by the way…my web host did send me e-mails including the notices listed above.

Fourth update: I received a new e-mail from my host:

We feel that star is still suffering from a DOS attack that is slowing it down in
terms of performance. We are asking the DC techs to plugin network hardware to see
if thats the case..more updates coming soon. This is just to let you know that we
are aware of the situation.

For some reason, the server that hosts my blog and others’ web sites is experiencing a denial of service attack.

Fifth update: One (last?) e-mail from my host:

Star should be good now. We caught the bloody culprit. We will keep and eye on it..and update if anything pops up. Sorry for all the inconvenience.

That’s great news!