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Escape From the Entropic Provider


  09:38:37 pm, by Nimble   , 990 words  
Categories: Announcements [A]

Escape From the Entropic Provider

Nimblebrain has at last found a new home.

With quota problems and some troubles generating downloadable backups before we went on holiday, to the hacking after we came back that apparently lost all the backups, too, to a DNS problem that went unresolved for a week or more, I'd had enough.

I can say very little about web hosting company mergers that hasn't been said by many before me, but add this case study to the pile.

When I went searching for online hosting once upon a time, I went with DR2.NET. My needs were simple, my disk and bandwidth requirements, relatively minimal, my want to play around with PHP, palpable. DR2.NET was downright reasonable in price, had a very well-supported user community.

I was pretty darned happy there until the first takeover by Netbunch.

Now, it was still okay, but no forums, and much of the expertise seemed to be gone. They ironed out the rough spots, in a slow manner, but things mostly worked. The weird quota problem happened on their watch, and I had to babysit some support personnel through it, but it was an odd problem, fine enough.

Webhostplus then took over. They took over just after my last quickly-answered support issue. It actually went along relatively smoothly after the takeover, but when things went downhill, they went downhill very quickly. I was pulling stuff from Google caches to slowly build back up the site.

Then DNS troubles hit. Well, actually, who knows quite what was going on, because their own reporting services indicated the server in question was "down", and it was, it seems, for a short while, but you could get at the actual server in question, just DNS would no longer work.

So after a few days of the problem not resolving itself, I submitted a support ticket.

It's still there and aging:

Aging Support Ticket

The ticket's a little older than indicated - it was started on the 9th.

Well, with a week of dead nimblebrain.net staring me in the face, I started planning to jump ship.

FindMyHosting is a pretty decent service, though if you take a look around at a number of other host-finding services, their top voted sites are all different from one another, so there's more than mere objective ratings at work. That said, FindMyHosting has some pretty decent search options, and it was through them that I found DR2.NET in the days before takeover.

I took an hour to investigate each host that met my general criteria, to check out a few more questions:

  • What negative things did people have to say about them?
  • Did they give you any subdomains in the basic package (without a blogs. subdomain, all our hard-earned links elsewhere would be broken)
  • Was the package you really wanted, as opposed to the one advertised elsewhere, a reasonable amount?
  • Were there support forums on top of just support tickets?
  • Could you upload a backup wholesale?

I went with Accu Web Hosting. Their greatest sin that I could find was the occasional shameless self-promotion, which some people called them on.

One occasionally fun feature to look through on FindMyHosting is the multitudinous small user reviews when you click "More Detailed Info", then "Click Here For The Full Details Of This Rating". Lots of user feedback, but in a somewhat unusual (to me) twist, the ISP gets a chance to respond.

It's most fun when the spammers get on there and complain (if there was a search feature to find these comments, I would use it :) ):

Customer Comment :

they locked your site and domain since 3 days and don't answer to our questions. we need to work and can't

Response :

Your domain name was not locked; your account was removed from the server because it was sending out bulk mail causing issues with other clients on the server. We send replies to every e-mail you have sent us within 15 min. It looks like your spam box might be catching them. I have once again contacted you about this via e-mail and I look forward to your reply.

Best Regards,


I got set up on AccuWebHosting pretty quickly. There was a billing trouble that was actually caused by Verified By Visa*1, resulting in double-billing, but they fixed that up right away once they got the order.

The worst part was waiting for DNS propagation. Whenever you change your DNS records, that's just the longest part. My ISP at home seems to keep DNS records for a very long time - nimblebrain.net was pointing to the right spot everywhere else.

I managed to upload my backup from my old provider - and I didn't need administrator permission to do so. Everything went into a folder with the same name as the backup, and I unpacked it to the right spots.

(Well, actually, I had to do it twice - I didn't realize the Move operation in CPanel's File Manager actually starts at the root - I thought it was relative to where you currently were, so I ended up deleting what I thought was a duplicate. Doh! In other news, I really want a Firefox extension or modification that can tell you how far through an HTTP file posting you actually are, so you're not constantly wondering how much longer the backup file upload is going to take :) )

So far, so good. I'm crossing my fingers that the AccuWebHosting folks are truly on the ball and aren't going to be taken over by any big, dumb players anytime soon!

*1: Ah, Verified By Visa - it has two accounts for me, for some reason, one that has errors and the other that has no transactions, and when I went to say "Lost my password", and entered in some identifying information so that I could reset the password, I remembered the password, so I backed up. Well, it actually processed that order anyhow, even though I stopped before confirming a new password. Oh joy.

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