Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Setting Up the Server

I've spent the last week (from 1/31 to today) setting up a new webhosting account for the community color sites.

A word to the wise. If you are setting up a new hosting account, and it does not work perfectly ... it is best just to just cut losses and run.

My new hosting account was assigned a dedicated IP address that was in use by another server. The set up got half way through the install, then crashed.

I called tech support who tried to rebuild the account by hand, but there were problems. One problem occurred with the DNS entry. The install tried to map my domain name to a IP assigned to another server, and created an incorrect DNS entry in the web hosts DNS system.

The DNS change could not propagate because the webhost's DNS server kept rejecting the DNS propagation.

Calls to tech support were tainted with the assumption that I was clueless in regards to DNS changes.

Finally, I found the PHP function dns_get_record() which shows the DNS from the perspective of a web server. You can put this on any PHP site and see your DNS record (change 'example.com' to your domain).

echo '<pre>';
echo '</pre>';

With this data in hand, I was able to convince tech support to consider the possibility that the DNS problem was on their end and not with my DNS provider. Sure enough, as soon as they corrected the record on their DNS server, the change propagated through out the DNS world at the next TTL.

I had a second technical support call about broken security features in my account. There is probably a big star next to my name saying "This guy is a real jerk."

Tech support no longer gives stars to people who perservere through problems caused by a technical glitch in a product.

I had given myself seven days to move the accounts. I spent five on a DNS problem caused by the host and two on calls about broken services in the account.

That gave me a negative amount of time to work on the site transfer itself.

So, I did a blind transfer of data between the servers.

There was a conflict in transferring the Change Request and User Session tables. There are many broken pages and links.

At least, I am on a new server and have resources to add new functionality.

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