Recent events explained

September 8th, 2003

Now I’ve got a spare five minutes I thought I’d explain exactly what’s been going on with this site ( since the dying ebbs of August.

It all started when GuyWeb’s host, Hostzone lost
a server. I say ‘lost’ but I actually mean: The hard drive was completely and
utterly destroyed. It crashed, burned and generally did nasty things. The inevitable
consequence of this was that GuyWeb, Shay
and Hughgraf were completely

Luckily, to their credit, Hostzone take daily tape backups of sites on their servers in the event that something like this happens. Top marks on that one.

Well, so you’d think. Not so easy. The restoration of the site seems ok. Everything’s
intact. But what the hell happened to the MySQL database? Looks like it wasn’t
backed up since January – 8 months ago! So rebuilding the site(s) using Movable
is totally out of the question. I’m still hoping and praying that somewhere
in the nuclear war proof building that Hostzone reside in, a dusty backup of
the database exists. If not, what next? I’m not completely sure to be honest.
Shay and Hugh are both eager to update their sites. If Shay updates, his old
posts and archives will be totally buggered up, overwritten or worse. Hugh
has a worse deal as his site hadn’t even been conceived in January! Not only
is post data missing but all the templates etc are gone too. So if any of us
update we’ll be back using the standard Movable Type templates again. All branding
and site identity will be lost. Bugger. I really hope that that database can
be found.

The next critical problem with the site is that the majority of the files
have become ‘read-only’. This means that I can’t edit, overwrite or delete
a hell of a lot of stuff. Also, you can’t comment on things or add messages
to the message board (of which I actually found a
which they are yet
to administrate!)or any of that clever interactive stuff you used to be able
to do. The ’email me’ form doesn’t work either. Life’s just peachy round
here at the mo, isn’t it? Luckily I can write to the home page. Well, parts
of it. This part. This page is built up from server-side includes so bits can
repeat in other areas of the site. This includes are – the menus, the footer
and the right-hand column (at the bottom if you’re blind or use an ancient
browser). Yes, the right hand column! No more updating of links or removing
old ones – we’re stuck with it as it is. The footer suffers to as Mark
has recently moved the RSS validator and I can’t change the link. Not that
we’re generating any RSS at the moment anyway! Anything functionality related
to the amazing Movable Type Content Management System went out of the window
on that bleak day when the server died.

Weirdly, the server trashing happened at the exact same point that they launched their newly face-lifted site. Now Hostzone looks as good as befits a professional and decently priced web hosting organisation. I will take issue with the ‘little red box’ that lies at the bottom of their site that reads – “We are aware of network problems”. Just not enough information there, folks. The extent of the problem remains unknown to the customer. In the days of the old, less attractive site at least we were offered a little more information. And it was in text and not a tiny little gif with no alt-text. So marks lost there.

I can’t otherwise find fault with the service. I pay two quid shy of a hundred
pounds a year for unlimited space (and bandwidth) on a Windows IIS server,
MySQL database, asp, php and pearl scripting ability and plenty
of other goodies
. Yes I miss out on all the cool features to be found on
a unix box such as CHMODing, altering the permissions of individual files and
the added tank-like SECURITY found on such a beast.

The web-based Ensim administration whilst claiming to be ‘award winning’ is
thoroughly hackable and I bet often is. I can’t log in at work due to a dodgy
security certificate on the admin. Mozilla
tells me that ‘somebody
else can easily get at your password and probably is’ before saying ‘are you
really really really sure you wanna access this admin site? Ok, don’t say i
didn’t warn ya!’. Bad news and scary. Stephen’s site was hacked not so long
ago and somebody put a link on his site to ‘’. Not good news.

So, was this hard-drive meltdown due to soBIG, or a hacker or what? I’m not so sure. What worries me is that I could and probably will happen again. It’s a bugger to say the least.

It’s been quite some time since all this junk started going wrong. That’s the reason for the rant. I’m not sure if the site will ever return in it’s previous form. This is a shame. I totally hope that Hostzone sort it out. I really do. Their not a bad bunch really – just at the moment they’re failing to provide what I pay them for.

Servers with a smile – oh the cruel irony.


One Response to “Recent events explained”

  1. Guy

    OK, i can now update the site with Movable Type again. However, it’s not fully working? MT cannot re-name the temp files it creates so my bookmarklet fails. This is not good. Also, the messageboard still cannot be written to. Bummer.

    But the comments work again – yay! They tell you there are errors though – boo!