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TPW Server Issues
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The Perfect World >> Meta-Forum >> TPW Server Issues

TPW Server Issues

Lime -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 05:54:35 AM

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CalGal -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 04:52:28 PM -- 3 of 2515
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

For those of you who have been reading about our ongoing troubles, you know that I wrote a long letter to them today, but predicted that they'd probably ignore me until they suspended the account again. And by golly, that's just what they did. It is simply not possible that we were using that many resources, and I think they have put too many users on our server. My guess is that they are hoping to inconvenience us into upgrading to half of a server. I'm not opposed to doing that in principle, but I want some evidence that we have actually violated our TOS in some way. They have yet to provide me any response. I'll be calling them on Monday.

My guess is that my furious email will result in service being reinstated with a "warning". Naturally, they began this nonsense on Friday to maximize inconvenience. Lime and I are investigating alternatives, including upgrades. Sorry about this. I'll keep you posted. Once we come back up, please subscribe to Server Issues in MetaForum, which is where I'll post any additional information.

********************

I wrote this yesterday evening, and clearly, I was wrong. They have not responded in any way.

CalGal -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 04:52:55 PM -- 4 of 2515
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

Second email:

Hey, are any of the TPW lawyers around right now? I don't think any of you work in this space, but I'd like an opinion or two. (For those of you who aren't even around this weekend, I apologize for the email).

HostRocket will not even allow us administrative access to our site, including all of our data. Their position right now is that we can't have access to our account at all unless we pay them more money. While they say that we are taking up too many resources, they will offer no evidence that we actually are doing so.

In short, they are saying "Give us more money or we will hold your account hostage." Their position is that they don't have to document why.

I have not said that I won't increase the service (although at this point, I doubt we will).

I realize that anything is possible in the internet world, but my outrage aside, I want to make sure that there isn't some legal sales issue that they are skating near. Otherwise, if I understand this, any web service provider can legally suspend an account, extort more money from the customer who needs their data, and not have to provide any reason for doing so.

In the real world, this would be equivalent to paying for a safe deposit box and not being allowed access to the box until you paid for a bigger box. Or renting an apartment and being locked out until you agreed to pay a higher rent.

They are taking it for granted that I will accept their pretext. However, if they can refuse to document their reason, then they don't need to have any reason, and when money's tight they can just tell their customers to ante up.

It may in fact be legal. But I thought I'd ask around to make sure.

CalGal -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 05:08:26 PM -- 5 of 2515
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

In response to this, several people asked me about the contract. I had already checked--we don't have a contract that I can find. There is no terms of service on their site, and we only got an email from them. Our account says we have the economy plan, and that's all. I'll find the page that describes that.

I'll post some of the emails I have.

CalGal -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 05:10:13 PM -- 6 of 2515
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

Service Plans

Susanne -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 05:30:33 PM -- 7 of 2515
Susanne

Hey! I was assuming there was an actual technical problem because the server was running so slowly. But you think they're just fucking around for more money?

Susanne -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 05:31:56 PM -- 8 of 2515
Susanne

Are you enjoying their "24/7 Emergency Support"?

CalGal -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 05:33:22 PM -- 9 of 2515
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

Messages from Hostrocket:

Your site was generating too many mysql queries and adversely affecting server performance for the entire server. Logs of these queries have been provdied below. You will need to either limit or stop the use of the section of the site causing this problem or upgrade your account.

There is no documentation of what "mysql queries" meant. I have asked them several times, and no answer.

Then they unsuspended us--then resuspended us. This is when I became skeptical, and asked why. There was no way we could have been using that many resources; we had only been up for a short time. The response:

You were suspended again because your account was rendering the entire server useless for both yourself and every other user on the server. (Brendan)

Then we were unsuspended, by a different tech:

Your account has been unsuspended. If this becomes a problem again you may need to upgrade to a semi-dedicated server. (Chad)

I was worried, and have been asking consistently for metrics demonstrating that we were eating up more resources.

If you want to ensure your site does not get suspended you will need to upgrade your account to a semi-dedicated server. Right now your site is very busy and this causes a load problem on our server. (Chad)
The details on the semi-dedicated account are as follows:
Monthly Price: $65.00 >Storage: 1GB >Bandwidth: 45GB >Misc.: There is only 5%-10% of the normal amount of users on the semi-dedicated server. (Graham)

I asked again for information documenting that we were using substantially more resources, and got:

Your account was suspended again because you were raising the load on the server to 30+ times its normal levels. Please take whatever action is necessary as quickly as possible to keep this from reocurring, or we will not be able to unsuspend the account again. (Brendan)

I told them to either give us evidence we were using substantially more resources or at least not suspend us again until Monday, when we could resolve this. Response:

We will not suspend the site again unless we absolutly have to, in order to keep the server up and running.

I wrote several more times yesterday, asking for more information. No answer. Then we were suspended. The last I heard from them:

We have the right to suspend your account for any reason. You are causing downtime for other users on the server so you will need to upgrade.
CalGal -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 05:35:02 PM -- 10 of 2515
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

Are you enjoying their "24/7 Emergency Support"?

Do not EVEN get me started on this.

They were not answering the phones on Friday because "of heavy support volume". From what I understand, they were hacked by something called "Unix Security Guards"--thanks to the TPW member who brought this to my attention.

Ratty Ingalls Wilder -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 05:38:19 PM -- 11 of 2515
Sometimes I worked all day in the field for $3.00 a day. Sometimes I worked all day in field for $2.00 a day, and sometimes I worked all day for $1.00 a day. We had many chickens and other animals. I love animals.

The fact that people named "Brendan" and "Chad" are handling the server issues does not reassure me. Okay names on their own, but together they sound like extras from Heathers.

CalGal -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 05:44:57 PM -- 12 of 2515
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

I was assuming there was an actual technical problem because the server was running so slowly.

No. Hostrocket suspended our account. Here are the possibilities:

  1. We have been using far more resources since Friday, either due to far more users or some out of control process.
  2. We are using the same amount of resources, they have added far more users to the server.
  3. We are using the same amount of resources and they've decided that it's time to get more money.
I suspect a combination of 2 and 3. Option 1 is pretty much out of the question. We were suspended twice during low volume, and the logs they've shown us are typical db activity.

But they were hacked into by the Unix Security Guards, and two of their servers are down. The attack began on either Thursday or Friday. That suggests that they could have moved everyone to a smaller amount of servers, and are just shutting us down because they can.

Concerns:

  1. They won't even give us admin access to the account. This means we can't get our data.
  2. I have read from disgruntled ex-customers that hostrocket will wipe out all your data if you tell them you're leaving before you have your account. This could just be shills for other services, but that spooks me.
  3. It is entirely possible that we need a semi-dedicated server. I am not averse to upgrading, but I am very uncomfortable by the idea that they can just suspend our account and ask for more money.
So I decided to cut to the chase. My last email:

Let's keep it simple:
How much money do you want to unsuspend our account? Give the number, askfor my credit card.

I suspect they will ignore this, just as they have ignored all of the others. Here is what will probably happen:

  1. They will ignore all queries and unsuspend us
  2. They will not document their metrics.
  3. They will suspend us when they need to again.
If that's what happens, no problem. We will grab our data the next time we're allowed in, and find a place to move.

Here's what I'm worried will happen:

  1. They will ignore all queries.
  2. They won't unsuspend us.
  3. They will cancel our account.
  4. They will delete our data.

CalGal -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 05:46:27 PM -- 13 of 2515
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

The fact that people named "Brendan" and "Chad" are handling the server issues does not reassure me. Okay names on their own, but together they sound like extras from Heathers.

Hahaha. And Graham.

Actually, I believe that Brendan is the owner or something.

I have reported them to the Better Business Bureau for deceptive sales practices and contract disputes. I doubt it will make a difference, but the base problem--that they want more money without saying why--seems questionable enough that I decided it was worth the time.

CalGal -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 05:57:31 PM -- 14 of 2515
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

And where is everyone, anyway?

bessy -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 06:02:39 PM -- 15 of 2515
You were chained to a girl who would kill you with a look/It's a nice way to die, she's so easy on the eyes/She said "Let's get away" but you played it by the book/You're a warden's pet, she's a screaming suffragette

I'm here. Had just slipped into withdrawal when I got the email. <g>

Arlene Green -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 06:04:41 PM -- 16 of 2515
Moulton inspires metanoia.

I'm here, but I'm researching and emailing a certain lawyer that handles this kind of thing. I've run up against this myself.

A legal nasty gram usually makes bastards like this much more communicative and quick to move.

CalGal -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 06:11:07 PM -- 17 of 2515
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

Many people have asked me about contracts. I can't find any contractual agreement at all, other than the service plan.

Arlene Green -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 06:15:45 PM -- 18 of 2515
Moulton inspires metanoia.

A contract would be nice, but there are ways around that if you don't have one.

CalGal -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 06:19:49 PM -- 19 of 2515
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

As many of you know, I save all information religiously. They never sent us a contract. There must have been a TOS when I signed up, but they don't include it.

J-Ro -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 06:20:04 PM -- 20 of 2515
It will all be OK in the end. If it isn't OK, it isn't the end.

The TOS are in the HostRocket FAQ. Although I don't understand every word, I don't see anything in there that permits suspension under the conditions that the support emails have described, but they might say it's "abuse", which is mentioned in the first paragraph.

Arlene Green -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 06:22:25 PM -- 21 of 2515
Moulton inspires metanoia.

Agreement Between HostRocket.Com And All Customers

Activities Subject to Immediate Deactivation. Any Hosting Account that is used for Illegal, Abusive or Unethical Activity may be immediately deactivated by us without warning to you. Any misuse or overuse of the server will result in immediate deactiveation of an account. Illegal, Abusive or Unethical Activities include, but are not limited to inclusion of or linking to, pornography, mp3's, obscenity, nudity, violations of privacy, hacking, irc related scripts and programs, non approved server scripts, eggdrops, computer virus, gambling, or promotion of gambling, and any harassing or harmful materials or uses, as determined by us. You agree to indemnify and hold us harmless from any claim resulting from your publications or use of Illegal, Abusive or Unethical materials. Although we will make reasonable efforts to alert you to such activities and allow you an opportunity to cure them within a 12-hour period after discovery, we are not required to give notice before deactivating your use of our services if, in our discretion, your use is or results in Illegal, Abusive or Unethical activities. If a Hosting Account is disabled, the regular monthly fees still apply. Each individual hosting account is allowed 1 main domain name with all additional parked domain names pointing to the main site of the main domain, unless otherwise specified. HR Web Services reserves the right to Cancel/Deactivate any account at any time for any reason. There will be no tolerance of any abuse of any of our support methods, which will result in immediate suspension.

Public Nature of Internet. Please understand that all information submitted on the Hosting Account shall be considered publicly accessible. Important and private information should be protected/backed up by you. For example, we are not liable for protection or privacy of electronic mail or other information transferred through the Internet or any other network provider that you may use.

Unsolicited Electronic Mail. You are expressly prohibited from sending unsolicited bulk mail messages ("junk mail" or "spam"). This includes, but is not limited to, bulk-mailing of commercial advertising, information announcements, and political tracts. Such material may only be sent to those who have specifically requested it. Malicious or threatening email is also prohibited. We reserve the right to immediately deactivate your use of our service if we discover such activity. Further, you agree to indemnify and hold us harmless from any claim resulting from your use or distribution of electronic mail services through the service provided through this Agreement. Anyone using our services for spamming will be immediatly subject to a $250 cleanup/network abuse fee.

HostRocket servers are not to be used for the purpose of hosting scripts or images for data collection or any other purpose to reduce the load on another webhost, or for any other reason. Servers are not to be used for the hosting or serving of file downloads. Any site with traffic or disk usage consisting more than 33% of file downloads (non html traffic) may be suspended. Customers are not permitted to open connections to the server at a rate of more than 3,000,000 connections/month. Customers are not permitted to run scripts on their account with us, to monitor connections and status's of other servers (gaming servers for example). Customers are not permitted to get multiple accounts with HostRocket, for the purpose of getting extra bandwidth only, to avoid bandwidth overage charges. Customers are not permitted to host multiple seperate domains (not referring to parked domains) on one account unless this is a feature of they account they have ordered. HostRocket can and will terminate accounts of people using our servers not to host their domain but only scripts.

Guaranteed Uptime - The HostRocket network of computers, will have a guaranteed aggregate average uptime of 99.5% over the course of three months (90 days). This does not include scheduled downtime for maintenence on servers, which will be minimal, and necessary. This also doesn't include mass-network problems such as major backbone problems.

Minimum server specifications are not guaranteed on all machines, however upon request any account will be moved to a server matching our current minimum server specifications.

Cancellation - In the event you cancel your service, you will be charged in full for the entire month in which you canceled your service. Account cancellations for accounts with a negative balance will be passed on to collections, and all services rendered to the party with the negative balance will be terminated, including domain registrations. In the event you have elected to prepay subsequent, additional months' Service Fees, we retain the right to charge you an administrative fee of 50% and deduct the administrative fee from the subsequent, future months' Service Fees before refunding them to you. There is a $50 administrative fee for any illegitimate chargebacks placed against us. Any illegitimate chargebacks or threatened illegitimate chargebacks are grounds for immediate account cancellation.

14 Day Guarantee - The 14 day guarentee covers cancellation of an account during the first 14 days of service, due to our inability to deliver satisfactory service. The customer will be refunded all hosting charges made to their credit card less any setup fees which are non-refundable. Refunds will not be given for any reason in the case of account non-use, misuse, or abuse. Refunds will not be given on domain registration fees. All inquiries reguarding this guarantee should be directed to refunds@hostrocket.com

Affiliate Program - Affiliate payouts of $20/signup will be paid out through cj.com (commission junction). You may not refer yourself through this affiliate program. You may refer your customers, but the name account name with us must be different than the affiliates name or the referral will be marked ineligible.

HR Web Services reservers the right to modify this agreement at any time.

7.14.2002 - Last Modified

CalGal -- Sunday, March 23, 2003 -- 06:22:36 PM -- 22 of 2515
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

Thanks. I'll review.

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