Warning: this is a pretty lengthy post, and pretty technical too. If you don’t give a flip about websites, internet security and the like, this would be an excellent one to skip.

Thanks for getting it all backwards, GlobatYou’ll have to forgive me just a little bit if this entry comes off as angry and bitter; the reason for this tone is basically because the writer of this entry is angry and bitter. And yet happy.

In November 2003, to get away from silly (to say nothing of outmoded) bandwidth overage surcharges that were surprising me every month at myhosting.com, I moved theLogBook.com to a new web host, Globat.com. At the time it was an easy enough move to make – everything was HTML, just move the files over to the new server and the site is there.

It’s late June 2009 as I write this, and in recent months Globat has changed hands. The level of technical expertise I encountered with the new crew immediately made me think that Globat’s new owners were folks whose last big venture, probably a bold idea incorporating drive-thru pizza and a bail bond office, went under, and they were now getting into web hosting because they “heard it was huge!” A server migration was announced, which I braced myself for, and at a certain point I was asked to manually massage portions of the site to prep them for the big server switch-off in two weeks.

Two days later, without any warning, servers were switched and my site was broken. As part of my attempt to lock down the site after the month of many hacks (May), I had dropped the CHMOD on nearly everything to 444; Globat’s new server had everything fixed at a jaw-dropping 777 – i.e. just about anyone can screw with your stuff. Hey, perfect.

I’m not going to BS anyone about it: theLogBook.com has been more popular than it is now, as a web reference/review resource, and the glory days may be gone for good. But it still means a lot to me – and, as the place where folks can buy my home-made DVDs, it’s also vital to my income. I stay home with the kid: this site, and those DVDs, are my income. Between database server downtime, swiss-cheese security and sheer incompetence, the past 18 months have seen the most downtime that theLogBook has ever had.

I could, in fact, very easily forgive anyone for thinking that the site’s just gone away, period, left unmaintained. Nothing could be further from the truth, but I’ll be damned if I can’t see where that impression could be formed very easily.

theLogBook.com is now hosted by the far more professional and far more experienced folks at Dreamhost.com, who aren’t placing any ridiculously 1990s-esque limits on bandwidth or storage space. They’re extremely helpful in terms of providing tips and instructions for moving what is now very much a database-oriented site from one hosting service to another, and overall, they seem to know where their towel is. That’s more than I can say for the “bail bondsman by day, pizza delivery by night!” folks at Globat.

Let me give you something a little more concrete than the bile that immediately comes up everything I think of Globat. Let’s compare tech support departments.

Here’s one of many support tickets I opened at Globat in the month of June. My original ticket, dated 06/07/2009 7:47 PM EDT:

It would seem that nearly every database-driven function of my site is completely broken. I’m running multiple WordPress installs, and at the moment only the one in the root directory is working, and even then not by much (even trying to go to the admin menu gets me a 404 error). The required files for all of the main menu selections are present and accounted for, so why does virtually everything that’s not a static HTML page get a 404 error?

Globat’s response, at 8:57pm the same day:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting us.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. I have asked a member of our team who specializes in technical to check the issue. You should be hearing from this specialist within 24-48 hours.

Thank you for choosing Globat, we appreciate your support.

Sincerely,

Becki Thomas
Customer Support

And now, Globat’s follow-up, dated 06/09/2009 11:38 AM EDT:

Hello,

I have verified the Web site at URL http://www.thelogbook.com and noticed that when I try to access the `Archives`, any links, for monthly base, getting Page Not found error message, displaying custom error page. I verified at older side and got the same result. It looks like the Archives links are not setup properly or may be the data has deleted. Also, it seems that the links were not working either in old server or in new platform, both are getting same result. Could you please verify once from your end?

If you have any further questions, please update the Support Console.

Sincerely,

Dolly John
Technical Specialist

Okay, can anyone even understand that? My reply, about two hours later, was:

In looking at the directories, it’s looking like you might have pulled some older backup files in the migration. I’d like to see if the following specific actions will get everything:

Database “[edited]” – re-migrate from old server or restore from most recent backup

File “wp-config.php” – copy this file from the old server to the new one in each of the following directories: “earl”, “phosphor”, “movies”, “fanfilms”

This might resolve the last few problems. Thanks.

Now, if you’ve been following the site’s recent troubles, you’ll know that we were the victims of a surprisingly aggressive series of hacks and hack attempts throughout May. How did I know that their migration process had moved older backups and not the files as they were now? Because the migrated files had the hack scripts intact.

Globat’s next reply was five days later, 06/14/2009 3:44 PM EDT:

Dear Customer,

I am contacting you about your ticket, #6071470, regarding your account. Your database has been re-migrated and your site should be working properly now.

To connect to the legacy servers via FTP please use the following:
FTP host: [edited]
FTP user: [edited]
FTP pass: [edited]

Thank you,
Troy R

Only the databases weren’t working – worse, in fact: the database for this very blog was apparently chewed up in the migration process and arrived with no tables – i.e. no data at all. The first thought the occurred to me on seeing my blog database as an empty container was: what about the pictures of my newborn son that I posted from the hospital the night he was born? What about the responses from my family and friends? Is that stuff gone forever?

I was, in a word, pissed. But by this point, the writing was already on the wall, and I had already opened an account with Dreamhost. What I needed now was to back up my databases from Globat and get the hell outta Dodge. Only one problem: I could access my database backups.

Here I go again, 06/16/2009 4:49 PM EDT:

I would like to get my databases backed up – and would have done so with the old phpmyadmin setup on the original server except that you guys flipped the switch on the migration something like two weeks ahead of schedule on me (I was originally told that the deadline was June 22nd, and I wasn’t finished backing everything up when the migration suddenly took place on June 4th.

I understand how the new database backup system works, but it is not allowing me to pull backups of most of my databases, including some of the largest and most critical ones for the entire site. The message I get on most of my databases is “There are currently no backups for this database.” This makes me extremely nervous – I cannot pull backups and it doesn’t seem like backups are even being done on the server end. I really don’t like having stuff NOT backed up on my end.

Thanks very much.

By the time Globat responded, I had figured out that phpMyAdmin was still available via their new control panel, which I would describe most charitably as “byzantine”. Their response on 06/17/2009 5:09 AM EDT:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting us.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. In order to take the database backup, please follow the steps given below:
1. Log into the Control Panel with your account username and password.
2. Click on ‘Manage MySQL’ under ‘Scripting and Add-Ons’.
3. Click on the database name under the ‘Manage Databases’ section.
4. Click on ‘Manage Backups’.
5. Click ‘+’ icon next to the database name.
6. Select tables to download.
7. Click on the ‘Select’ button.

If you are unable to take the backup of your database, please get back to us with the following information:
1. Database name.
2. Database username and password.

If you have any further questions, please update the Support Console.

Sincerely,

Becki Thomas
Customer Support

To which I responded, about 12 hours later:

I have resolved most of the backup issues with the export function in phpMyAdmin. However, one database I’m still looking for from the legacy server, is the most recent pre-migration version of the following:

DB: [edited]
USER: [edited]
PW: [edited]

I’m hoping I can get a pre-migration version, even if it’s a few weeks old. If there’s a way I can log into the old DB server with phpMyAdmin and retrieve that file myself, I’d be more than happy to do that without taking up any more time on Globat’s end.

Holy crap, I’m offering the do the work at this point. The response, dated 06/18/2009 10:15 PM EDT:

Hello,

Thank you for getting back to us.

I have asked a member of our team who specializes in technical to check the issue. You should be hearing from this specialist within 24-48 hours.

Thank you for choosing Globat, we appreciate your support.

Sincerely,

Becki Thomas
Customer Support

Uh…deja vu? And then, on 06/19/2009 5:01 PM EDT from Globat:

Hello,

I wanted to let you know that we have migrated the ‘[edited]’ database to your account. If you have anymore issues please let us know, we are here 24/7. Thanks for your time.

The database that I was attempting to retrieve was the only one I still needed to make the site “live” at its new home – the one for the blog you’re reading right now.

Now, I will give them credit for one thing: at this point it’s got to be obvious that I’m just wanting this last database handed over so I can leave Globat behind. They’re still being pretty game about forking the requested item over.

The quoted message repesent just a small portion of an epic month-long series of support tickets. Something that’s worth noting about Globat: the moment they leave a response to a support ticket, their system automatically flags the issue as “resolved” and the ticket has to be reopened by the user in the event that a resolution has not, in fact, been found.

For comparison, here’s one of only two exchanges I’ve had with Dreamhost technical support, quoted in full. This regarded an attempt to import a large database via Telnet shell, a procedure that’s covered in – get this – Dreamhost’s extensive support wiki. My original message, dated Jun 18th, 2009 – 10:53:43:

I have a large database that I’ve been trying to import via shell, since it’s over 14 megs, but despite putting the .sql file in the home directory (and a copy in the root directory, just in case I was getting it wrong), my attempts to get that database imported via SSH fail because “no such file exists”.

Per the instructions in the support wiki, this is the command I’ve been trying to execute:

[edited]

If I’m missing something, please let me know – I haven’t done anything via telnet since college, so I’m scratching my head on this one.

Dreamhost’s first response was sent six minutes later:

Hello,

Happy to assist!

Perhaps running the following command instead might help.

[edited]
(without including password)

Though, I ran a quick import and got.

ERROR 1064 (42000) at line 1: You have an error in your SQL syntax; check
the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right
syntax to use near ‘
`comment_ID` bigint(20) unsigned NOT NULL auto_increment,
`comment_post_’ at line 1

Thanks!
Phiya C

And then, not quite ten minutes later:

Hello,

Hmm, it looks like the file had an error in it which I just corrected,
and have imported the db file for you!

Should be all set now.

Feel free to contact us back should you need further support!

Thanks!
Phiya C

I almost got whiplash from that one – issue resolved inside of half an hour, and honestly, I would’ve been happy with just a corrected instruction set so I could do the procedure myself. (I haven’t Telnetted anything since college – I’ll admit to being a bit rusty.)

There’s a day-and-night difference right there. So if anyone’s wondering how I rate theLogbook.com’s new host, so far, I’m as happy as I can be. I recommend Dreamhost.com to anybody – the site’s running faster than it has in some time, with no downtime due to Globat’s infernal “internal [database] server errors”. And I’m pleased as punch with the support I’ve received.

I appreciate Globat’s tech support teams past and present, but it’s obvious that the company’s new direction isn’t customer-centered, but instead aimed at making sure the back-line tech folks can sit around and draw a check. I’m also far from the only person to have trouble with Globat in recent months. My e-mail has also been unreliable, if not completely inaccessible (despite reassurances that nothing has changed where Globat’s mail servers are concerned), since the switchover. If Globat’s new techs think that swiss cheese security is going to buy them some time to relax, I think they’re in for a rude awakening.

But Globat is now someone else’s problem, not mine. I really do hope that it’s all uphill from here. Now let’s get back to work.

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About the Author

Earl Green ()

I'm the creator, editor-in-chief and head writer of theLogBook.com.

Website: http://www.theLogBook.com

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