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ServerPronto Problems (Outage, pitiful customer support)

4:49 PM / 1st July, 2007

This Sunday night, around at midnight there was a major outage at ServerPronto. Both my sites one for sales & one for an internal app are still out. I'm reporting this to bring on record Serverpronto's less than acceptable response to customer problems.

Early Sunday morning I realized that, not only my sites, but also serverpronto.com and a bunch of infolink.com (SP's parent) were down. On one site I could reach the webserver, but there were php_mysql errors on screen for not being able to connect to database machine.

Even the support site was down, so it wasn't possible to submit a ticket.

After about 2 hours SP's own sites were back online and I got a telephone number off of the site to call. The guy across sounded like he's been woken up from sleep. He took a name, company name, phone number and promised that somebody will get back. 8 hours counting now - no one has called.

Meanwhile sp's support site came back online and I was able to open tickets. The first response to ticket was that

# there are no errors on screen, and
# we rebooted the machine

Neither of these addressed the issue that I wasn't able to SSH into my machine and http services weren't available. The technician who attended that ticket took the liberty of closing the ticket without checking if the response was satisfactory and the issue is resolved. So I submitted a rebuttal and reopened the ticket.

HTTP services are incessantly timing out

SSH clients exit with "System bootup in progress - please wait" error.

As of now, for ~10 hours my sites are offline. I'm losing sales.

I put another phone call in 15 mins ago, and a lady answered from "Message Services". She again noted same information submitted earlier and wouldn't say when anybody will call me back with resolution.

This is not the first time I am having such an experience with ServerPronto (and I have a poor memory for such mishaps). Impatient, frustrated and angry, I await SP's assistance in bringing my sites back online.

20.35 / 1st July, 2007

Another 2 rounds of email with no response. Now all of serverpronto.com and infolink.com sites are back online. But it looks like they are leaving customers to dogs!

Called again, and again the message center lady wants the name, number and company - spelt out.

Is ServerPronto the worst or what?

6.36 AM / 2nd July, 2007

It's now over 24 hours. A whole day and whole night after the outage has passed. Today's Monday - I'm starting the week with this.

Both tickets open are unattended.

Nobody called back.

8.55 AM / 2nd July, 2007

Called again, this time elected to connect directly to customer support using phone-menu. This got into an automated voice message asking to "help-yourselves" on the support website.

Called back, and elected to enter the _Sales_ menu, and lo-and-behold, got a sleepy message-center guy again after about 1.5 minutes of ringing. Again name and number noted, spelt out.

Meanwhile, the web-support folks seem to have spent 3 seconds on each of my open tickets and wrote the following on both.
Your server is back online.
Thank you
Did I say, same message on both tickets? Of course it is back online. I have been able to ping it without problem since the beginning. The problem is SSH and http services. Again posted SSH client output when it exit and webaccess results from internetsupervision.com.

I'm now investigating alternatives to serverpronto. VPS might be an alternative. There are tons of recommendations on the linux.debian.user usenet.

12.15 PM / 2nd July, 2007

2 tickets opened at time of 8.55AM update are still unanswered.

In the meanwhile, I am fruitfully researching VPS alternatives that fit the bill. Great recommendations on slicehost.com and vpslink.com. The thing to like about them both is the communities around the offering. This is something I should probably have looked out for when signing up with suckers at serverpronto.

4.20 PM / 2nd July, 2007


Got a reply to 1 of the tickets saying "We are able to ssh to your server. If you cannot reach your websites please login via ssh and troubleshoot the webserver issue. Thank you".

This is beyond belief now! These people aren't even reading the thread before posting answers to tickets.

It's about 10.00AM in the US now, so the datacenter should be staffed and I'm hoping some faster answers. Fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, I am zeroed down on slicehost.com and vpslink.com for a VPS. Just waiting on some answers from slicehost community before I decide. After that it will be a matter of waiting for serverpronto machine to come online and backing up the files & database and starting a new installation on VPS.

5.15 PM / 2nd July, 2007

Finally got a human on the phone who took notes on phone. Shortly after I was able to ssh successfully. Uptime is 46 minutes and Apache2 is dead (probly because it quit during boot up due to lack of SSL certif passwd).

The hell is now over, it's time to prepare for the next one.




Another outage last night. Got the very informative canned message as below (which didn't have anything to do with my question)


SP1435

Posted on 30 Aug 2007 11:08 PM
At the moment, we cannot give details as to what occurred as we are still investigating. It was a minor anomaly, however, and your server has been rebooted and is up and running.

Thank you.

Comments

Ashant said…
This post helped to find and fix the:

"System bootup in progress - please wait"

http://nixcraft.com/linux-software/218-system-bootup-progress-please-wait-error.html