Monday, January 22, 2018

Lifetime hosting with Dragify / Ahead Hosting: a lifelong nightmare!

In October 2017 published a deal from a company called Dragify: they offered lifetime web hosting for up to 4 websites at $39.99.
It looked like a good deal, so I signed up to test the service for a few days.

After I signed up I discovered that Dragify would no provide this service directly. The webhosting they were selling would actually be provided by another company called Ahead Hosting, apparently from Spain.

Well, who cares? What's important is that it works... So I tested the service for a few days (not enough, I would discover lately) and it looked okay, so before the special offer ended, I signed up for a second account, this time paying for the "triple up" addon, which allowed up to 12 websites to be hosted on that account for $39.99 (as before) + $39.99 (for the "triple up" addon).

Since this is important, let's call them ACCOUNT A (4 websites) and ACCOUNT B (12 websites)

I then proceeded to move all my websites from my old hosting provider to these two new accounts... and that's when the nightmare started.
Downtime is the major issue here: the websites would be unreachable or show "Error 502 Bad Gateway" for long periods of time. I would write to Ahead Hosting's customer service but my emails would mostly go unanswered. On a few rare occasions I have received a reply to my emails, and they all consisted mainly on monosillables.

On December 20, while checking stats on my ACCOUNT B's cPanel, I discovered that some unknown third-party was sending spam using the SMTP of one of my domains hosted on this account. I immediately sent an email to the customer service to warn them that the server was misconfigured, since it allowed third parties to send spam, even though everything was set to avoid this. Of course, I have never received any reply.

In early January 2018, everything came crushing down: all the websites were unreachable, the cpanel would not allow me to login to any of my accounts ("user does not exist"). Of course, I immediately contacted the customer service and guess what? I have never received any reply.
Almost three full days later, the websites were up again and the cpanel would allow me to login again. Have I ever receive an explanation for this incident? Of course not.

Then, a few days later, without any forewarning nor any communications, my ACCOUNT A got suspended. The websites would show "This account has been suspended" and the cPanel would not allow me to login saying "this account has been suspended".
Of course I immediately contacted the customer service again, and this time (a few hours later) I received a reply that simply said that the account had been "suspended for spam".
Remember the problem with the SMTP server I tried warning them about? Well, it looks like they didn't give a damn about my warning, but they used it weeks later to suspend my ACCOUNT A, without any logical reason, considering that the domain which was used to send spam was hosted on ACCOUNT B!
In fact, my ACCOUNT B was still up and running and spammers were still using it to send spam!!

And it does not end here: while suspending my ACCOUNT A, they also decided to suspend my "triple up" plugin on ACCOUNT B. Why??? There was no logical reason at all, just utter incompetence! If the account causing problems was ACCOUNT B, why did they suspend ACCOUNT A? And then why did they suspend the "triple up" plugin on ACCOUNT B? Again, pure and simple incompetence.
At least, after contacting Dragify about this, they have canceled the suspension on the tripling up, and I have got my webspace and bandwidth allowance for 12 websites back.

Not that I intend to use this "lifetime" nightmare anymore. Immediately after the suspension I started moving all my websites to a different hosting provider, which hopefully will prove more professional than Ahead Hosting.

By the way, it looks like behind this so-called company Ahead Hosting lies a single person, who owns (or rents?) a single server: when my websites were down/unreachable, the "company's" website would be down/unreachable too. How professional is that?

In conclusion: as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. If you want reliable hosting, stay away from these "lifetime" offers.
And most of all, stay away from Ahead Hosting.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Slow shutdown/reboot when mounting CIFS/SMB shares on Ubuntu and derivatives

My laptop with Linux Mint 17.2 suddenly started taking full minutes for every reboot/shutdown. What might have caused it?

I then remembered I had previously placed some new entries in the fstab, since I needed to mount some remote CIFS shares. Could this be the culprit?

Well, it seems it was exactly that: there is a bug in Network Manager which shuts down before unmounting the network shares. This will cause CIFS to hang and wait for 60 seconds or so for every share.

Even though the Ubuntu Wiki says that this bug has been solved since version 12.04, I have applied the suggested solution and it worked.
Now the shutdowns/reboots happen in an instant!

So, is the bug back? I don't know, but what I know is that this is how to fix this problem:
sudo ln -s /etc/init.d/ /etc/rc0.d/
sudo ln -s /etc/init.d/ /etc/rc6.d/

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Disable touchpad while writing

I'm now running Linux Mint 17.2 "Rafaela" on my Amilo SI1520, but even though there is a specific option to disable the touchpad while writing (you can find it in Preferences > Mouse & Touchpad) this solution wouldn't work.

The workaround is easy though, and can be accomplished by using the command syndaemon:

syndaemon -d -i 1
This disable the touchpad while typing on the keyboard, and will enable it again 1 second after the last key has been pressed. The -d option makes the command run as a daemon.

If you only want to disable tapping and scrolling (but not the mouse movements) when you type, just add the -t option:

syndaemon -d -t -i 1
To avoid having to type the command every time you logon, simply put the command above as a new entry in System > Preferences > Startup Applications

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Linux Mint 17.1 "Rebecca" + Debian Wheezy

I installed Linux Mint 17.1 "Rebecca" Cinnamon Edition, a few months ago.

Again everything works perfectly. Linux Mint is a great choice to continue using the old SI1520!

A reader of this blog (thanks Ger!) has installed Debian Wheezy on this SI1520 with the following results:

Debian Wheezy
- Everything working.
- Wifi driver should be installed apart. (Proprietary License)
- Graphic adapter is not able to extend the screens to the S-Video but it could mirror to it, so fine.
Your choice!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Linux Mint 16 "Petra"

Installed Linux Mint 16 "Petra" Cinnamon Edition.

Everything works perfectly, this is a great OS for our old SI1520!