Beware of hosting providers without server admins

By David Fekke
January 17th, 2011

I volunteer my time to maintain the website for my rowing club. I would list the domain for the site, but the site is down right now. I am in the process of trying to have the domain transfered.

The hosting business uses a Linux server with LAMP installed to host all of their websites. When I first took over the club site, I was actually encouraged by the fact that they had options for PHP and MySQL. On Wednesday, I received an email from the hosting company that the club was past due by a month on the site, and that we owed them $115.00 for the year. The main problem with this is that they have never ever charged for the site before. The club is a non-profit organization, and can not afford to pay the hosting fee.

So I sent them an email after the invoice, and told them to transfer the domain to me, and I would find another host.

I never heard back.

Then on Friday afternoon I decided to check the email for the site, and I could not authenticate with the IMAP server. So I decided to check the site, and was presented with a "PAST DUE! login here, and pay us" screen.

At this point, I decided to call the hosting company. I was not able to reach the nice person who turned the site off, but I did get a lower level employee. That employee told me that an automated bot had turned the site off. He also informed me that they did not have an Linux administrator to manage the site, and that they were having service issues related to that fact.

To compound matters, the administrative contact for the site is a board member of the club, but the hosting company listed their email address as the contact information for the administrative contact. So the entire process of transfering the domain has to go through a company that thinks we owe them money.

So by the end of the day Friday, they finally responded to the first request from my registrar to begin the process of transfering the domain to my account. Since the site is a .org, it requires an authorization code from the original registrar. It was too late on Friday to get that code from original registrar, so the site has been down all weekend, an well into today.

When the club set up the web site originally, they did not realize the importance of owning the domain name. In the mean time, the site has been down for four days.

The moral of the story is to make sure you own the domain name. You can check and make sure the domain contact information is correct in the whois database.

In the mean time, I have the code loaded to the new site. I am planning on using Raymond Camden's BlogCFC for the site blog. I am hosting the new site at, and they offer ColdFusion MX and PHP support.

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