Sometime around 10 PM Friday the MySQL server at my hosting provider took a walk. The hosting sysop blamed it on my site and disabled the database that serves it by making the directory the MySQL files are in unreadable. MySQL didn’t seem to handle that condition well, and since MaisonBisson was still piling up queries looking for the content in the DB, things continued to go downhill.

My involvement started around 11 PM Friday night (yes, I’m that dorky). Not knowing what was going on, I started a support ticket with the host. The sysop replied fairly quickly with some MySQL logs that showed nothing, but then didn’t answer any further questions on the ticket until about 11 AM Saturday. The host’s answer was inspecific, but I replied quickly and again I got no replies.

Then, around 2 PM Saturday, the host sent me a message from their abuse department telling me they’d disabled my account (it had actually been disabled for about 15 hours or more by then) because the site was causing problems with the DB server. Apparently, because the scripts on the site were looking for the missing database content and MySQL doesn’t handle things well when the DB files are made inaccessible on the filesystem and because I was still getting traffic (though the traffic wasn’t getting content), things weren’t going well.

Again, however, my replies to support got no answer, and it was about 10 AM Sunday before I got another response from the hosting provider. But it still took until 1 PM before I could get the sysop to restore my access to the site content (under the condition that no public access be allowed on the site until they approved it).

Around 4 PM, after about 42 hours of downtime, MaisonBisson went live with a new provider.

Things I’ll admit:

  • I haven’t paid serious attention to optimizing my code for heavy traffic (but I don’t really know what “heavy traffic” is)
  • My site was getting a lot of page loads Friday (though it wasn’t record number), and weekend nights can be especially busy (look at the list of popular incoming searches in the sidebar during the weekend and you’ll understand)
  • I don’t know how many queries per second I was calling at the time of the DB crash (or how many were running overall), or any other detail statistic of the CPU load I was generating


  • HostGator sucks.
  • Keep backups up to date (I actually had a good DB backup from early Friday, but I didn’t have filesystem backup)
  • Perhaps I oughtta look at some ways to optimize all this.
  • HostGator sucks.

Tips For Hosting Providers:

  • Don’t treat customers like they want to crash your servers.
  • Remember that customers can’t see the system performance stats you can. Involve them early — as problems are developing, but before things crash — so they can start working on solutions before anybody loses uptime.

As late as sometime mid-morning Saturday, HostGator could have kept me as a customer — and I was still considering upgrading my hosting account! — but customer service that was both slow and indifferent soured me.

abuse department, bad customer support, customer support, heavy traffic, hostgator sucks, hosting provider, mysql crash, queries per second, support ticket, web host, web hosting

18 thoughts on “Meltdown

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  4. I had similar problems with HostGator, on a very, very low volume/demand site, and got a couple of really nasty emails from them when I tried to find out why they went in and hacked my file system. It pissed me off to the point that I registered

    After leaving HostGator, suddenly all of my domains are under attack via. ICANN complains originating from HostGator.

    Evidently there are a bunch of losers associated with the day-to-day operation of HostGator, with too much time of their hands.

    There will soon be a forum or blog at for others to share their experiences.


    [tags]hostgator, hostgator sucks, hostgator support, hostgator ICANN complaints[/tags]

  5. hi

    I just had the last straw with Their support is to laugh at. The service was down approx 1 hour today. and has been down at least 2-3x in the last 2 months for 20 minute intervals during peak traffic. Im gonna switch ASAP. Please dont sign up with they plain suck

    PS after numerious emails with support, i went directly to Brent the founders of hostgator for help. He told me politely to take a hike!

  6. hostgator sucks bigtime. we also just left them after our account was shut down becuase we wanted an explanation why our email was going down for a few hours every day in the early hours of the morning….BEN at hostgator has a big attitude problem as well…

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  8. is crap. Poor customer support, their reps are idiots and their prices aren’t the best either!

    Don’t waste your money on HostGator! sucks!

  9. There are many hidden things in hostgator,They give you 100000…GB data space but you can not have more than 50000 files!

    They abuse department shut down my sites and tell lies about my account claiming I was using more than allowed CPU.

    These ideates took 2 weeks to refund my money (not a big money but I make a point to get it back from them)

  10. samething here, tells lies about my account for using too much cpu while my website has only very few visits a day and the cpu that they showed in the email was only 6% rather than 25% or more.

  11. I would advise not to use their affiliate program. We sent several clients via our affiliate link, who all promptly signed up and sent us over their newly-created Host Gator account logins so we could begin transferring their sites.

    We never received credit for a single referral according to the shoddy Host Gator stats, so I contacted support.

    Support was prompt and courteous in answering my email, however I was told that all of our referrals came via other referral links. Because of this, we felt it would be silly to refer any of our remaining clients to them and will definitely be sending them elsewhere. Use caution when considering the Host Gator affiliate program.

  12. So, what’s the answer?

    I’m having a similar reliability problem with Speed Fox, but without the vitriol.

    I find that being polite pays big dividends. Chances are you’re dealing with and overworked tech slave who can’t make policy let along spend money on better equipment if a server or router is crashing or if the customer support software is crappy.

    Does anyone know of a decent host that is affordable, reliable, and fair? Preferably an Apache (Linux, Unix) outfit. I have several accounts that I may need to move in a hurry. I thought Speed Fox was great and had no trouble for 11 months. Now I would like to know where to jump if I have to.

  13. Well, Speed Fox cleaned up their act for a while, but I’m back to the same problem again. Naturally on New Year’s day when we expected to get a spike in traffic. And naturally, no one seems to be home at good ‘ol Speed Fox to fix the @#$* thing. Speed Fox sucks.

    I’ve got to find a better home for me and my clients. HELP. Any one know of a reliable host?

  14. Hostgator DOES SUCK, BIG TIME. I’ve just experienced over 40 hours of downtime, for which they admit fault. They fixed the problem but now it’s returned and they’ve been ‘working’ on it for 16 hours.

    Don’t go with hostgator, you’ll just get eaten up by their incompetent staff that treat everyone like a 10 year old. These guys are geeks with no social awareness, they will treat you like you created the problem, and their poor level of internal communications will ensure your problems get handballed to infinity!

  15. Well, SpeedFox did it again. This time everyone’s email was down for 6 days while the SpeedFox techs chased their tails. I don’t know how much business went away when they got a reply of “permanent error” from their emails.

    I’m still looking for a good web host. Anyone know anything about JustHost? Not much about them on the web. They claim they’ve been in business 5 years with 20,000 clients, but when I asked how many backbone connections they had, the tech gave me an answer relating to electrical power sources. Maybe he was just in sales. Who knows, the only email address is for tech support.

  16. That’s pretty funny about the response from Justhost. They seem to be a reputable host. I am hosting with, they seem to do a decent job. You should check them out if you’re still looking.

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