Monday morning

The first day back after the long weekend, and the first day of an almost full week. Finally!
The kids were looking forward to school and I had a definite spring of productivity in my step as I headed into work. Even the traffic wasn’t too bad.

But that was then.

Now – two failed laptops, a broken centrifuge, a promised delivery that hasn’t been delivered, Afrihost’s DSL authentication issue and a kettle that needed a(nother) punch to get it working,  later – any remaining glimmer of positivity has been firmly extinguished. It’s not even ten o’clock and I’m effectively functionally stranded as everything around me falls to pieces.

This obviously isn’t your problem, and I very much doubt you even want to hear about it, but paradoxically, with so much to do, I need a few minutes away from everything just to get my head together. And I need to stay away from equipment and stuff before anything else breaks.

*deep breath*

Right. And now, with a clearer mind, it’s once more unto the breach (although I’d still much rather once more onto the beach).
Have a special day.

Mended…

Sterling work by Charl from Telkom and Aldo from Afrihost has re-established the internet connection at 6000 Towers and, in addition, re-established it at some decent speed.

Suddenly:

datt

Now all I have to do is decide if we can actually afford and justify the hefty price for reasonably quick, reasonably stable internet in South Africa.

 

Unchanged exchange

As if the constant rain, cold temperatures and miserable grey sky wasn’t enough today, I have just learned that my internet connectivity here at Chez 6000 is so slow because the local exchange simply can’t handle the amount of traffic going through it. Thus, while paying for a 4Mbps line, I’m generally very lucky to get 500kbps. And that’s a bit rubbish to say the least.

When SEACOM landed and when I got the 4Mbps line, I did think that we were beginning to approach some sort of semblance of First World connectivity.
How wrong I was.

Of course, all parties involved (save for me) are protected from any liability for this, thanks to the convenient (but standard – I’m not blaming Afrihost for this) “best effort” service clause in the terms and conditions:

Due to the fact that Telkom cannot guarantee the bandwidth throughput achieved when subscribers access the Internet utilising a DSL access line, Afrihost can likewise also not offer such a guarantee.

Interestingly, paying R200 less per month for a 1Mbps connection gives me around 350kbps. Slower, and arguably even more frustrating, sure, but with an extra R200 to spend on Carling Black Label, it might work out better overall.

The fact is that the exchange in question will definitely not be upgraded this financial year and there’s no guarantee when, if ever, it will be upgraded. Any alternative, not using Telkom lines (and therefore the same exchange) seems prohibitively expensive. Decent speed uncapped wireless offerings come in at a hefty R819pm, plus a R2000 set up fee.

If anyone has any brilliant ideas, or a money tree that they’re willing to lend me, please get in touch.

All in all, it’s pretty depressing, and if it’s holding me back, heaven only knows how the local SMEs are coping.

If you can’t read this…

If you’re having trouble getting through to 6000 miles… it’s because (and here I quote):

There is high load on the server, causing requests to be slow (and timeout) even though the server is up.

This was also the case last Wednesday, last Thursday and last Friday. And again this morning.

Afrihost, who were previously the shining example of service and stability have really disappointed me since I moved my hosting over there. And yes, I would move everything somewhere else, but

  1. It’s an absolute schlep to organise another move. I don’t have time, ability or patience, and
  2. Is anywhere really better? For every good report on a hosting solution, there is someone warning against using it.

Afrihost have told me that they are “in the process” of upgrading their servers, which should stop this timeout problem from occurring. In the meantime, if you see that “6000.co.za took too long to respond”, please keep trying. I’m still here, even if you can’t see me.

“Almost 100%”

Those of you who regularly read this blog will probably know that I recently switched hosting providers from Site5 “across the pond” to Afrihost, who are much closer to home. People from as far as the UK and the Isle of Man (as well as many in SA) have asked me to let them know how I get on, because they’re looking for good value and good service hosting packages. Well, this post serves as the first report back.

Sadly, since I made the move, I’ve had no end of problems, mainly around the issue of catchy sounding “508 Resource Limit Is Reached” errors. 6000.co.za had 9101 of them yesterday alone.
Even more sadly, Afrihost, a company who I have my home internet and ADSL line, our business internet and ADSL line and a couple of other domains with – based in no small part on their incredible customer service record – have seriously let me down on the customer service front.

Yesterday, I spoke to a guy who told me that he didn’t call me back a couple of weeks ago as he promised because (and I promise you that this is word for word):

The office gets so busy and things get mixed up

Which is hugely reassuring.

But then this morning, an email from their support desk which suddenly cleared everything up:

Hello,

I could see from the cPanel that your CPU usage is almost 100%. Please see the screenshot attached.

Here’s the screenshot in question:

and for CPU Usage, you’ll probably want to look at that top graph titled “CPU Usage”.

Look, maybe I’m missing something HUGE here, but there are three lines on that graph. The red one labelled “limit” runs at 100% and I’m presuming that that’s the limit of the CPU Usage I can do. The blue line (that’s “max”) shows the maximum CPU Usage that I did at any one given time during the 24 hour period. The green line – helpfully labelled “average” – presumably shows the “average” amount of CPU Usage over the given period. In that fourth block, it almost gets up to 15%.

Yikes.

So how does that clear anything up?

Well, what I realised is that Afrihost are obviously very committed to customer care and technical support. They believe that they’re giving it “almost 100%”.
Unfortunately, what constitutes “almost 100%” to them could be viewed very differently by anyone capable of reading a graph.
One could extrapolate and suggest that perhaps the maximum levels they ever reach in any given 24 hour period is 75%, and even then only occasionally. Maybe, on average, their levels are right down on that green line, but remember, they still believe that that represents “almost 100%”.

I have no problem when things go wrong. That’s because things do go wrong. It happens. It’s how you put them right that matters. And not returning calls or emails, overlooking obvious problems and misinterpreting graphs isn’t a good way of putting anything right. It’s now been almost 3 hours since I replied to the email mentioned above – described by Afrihost as “High Priority”. I’ve heard nothing.

Meanwhile, there have been another 6698 “508 Resource Limit Is Reached” errors on 6000 miles… in the last 24 hours.

So would I recommend Afrihost to people as a decent hosting option for their websites or blogs?

What do you think?