Tech Blech

Friday, July 05, 2013

GoDaddy hassle

With SSI's breaking.
Healthy page example.
Yesterday, I received a trouble report about a Linux shared-host website which resides on GoDaddy servers.  To my horror, the site now looked like the page shown on the right, instead of the page shown below it.  It was pretty clear that server-side includes (SSI's) had stopped working, and since I had not updated the site in a couple of weeks and all had  been working well up until yesterday, it was also clearly because of something that GoDaddy had done to the server.   If nothing else, their server logbook ought to show what had been done, and so a developer like myself should be able to figure out how to adapt.  Bad enough that no advance notice had been given.

I immediately put in a call to GoDaddy technical support to find out what had happened and get some help figuring out how to get the site back to its former state of health.  After navigating numerous computerized phone menus and waiting on hold for about 15 minutes, I finally reached a human being, who immediately put me on hold and then disconnected the call.  This person did not call me back, so after a few more minutes, I put in a second call to GoDaddy support.  Same drill: after about 15 minutes, I got a person, who didn't know anything and put me on hold while he "contacted the server group".  After another 15 minutes, he returned to announce that I would have to fix the problem myself, as it was a scripting problem.  OK, I enquired, how shall I fix the problem?  My code hasn't changed.  And in the meantime, I had verified by extensive web searching that GoDaddy's forums had no help page showing how server-side includes ought to work.  Further, there were many entries in GoDaddy's forums within the past two weeks by other customers whose server-side includes had also stopped working.  "Sorry", the tech support guy said, "it's a scripting problem and we don't touch your code.  You'll have to fix it."

I was now waffling between disbelief and rage.  After spending another hour trying every wild suggestion, and everything I've ever encounted to get server-side includes working on Linux, I "patched" the problem for the short term by eliminating the SSI's altogether in the important pages of the website, so that my site once again had graphics and styling.

Returning the next day, fresh and rested, I was able to get server-side includes working again by making this small change:

    Bad directive:     <!–#include virtual=”./shared/insert.txt” –>

    Good directive:   <!–#include file=”./shared/insert.txt” –>

Really?  One word change fixed this?  And GoDaddy tech support is too stupid to tell this to customers?  Needless to say, I don't trust GoDaddy.  I fully expect now that the pages will stop working at any moment due to some unknown change in their server configuration.

And, I will never, ever again use GoDaddy for any service.  What arrogance these large corporations are capable of developing towards their own customer base.  I'm still aghast.  They could have kept my business so easily.  Stay away from GoDaddy.  The word "evil" comes to mind.

I will be moving all business from GoDaddy as soon as can be arranged.


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