Monday, March 12, 2012

Post-Migration Issues Being Cleared Up

Like true love, the course of server migration doesn't always go as smoothly as planned. While most users didn't notice even a hiccup, we're currently working on repairing a few permission and database issues that happened when transferring accounts from the old Apollo server to the new Apollo server.

1. If you're currently unable to reach your website (or ours), it is likely a DNS caching issue, which can happen when the server IP address changes. Just like when a browser will cache a copy of a web page that may have recently changed, browsers also store a DNS cache (depending on your settings). To flush your local computer's DNS:

On Windows:
  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Go to Run.
  3. If you do not see the Run command in Vista, search for "run" in the Search bar.
  4. In the Run text box, type: ipconfig /flushdns
  5. Press Enter or Return, and your cache will be flushed.

On Mac:
  1. Go to Applications.
  2. Go to Utilities.
  3. Open the Terminal application.
  4. Type: dscacheutil -flushcache
  5. Press Enter or Return, and your cache will be flushed.

After flushing your local DNS cache, it's also a good idea to reboot your computer.

I personally use and recommend using Google DNS instead of your ISP's DNS. I've found their DNS servers to be very fast and super responsive to DNS changes. Here is one tutorial on how to make changes to the DNS server your computer uses.

A caveat: Nothing is foolproof. This morning I was able to view our own status blog (and a post on it made this morning, so it wasn't a cached page) on one computer that doesn't use Google DNS, while from another computer on the same network/IP -set up to use Google DNS- could NOT see the status blog. My computer at home, also using Google DNS but on a different ISP/network/IP couldn't see our status blog.

These issues were cleared up when I resynced the blog feed (through Feedburner), which forces a recheck of the current DNS settings. The funniest part is, Feedburner is owned by Google. :)

2. Check to see if your site is up
Here's another quick way you can check to see if it might be a local caching issue. There are many websites that will check to see if your website is up, here's a couple:

3. Use a website monitoring service
Another recommendation is to use a website monitoring service, such as Pingdom or Binary Canary that alerts you if your website is down. Both offer free accounts if you only need to monitor one website. This would be another tool to help you know if/when there's a problem, and if it's one with your network/ISP/local computer verses a problem with your website or our server.

4. If you're receiving an error message on your site or when logging in to cPanel it speeds things up considerably if you can give us the error message itself. There's a million things it could be, and a hint as to what error you're getting will help considerably.

5. Apache is currently being recompiled has been recompiled to include the PDO MySQL extension. That was somehow missed when the settings were transferred.

6. If you're experiencing any other issues we're currently available by Live Chat (the icon in the bottom right corner of all pages on our website...if you don't see the Live Chat icon, refresh the page), or you can submit a ticket through our online support desk.

If you ever can't access the support desk/Client Portal for any reason, you can also send a Direct Message to our Twitter account and that will send a smoke signal. Per how Twitter works, you need to be following us and visa versa.