Some Hostgator Woes

HostgatorI know, it’s been a while. This is a post about recent problems with Hostgator related to their web hosting services.

I’ve been happy with them since I subscribed but it seems recently they’ve been giving me problems. The first problem was when they did an “emergency maintenance” on the server where my sites are hosted. My account (and sites, therefore) were inaccessible for an hour at least (could be longer, since I only counted the time since I discovered it). And I had to contact support twice. First to report and know what’s going on, and second to follow up and “reset” the account. My only request was to be informed about server maintenance whether emergency or not.

The second one is apparently an ongoing one related to the script inside the cPanel dashboard, particularly the Hotlink Protection tool under Security, that caused images not to display. And if you access the image URLs directly you get a 403 (Access Forbidden) error.

Initially I thought it was just a need to chmod or chown my files so I contacted support to have them do it for me. When that didn’t work, a support ticket was created. At this point I realized it might have something to do with .htaccess, similar to what I had before when I used Hotlink Protection. One Hostgator admin wrote back with this:

Hello,

http://www.noelacosta.com had an issue with the .htaccess file that was causing the images to get 403 errors. I removed 2 duplicate lines near the bottom that were rewriting the urls for the images. If there is anything else we can do for you, or if you have any questions, please let us know.

The new one looks like this:
root@gator535 /home/ncacosta/public_html/noelacosta.com/blog]# cat .htaccess
RewriteEngine on

Options -Indexes
# BEGIN WordPress

# END WordPress
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^blog.noelacosta.com$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.blog.noelacosta.com$
RewriteRule ^/?$ "http\:\/\/www\.noelacosta\.com" [R=301,L]

The old one:
[root@gator535 /home/ncacosta/public_html/noelacosta.com/blog]# cat .htaccess.orig
RewriteEngine on

Options -Indexes
# BEGIN WordPress

# END WordPress
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^blog.noelacosta.com$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.blog.noelacosta.com$
RewriteRule ^/?$ "http\:\/\/www\.noelacosta\.com" [R=301,L]

RewriteRule .*\.(jpg|jpeg|gif|png|bmp)$ - [F,NC]

RewriteRule .*\.(jpg|jpeg|gif|png|bmp)$ - [F,NC]

True enough, when I accessed all other domains in my account, these lines were added by Hostgator’s cPanel script. I asked them to remove them for me and pointed out that they should look into their script.

Lesson for me is not to use shortcuts in hotlink protection and just study how to create my own .htaccess directives.

GoDaddy & SOPA/PIPA

SOPA VENN DIAGRAM
SOPA VENN DIAGRAM (from Visual News)

We’ve experienced a flurry of activity regarding SOPA/PIPA the past days and was further punctuated by the case of media sharing site MegaUpload.

NAMELESS.PH has used GoDaddy for years as our domain registrar and was okay about them because of their reasonable prices. (Also have Name.com a secondary registrar.) However, there are some cases of seemingly misogynistic comments of the CEO and that unjustifiable hunting sport episode. These kind of dampened my enthusiasm for GoDaddy and the final nail in the coffin was its support of SOPA. Although they retracted their initial statement after customer uproar and loss of clients, we have decided to transfer NAMELESS.PH administered domains to another registrar.

Namecheap.com is starting to look good.

Prototype: WM Logo in Space

Papervision3D Experiment: Watari's Machine Logo In Space

This is one of a series of simple experiments with Paper Vision 3D in Flash. It simulates flying through space by manipulating a 3D plane with respect to the movement of the mouse. The “space ship” (in the form of the Watari’s Machine logo) also gets adjusted and rotates accordingly.

Please visit the live example here:

http://proto.nameless.ph/wm/logo-space.html