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Where, Oh Where has Gone? 183

Nelson Weiderman writes "For about 36 hours (as of 9 a.m EST 12/31), and the domain names it serves have been off the air with attempts to access them getting "the server does not have a DNS entry" message. Calls to their customer service (when you can get through) have a recording indicating that they attempted an equipment upgrade and that they tried to restore a backup NameServer, which apparently failed. They are trying to reassure customers that none of their data has been lost. Anybody know what's happening there or what the prospects are for recovery? I chose CI Host because they were rated in the top five web hosting services by three separate rating organizations. " We've been getting a huge amount of submissions about this, especially in light of the Masslinux Disappearing Act. Click below for more details - but from what research I've been able to do, it appears that they've been hit with a terribly timed series of mishaps and problems, and are working on getting back online.

This e-mail came to me as well: Hi,

Below is a copy of a post to alt.www.webmaster by Graham Wideman. I confirm his comments in every detail. I personaly have five domains (addresses below) with CiHost which are currently totaly unavailable (http,ftp,mail you name it)..


Major Hosting service provider (28,000 domains?) CI Host has been attempting to move their servers for the last 10 days, with one problem after another, including webmasters unable to access their sites for update, and old backups being restored over new data.

Now we are up to 24 hours during which all sites, plus the email they support, are completely inaccessible due to CI Host's name servers being off the net. For many, this means they cannot even transfer their sites elsewhere (due to the way Network Solutions requires transfer email to come from the registered webmaster's address).

Adding spice to this picture is the fact that CI Host is a charter member of, and "certified" by the Web Host Guild, which is the main activity of Sumo Inc, now owned by CNet.

For further info on CIHost downtime, see alt.www.webmaster.
Alan Cowderoy

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Where, Oh Where has Gone?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've tried at least two dozen hosts for my 60 odd sites. Now I've got all of them with just two hosts. Both do an excellent job.

    They are:
    1., but a *little bit* pricey []
    2. Pair:9.5/10, and very reasonable. []

    It's a real tossup between the two. But this is a good place to start.
  • Check out Zymurgy Systems []. Good quality at a low price. And of course you can trust me because its my business! ;)

    Hey, at least I didn't post as AC and try to pass myself off as a client...

    Seriously though, I host on Linux and provide MySQL and PHP3. My servers are co-located on multiple OC-12's (I'm told) and it feels damned fast from my DSL. I also provide a really cool feature where you can point seperate domains to subdirectories on your site for $3/month each and then bill your client whatever to want as if you host their site. Needless to say this is a popular feature with web site developers!

    In any case, good luck finding a decent hosting service!

    Take care,

    PS: I also maintain the UNIX Socket FAQ [] and released the source code for the FAQ engine under the GPL here []. So if you like, think of supporting Zymurgy Systems as helping to support free software! In any case you can check out those sites to evaluate the speed of dynamic database driven content.

  • Here's a hack I had to use the other day for updating a record for a client. Use Outlook Express from Macrosloth (personally I use Pine and Eudora) and set the "from" address to be from the authorized mail from address and the reply to field to the new address (so you'll get all emails generated by the update). Then just open up one of your mail servers for relaying and send it through.

    Works like a charm.


  • I have to wonder what in the world made them think it would be OK to 'upgrade' the primary and the secondary at the same time! That strikes me a never being a good idea.

  • I agree--they aren't running a very high-quality operation. I signed up a month and a half ago, and still haven't been billed. SSH has been slow, almost unusable. None of the POP accounts I've requested three times have been set up. As soon as they get back online so I can get the hell out, I'm gone. Anyone got recommendations?


  • I *briefly* hosted a commercial site on CIHost, based on the strong recommendations by various rating sites. They were WRONG. I had serious performance problems, configuration issues, problems with domain name transfers, and virtually no response from tech support.

    The last straw, though, was when i emailed them about a Y2K bug in a Perl-based online discussion group CGI they provide, and never even got an acknowledgement. Fuck that. I switched to Hurricane Electric (, and they've been terrific.

    Oh, i'm sure you'll see plenty of that Y2K bug at Perl-driven sites now, and in some C programs too. The symptom is that this year is now "100", not 2000. To understand why, grab K&R, look up , study how years are represented in struct tm, and consider the implications of not using strftime() to print dates. Perl doesn't have strftime(), which is why the bug is more prevalent there. But lots of naive C programmers don't learn their libraries, and thus reinvent wheels poorly.

    And i've now seen this bug on at least one bbs since the Y2K rollover, and it according to a friend it has completely disabled the old telnet-driven Delphi interface.
    chars is barely sufficient
  • They've had these neato, expensive billboards plugging their dialup services throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I've been curious about them- now I know to not reccomend or eval it for anyone...
  • Well... Just being devils advocate here... but since we dont know their internal routing structure, it IS possible for these to be on different "networks"...

    Of course, that depends on your definition of a "network"...

    [personally for me, a separate network is a machine on a network with a different ASN. For most, a different network may be as simple as being on a different hub with a different port on a router]

  • Well, I hate doing shameless plugs, but I thought I could offer the services of my company, Vener Net Inc (aka FastURL). After reading the comments and working at an ISP for about 4 years, I know that the claims that many hosts make of having "fully redundany OC## to the Internet" and "fully redundant" servers are normally lies. I have worked on staff of several ISPs and assisted many other friends who ran webhosting companies, and sometimes you really need to verify their claims (traceroute's are great, since they often show that they don't really have those quad OC12's to the Net like they claim they do, esp knowing that OC12 linecards for any Cisco product are a wad of cash, something most hosting companies surely can't afford). Before you sign on the dotted line with ANY hosting company insist on a tour of their operation (if local), or traceroute to their servers, or ask to see a demo account if at all possible, or at least a list of a few of their clients so you can check response times, etc.

    I now work for Vener Net Inc, a hosting company located right outside of the Twin Cities area of MN. All of our machines run FreeBSD-STABLE (the latest incarnation of which happens to be 3.4 right now), and all of them are Dual pIII systems (MHz ranges from 450 to 550) w/ 512mb of RAM (with a few exceptions) and 18GB+ of disks in RAID5 (hardware RAID5 driven by DPT PM3334UW cards). We run several webservers, and we put no more than 254 customers on any one box to ensure that all customers have ample resources available should their site have a traffic spike (it may sound like a lot of customers per box, but most hosting companies put close to a thousand on plain pentium classic boxes). We offer all of the essentials, Perl 5.005, PHP 3.0.12, mod_ssl, mod_rewrite, Frontpage 2000 (ICK!), anonymous FTP accounts, account control panels, etc.

    Unlike many webhosting providers, we don't claim to have our own backbone connections. We concentrate on webhosting, and we co-locate our servers in datacenters where they enjoy Ethernet connections right to the ISP (I'll gladly give out hostnames of our servers to traceroute to, but I'm not gonna give them out here for security reasons). The ISPs are selected with care (I always ask myself if I would choose the company to host my own server if I had one), and all of them enjoy multimegabit connections to at least 3 major carriers (I won't say OC3 because not all of them are, while their aggregate capacity is close to or above OC3 speeds, we don't ever want to be accused of dishonesty). It is with confidence that I can say we are one of the best hosting provider available on the market (I could not always say that about the places I have worked in the past).

    If anyone has any questions about anything (server configs, names of upstream providers, etc.), please feel free to Email me at the address in the signature (minus the nospam's), and I will answer your question to the very best of my ability.


  • So your site is going to be down ~110 hours during the course of a year. Bout 4 1/2 days. They're boasting about that? I wouldn't, especially if they offer e-commerce hosting.
  • This is strong evidence that they recovered from an OLD backup tape, and recent changes may have been permanently lost.

    Anyone who doesn't keep their own backup of any data hosted on someone else's computer deserves to lose it... Common sense, people...

  • I have to chime in as well.
    pairNetworks ROCKS.
    Hosting providers should look at their migration updates page [] as a model for how to do it right the FIRST time and keep CUSTOMERS informed. []
  • .. which I use.

    They are good. (Linux/PHP3/CGI/SSI/mySQL/JAVA)

    Although the site are located in Sweden...

  • by zyklone ( 8959 ) on Friday December 31, 1999 @05:14AM (#1428741) Homepage
    From doing a quick whois on their domain i found this:


    Could really a large web hosting company do this mistake ?
    You should ALWAYS have atleast one secondary nameserver at a different network, preferably at a location far away, even if you are multi homed.

  • It is *not* too late. There might be limitations on time and money set by the law, but credit card companies are like rabid dogs when it comes to fraudulent usage of a credit account.

    I have never heard of a credit card company turning up the opportunity to make life hell for anyone using a credit card fraudulently.

    My advice is to call the credit card company. I bet they will work with you and fix the problem quickly.

  • i don't understand what the big deal is. it's just a nameserver, and it isn't very hard to run one. at the isp i used to work for, we ran nameservice for hundreds of domains on a 486 66, and it's still running at more than 700 days of uptime.

  • I guess in the end, you've got to have two servers if you want to be 24x7.

    Well, that should be prety clear. If you need to be 24/7 then you need to have redundancy... Even if one of the boxes doent fallover for some reason, there are always upgrade related outages and what not.

  • This NOT how you deal with errors that are billed to the credit card.

    As soon as you discover a billing error, you contact the merchant. You report the problem to them, and you log the name and the time of everyone you spoke with. 48 hours later, call your credit card company, and find out if they issued a credit to your account. If not, call the merchant again, and repeat your request.

    If 48 hours later there's still no credit, you write your credit card company, informing them that the charge is in dispute, attach your supporting information, and they will remove the charges for you, and charge it back to the merchant.

    It's probably too late now, 9 months later, but this is what you should do next time.

  • ok, i just spent a half hour writing up a post and realized i suck at marketing

    my opinion about pegasus is slightly biased since i'm the head linux goon there, so i won't give you a load of marketing bull...but i will dole out some blatant self-promotion :)

    we're mainly a unix operation, our main machines are sun enterprise-class ultrasparc boxen running solaris

    our network is connected to the world via 14 ds3 lines

    we're _all_ geeks, even the poor NT guys (yes, we support NT and no, we don't particularly like it) and we're anal about uptime, security, and network speed.

    for some sites that we host, check out and, of course, our page at

    on a more personal note, i've never worked for a better company than's the kind of company where the owner, our boss, wigs out and buys himself and the entire tech department voodoo3 cards so we can kick the crap out of each other playing Unreal Tournament after hours (the new cards were a necessity since we all, even the company owner, run linux on our office workstations, the linux UT binaries are 3dfx-only, and we weren't about to insult perfectly good linux boxen by installing windows on them)

    if anyone wants more info on our hosting or our systems give me a hollar at for our main unix tech email or for my personal mailbox :)

  • I host with They've been really awesome, they're speed is great, and they have really good tech folks. Be warned, however, that it's not for the newbie. They don't like to hold hands, but then again that's why they're pricing is so reasonable. (At least it has been in my experience) You get a shell account, the servers run Linux/Apache, and they have mySQL databases, PHP, and all the extra bells and whistles.

    Anyway, no, I don't work for them. But they're cool and so deserve some free publicity. :-)

  • I found them from an ad on Slashdot about 6 months ago... So I guess banners really do work sometimes. :-)

  • 99% uptime is like a day per quarter down. I'm sweating over taking a colo machine down for 13 minutes over the course of a quarter at 1:30 AM to add an additional mirroring drive (Yes I did get a phone call from the customer), so 99% uptime guarantees don't really mean that much, they're still within their guarantee if you take it over the course of the last year. They do sound like a bunch of fools though from the other articles.
  • by winterstorm ( 13189 ) on Friday December 31, 1999 @05:05AM (#1428750)
    If you need to update your domain records to switch to another provider, you can do so by sending the appropriate form by email to network solutions and then faxing them an authorization form. To generate the authorization form you need your tracking number though so you need to send the form from an email address you can read (any email address should do).

    I strongly recommend using a separate company to host your DNS. Sure, the company that hosts your website will through in DNS hosting for free, but if they are negligent or incompetent or unfortunate, your the one who will suffer. My web-server is hosted by one ISP but I use Easy DNS [] to manage my domain. There are many similar services out there too.

    The bottom line is that you should have your website hosted by professionals who specialize in managing webservers, but your DNS should be hosted by professionals who specialize in managine DNS servers. The two are very different, and far too many admins take DNS management lightly.

  • my experience with CI-Host has been a nightmare from the first week. I have hosted 2 domains with them for roughly 3 months.

    their tech support and their network is obviously a hacked together mess. it took them a month to actually get all 20 of our email addresses set up correctly. then for some reason the server hosting my websites and email got UNBEARABLY SLOW a month or so ago. (the traceroutes weren't even reaching the server sometimes)

    so i bitched and bitched and bitched and they finally moved me to a less crowded server. (they tried to get me to stay on the server that wouldn't even load our site and wait for the network upgrade they supposedly did a few weekes ago. i said ABSOLUTELY NOT! so they moved it and guess what? the emails were screwed up again. oh gee... turns out you cant have 2 of the same email ids on the same server (example: prevents me from having so you have to use redirects to make that work. of course their tech people couldn't set up the mailboxes and redirects correctly for me without much additional bitching.

    so now i have nothing. my users have nothing. my boss is PISSED at me.

    I dont give a flying fudgesicle about wether they lose any of my data or not. (oh thats real fucking reassuring that i will still have all my data from a backup 2 weeks ago when they botched the initial upgrade.) The real issue here is that my customers cant reach our site, or contact us via email. we are losing business because of this.

    I am not happy with a free month of hosting. the $25 bucks a month i paid them for my site is INCONSEQUENTIAL compared to my lost business.

    If you are a CI-Host customer, I would like to STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to call or write your credit card company and dispute the charges for CI-Host services. I paid for mine with american express. American Express has an excellent reputation for protecting their customers.

    and complain about the service. reference articles about these problems. drag it out as long as you possibly can
  • i guess i didn't read the fine print :( i'm gonna fight it anyway.

    American Express can be a HUGE pain in the ass to a vendor if a customer is not happy. i used our happy little corporate american xpress card (members since 81) and our company charges tens of thousands of dollars on amex every year. We'll see what happens.

  • Thinking about how often a friends company web pages have been updated (two years out of date). I wonder how many of their customers will realize this long outtage has happened. The other thing with Windows being so flakey I wonder how many people will think this is busisness as usual. I wonder...

  • I've got about 8 domains on Dreamhost [] for the last 9 months. I selected them from an advert I saw here on /.
  • Just want to pass along to you all that webservepro is on of the best webhosting companies around. what really got me is that They actualy answer the phone!. they run a linux based shop (not sure what distro), thier uptime is *really* good, and they have one hell of a tech support staff. check them out at
    I'm in Bangkok and I can get these guys on the phone. That's rather major.
    They're hosting for us.
    CGI, php, mySQL ect. ect. And, they did an upgrade couple months ago. 3 weeks notice. No problems. Fast setup and very responsive. mySQL was up within hours, Bangkok daylight so they have 24/7 tech people.
    Small shop, it seems, Good!!
  • The complaint I keep seeing over and over in this is that people can't recover their data. To this, the answer seems simple enough: for static content and scripts, always keep a local copy. For databases, etc., don't rely on the provider's advertised backups - mirror the data, preferably at least nightly, even if it means fighting your provider to get them to allow you access to those files. This is a job that can be easily performed by a script (though admittedly, depending on your data, it could get bandwidth-intensive).

    As for other services (mail, DNS, etc.), my best advice is what's been offered before: don't put all your eggs in one basket. Sure, it costs more to have two or three different services for mail, DNS and web hosting, but it allows you a smoother transition should one provider suddenly prove unreliable.

    A final word on this: in some cases in just makes better sense to host your own servers. I don't really think this option makes sense for high-volume web operations in small companies (I personally don't have the pocket money to shell out for an OC3), but in cases where you've got a pipe and an IP block anyway, it might just make good sense to set yourself up a mail server and a DNS, even if they're just fallbacks from what your hosting service provides. That way, when whatever MCSE they've hired as admin comes along and tries this new fdisk command he just learned on the primary DNS (apologies to all the MCSEs out there who actually know what they're doing), your operation still has a decent chance of surviving, even if it does take a speed hit for a while.


  • One small thing you can do to help in these situations is always make your email contact info for you domains be from a different domain. Then you can change nameservers even if your domain isn't currently resolving.
  • What started this whole mess was some "upgrades" that included new IP assignments for (as I understand it) all domains. My domains were working correctly for a day or two on the new IPs. My domains hosted there are now resolving... to the OLD IPs... and then nothing works. Lets hope they can get the new DNS correct. As said before, after 3 days of a non-functional web presence, it's not a lot of fun counting up the lost $$$
  • Hate to burst your bubble, but :)

    Australia would probably have around 1.5gbps of bandwidth coming in :P

  • Nerds not so worried then when tens of thousands of sites get wiped from the net. Email gone as well. Slashdot shouldn't bother about that?
  • I thought you might appreciate this snippet from an email I received on Sunday from Christopher Faulkner CEO of CIHost.
    I quote.
    "Again, please accept my sincerest apologies for what took place and I can assure you it will not happen again!"
    Less than 48 hours later all my sites went off the air again. They are still down.
  • I agree, moved their data center on December 6th and did a GREAT job with few problems.

    They informed everyone in October, They had an ongoing update served from a different location to
    keep everyone updated and in 2-4 hour intervals posted progress reports. Yes, they had problems with certain providers like Savvis for a while. but they kept everyone informed and replied to me personally when I pointed out the Savvis problem.


    I have found them to be very reliable for the past 3 years that I have used them. Highly Recommended.

    A happy customer!

    -Bob OConnor

  • Perl doesn't have strftime()

    perl -MPOSIX -e 'print "Tomorrow it will be ", strftime("%Y/%m/%d", localtime), "\n"'
    Tomorrow it will be 2000/01/05

    If you don't know what you're talking about, don't.


  • I've been _very_ happy with the hosting at I have 5 domains hosted there, and haven't had any issue that a quick email won't fix.

  • Several months ago, I was looking to switch the non-profit site that I run from it's current virtual hosting home (MindSpring) to a new virtual hosting provider, primarily because MindSpring was charging near the top of the line for not a whole lot of disk space (about 50 bucks for 20 MB, or something like that).

    At the time that I was searching, I heard from somebody else about CIHost, and what I saw on their site was too good to believe. I don't remember the numbers (and I can't hit their site to refresh my memory), but it was perhaps 300 MB of disk space and all the fixin's... you know, MySQL database, Real Server, shell account, multiple users, yada yada.... for less then I was paying at MindSpring.

    They definitely looked like the right one, so I picked up the phone and gave them a call. You can talk to me about e-mail tech support 'til you're blue in the face. Even as an internet guy, I don't give a rat's ass. I'm pickin' up a phone when I need something, and you'd better be there to answer it and to give a hand.

    Well, as I recall (I've kind of blocked it out), they didn't even answer the phone AT ALL the first couple of times I called. Oh yeah, I think I remember now... they had a "press 1 for sales, 2 full body shampoo, 3 for something else" menu. I pressed 1 and nobody answered. I finally gave up and used the other option, in hopes of getting SOMEBODY on the phone. Ah yes, the other option was billing. Big surprise that the people who collect the bucks were there to answer the phone. I reamed out some chick in billing and let her know that I expected somebody in sales to answer the damn phone. I don't remember much else, except that the sales person I finally spoke with had an attitude that I didn't agree with. I was asking him questions like, "How many people work at your company?" and things like that, because you never know about these web storefronts. He danced around my questions like he was REAL uncomfortable talking about things like that.

    It was then that I decided that it didn't matter how good the deal was... I just didn't want to screw around with that. Especially the fact that there's no telephone tech support. That's one thing I'll give MindSpring, aside from the fact that the site has NEVER been down: They're tech support rocks... on the phone 24/7, and they'll talk to you for as long as it takes to resolve issues. They're great. Oh, and they raised our disk space up at about that same time, so we didn't need to move after all.

    BTW, we have definitely outgrown virtual hosting and will be moving to Digital Nation, which happens to be where /. is hosted (although that wasn't the reason we chose it).

    This current CIHost thing is sad as hell. It's quite obvious that they're lying and it's much worse than they're letting on. Any minor snag would have been fixed. Some dumbass lost probably lost serious quantities of data and they've been trying to figure out how to spin it ever since. All on top of trying to deal with the planned Y2K stuff. Sucks.

    Oh, happy Y2K... it was actually FUN watching the 'round the world with Peter Jennings thing on ABC. Go figure.


  • Those of you who have been following the CIHost fiasco know that was resolving but was down for a LONG time. It seems to be back up now, with no mention that I can find of any problems at all. Likewise, the sites that I know are hosted by them are back up.

    I figured their site would say something about the problem, but it wasn't responding. Guess you have to crawl before you can walk.

    Hmmmmmmmmm.... good way to start 2000.


  • I don't believe that news of a web hosting service like this one being down belongs on slashdot. If a web site is down, then we complain about it... but I for one do not feel that it is appropriate to warrent a post to slashdot about. It's not really news for nerds. nor does it really matter.
  • I've has an account with them for over a year now. I can't say I've really had any problems getting through to CIHost. What they do to fix problems is a little different. About six months ago I decided to change my domain name. In the same process I parked the .Net and .org domains with them. How do you change a domain name at CIHost? Why blow away the old domain and recreate a blank one. Wipo, everything! I spent the next four months talking back and forth with supoort trying to set up the new domain. The first problem was that I could FTP to my .com but the only way I could see it was to http to my .org, and then you still couldn't see any graphics, just the html. So they belw away my domain and gave me a blank one again. Then I requested PHP setup. After a day I'd get an email saying that it had been done. I'd log in and go the my CGI-Bin. No PHP. After four or five times requesting PHP I finally got someone to hook me up by blowing away my domain and setting it up on another server. Anyhow, can anyone suggest a decent cheap or free hosting agent that supports full domain hosting, PHP, CGI, MySQL or PostgreSQL, unlimited bandwith and enough elbow room to grow..
  • I run a very old and tired server thats sitting of a T3 somewhere in KC (I've been told -- its been two years since I've seen the box) and its mirrored from time to time on two servers on big fast networks. Currenly its CQhost and Jumpline.
    I've never had a problem with Jumpline but CQhost isn't great. They both insist on doing dns for me (which isn't going to happen, I've got 5 dns servers I control on 4 different networks). As a result of that mess, if they send me email it sits on their server where I never see it. These people all need a standard "web hosting only" package. I don't want there server sending back the name because I want to be able to tweek things to specifc hosts based on bandwidth and demand.

    Why did I get the box in the first place? It because I'm better at running boxes in my sleep than most isps. My mail and news always works and I maintain full control... if one of the jokers goes down, I just take them out of my dns and find a new mirror if I need to. Its not like I get that much traffic I just like having access to more Internet bandwidth for my personal home page than the entire country of Australia.

    I guess in the end, you've got to have two servers if you want to be 24x7.
  • Most of the web hosts I've seen offered up as alternatives want over $100 a month for the same features I get for $28 at cihost. get what you pay for. We decided last year to move most of our Internet services to our own servers, co located in the data center of well known ISPs.
  • She's most notable for her roles as Claudia on Party of Five and Penny in the recent film Lost in Space. She'll be appearing in two upcoming films, "Tart" and "Christmas with JD" in 2000.

    For more information: [] [] []
  • everything 50 times. Then call them. Start out polite, but don't be afraid to yell. They are flat out the worst company I've ever dealt with.

  • Anyone ever hear of them? They loose points from the get go in my book for spamming me.

    Dear Casey Cady:

    CommuniTech.Net is sending you this e-mail as a result of your
    website,, hosted by C|Host, being down for an
    extended period of time. We know how important your website is
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    Founded in April of 1997, CommuniTech.Net is top 25 rated web
    hosting company by C|Net, a member of the Web Host Guild (,
    a member of the Better Business Bureau On-line, and a Network
    Solutions Gold Premier Partner. We currently host over 15,000
    clients in over 100 countries worldwide.

    We invite you to visit our website at
    Or give us a call at 1-800-WEBHOST.

    As your website is down right now, we would like to extend a special
    offer to you if you choose CommuniTech.Net to provide you with the
    reliability you deserve. If you sign-up with CommuniTech.Net by
    January 5, 2000, we will not only waive our normal set-up fee
    but we will also give you an additional free month of hosting. To
    take advantage of this offer, simply visit and enter the special promotional
    code: CIDOWN. If you sign-up by 9:00 pm Central Time, we will have
    your account set-up the same day!

    To see information about our pricing and features, you can go
    directly to and remember you will
    get an additional free month on whichever service term you choose!

    As your website is very important to you, we urge you to take advantage
    of this offer so that you can avoid difficulties like this in the future.

    Some of our complimentary features included with your account include:

    - 350 Megabytes of web space
    - Unlimited hits and data transfer
    - 100 POP3 e-mail accounts with unlimited aliases and auto responders
    - 25 Sub-domains and 25 Extra FTP Accounts
    - Microsoft FrontPage 2000 server extensions support
    - Perl/CGI, Miva (HTMLScript), Python, and PHP3
    - Shell access using SSH (Secure Telnet)
    - Unlimited Java Chat rooms (ConferenceRoom Chatrooms)
    - Complete logs and statistics via HTTP-Analyze
    - Triple redundant DS-3 Network
    - Complete power back-up solutions via UPS and Diesel Generators
    - mySQL Databases with web-interface
    - Toll-free telephone support through 1-800-WEBHOST
    - Daily server data back-ups
    - 30 Day, unconditional money-back guarantee
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    We know that C|Host offers you a 100% Satisfaction stating that they are
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    We urge you to take them up on this offer and consider CommuniTech.Net for
    your reliable web hosting needs. Unlike C|Host, we maintain our own network
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    Remember, enter our special promotional code "CIDOWN" to take advantage of
    this limited time special offer. To learn more about our organization, consider
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    We look forward to providing you with the quality hosting services you deserve!

    Best Regards,


  • Wow...that is refreshing.

    I noticed my cihosted domain down at about 2:30 on the 29th.'s networks status page never even acknowledged a problem. It wasn't until about 9PM that they got a recording on the tech support line explaining some nonsense reason for being down, and projecting restoration in 3 hours. The next day I was pissed enough to wait on hold for a real person. More nonsense. If they had been straight with me, and frequently updated the status, I might have stayed. Not anymore. I'm impressed with Pair.

  • traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
    1 ( 0.753 ms 0.515 ms 0.430 ms
    2 Serial1-1-1.GW2.DCA1.ALTER.NET ( 2.017 ms 1.818 ms 1.541 ms
    3 105.ATM2-0.XR2.DCA1.ALTER.NET ( 1.366 ms 2.314 ms 1.921 ms
    4 194.ATM1-0.TR2.DCA1.ALTER.NET ( 1.487 ms 1.856 ms 1.716 ms
    5 101.ATM6-0.TR2.CHI4.ALTER.NET ( 29.039 ms 29.964 ms 30.332 ms
    6 298.ATM7-0.XR2.CHI6.ALTER.NET ( 34.001 ms 31.712 ms 29.723 ms
    7 190.ATM8-0-0.GW2.CHI6.ALTER.NET ( 30.852 ms 31.342 ms 23.331 ms
    8 ( 25.145 ms 24.841 ms 25.663 ms
    9 CI-DS3-DFW.PROPAGATION.NET ( 26.707 ms 25.542 ms 26.414 ms
    10 CI-DS3-DFW.PROPAGATION.NET ( 26.579 ms 26.466 ms 25.267 ms
    11 * * *
    12 * * *
    13 * * *
    14 * * *
    15 * * *

  • It certainly matters to me and tens of thousands of others stuck with no internet presence because of the incompetence of this company.

  • Nice screen shot with the year 19100. Of course your screen shot is the best I can get right now since they're down again (and taking my site down with them).
  • Webhosting Company: Crimson Networks [], so that people don't have to put up with big company screw ups all the time. Given, everyone screws up and all companies great or small make big mistakes, but when you have a large company there is a certain extra lack of communication that can just ruin a customer's day. Someone cancels their site, or someone asks for changes to be made, etc, and for some reason they don't get accomplished as often as they should. Someone loses the backup tapes and everyone blames everyone else, instead of looking for them.
    A small company that has a select few people working for them should always prove to have better communication amongst their workers and better all around service for their customers. I've dealt with plenty of big companies and how they treat the "little guy" is just plain wrong in many cases (I think getting a T1 installed from Bell Atlantic was the biggest headache I've ever had to deal).
    I guess what I'm trying to say here is that small companies are usually better at getting things to work when things like this do go wrong. Communication is everything.
  • yes, the year 2000 is now reported back as being 100. But how is that a problem? You simply continue to add the 1900 to it, and voila! You have 2000.
  • I'm just a regular art-geek who's trying to put up a domain for his comic strip... and I've never had such rotten service from anything as I've had from CIHost. They've mis-billed me since the day I came to them. They didn't have my site, nor my virtual domain, set up in 24 hours. The service itself has been working, although it's not exactly being taxed by me, so that's no test.

    The last time I talked to them, though, it was about billing. It seems they've been over-charging me for some items that, while I ordered at first, I cancelled in June.

    I'm reasonable. I tried to do this online in June, and it didn't work. So I called them, they said since I'd had the options, I'd have to pay for them, but they'd be cancelled from now on. Fair enough.

    Comes November. I'm looking at my bill - and I'm being charged $20 over what I should be. I called them again, and they told me that since I hadn't cancelled online, they had no proof that I'd cancelled it in June. I mentioned that I'd called, and they said that that was the wrong thing to do - to do it online. I mentioned that their on-line services hadn't worked, and lo and behold, they told me that *I* was in the wrong.

    I'm probably leaving after this - so, the big question is, does anyone know of a good host, one that gives a reasonable deal, and is technologically sound? I'm not asking for a miracle, I hope... but I'm really frustrated. Any help is appreciated.

  • As of 4:56PM EST, I able to send mail; it works for now. But I already talked to one person who sent me mail through my CIHost account, and when I logged in, there was no mail at all.

    I would suspect that mail was getting lost, not bounced.
  • In shopping for a new Web hoster yesterday at [], I realized they no longer give you access to find ratings for anyone but their "top" services. (They used to)

    Their top hosting meanwhile (including CIHost) are extremely heavy advertisers!

    So, I put in my "poor" vote for CIHost, and won't trust any further than I can ping them.
  • by gbnewby ( 74175 ) on Friday December 31, 1999 @08:18AM (#1428784) Homepage
    I wish someone could get us more detail. Here's what I know. Note that CIHost claims they service 48,000 domains! Whew!

    • Even though I can get through to my virtual server (because I know the IP address), I cannot login, FTP etc.
    • The data on the server have reverted, and a my whole recently-created virtual domain has DISAPPEARED. This is strong evidence that they recovered from an OLD backup tape, and recent changes may have been permanently lost.
    • Mail to my addresses doesn't bounce, but it's also not correctly forwarded (out) like it's supposed to be. It's possible that mail is being lost. I'm worried.
    • Read the press release [] dated 12/30 posted on What it says:
      • Problems started 2:00 pm EST 12/29
      • They're rebuilding their nameserver(s)

      Contrast this to the FACT that it's been at least 48 hours, and as the above indicates their problems are a lot bigger than the name servers.
    • My problems started several WEEKS ago when they began this ill-fated "upgrade." Lost mail, hours on the phone, inaccessible services, "losing" my account info and suddenly giving a quota 100s of MB less than I have....

      There's not much doubt about where my little footsteps will be headed as soon as I can get my data: FAR AWAY FROM CIHOST!
  • I've been talking to the people at Cedant ( I've not been able to find much info on them, but that which I find is quite positive. Their response to an email I sent asking some questions was lightning-fast. Hopefully someone else has some experience with them and can chime in (hint-hint-hint).
  • My motto has always been "If it's down for less than 30 minutes, blame it on the network!" ; )

    *13* minutes and they noticed?!?! Wow.
  • You can't dispute the charges. Read the contract you signed with them. You agreed to give up your right to chargebacks.

    Sad but true.
  • If you were one of the people relying on one of the (supposedly) 30,000+ domains for email or a business, it would matter a lot. Speaking as someone who HAS been affected by the outage, this is most DEFINITELY a relevant place to post this information. CI certainly isn't sharing any information with us. We have to rely on the other members of the geek community to keep us up to date on what's really happening.

    Personally I'd been waiting for /. to pick this story up in hopes of finding out some additional info. I've learned a lot from it. This is why I read /. in the first place.

    (I will now gently place myself back on the ground, returning from my perch high atop my soap box. Thank you.)
  • As of 5:30 PM EST

    Okay, the nameservers are back, but.... they're pointing to the old ip addresses! Oh boy! So, now the addresses resolve, but you're pointed to a server that isn't there! WOOHOO!!!

    Looks like someone had to restore from backup...
  • By now I'm sure most of you know that CI is back. They've posted a letter of apology at most of which is just an attempt to make all of us ooh and aah over their shiny new datacenter. Here's the kicker - their "thank you" for stayin with CI is (quoting from the letter):

    **As a small token of that gratitude and to show you our Data Center will out-perform any other, we would like to extend to you this offer: For as long as you remain a C I Host client, we will allow you to add additional domains, each receiving their own IP address, without having to pay any setup fee. Our same 12 hour guarantee will apply, and our same low monthly prices for our many feature-packed packages is available. The best part though is that there is no SETUP FEE for as many domains as you want to host with us. Let us show you what we can do for you and your business.**

    HUH?!?! Let me get this straight - If I continue a relationship with you you'll give me free setup?!?! I can get that at 100 other places on the net. They need to either offer some free hosting or upgrade accounts to new plans for free; something tangible. This is silly, bordering on insulting.
  • by ScooterQ ( 83092 ) on Friday December 31, 1999 @04:35AM (#1428791) Homepage
    It's been a fun 36 hours without the web site, mail, etc. I find myself running traceroute over and over (and over...) to see if the name servers are back up, but still nothing. The sites ARE still there, however. If you hit them via IP address they come up just fine. Of course, since CI changed all of the IP addresses about two weeks ago this is kinda difficult (thank you /var/log/messages!).

    The biggest bummer is the lack of email. Otherwise, I can take it in stride... for now.

    Rumour has it that CI will be giving people a free month of hosting for the inconvenience. Methinks they need to do a bit better than that or risk mass exodus.
  • This only goes to show that the best web hosting site is on your own computer.
  • and I have to admit, they're a pretty damn good hosting company. I was surprised to see them on Slashdot (first site I came to after getting my cable modem installed - download the news even quicker) so I figured I'd better toss in my 2 cents. I've had a few troubles in the past with accessing my webserver, but when I couldn't get my email yesterday I figured something was going on. I hate to see them get bad press - they've been pretty awesome with me. But I'd have to say that they're gonna need to hand out a few months of free hosting to make up for this, 'cause being down for a day and a half violates their "99.9% uptime, guaranteed!" bit... we shall see...
  • I have my sites hosted on them and as of 1:00 PM (EST) yesterday (Thursday) they told me they had to rebuild the DNS servers on their side of the fence and was given a 3-4 hour ETA. For the # 4 rated web hosting company this does not bode well for them. ....Those must be Y2K hours ?
  • Small consolation to those of us who lost countless visitors. The investigation of a better host begins Now !!!

    The reason I went with cihost in the first place was because they were rated very high in the support category. But it has to make you wonder how objective those ratings are when all their adds are also displayed very prominently along side the supposedly objective ratings ?

    When they changed their servers around about two weeks ago, they never sent any email saying what the IP had been changed to or any notification that any changes were to occur. Very frustrating indeed ! Goodbye cihost. I can't say I will miss you one damn bit.
  • by visor ( 94003 ) on Friday December 31, 1999 @04:43AM (#1428796)
    My experience shows that most of these Best Host and Top 10 lists are a sham. I've had trouble with every providor I've ever selected from these lists. What do the reviewers get for listing a site? There is too much crap and not enough good information on these ratings sites. Using stars as a rating system is good for resturants, but I want hard performance data. Until we start demanding better service contracts and agreements, we'll just have to deal with outages and unexpected changes in service.
  • by migs ( 96414 ) on Friday December 31, 1999 @05:24AM (#1428797)

    I became a customer of CI Host in July of 1998. Immediately after uploading my pages to their server, I started experiencing problems. My calls and emails to customer service were never answered promptly, so after 3 or 4 months I decided to switch providers.

    As soon as CI Host found out I was switching, they deleted all my data, without further explanation. Attempts to recover data that I had not yet moved to my new provider were completely unsuccessful. I found out that their claims about having redundant systems and frequent backups were not true.

    Anyway, I thought that was the end of my worst experience with a hosting provider. I closed my account with them, hoping to forget the whole thing. Two months later (February of 1999), CI Host charged my credit card as if I were still a customer. Once again, my many calls and emails were never answered. Finally, after I tried to reach the CEO several times, they admitted their mistake and issued a refund in May of 1999 (they even gave me a copy of the refund slip).

    To my utter disbelief, the refund never reached my credit card company. To this date I'm still trying to get my money back. CI Host never answers my calls, and takes about a month and a half to answer any email I send them (my contact there is Edith "I'm not allowed to give you my last name").

    After dealing with about 10 different hosting providers over the years, I found CI Host to be the worst ever. If you want to save yourself months of frustration, financial losses, fraudulent charges, etc.


  • It just amazes me that a provider as large as CIHost could let something like this happen. I run a web hosting operation nowhere near CIHost's size, but something like this just can't happen with proper planning. Besides the fact that DNS runs on a box with RAID, our zone files can be recreated from a twice-backed database in a matter of minutes. If we can do it, there's no reason an operation that size can't.

    For those of you with CIHost, my condolences. I went through many, many providers before I finally got disgusted and decided to do it myself. There *are* decent web hosts; you just have to be careful. Too many will lie to you, and there's often no way to check their claims until it's too late. When you're shopping for a new host (as I hope a lot of you are) ask them *specific* questions about their backup methods and policies. Drill them to the smallest detail. (While CIHost may not have lost any user data, their backup policy for DNS was certainly VERY lacking.)

    As mentioned in another comment, you *can* transfer your domains via FAX even if the administrative contact's e-mail isn't available - write me for help if you need it.

    Good luck to all affected, and happy new year. (ha ha)
  • The only problem I've had with CI Host is that I get past due emails, then 2 hours later I get a "please ignore the previous past due notice" mail. They're supposed to be billing my credit card. Their "new and improved" billing system isn't all that they make it appear. I've only been a customer since 5/99, so I don't know how scary their old billing system was. *shudder*

    FYI for all of you that use CI for NT hosting...they only have 1 (count 'em, O-N-E) NT tech support guy.

    As of 1200pm 12/31, the dns for the box my domain is on ip back up. Another of their boxes I admin a site on is not up.

    I've gone rooting around on the box my domain is on...I think a PII 400 running Linux 4.3 (or whatever version they're running) is not enough to handle the 70+ domains that are there (Comments?).

    My experience with them will hopefully come to an end by February...I'll be able to host my domain through where I work.

    I'm not running yet. I've had enough trouble with NSI lately.

  • I'm actually hosted bu a reseller of them ( []). They normally are pretty good, but I have had some outages lately (for about 1hr each time). They have a 99.5% uptime guarantee, but that has to be 3.something hours that they claim doesn't include maintenance. I also had another customer of theirs contact me a few days ago with one of my emails that he recieved in his account, and later forwarding headers from an outgoing message sent through his smtp server that the server says it came from my account. After contacting them about this it seems they claim there is no way to use my smtp server without using my pop3 accounts, and say there is no problem with the servers. I went and changed my passwords to appease them, but the problem is somewhere in the server. Other than this they seem to be a great value, and have a nice hosting setup. The response time from almost any place I've tried is very quick, and 4 DS-3s when they use less than 80% of three is nice.
  • by NightHwk ( 111982 ) on Friday December 31, 1999 @07:07AM (#1428802)
    Looks like the Y2K bug hit them a few hours early, and they are dishing out a cover story about upgrades while they scramble to their mountain retreats! (giving themselves a head start to get away from angry customers and the collapse of civilization)

    Forget about your domain, grab the cantines and shotguns!
  • They're running Slackware, in case anyone's wondering. I've placed several sites there, and have nothing but good things to say about Erika, Jay, and the crew.

    Top notch service, and unlike so many other hosting providers, they actually care about keeping things running and clients happy. It's happened more than once that they've contacted me to say "Another client said such-and-such is happening, so you might want to check your client's sites just in case." I've never found a problem, but it's nice to know that WSP is as committed to keeping my clients happy as I am.

    The only downside: They're nice folks, so it's easy (for me, anyway) to get distracted and actually have a pleasant conversation during a tech support call. Which messes up my already pinched schedule.

  • I, to, have been screwed by CiHost. I am not running a business online, but of course all my email is now unretrievable. I watched in disbelief as I pinged them this morning: still "unknown host". What crap. I signed up with them because they seemed to offer the most "bang for the buck". I had gotten their name from one of those "top hosts" lists. The trouble is, where else do you look to find hosts? I tried asking on IRC, but got little help. I wish I had stayed with my old host, Burlee Networks. They just added Linux hosting. Can anyone with experience in this area please recommend a good Linux/Unix/BSD host? I plan on switching hosts ASAP. I think CiHost is going to lose a hell of a lot of business. This is ridiculous. This isn't the first time I've had trouble with them, either... Anyway, your thoughts on hosts are appreciated.
  • Their plans look pretty good... I am a disgruntled CIHost customer who will be switching. But, has anyone used these guys? Would you please share your experience? I would be curious to know if they are as good as they seem. Obviously, I misjudged CIHost, and don't want to make the same mistake twice.
  • I myself have tried to get on numerous host listing lists and be rated.. Unfortunately there reqirements often require 24 hour phone support, which a small web host like myself cannot afford. Also, many of the lists have a 'fee' associated with them... And I certainly don't believe in paying to be listed as a good service. Although I'm very small and have less than 100 domains hosted with me, I know most of my customers by first name, and there is no need for 24 hour tech support since the one or two tech support e-mails I get a week are taken care of promptly. I think the size of the hosting company should not be a determining factor in quality of the company.
  • The message from winterstorm is a verbatim quote from the promo page of EasyDNS.


    Here's a link to the page he/she copied.


  • Bye-bye CIHost They have spammed me in the past no love lost for them I started up pine Kept on finding useless mail CIHost is site for spam Sent mail to abuse Got standard canned response back Do humans work there? I am laughing hard at the CIHost problem No more spam from them
  • Ta very much mate.
  • Hear! hear! I understand your complaint of having to "PAY" to get "listed" on a "top 10" listing. 8-P I plan on doing what the others listed above. Hosting 4 servers at 4 different companies and backbones. 2 nameservers, and 2 web/sql servers with short TTL settings on the DNS so a failure of one doesn't impact for more than 50% of the link attempts for more than 5 mimnutes or so. I have my 2 web servers and I have other companies running backup DNS as well. This has been the best arangement so far for reliability without paying hundreds of thousands to get fault tolerant single location systems.

    All for one and one for all. Tis true for servers as well. :) Brian
  • by lmeier ( 127416 ) on Friday December 31, 1999 @07:43AM (#1428813)
    This sort of situation demonstrates that at least this one ISP and likley many others are not really E-business ready (as indeed are some businesses witness e-bay). People need to get with mainframe folks who build business continuity plans, change control systems etc. If one is running a business using a hosting service one has to start asking, questions and the rating services need to. 1. if your facility is out of order due to fire etc what is your backup scheme. 2. What are your processes to avoid ensure that any redundancy is maintained. 3. What kind of change control process do you have in place, and are changes reviewed indpendently before being implemented. 4. Do you have a reliablity engineering process in place? Of couse these cost money and one needs in making the decision of who to provide the service what the value of each is. All of these are in the nature of insurance, there is a risk and a premium that one can pay to minimize the risk. The business decision is what risks do you want to insure and what do you want to take. Big sites like the stock traders and folks like ups/fed ex have all this inplace because its essentail to the business. One needs to begin to expect the hosting companies to do the same, all be it that the cost will go up.
  • I have been using for 3 years with good results. You can get your site hosted on Digital UNIX or NT, your choice. I use my account on the machine to read my mail using pine on the UNIX machine as well, so I never spend time downloading spam.

    The customer service people are nice. The only thing I don't like is the lame-ish splash page on their web site..

  • test
  • Yes indeed. I've been working away on my site using the IP, but I too miss the email. A free month would be a good thing...
  • by djtodd ( 131653 ) on Friday December 31, 1999 @04:46AM (#1428818)
    About 6 months ago, I did some research into moving my 4 domains over to another server farm, and it looked like cihost was a really good deal. Almost too good to be true.
    So, to test, I had one domain transferred, and a new account set up.
    Two weeks after having done so, they still didn't have my SQL, Real, or DNS set up properly.
    IMHO, they don't seem like a very competent group. Tech support was poor, and billing was worse.
  • Seems like their service is not up to what they promise. I've used several webhosting firms, Anaserver (now Concentric), Hostpro - all have their share of problems but CIHost is probably the worst (of the good....) so far. A simple thing like email is still a mystery to me - on Anaserve it's done allmost instantly.

    I'm now checking out Digital Daze - a bit expensive but seems very promising. Have learned to be sceptic though, so I will recommend them before I see that they do good work.
  • Try AIT, they host about 70,000 domains and have been hosting with Linux since 1996.
  • I first noticed my site bombing around 3pm cst on Wednesday. I called at 4pm, the tech dude told me, "1 hour", I called at 8pm, then they had a recording saying "3 hours", then I called at 8am on Thursday and they had a recording that said "24 hours" then I called them last night to cancel my account, and they told me that I would have to call back after 9am. HA HA, yeah and I am supposed to get through during normal business hours huh? Worse thing is you can't even email them your flames because they are completely down even their mail server as far as I can tell. They have lost a new user of their service that is for sure (if I can ever get ahold of someone that will cancel my account for me). I have not had 1 good Host experience yet, but this one sure takes the cake. And they say that they have 24 hour customer service (yeah right). As far as their recorded message saying that they are redoing their DNS server, uh, since when does it take 3 days to redo a domain server, when you have thousands of users waiting to update their pages? Just my rave.
  • Yeah, I had the same problem. Just another think to fume about..
  • I host with [] Their tech support is excellent. They run an UNIX only shop, using Linux, Solaris, Solaris x86. Their uptime has been excellent. They are multi-homed with a T3 connection. Check them out.
  • Actually, all you really need to do is send an email with the From: header set to whatever it is on your contact handle (unless you were using PGP or Crypt-PW auth, in which case the sending email address is disregarded). Network Solutions never got the Before-Use approval system working, so just change your From: header and send in your transfer template. You won't receive verification but the change will happen the next time they run an update.
  • personally i've had one problem with cihost after another. if it's not billing, it's something else. and tech support are very unhelpful half the time. i've been wanting to move my site to another host, but the problem is my site showcases some bandwidth-hogging java applets i've created and uses over 20gb of bandwidth per month. and most web hosts won't host you if you use over 10gb/mo (sure some say "unlimited", but the fine print says 10gb/mo). cihost will simply charge extra for the extra bandwidth. does anyone know of any other inexpensive hosts that allow this much bandwidth?
  • Virtualis [] has been pretty good to me. All of their accounts come with 30GB of transfer per month, so it seems like they might be a good place to switch to for your needs.
  • I stopped payment on two of the 3 "special" accounts we just bought from CIhost like one day before they're "little make believe we're number 1" world fell apart. I put up with the absolutely unspeakable horror of their D.A. phone system and waited for my site to come back up along with all my email. As of 6:17 AM EST on Jan 03, 2000, the ####### are down again. This is what my good faith gets me for leaving one of the sites with them in the hopes that this was somehow a one time screw up. I mean #### happens right? Apparantly it happens to CIHOST weekly
  • CI Host's press releases try to make it sound like this has just been a minor glitch that happened just on December 29. Not at all. On December 13 I got email saying that they were upgrading my server on December 15. So, on the 15th I made no updates to my site, as instructed. Then on the 20th I could no longer log in. I opened a trouble ticket. By the following day I still could not get in. No response to my trouble ticket, so I escalated again. Several hours later I escalated yet again. No response. Meanwhile on the 21st they posted a message at their support site indicating that our access was disabled on that morning (24 hours after they had really disabled it) and that we had all been notified in advance. We had not.

    After four days they finally completed the "upgrade'. Only then my sites loaded much slower than before, downloading email was incredibly slow, and FTP and Telnet connections were either imposible or frequently timed out. In addition, all of the data that users submitted to my sites during the Telnet/FTP lockout was gone. I issued more trouble tickets. None ever got a response, and in fact they were later all removed from the trouble ticket system.

    Though DNS was clearly a factor in this latest diaster, which lasted from December 29 to just an hour or two ago, there was more than just DNS at play. Most of the time I could not reach my site by IP either. That indicates something more.

    CI Host is now back up, and their opening screen lists today's date as "January 1, 19100". Goodbye, CI Host.

  • CIHost is back up today... Their websites work now, my webpages work now, and email is finally speedy. However their website is still not Y2K compliant... For some reason if the site goes down during the day, you can view the funny screenshot on my personal webpage:

    For those who missed the article on CNet, here's the link

    Simpletnet should have my domain moved by today. I just hope cihost's lines are open so I can cancel. I wonder if I will get reinbursed.

    They still give no sign to calm down people... No official statement. These people are screwed... Their attitude of the customer is always wrong is going to screw them over big time. I hope they go bankrupt because of their own evil ways.


Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!