Rant – A Small Orange

The past few weeks have been such a headache. You my have noticed that I haven’t posted anything in a while. This was mostly due to ASO (A Small Orange, My Host), messing up, and having issues. I used to strongly recommend this company, but I am now reconsidering this.

A few weeks ago Grunch was down for nearly an entire week, as were nearly every other Cloud VPS customer of ASO.  ASO didn’t provide much info as to why they were down, only that they were working on bringing the servers back up. This went on for nearly a week before the servers finalyl came back on. They never did provide any information as to why the server went down, but I gave them benefit of the doubt that something major must’ve happened, while other customers were constantly complaining and shouting that they’re leaving ASO and getting hosting elsewhere, and I should follow as well.

Since then, the Hosting as pretty much been working, but the control panel has been off and one, which is crazy because that means I’m unable to restart the entire VPS. I can use cloud commands to restart and things, but i’m not too sure if thats the same kind of restart, Either way I can’t turn the service on without access to the cloud command, so it was a scary thought that if it did crash, i’d be screwed.

I noticed sometime last week that ASO did something very shady that I think its far worse than the actual downtime, and that is they disabled all public messages from users on their Facebook. During the week long down time their facebook was the only way for us users to figure out what was going on since ASO wasn’t saying anything to any of us. The fact that they disabled the public messages, and deleted all the comments that were posting shows that they aren’t taking responsibility for the downtime and other issues, and are trying to hide it. I don’t know, it just seems shady.

Thankfully they can’t see to do this on Twitter, but Twitter isn’t as easy for many to use, and i still don’t know what I’m doing on it, but at least we have that.

The final thing that happened to make me want to leave was about a week ago I some how got banned from my own site/server. I could access the website from a browser, which I think is due to me using CloudFlare DNS, so it might filter my actual ip, but I wasn’t able to login to FTP, SSH, or any of the important things that any server/webmaster person needs. At the time i wasn’t too sure how it happened. I assumed it was something screwy on their end, so i contacted support. The first guy via live chat said that they had just installed a LEND, or something like that, and soon i’ll be able to access my files again. Hours and a day pass and I still can’t access the site, so i contacted support.

Support at ASO is so lackluster. I don’t get it. I never had to deal with such lazy support before from any company for anything. And with ASO, you’ll be lucky if you even get lazy, at least that’s something. Days can go by without a single reply to the support ticket.

Luckily for me I don’t really need that much help, as long as I can actually access my site and the server control tools to perform tasks myself, i’m mostly okay, so a lot of time went by before all this happened when I didn’t even need to contact them, so I wasn’t aware of how crappy they were.

I saw the first signs of their crappy support a month ago a week or so before the entire system crashed, which I think was connected. Their Cloud Control Backup thing just quit working, when it worked wonderfully in the past. This is an issue because although I can create a backup manually of the site files via SSH, I can’t back up all the customized server files and settings without the main backup system. So I contacted their support, which gave me a few crappy unhelpful replies, and then eventually said that they don’t even support the Backup feature and that its just there to use whenever, and sometimes it works. What the hell? They advertise it all over their pages, or maybe thats another backup system that we have no control over, who knows. But I was very disappointed. It really just seemed like they were being lazy and didn’t want to fix the issue at hand. The backup system worked great for months upon months. I suppose it bit them in the ass in the end because I think it was connected to the eventual crash of the entire system.

Anyways, back to last week. I contacted their support about being unable connect to the server IP. They asked me to do a trace route, which showed a block after their COLO4 datacenter in Dallas. Then nothing for days. Eventually I gave up and started looking for another host.

The thing is, I really like the speed of ASO, especially for the price. I got a good deal and prepaid for an entire year of hosting. So I’m tryin everything to not leave and goto another host. But this crap is really adding up.

During my search I went back to the article that I originally found ASO on back in September. The guy who wrote the article and performed the test seems to really know what he’s talking about and I fully trust him. I started to consider some of his other Recommendations such as Cloudways, and even started to consider giving Godaddy Wordpress hosting a shot. Even though I though I thought that their shared hosting was crappy and slow, but it was years ago that I tested it. Their Wordpress hosting has been getting some good reviews, and its super cheap!

I posted another comment to his article providing a little description of my issues with ASO (who he no longer recommends), to which he replied to and actually provided alot of info and tip, and one of which was that I perhaps locked myself out of my VPS. I actually never even considered this.

I’ve been able to connect to my server via my phone, or from another IP addy, so I knew it was related to my IP. I was able to login to my server via SSH on my phone and disabled IPTABLES, which handles IP bans, and sure enough, I was then able to connect.

I then started the process of trying to figure out how to unban myself. ASO does have some knowledgebase articles, but its all scattered, confusing, and can be hard to find. I found my way figuring problems out by using typical linux/centos/nginx commands that I can find via google. But for some reason I wasn’t able to unban myself. No matter what I did it kept re-adding the ban.  I then had a rare spark in my brain that suggested maybe there is another script or something that keeps banning me that is separate from IPTABLES. Did some searching and luckily I came across this ASO Article, which talks about Brute Force Firewall, and other things, which was unknown to me. I used the APF commands and was able fully unban myself, and then i immediately whitelisted myself.

The situation is so stupid. I didn’t even know that ASO had this Brute Force Firewall thing, and it’s something they could’ve told me or even suggested that I look at on day one. The idea of that and them ignoring me for days pisses me off more than being unable to connect does.  AHH!!!

The support really is horrible. i know the hosting is “undamaged” but for damn sakes.

Anyways, all seems good now, ha. I decided since this was more user error or whatever, that I’ll go ahead and stay on this ship as long as I can ,even though some water is coming through tiny holes. I really hope that ASO pulls its shit together.

Due to this, i retract all my previous statements recommending ASO.

I’m hoping things can go back to where I don’t need to contact their support, and the service just works. we’ll see how it goes from here.

Rant over.