F.L.I.C.K. before you Click (Submit)
Thursday April 26, 2018
You can’t reach your site and you are starting to panic. Quickly, you log into your hosting provider’s ticketing system and type out, “OMG! Site Down! Help, Help, Help!”
Now, before you click Submit on that ticket, take a moment to go through a simple checklist that may help resolve the issue sooner, and possibly with less embarrassment.
Falls Within the Scope of Support
Your scope of support will vary depending upon your hosting provider and your support plan. Typically, a hosting provider will provide hardware support, network connectivity, and OS provisioning as a baseline.
Colocation clients, however, are typically responsible for their own hardware. Hands on support is available at an hourly rate, and simple requests (“please power cycle server 8”) are often handled pro bono.
When the issue moves beyond hardware, connectivity, and supplied power, your support plan (or lack of a plan) can come into play. Like many providers, we provide a number of plans, each tailored towards your specific needs. However, there are limits to what we support, even with our most comprehensive plans.
For example, our support team may have some knowledge in the topic, but we are neither DBAs nor developers. We will not manage your databases, nor will we debug your scripts.
Is the issue localized to just your computer? Just your office? Is there a power outage in your building? Is your computer online?
Being localized doesn’t necessarily remove the need to submit a support ticket, but it does lessen the urgency of the request. This type of information will greatly assist in troubleshooting the issue.
Some issues that would result in a localized issue are:
Localized issues that call for a support ticket
- Blocked IP address
- Support can assist you in getting your IP unblocked or whitelisted
- Knowing your public IP will help — simply google “what’s my IP?”
- Transit problem
- Support may be able to track down a segment of the route between you and your server that is suffering from some outage or delay
- Traceroutes or MTRs can greatly help identify the problem area, allowing support to open a ticket with the affected upstream transit provider
- Blocked IP address
Localized issues that don’t call for a support ticket
- Local network down
- You’ll need to contact your in-house IT staff or your ISP
- Local Power outage
- This should be self-evident…
- Local network down
Take a moment to re-read what you are typing into your ticket. Is your request intelligible? Sometimes, when panic sets in, you can find yourself banging out 1s when you think you’re adding exclamation marks for emphasis.
While you think you’re conveying something like, “Hello, we are experiencing an outage on server 4 for client C137. Please investigate and bring the server back online” it reads more like, “OMG! Server Down!!11!!! Hepl, Hepl, Hepl!!11!”
Is the problem clearly explained? A lot of time is wasted in the initial back-and-forth with support getting the simple facts straight — time that can be saved by submitting a clear, intelligible initial support request. Detailing the problem, and in appropriate cases, explaining how to reproduce it can speed things up greatly.
Keep in mind, while you may be intimately familiar with the ins and outs of your server and how the services interact, the support team at the other end deals with hundreds of setups, each with their own peculiarities. Reminders of any quirks or unusual adaptations of your setup will be greatly appreciated. Additionally, typos in URLs, usernames, passwords, etc. can take precious time to detect and correct, all the while postponing resolution of the issue at hand.
Client/Server Information Included
Along the same vein as providing intelligible, correct information is providing helpful and contextual information.
Before making changes to your system, we need to know that you are who you say you are. Make sure you are contacting us from an email account that is listed on your account and one that has permissions to make that type of request you are about to submit.
Please specify the server that is having the issue — especially if there are multiple servers under your account. Providing login information and the SSH port (if non-standard) is also greatly appreciated.
Have there been any recent changes? Was the server very recently rebooted, possibly introducing updates that were previously installed and just waiting for the server to be power cycled in order to take effect? Has any new software been installed?
Keep Calm and Carry On
In the world of computers and The Internet, outages and failures are an unavoidable reality. When they happen, your best bet is to Keep Calm and provide as much assistance to your support team as possible.
Beyond addressing the immediate issue, we would be more than happy to discuss options with you for making your site more resilient to outages with GigeNET’s managed services. Depending on the outcome of the current issue, now may be the perfect time to add some redundancy to your services.
If we’re restoring your site after a failed hard drive (the most common hardware issue we see), why not restore it to a mirrored set of hard drives (called RAID1) so that the next time a hard drive fails, your site doesn’t go with it?
Have a question? chat with our specialists.
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