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support@dreamhost.com
07-14-2006, 05:45 PM
Post: #1
support@dreamhost.com
I thought I'd drop this post here, as I have seen numerous posts advising users who cannot access the Control Panel to email support@dreamhost.com.

Apparantly, this is not a viable option any more, as was just demonstrated when this Discussion Forum software went wonky today (it is now working again, albeit intermittantly):

--------- enclose web message here ------------
Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, support@dreamhost.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

-------- end web message ----------

Being a "good customer", I did as the message asked and sent the following email to support at dreamhost.com:

Quote:Happy Friday, Happy Dreamhosters!

I know you hate to hear this, at 5:00 on Friday (pdt) but the Dreamhost Discussion Forum is puking:

--------- enclose web message here ------------
Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, support@dreamhost.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

-------- end web message ----------

Started throwing these intermittantly around 1615 hours, but could be revived with multiple refreshes....as of 1715 she looks to be "paws up" fer sure (refreshing/reloading doesn't revive 'er).

Just an advisory as requested in the message!

Regards,
rlparker
happy dreamhost user
Rock On!
A few minutes later I received the following email message from "Mail Delivery Subsystem" <no-reply@dreamhost.com> with the subject line of "Your message was NOT received by support@dreamhost.com!":

Quote:We're sorry.. your email was unable to be processed by our automatic
support system, and so is being returned to you.

Our system could not find the open support case you were replying to,
and so could not automatically tie your message into our system. If this
was a reply to an EXISTING issue, please be sure to keep the:

[blah 123456]

in the subject line of your reply!

If this is regarding a NEW issue, we must ask that you submit it
through our web panel at:

https://panel.dreamhost.com/?tree=support.msg

(You can log in with this email address and your panel password.. have
it emailed to you if you've forgotten it!)

All messages submitted through that form are guaranteed to be received!

Our apologies for the inconvenience,
-- The Happy DreamHost Support Team!
Okay, in this instance I can take the extra steps to login to my web panel and generate a support ticket to let them know the forum is down/borked *but* if the panel is down, how are we supposed to notify them of *anything*, whether part of their system is failing or whether we can't get to the panel?

At the very least, it seems they should edit the error message thrown by their scirpt(s) so they don't ask you to do something that they then refuse to accept.

Better still, shouldn't there be a way to contact them *when they are broken*.

Am I missing something obvious here? (Please tell me that I'm just having a slow-brain day and this isn't really the "catch-22" that it seems to me to be!)

--rlparker
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07-15-2006, 08:36 AM
Post: #2
support@dreamhost.com
You can always check Dreamhoststatus.com if you are expericing any problems.

I believe you can also contact them through this page at the main Dreamhost page Smile
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07-15-2006, 09:22 AM
Post: #3
support@dreamhost.com
Sara,

Thanks for the tips ;-) I knew, or course, about each of these optioms but:

1)While it does seem to have been getting better, Dreamhoststatus.com can't possibly have any information about a condition Dreamhost is not aware of ;-) It also only allows DH to communicate with me (I was looking for a way to comunicate with *them*)

2) That form is represented as going to "sales", and the page specifically states that you are to fill out a support ticket for technical support. This is not to say that I would not to use it, but I am doubtful it would reach the approporiate people.

My response is not meant to be-little your reply at all; I appreciate your answer and these are good suggestions. I just believe there need to be a *reliable*way to notify tech support of an issue when the panel is down :-)

--rlparker
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07-15-2006, 11:15 AM
Post: #4
support@dreamhost.com
I wonder if using an old message ticket number might work. I suppose if the email checks for a ticket number it would let it through and issue a new reply number.
It does seem daft that a dreamhost user cannot advise about faults in the system. What happens when that web page comes up with all the CC details on? Smile .

Perhaps they could allow through emails containing our webid?

I can see why they would want to prevent all and sundry sending email to support@dreamhost to stop the spam.

Oh yes and I wonder if using the contact.cgi support would have been of much use since it seems to be orientated towards sales only?

--
Norm


Opinions are my own views, not DreamHosts'.
I am NOT a DreamHost employee OK!! Angry

You act on my advice at your own risk!
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07-15-2006, 12:05 PM
Post: #5
support@dreamhost.com
This forum has been sering 500 errors and and off since 1am californaia time. Sad

I think I read here once or so that contact.gi and sales Emails all go to tech support actually - just different queues.

I'm dissapointed that I can't E-mail support any more. I've only done it on rare occasions, but that is dissapointing. I just tested and found I got the response so it's not just a you thing either.

--Matttail
art.googlies.net - personal website
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07-15-2006, 03:01 PM
Post: #6
support@dreamhost.com
Norm,

That's an interesting idea about using the number of an old ticket, and it might just work (though I suspecect they might not appreciate us doing that since it is "workaround" and it is unlikely the new issue would relate at all to the old ticket).

The webid ideas sounds like a idea to me.

I don't blame them at all for not wanting "support@dreamhost.com" to be be reviewed by tech support staff without some vetting; nobady has enough time to deal with the amount of spam such an address is likely to receive.

It just seems that there needs to be *some* way to reach tem outside the panel. I sent a query about this as a support ticket, so hopefully we will have a DH response soon.

--rlparker
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07-17-2006, 09:54 PM
Post: #7
support@dreamhost.com
Just to keep the thread "up-to-date", I have included below the most recent response I received from Dreamhost support regarding this issue (sent to me on 7/15/2006 at 23:10 PDT):
-------------------------------------
Hello,

Normally, our panel is NEVER down, we have 6 separate machines that
handle it's functionality, so the chance of it going down are rare.

If it is down, then something is seriously wrong, we're aware of that,
and will get it up as quickly as humanly possible.

Right now, we have the support mail address set up that way to make sure
all support gets sent in via the panel. We are currently working on
getting a better system in place.

sorry about that. If you need anything else, please let us know.

Thanks!
------------------------------

Who could have guessed that less than 48 hours after this response, the panel is "paws up"? While I understand that they know about the panel being down, as a matter of public relations and customer assurrance, I really *do* think DH needs to address this by making another contact avenue available to customers having problems.

It doesn't do much to reassure someone whose sites are broken that "we know about it"; those affected need to be able to communicate their *specific* problems to have any peace of mind (even if it *does* increase the support burden).

--rlparker
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07-19-2006, 02:59 PM
Post: #8
support@dreamhost.com
We removed the ability to initiate a new support thread via email to reduce the amount of time we have to spend figuring out who somebody is. Customers were regularly writing in from various email addresses and not including enough information for us to figure out who they are. That resulted in wasted time for us and for them.

The suggested workaround of using an older case ID would work for a relatively recent support thread, but we do automatically 'close' threads after there has been no activity for awhile.

You have a good point about cases when the web panel is down. It should be noted, though, that we use the web panel ourselves constantly all day long while providing support and it would be a very rare case indeed for us to not notice. Additionally any situation that would take the web panel down entirely is almost definitely going to be deeper in the system and affect a lot more functionality than just the web panel, further increasing the likelihood that we would already know.

That said, never say never, right? The web panel does go down sometimes, and if you do submit a 'sales question' through the contact form on the dreamhost.com website that ends up going into the same queue as all other support requests. It's color-coded as the type of question it is but those questions are viewable by the same set of support techs.

This isn't to say things couldn't be better, but re-allowing all support requests to come in via email isn't a workable solution unfortunately.

- Dallas
- DreamHost Head Honcho/Founder
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07-19-2006, 03:12 PM
Post: #9
support@dreamhost.com
Dallas, I appreciate you taking the time to respond to this thread, and thanks for the additional information.

I *do* see your point about the inefficiency of utilizing the support@dreamhost.com address to initiate tickets, and understand your decision not to allow support-requests to be initiated via emai. I don't have a better solution to suggest at present.

Probably the best approach during times of instability such as those we have experienced in the last several days is just to "sit tight" and wait...though, that is hard to do when things are borked.

--rlparker
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07-19-2006, 03:44 PM
Post: #10
support@dreamhost.com
This thread has gotten me thinking about the situation and we will work on coming up with something better.

One thing I meant to mention in my previous post is the fact that the support@dreamhost.com email is dependent on our back-end database and so it sometimes is also not fully functioning when our web control panel is down. It makes people feel better to send off the email but we don't actually get them until things are fixed again. That's not always the case but it has happened.

- Dallas
- DreamHost Head Honcho/Founder
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