Website is dead and Sonic refuses to help

Web hosting discussion, programming, and shared and dedicated servers.
16 posts Page 2 of 2
by tikvah » Thu Apr 01, 2021 3:35 pm
Thank you Joe! You completely rock!

There is no way in the world I would have figured that out. I haven't done anything remotely like debugging in 1-2 decades and even that was limited. I'm not sure why your coworkers think it's appropriate to require that every user be a computer programmer.

As for how it got broken? Not a clue. I haven't used FTP in years and, while I have a copy of Dreamweaver on my old computer, I haven't used it in a while and I haven't even logged on to this site for a very long time. Literally everything I've done on this site in years has been through the Wordpress interface (with the possible exception of uploading a graphic or text file at some point, which would be to outside the WP folder, and ages ago).

You say "Turning on the WP_DEBUG option in the wp_options.php..." but I couldn't figure out how to do that without access to the WP admin page. I read the debugging link and it made no sense to me (it seemed to be for people with access to the admin page). I have a lot more computer skills than the average internet user but it was instructions that required tools and background knowledge I don't have. I certainly have never deleted or changed any of those files via FTP or Telnet or in any other way. If it was hacked, then I reported that to Sonic at the time (some of my sites have been hacked here and there but I can't recall if this one was, that's why I'm careful to keep my site updated) and Sonic would have done what was necessary to fix it.

I was able to get into the site today as both a user and an administrator. I've exported and downloaded the site content (as well as for my other sites) which will give me some breathing room as I search for a new hosting site that treats customers like Sonic used to.

Thanks again! You are the personification of the Sonic that I remember from decades past.
by scott » Thu Apr 01, 2021 10:22 pm
I'm one of the co-founders of Sonic. I'm so sorry I didn't see this earlier, and I'm very sorry you went through this frustrating experience.

Someone will be reaching out to you, I just wanted to send a personal apology.

Please extend our employees every kindness, as they genuinely wanted to help, and genuinely thought they were providing you with the appropriate help.

Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated, and thank you for that, as well as your loyalty all these years. It means a lot to me, and it means a lot to folks working to keep that "Sonic spirit" alive as we grow.

-Scott
by tikvah » Fri Apr 02, 2021 8:56 am
Thank you, Scott.

I've been a Sonic customer since the early aughts. I had nothing but praise for the company and its employees over most of those years. Sure, there was a blip here and there, but nothing that couldn't be fixed or smoothed over. I'm not sure the problems now are fixable though. You have made decisions to prioritize the internet connection side of the business and downgrade hosting. It would be fine if most employees simply weren't trained on hosting tech (it would make sense to do it that way) but here I was being outright refused escalation (via email). But I've been told several times that Sonic does not support hosting anymore (the policies back this up). I'm not paying any less for my hosting services, but I'm getting less to the point that the service is nearly unusable.

If Sonic doesn't want to be a hosting ISP anymore, that's your choice. Maybe this is what has to give in your quest to bring fiber to the West Coast (and I'm told I should have fiber sometime this year, which I'm looking forward to). I just don't like being charged like a full hosting customer but treated like some idiot who breaks her own sites and wants your techs to fix her mistakes. I will note that I have in the past been blamed for my site being hacked, been punished for a supposed DOS attack on your servers (a visiting friend's phone had the wrong password to her Sonic email so I lost my internet access for 2-3 days even after she went home and was able to log in just fine from her house, and yes the techs told me it was on purpose), and more.

I've stuck with Sonic's internet access for nearly 20 years even though I could have gotten much faster speeds by switching to a big corporation because I support local businesses with local employees and companies with the integrity that Sonic has always had. I don't plan on changing that. But the hosting? It will be a horrible pain to move my 6 (I think) hosting accounts but I think it's time.

I look forward to hearing from Sonic as you stated.
by scott » Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:52 am
tikvah wrote:
Thank you, Scott.

I've been a Sonic customer since the early aughts. I had nothing but praise for the company and its employees over most of those years. Sure, there was a blip here and there, but nothing that couldn't be fixed or smoothed over. I'm not sure the problems now are fixable though. You have made decisions to prioritize the internet connection side of the business and downgrade hosting. It would be fine if most employees simply weren't trained on hosting tech (it would make sense to do it that way) but here I was being outright refused escalation (via email). But I've been told several times that Sonic does not support hosting anymore (the policies back this up). I'm not paying any less for my hosting services, but I'm getting less to the point that the service is nearly unusable.

If Sonic doesn't want to be a hosting ISP anymore, that's your choice. Maybe this is what has to give in your quest to bring fiber to the West Coast (and I'm told I should have fiber sometime this year, which I'm looking forward to). I just don't like being charged like a full hosting customer but treated like some idiot who breaks her own sites and wants your techs to fix her mistakes. I will note that I have in the past been blamed for my site being hacked, been punished for a supposed DOS attack on your servers (a visiting friend's phone had the wrong password to her Sonic email so I lost my internet access for 2-3 days even after she went home and was able to log in just fine from her house, and yes the techs told me it was on purpose), and more.

I've stuck with Sonic's internet access for nearly 20 years even though I could have gotten much faster speeds by switching to a big corporation because I support local businesses with local employees and companies with the integrity that Sonic has always had. I don't plan on changing that. But the hosting? It will be a horrible pain to move my 6 (I think) hosting accounts but I think it's time.

I look forward to hearing from Sonic as you stated.


Well, in the mean time, if there's anything we can do to change your mind, we have a special regard for our long-term, loyal customers. How about we get you into a Linux container, which is basically your own vps for a LAMP stack? We also have an actual old-school timeshare shell server that people can log into to get at their sonic files, explore shell programming, run cron jobs, all that sort of thing. And I've been hanging out in the Labs forum on this board, solving some troubles with the shell, and hoping to be useful. :)

Edit: also, containers can use ssl certificates. And you don't need to buy one now, can use LetsEncrypt , which is gratis certs from the EFF.

Edit: btw, these containers are managed hosting, so that means they will be maintained by the Sonic SOC, for the most part. -- and again, hopefully some folks can chip in and help on the forums. Share and enjoy. :)
by tikvah » Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:11 pm
Hi Scott,

I don't really understand what you're suggesting here. I mean I know the words but...

I had to do some searching on the Sonic website to find the hosting page (used to be a link on the homepage) but it doesn't mention virtual servers. I seem to recall they were quite expensive. So I have no idea of the costs of the server you're promoting or what is included.

I'm really not interested in learning Linux (even if it were just like regular UNIX, it's been years since I've done anything with UNIX and it was a PITA to work with) and the whole point is I don't want to do regular maintenance on my multiple accounts. What would take Sonic a few minutes to upgrade for a thousand users with your server tools and knowledge would take me much more than that amount of time per site to do manually (plus learning curve).

I'm open to hearing about virtual servers if they can do everything I need (domain hosting, email with all the Sonic perks, interface with phone service and other member tools, Mailman, Wordpress, etc) for multiple sites with GUI tools available. But without knowing the specs or the costs, it's impossible to evaluate. If I'm going to migrate, I need to migrate everything, as I can't pay twice.

But I hear you that Sonic has no interest in providing full hosting services like you used to.
by scott » Sun Apr 04, 2021 5:50 pm
tikvah wrote:
I hear you that Sonic has no interest in providing full hosting services like you used to.


It that's their takeaway from what I wrote, then I suppose there is no more to be said.

Sonic was never a hosting consultant, we used to forums (right here) to do most of the support. (Actually, it was probably a newsgroup where we originally did all, but you get the idea.)

This is a terrible economy we are in, and webmasters need love, too. I'll bet I could find names of smart, eager, happy people on a bulletin board in career development at the JC, if they still do that sort of thing. They can spin up your Amazon or Digital Ocean instance and get your hosts all installed, probably be happy for the experience and the references.

-Scott
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