Welcome to Curious Business

Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, March 09, 2007

Adventures in Moving

Last week I told you about the Denial of Service attack that sidelined Curio City for a couple of days. I don’t think I’ve pissed anyone off enough to bring down their wrath upon my head. So either my server was a random target of opportunity, or the attacker was after some other site that shares my server. Either way, I quickly accepted MochaHost’s offer to move my site to a different server on Monday. I already planned to lose much of the day to doctor appointments and assorted personal chores and errands. It would be a good time to absorb a little more downtime.

I finally checked in around mid-afternoon. I promptly changed my name server addresses as instructed, and then checked my site. It seemed to work fine. There was even an email from Authorize.net (the payment gateway, see credit card processing) waiting for me. I like those. They mean somebody is giving me money in exchange for merchandise, which is, of course, the whole point of all this. Ordinarily these arrive simultaneously with a Sunshop email that details the order contents. Not this time. Well, it’s not the first time that Sunshop has inexplicably dropped the ball on notification. So I logged into admin to consult my transaction list.

Nothing. No pending transactions.

Hmm. Let’s look at the new customer’s account info.

Nothing. No customer account.

This is worrisome. I log in to my Mocha account and pop open my SQL database, the be-all and end-all of Curio City Online. Surely I can tease the order details right from the source.

Nothing. No transaction with that number, no customer with that name.

OK, now it’s officially panic time. Sunshop is connecting to the payment gateway normally, but not writing to the database! I email this tidbit to Mocha’s support and cc my own developer. Time passes, with no response. If I can’t resolve this before the charge batch settles at midnight, I’ll have to decide whether to void the charge (saving myself the processing costs, and potentially the additional costs of issuing a refund) or be caught holding somebody’s money for an order that I can’t even see. Reluctantly, I e-mail the customer (oh, no…an AOL address) requesting order details. No response. More panicky emails to my support people. Nothing.

Right about now I realize that I’ve only been receiving email sent to my “@krakenenterprises.com” addresses. The more numerous “@curiocityonline.com” boxes aren’t even drawing the usual spam. Sure enough, a test message goes into the ozone.

Another email comes from Authorize.net announcing another invisible sale. I think this is the first time I've ever cringed at a payment notification.

You can imagine the state that I’m in now. More panicky messages to the support guys, asking them to contact me @krakenenterprises. Now things resolve quickly, and the story turns boring. Mocha shows me how to flush my DNS cache and connect to the “new” database, where – sure enough – the orders are safely recorded. From here on in, it’s a matter of cleaning up the messes that I created in my panic. By Tuesday morning, everything was back to normal.

Almost. Yesterday I found another odd little problem relating to my new install. I’m not entirely confident that I’m completely out of the woods now. I suspect that all of this is a preview of what the Sunshop upgrade is going to be like.

Future Subjects:

  • Customers Are Fickle
  • PPC Advertising Evaluation
  • The Sunshop Upgrade

1 comment:

  1. This morning my mailbox received over 100 emails within one hour. I also had to delete 10 fake reviews (a problem being addressed in Sunshop 4). Was that another DoS attack? A spambot gone wild? I don't know. I have a bad feeling that it's going to get darker before it gets any lighter.


What do you think? Leave a comment.

Google Search