Web hosts with a clue

I thought “Oh boy, no phone. This will be an exercise in frustration.” Sometimes its nice to be wrong.

Earlier this week, email and browsing to sites hosted on my reseller account at TCH (Total Choice Hosting) stopped working from home. I VPN’d into a client’s office (same ISP as my home) and found it didnt work there either. I VPN’d into my office (different ISP from my home) and it worked fine.

I contacted my DSL provider (and phone company) CenturyTel, and got the standard 20 question “Are you a dope?” runaround. Do you have a firewall? Are you sure? What did you change? Can you turn off ZoneAlarm? (Not without installing it first…) Can you bypass the router (you know, the router that hasnt had a setting change in 3 years…) and connect directly via XP? And so on. I give them a tracert, they blow me off and ask me to reboot, yadayadayada. I bail on them, as it is clear they are going to be of little assistance, even after telling them that 2 different locations are experiencing this issue.

Some days I think it would be quite enjoyable to have the resources to offer my entire community free wireless and VOIP access just for the purpose of sticking it to the phone company, but they probably wouldnt even notice.

On Monday, I get into the office and about noon, access to the sites that didnt work at home started getting spotty, then disappears altogether. I contact the web host (TCH), provide them with a tracert and ask what to do. They tell me access is being blocked or otherwise thwarted outside their network and ask me to contact the staff at, whose router appears to be blocking access to the TCH servers.

I check their support page. No phone number. I thought “Oh boy, no phone. This will be an exercise in frustration.” Sometimes its nice to be wrong.

I started to email them, but thought better of that. Fax? Nah. I took a shot at IRC chat, since their support page offers access to their team that way. Surprisingly, I got their lead admin, who asked a few questions, had me send him a few tracerts from both my office ISP and my client’s ISP and a few minutes later, he has tweaked the router and we’re golden. Turns out he knows the big cheese at TCH as well, and asks me to forward the tracerts to him simply because he knows that guy will want to see them.

Later that day, I get home and everything works there as well. Now…that wasn’t so difficult, was it?

Myles at gets it, as does TCH.