The icon at the left kind of describes what just happened to this website.

You'll recall I moved it to a rented 'cloud' server in Hungary a few weeks back? Well, the 'cloud server' turned out to be a bit of a 'mushroom cloud server'. I went to bed Monday night with everything working just fine; I woke up in the morning to discover the entire site was inaccessible. I couldn't even ssh into the server. I did the usual thing: turned it off and back on again, using the control panel web interface the company provides... still no joy once the server was back up running, however. Heart sinking, I contacted the help desk. I explained the problem carefully, including all the steps I'd taken so far to try to fix the issue. Their response was, "We just turned your server off and back on again. Try it now." Not what I would call a support desk's most considered response.

When I pointed out that I'd already done their 'fix' and it hadn't worked then, and neither had theirs now, they rather abruptly sent me an IP address and some login credentials. Without warning, or without any explanation, the IP address was a link to a vSphere Client web page. I've never used vSphere before, so it was great logging into it, but what I was meant to do with it was a bit of a puzzle. Manfully, I opened up a virtual console and tried logging into it... the password was always rejected.

I got back to the Help Desk. Their response: we gave you access to a console so you could log in and fix the problem yourself (they didn't even tell me how to fire up a console in vSphere, so go figure). If you can't even log in from there, we can't help you. Do you want us to build you a new server (and lose the entire website!)?

Well, no, the nuclear option didn't really appeal to me at that point! So I asked them if they'd try logging on at the console if I sent them the credentials, which they graciously agreed to do. Unfortunately, within minutes, they wrote back to say the credentials didn't work, so we were now at an impasse. They didn't provide any evidence of them actually trying to do that, of course, but I guess I can trust them to have at least tried once. Anyway, they again asked if I'd like a new server built to replace the original, which seems to be an approach they are uncommonly keen on to resolve all issues! I declined and asked instead for my account to be cancelled.

My advice to anyone thinking of renting a cloud server from Cheap Hosting is, therefore: don't. It is quite possible I was hacked as they claimed (odd how my own server, in my own loft, with an identical configuraiton has never been hacked in more than 3 years, though, isn't it?), so I guess that's down to me, but their support standards are extremely poor (and their prices are not that cheap, as it happens).

So anyway: this website has thus returned to being run out of my loft, and a week of statistics data has been lost, but nothing much else should have been, because I had taken a fresh backup of the site on 5th April. If you discover anything to be missing, however, let me know: I will endeavour to restore it from something or other!