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With all the troubles I’ve had with hosting plans throughout the years, I’ve always wondered how to avoid those same problems for a second time.  Of course, I’d love to avoid them for the first time, so I Google them first.  No, not the problem, but how to avoid problems doing something “odd” with my service.  Let’s say I want to do something really strange like cancel a server or hosting service.  I know, it’s way out there, but please bare with me…I ask the Service Provider what I need to do, after starting with the on-line FAQs, help, forums, etc.  and they say go to this “special” site for canceling service.  OK, it must be “intuitive” or they would have given me more details, right!?  The stand-up comic in me wants to draw this out to its proper conclusion…lots of laughs; but the software developer, architect, infrastructure novice and business owner in me wants to lend a hand.

What Problem was actually resolved?

There are way too many scenarios to list in one sitting, but I can probably link to them from here later, or answer specific questions in comments if I see them.  But my most recent issue was due to the fact that I wanted to upgrade a 1and1.com VPS account to one that was half the price I was paying (for 3 months…and I highly recommend this.)  That wasn’t the deal maker though. It was for the same ‘everything’ except a faster server, with 8 cores, and 4 times the memory.  The problem: It was the SAME service level, VPS III, so they could not do an “upgrade” for me" as they had done before from VPS II to III.  They couldn’t just expand the memory, or copy the virtual server to a new disk.  This seems like simple work, but only from a guy who works with Virtual PC, Virtual Server, VM ware Workstation, and Hyper-V all day.  So when asked what I need to do, this was what they told me.  I need to order a NEW server, then move everything to that server…then cancel the old server.  It was said as if I was moving a TV into the other room and then locking the door behind me.

Here are the issues:

  • e-mail accounts
  • external domains
  • DNS changes take time to propagate
  • paying for 2 servers
  • primary domain (free with your server)
  • GoDaddy is my domain registrar

Here are the pluses:

  • 1and1 has easy to use tools.
  • I can do the work myself ;)

DNS, domains and e-mail

In order cancel a domain, or more precisely an “external domain”, you need to go to “cancel.1and1.com”.  Seems obvious, right!? :)  Then you select the domain, and select when to cancel it.  I shouldn’t need screen shots, but let me know.  An external domain is one that is registered elsewhere and hosted by your 1and1 server or hosting service.  You use 1and1’s name servers and they allow you to point the domain at your server or service.  DNS is not fun work, and there are several tricks I get to use to REALLY simplify the process, so I have to use this service.  However, when you cancel, you still have to wait to reuse it.  If I was moving my domain hosting to a different service, I could configure that hosting service to handle the domain, then point at the name servers.  When DNS propagated, it would already be in place.  However, this isn’t the case when moving between contracts at 1and1.  So, cancel, wait impatiently, re-configure on the new server or hosting account.  If e-mail is truly important, you should move your e-mail to another service entirely, or at least while the move takes place.  I didn’t do this, but will look at it for the next time.

While waiting for domains to become “canceled” I configured the new server for the applications it will host.  When ready, I re-add the “external domains” to the new account and the web applications are ready.  If all went well, the name servers never changed, only the ip address so finding the new server is instantaneous.

Since some of the work takes up to a week of waiting, I wanted to do it in manageable chunks.  But now that I know what lies at the end of the path I can say the correct way to handle my situation, not withstanding the e-mail process I didn’t follow, was to move my applications and then cancel all the “external domains” at once, then cancel the “package” or contract.  This would have allowed me to transfer the free domain I needed back to my other registrar (GoDaddy.com).  I also will not, and have not chosen a useful “free” domain that I will rely on in the future so I don’t have to worry about losing it or depending on it.  A month or so later, I’m still not finished…or should I say, I’m still waiting!?  How much did this move ultimately cost me?  I can’t say since at worst, it’s a wash.  But since I gained on the technology side I had to do it even if the server was NOT discounted.  So I’m happy with the result, just Ticked I had to spend so much brute-force time on something so theoretically simple. If 1and1 should read this, please ask for my quote to solve this problem on your end.  I can make it mutually beneficial. :D

In my spare time, (yeah right!!!) I’ll build some tools to automate this not-too-straightforward process.  Or search for something already built. :)

The BlogEngine.NET Multi-Blog angle

The major plus allowed me to complete an upgrade project of BlogEngine.NET Multi-blogging capabilities.  It moves things quite far along from where it began.  I’m still hopeful Jacob Proffitt continues his work on the SqlBlogProvider so BlogEnigne.NET can handle more people’s large scale needs.