Hein (fub) wrote,
Hein
fub

  • Mood:

Dissapointing state of hosting

I host kliktikfix with WebReus, as well as some other sites. So far, I have had no problems at all: great uptime, easy registration process -- everything went smooth.

However, as I wrote in an earlier entry, I was thinking of adding a Twitter feed to KlikTikFix -- to 'ping' people to alert them to a new photo/haiku combination going live. I construct the RSS feed through PHP, and it would be the natural place to add the call to Twitter.
I located a PHP module for Twitter and played around with it for a bit, until I had it working on Calcifer. The cool thing of running Linux is that you have the exact same software running as your webhoster, so you can prepare everything 'at home' and when it all works you simply transfer the files through FTP. What could be easier?

Except that, while it worked from Calcifer, the exact same code did not work from kliktikfix.nl. Twitter reported an authentication error, and some debugging yielded the information that the call to the curl library was the problem. But that's a rather standard part of PHP installations -- where is the difference?
PHP has a nice build-in function called phpinfo() which prints everything there is to know about a PHP installation into a nice HTML format. That also includes the curl library version number.

It turns out that Ubuntu comes with a version of libcurl that's a year old. There are more recent versions out -- that's too bad. But at my webhoster, the version that was used to compile their PHP is over four years old. And the version just after the version that is available fixes something with Basic Authentication when POSTing... That would explain the error I get!

I mailed them, saying that I was a bit dissapointed that my own desktop was more up-to-date than the software stack of a professional hosting organisation, asking them what I could do to get a Twitter feed anyway.
I haven't heard back from them -- the helpdesk is mail-only, and so far I haven't had any need for them... Maybe next time I want to host at a company that has a telephone helpdesk, because email is too easy to ignore. They don't have an (automatic) tracking system either, so for all I know my mail has been deleted without anyone the wiser.

Luckily, there's also a Python module that I could install 'locally' on my space, and that is able to post to Twitter. I might have to change some things around. Dissapointing, really.
Tags: kliktikfix
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