A Third Variable


If you still remember my recent post on moving my hosting onto a brand new, shining VPS server (from an old, equally shining one) then I feel deeply sorry for you. The entry was dull and boring like an opening session of the legislature on import / export regulations of reaper binders. And also useful as nose-picking, although much less mentally satisfying (I am saying this from my own vast experience).

Nonetheless, if you still DO remember that, feel warned. Today's entry will most likely be equally dull although much less informative. I would highly recommend you to stop reading this shite right now and go watch some high quality kittens on Youtube. Or whatever you watch when you've nothing better to do.

Still here?

All right then.

I recently moved my VPS server (which serves you the entry you are just reading so anxiously, plus well over a thousand other entries, as exciting as this one) to the Irish OVH account. It wasn't entirely my decission: I was forced to do so as the new regulations in my lovely home country make it extremely difficult for someone with a foreign permanent address to have a server with a Polish provider. Thankfully, the move was simple: set up an account in OVH.IE, get the barebones server up and running, copy all the contents from the old server and finally swap the IP address in the DNS zone to point to the new server. In less than an hour I was back on-line with the blog. No brainer.

Although one thing made me slightly uncomfortable: now I had two OVH accounts. One to manage the server and another one to manage my DNS zone.

To fix this, I decided to move the DNS thingy from OVH.PL to OVH.IE. You will soon be enlightened on the process in details, should you ever need to do the same, which is highly unlikely, so - once again - why exactly are you reading this?

Out of boredom?

That's a fair answer. Let's move on.

On the first attempt I tried to simply set up a new DNS zone in my OVH.IE account. It failed for the obvious reason: the zone was already with OVH, under my OVH.PL account. You can't have two distinctive DNS zones within the same provider, for the same web address.

My second attempt was to give OVH.IE a call. Some lad with a strong Eastern European accent told me to remove the DNS zone from my OVH.PL account completely then set it up from the scratch on my OVH.IE account.


First of all, there was no option to do the removal thing.

Secondly, this would most likely leave me without a working domain for the time in between. I don't care about the blog (its absence would do plenty of good things to the Internet - for a good start, it would decrease the number of people reading this crap) but there's a bunch of email addresses running on the same domain and without them I would be simply fucked. Pardon my French. Bloody Easterneuropeans (is this even a word?)

So, I contacted the Polish side of things - this time by email just to have a record - and asked them for an advice.

A day later I got an answer: they advised me to delete my OVH.PL zone then set it up from the scratch under my OVH.IE account. In short terms it was a polite way of saying "fuck off" which is something I get a lot, especially from various customer support people all over the world. No big deal.

I gently explained to the guy that 1. there is no "delete" option in the UI and 2. I am not going to have even a tiniest break in the service. So can he please get his shit together and come up with a better idea.

Two hours later I got another reply. Amazingly, this one actually made sense. This does not happen every day, does it?

(Note for mentally impaired: I am now going to diverge from the main topic. Are you still reading this? Interesting...)

You know how most of programming languages allow you to swap values of two variables? They usually don't. Instead, you need to get a third variable to hold a value for a moment while you pass the other value to the other variable... Let me show you an example:

int x = 5;
int y = 8;
int temp = x;
x = y;
y = temp;

Nice and logical, eh? Except that you need to employ a third-party temporary staff to get the stuff done.

Now see how this is done in Python:

x, y = 5, 8
x, y = y, x

Done! Voila! This is how things should be implemented in the computer world. They should be SIMPLE.

Now, back to our boring (and suspiciously lenghty) story about DNS. Is OVH a global company? Well, they are not too far from it. They keep their HQ in the Ireland for obvious reasons: great weather (for scuba divers and suicides), exceptional beer quality (just don't do local brands; get some Heineken or Löwenbräu instead) and of course 12.5% CIT rate. But they have presence in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Lithuania, and Finland, and also USA and Canada. So, plenty of happy customers. Quite a lot of customers moving between countries every now and then. So why not make the switch between OVH.XX and OVH.YY as simple as in Python?


You still need a third variable to store your DNS stuff temporarily in order to avoid all the mess.

So, the full procedure is:

  1. Set up a temporary, non-OVH DNS server.
  2. Log on to your DNS registrar's account and change delegation of your DNS zone from whatever OVH servers you are using to the temporary one.
  3. Make sure it works (for instance, query your web address with nslookup using Google's famous server)
  4. Log on to your original OVH.XX account and go to the old version of the UI which still has the "delete DNS zone" option, as opposite to the current version which lacks it for no feasible reason.
  5. Use the abovementioned option do delete your DNS related stuff from OVH.XX
  6. Go to your OVH.YY (new) account and set up a "new" (pun intended) DNS zone there.
  7. In your DNS registrar's account, delegate your zone to the DNS server address provided by OVH in step 6 (chances are, it would be exactly the same server as the one you had set up before)
  8. Done. Enjoy.

Just eight simple, intuitive steps.

Life is fun, isn't it?


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