After a large number of protests from users of this site, I’m going to have to open up my comments-related problems to the floor. But first things first, I want to talk really briefly about pair.com – a hosting organisation that I honestly can’t say enough nice things about. They’re reasonably priced, helpful and have been genuinely reliable over the last few years. I’ve still got the Barbelith Underground running on a pair server, and with remarkably few problems… But there has been one thing that they haven’t been particularly ideal for: hosting Movable Type based sites.
In fact, my problems with running Movable Type on Pair kept me using Blogger for about a year longer than I’d expected. Pair have this kind of time-out running on cgi-processes that effectively means that (unless you know to run everything through cgiwrap) any decent-sized MT operation (say saving a new post) may cause the system to throw a wobbly. And you can forget importing large number of posts from other systems. I had months of trouble with that.
I want to make it clear that once I did install the site through cgiwrap, I didn’t have any trouble – so in a sense my only gripe is that Pair are different enough from other hosts in the world to require you to go through a different installation process. I can’t exactly blame them for that. And other people’s experience of their hosting may vary from mine, of course…
Anyway – back to my problem. I’ve got MT running cheerfully on Pair’s servers now. It’s all very smooth – except in one particularly difficult area. Everyone who uses my site realises quite quickly that I’ve got a problem with comments. In fact, often when someone attempts to post a comment to the site, they get returned a Server 500 error. In fact normally the comments have been saved and it’s just the weblog page that isn’t rebuilt. But people don’t tend to realise this, so there’s routine multiple-posting. It’s profoundly annoying. Does anyone have any brilliant ideas about how I could fix this problem. Is it something that I can do to make it less likely to happen? Or do I need to go and attack Pair with pinking shears?