Surreal tech support situation

One of my customers hosts their web site on a Mindspring server, which was bought by Earthlink at some point. The site is running on Apache. The customer had me set up password authentication for a subdirectory, and it was necessary for me to do this with an .htaccess file, which was easy enough. However, since ServerName is apparently set incorrectly in the configuration, they were having the problem described in the FAQ, where you get asked for your password twice, and end up on a hostname that is not what you typed in.

I called EarthLink, and talked with two different support reps before I could get someone that even acknowledged that the problem was happening – the first guy simply would not admit that it was happening. I explained the problem to him (the second guy), told him how to solve the problem, and gave him the URL for the FAQ where it is described. ( After putting me on hold for a lengthy period of time, apparently talking to other experts, he came back and told me that the problem was beyond their expertise to deal with. He encouraged me to read the .htaccess file tutorial on the Apache web site at (

Now, for those of you who don’t already know, the reason that this was so very surreal is that I wrote the .htaccess tutorial on the Apache web site. I’m pretty sure that the tech support guy did not believe me when I told him this, but, honest, I really did. And, of course, I’m no closer to having a solution to the problem, because it’s something that has to be done in the main configuration file. ServerName is set incorrectly, and I would need access to the main server config file to fix that, or to set UseCanonicalName off, which is the other recommended solution.

Hopefully, I’ll get someone on the phone next week that believes me, and is willing to implement the recommended solution.