Okay, after running after the host for 4 weeks, I think I've finally come to a *real* answer. And here it is from their tech support:
The php fopens are being denied, due to the feature simply not being
enabled on the environment, and will not be in the future due to known
Curl should work with SilverStripe and may be able to offer a work around
for the lack of allow_url_fopen. However, this may require a hack to get
it up and running.
So here are my questions: is this an easy or a hard fix? What is required for a solution like this to work? Has ayone any experience with this?
thanks again :)