$^&%! hosting company!

Well it’s now 9AM on March 7, 2002. This site has been dead in the water since 4:30PM March 6. I don’t know when it will be back, as the email isn’t working either, including the email for the company who’s hosting it. I’ve frankly had it with That Hosting Company. Stuff like this happens far too often, and while I certainly understand that there are sometimes problems, their inability to own up to the problems and communicate about them is disgusting. A little history:

I signed up for a flat fee, “lifetime” hosting account with them at Gnomedex last year. That fee was for a 250MB site, with unlimited transfer, within reason, and 250 email accounts. The account features listed at the time included a Windows NT hosting environment, Access and .asp support (which was why I chose the NT platform over Linux), a web-based control panel, detailed statistics, and 99% uptime. I would be limited to only email support with the deal, but I figured that was ok, I wasn’t doing ecommerce here or anything like that. I started out in October and was immediately told that, well the web-based control panel and the statistics weren’t actually working yet, but they would be in just a matter of weeks. I should have left then. Things seemed to go ok, I got on board, I got everything loaded ok, I started blogging, the site seemed to work and everyone was happy. Shortly after my 30 day money back guarantee ended, naturally, the site started going down, for days at a time. On average the site was down for at least one day out of each week. I was repeatedly told that it was just a temporary server problem and that I would be moved to a new server any day now and to watch my email for the new ftp details when that happened. After one of the last in this series of downtimes, I couldn’t log in using ftp anymore. I wrote support an email and got a reply back two days later that, oh yeah, they had moved me to a new server, and forgot to send out the new ftp information!

Things seemed to stabilize for a few, they even instituted a support forum for their customers and I was happy about that. Then another outage, this time lasting almost 3 days. When everything came back online they tried to explain it away as a problem with their connection at the telephone company and not a downtime that was their fault. Only problem was, when everything came back, I noticed that certain posts were missing from my blog. They had obviously restored from the backup two days before everything went down, and obviously that wasn’t caused by the telephone company, right? When I posted to the forums about that fact, wanting an explanation of why they needed to restore from backup, my post was deleted, “This is not the place for complaints or any posts that we deem hostile in intent”. It wasn’t hostile, I wanted an explanation of why their official explanation of downtime didn’t jive with what I saw on my site. Isn’t that sort of information why you go to support forums? When someone, in response, sent a bunch of us an email suggesting that maybe we open up a forum somewhere else, independent of the company, that person’s account was killed for “spamming” and the support forums were shutdown, because he got the addresses to spam from there. (I’ll grant you that it was, technically, spamming and someone must have complained about it, but it reinforced the notion that you’re not to say anything bad about the company. I may even find my own account killed for this post. I wonder…)

After the holidays things settled down, I was informed that the statistics and control panel that I had been promised at signup were not going to be implemented anytime soon, and that, in fact, they may just switch everyone over to a Linux hosting plan. (Never mind the .asp pages and Access databases I already have setup) They assured me that switching them over to mySQL wouldn’t be that bad, and they would make sure to support .asp in their Linux plans. We’ll see about that. I made do, found my own stats, figured out how to do everything else myself so I wouldn’t need a control panel, and they even started putting daily status reports on the forums (now reopened with a strict “no complaining” policy). Then Feb 23 happened, the site was down for all but 7 hours that entire weekend. Just like it is now, no connection to any of the sites they host. When it finally did come back, the daily status report for the 23rd claimed some minor problems and the 24th claimed everything was working. There have been no status reports since.

There’s more, but I think you get the general idea of what I’ve been dealing with since October. Keep in mind that all of this has happened over the course of ONLY 5 months. I can’t imagine dealing with this continually for years.

It is now well into hour 16 of this outage, and given their West Coast location, I imagine it will be this afternoon, at the very least, before the site is back online. I really have no idea. I assume that when it is back, there will, again, be no explanation of what was going on, no communication and no apology. I’ve already paid for “lifetime” hosting, which means, in effect, that outside of a $15 yearly maintenance fee the hosting is already paid for, and moving somewhere else is just going to cost me more money, but I’m seriously thinking about it anyway. The site and the email accounts are no good to me if they don’t work. So does anyone know a cheap, good hosting company? Or does anyone want to contribute to the “Help Mike pay for a new hosting account” fund? Go buy stuff from Amazon through the links on the left-hand column, so I can get some proceeds! *L* Update: 24 hours later, it seems to be up. This is completely ridiculous.

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