What a Difference Reliability Can Make

I have had my website since right before January 1st 2000. I wanted to start a site with the start of the new millennium, so I bought my name, and found some hosting that a friend recommended to me. The hosting company was great and the cost was very reasonable for what was offered. I was with the same hosting company until 2004, when the server that my site was on crashed, and apparently they had not been doing any sort of backups, and due to a laptop being stolen that same year, I ended up losing some photos and four years worth of content that I had written on my site.

As I searched for a new host, reliability and backup were my main concerns, as I did not want something like this to happen again. I signed up with CI Host, and I had great service and pretty much no issues with downtime until early 2009. This is when I got one of those letters that many people dread, that my account had been sold to another company. I was now a customer of I had a bad feeling that things were not going to go well during the transition. There was very little communication about the changes, and most of the info I received was from a forwarded email that someone else sent me regarding another website that I help administer who happened to be another account that was sold.

As issues arose, I contacted support, and I did not get any sort of ticket or tracking number. Strike 1. Most all of their support is done through live online chat, and half of the time, I would not get emailed the transcripts of what was said like the site says should happen. Instead I was greeted with 404 pages. The odd thing about this was that I seemed to only get those when the technician was not able to help me in any way. The other thing that really worried/pissed me off, is that their turnaround to hear back on any issue, including complete outages was 24-48 hours. Since I work in the IT field, I know that if we did that where I work, we would be unemployed the next day.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when my account was accidentally canceled by the company right before Dragon*Con, and as I had just made business cards that sent people to the site, and had also just paid for the next quarter, this was unacceptable. I was able to get the site restored a day after it was brought down, and decided that the search for a new hosting company needed to be a top priority. I planned to stay until it was time to renew my service, but the end of last week changed all of that.

I had downtime for 3 days straight, and the “support” said that it had to be an issue with my domain registrar. I turned to twitter, as it is normally the best place to check real time issues such as this, and there was no mention of any issues with my registrar and their DNS that I could tell. I did submit a ticket, as x7 would not do anything, saying that there was no issue on their side. I had enough, and first thing on Monday, I signed up for an account with Media Temple. I have two friends from back in Houston who now for them out in LA, and after reading reviews online, they seem to be the place to go. I was able to get my site moved to the new service quite a bit faster then I had planned, and also got the added benefit of being able to host multiple domains on my one account.

The service options on {mt} are far superior to what I had before. They have both phone and online support, and an actual knowledge base and forums where you can ask questions of other users of the service to see if they might be able to help you based off of their experiences. {mt} even have an iPhone version of their account control panels to allow for support on the go, or to be able to restart services on the hosting server etc. Based off reviews and what I have seen so far, I will not be changing hosts anytime in the foreseeable future.

The point of all this is to say, that if you are going to be hosting your own website, be sure to do research on your options, and look at the support promises that a company is offering, and make sure that they plan to follow through with that support. There is nothing worse than going to update your website, and it not loading for you.

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