The squeaky wheel got some grease

Over the past week or so, both of my blogs have been running really slowly.  And it’s been frustrating the piss out of me, to use the vernacular.  I’ve been holding off on contacting my web domain provider, since they’ve been pretty open on the hosting website that they’re ‘working to fix the problems’ and have had their collective hands full with misbehaving storage servers, as well as attempting to convert their clientele to a whole new storage facility and hosting platform.  Sometimes one doesn’t necessarily want to add fuel to a fire.  Add in the fact that this is part of a larger problem that has been going on for the better part of the past month.

But this past Friday evening, at least to me, enough was enough.  I’ve already paid my monies to them many moons ago, and I’ve not been getting the results that I’ve come to expect for what I pay this company for.  Even though it was the beginning of the weekend, they tout that their assistance/support is manned ‘24/7, 365 days a year‘ so (in theory anyway) someone is always going to be around to look into a matter from their customers.  Which is supposed to be comforting, if indeed true.  Most companies don’t have customer support heavily manned over the weekend, since weekends tend to be down times and people get paid more for working on Sundays.  Consequently, if you’re going to have a catastrophic disaster, try to have it happen during the week.  If you can.

I accessed the support portion, figured out what I was going to say as succinctly as I could and posted my problem.  Then tried to access one of my blogs and was rewarded with a server error, telling me that the website in question was completely unavailable.  Awesome.  I took a screenshot of the error, cleaned it up in Corel Paint Shop Pro (we all can’t afford Adobe Photoshop) and added that to another post so whoever was going to answer the call had something to look at, in order to help.

As I expected, it took longer than a day for someone to assist.  I worked yesterday, so every now and again (too often I’m sure) I would check to see if someone had answered my call for help.  Nada.  The web provider is located in Germany, so they’re 6 hours ahead of me at any given time.  When I checked in last night around dinner time, though there wasn’t an update at the web server support page, I did get an email from them saying that they were ‘looking into the problem’, but as yet didn’t have a solution, so to be patient.  So, I did my best to comply.  I didn’t go to bed at a decent hour last night, matter of fact I stayed up until about 4:30am messing around with a HTML editor I used to use, that I was delighted to discover still works quite well in spite of being outdated and no longer supported by its creator (Hint: Scroll down to the program that’s called HTML-Kit 292, it’s free!).   It connects to the web via its own internal FTP program, you can edit in code, look at your results in real-time and even do things like CSS for your own websites if you’re so inclined.  It’s not a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, but it can help you learn HTML so you’re not having to pay someone else to create a website.  Pretty nifty program, and the price can’t be beat if you ask me.

Right around 4 am, I checked my email and there was a message from support.  They were aware of the problem and asked me to check both blogs to see if they were loading faster.  They were!  Hooray!  But being the skeptical sort, I thought it better to fire off a reply while I had someone’s attention and ask what the problem turned out to be, just in case it returned.  In my initial message, I worded it in such a way as to ask in an aside whether or not the slowness was possibly due to something on my end, not theirs.  The reason for this is, I have other websites that don’t utilize databases, like the blogs do.  The blogs are the only sites that are loading slowly.  The others pop right up when you type in their addresses in the browser.  The blogs weren’t.  So it was entirely possible that it was something on my end that was causing the problem, perhaps the databases weren’t set up correctly and needed to be edited in some fashion.

James from Support replied within a couple of minutes and stated that it wasn’t my end, it was most definitely theirs.  In the process of upgrading and moving customers to a new dataserver (I’d gone through that migration headache about 2 months ago) they encountered a major problem (that I referenced at the beginning of this post) and have been working diligently to fix it, while still attempting to run said server as well as the old one as ‘flawlessly’ (his word) as possible.  Suffice it to say, over the last couple of months, it hasn’t been flawless.  Watching my bandwidth traffic fall like a lead balloon from 8 GB/month to less than 1 hasn’t been either pretty or satisfying.  Couple that with email outages that last several days at a time, and you can imagine it gets one to thinking perhaps it’s time to pack up and move.  Which I did, as a test balloon with one of my domains.  Not certain if I’m going to leave it there, since the service is more expensive than this one, but if they can’t consistently get their sh*t together, I might end up going where it’s more stable.  I’ve been a customer of theirs since 2006, and it’s been pretty steady for all of that time.  A few outages every now and again, but nothing even closely resembling what’s going on now.  The cachet at the time when I first started with them was that they were outside of the US, so if I wanted to post a little ‘questionable’ content, they were ok with it, to a certain extent.  Nothing illegal mind you, but one has to be mindful of the keyholders at times, and that’s pretty much all I’m going to say about that.

I’ve never been a huge fan of making waves, but sometimes, the squeaky wheel can get a bit of grease.  And that’s not a bad thing.

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