Just a quick note – I had some major site trouble over the past 24 hours, but it appears things have been restored to normalcy.
Waaaaay back in 2010 (can you even remember that far into the past?) my site got hacked by some Saudi Arabian cyberpunk. No, really. I’m not kidding.
Well, I wasn’t exactly employing heavy password security back in those days, and I was stupid enough to use the same password for every website. (I also remember the days when I didn’t have to lock the door at night, and could leave my car open…nevermind.)
Once I got the hack resolved and the website restored, I thought things were fine. I upgraded my password security. I was ready to move on.
Then a month or two ago my hosting account got suspended for spamming. I was puzzled by this, but sure enough, when I logged into my webmail for my steveskojec-staging.mrdsdzb3-liquidwebsites.com domain, I had THOUSANDS of bouncebacks for emails that had been sent from my account.
So I got my account re-instated, changed the email password to something even stronger, and went on my merry way. All done, right?
Nope. Not a chance.
Yesterday afternoon, after spending the morning in meetings, I checked my email only to find that it’s happened again. Hack. Email. Spam. Account Suspended. None of words are words I want to see together in a sentence.
I responded to the rep at Site5. Usually they’re very quick. Nothing. I ping them on Twitter. They apologize. Still nothing. I beat the drum on my ticket. I can’t even log in to my admin panel to fix things because I’m locked out. Guilty until proven innocent, I guess, when spam is coming from your site. I hit them up on Twitter again. Despite the fact that I’m the one who got hacked, I had to wait, oh, 18 hours or so before they responded to my repeated requests to deal with the problem. And this only after I emailed them four times and mentioned them on Twitter another three times.
Finally able to log in, I change my FTP password and upgrade a non-public-facing copy of WordPress I have sitting in a root directory. Which proceeds to overwrite my custom index.html page in that directory, so I spend even more time chasing down a copy of that to restore. Only I can’t find it. So I go to the Wayback Machine, download their copy, and strip the HTML down and fix the links. Finally, more than 24 hours after the initial incident, I’m back in business.
This is obviously hugely inconvenient, but that happens. What could make life better, though, would be some real responsiveness from the support team at the hosting company. I have been with Site5 since 2008, and I haven’t had a single complaint (other than no privacy registration for domains) in four years with them. But having been met with the great wall of silence for such a long period of time while my site was MIA did not make me happy. Luckily, I’m not using the site for my livelihood. Yet.
On the flip side, I’ve been dealing with slow server times for WEEKS with FatCow, which provides hosting for my wife’s website. And when I say slow, I mean REALLY slow. Regardless of domain forwarding. And their customer service is abysmal. It takes DAYS to get back to us sometimes.
I get that hosting on the cheap relies on aggregate business to provide residual income streams that add up to real profits. Paying 5 to 8 bucks a month for hosting isn’t exactly going to get me Nordstrom-esque service. But at the same time, that’s the business model in play. Just because you’ve priced a service to move doesn’t mean a customer shouldn’t expect to get issues taken care of promptly. Too many of us have income on the line to have to worry about reliable hosting or support. I’m not a chronic complainer about bad service. I get it – things go wrong, stuff falls through the cracks, the power goes out. I am not the guy who sends back a steak because it’s medium rare and I ordered rare. But suspended accounts and slow websites kill traffic, and traffic is the stuff of life on the web.
I’m seriously considering finding a new host for me. I know I’ll be moving Jamie’s site soon. I’ve heard that for sites that primarily run on WordPress, Bluehost is good. Any other recommendations?
Steve Skojec is a storyteller, writer, blogger, photographer, designer, and sci-fi fan. He is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. He lives in Arizona with his wife Jamie and six of their seven children.