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Bluehost brought our site down – welcome to the internet age

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So Bluehost our hosting company went down yesterday for close to 16 hours. a record I believe as far as system outages go.

A long time ago when I first started in this business, I would have been driven to Vodka, Tequila or even conceptually to strapping explosives round my waist and running deep into their headquarters (I kid).

These days, it’s not even a blip to me.

You see the truth is, as the web gets more crowded, every hosting company is vulnerable to some sort of outage here and there. Between incompetence, hacking and good old infrastructure overload, anyone who knows about IT knows that if computers can malfunction, they will.

It was fun to watch the Bluehost support Twitter feed go bananas as customer after customer wailed and complained about their website being down. The customer service was superb. They responded to every tweet with variations of the same message “We’re working on it and we’ll let you know.”

I have tried every major hosting company and they all have their idiosyncrasies. Some have great customer support and crappy hosting plans, some are too expensive, some are just crap. I love Bluehost because their dedicated server packages are (usually) the most stable and best value for the money.

Some advice to you if you’re starting out in this business. Find a host that is affordable and you feel comfortable with. The truth is, as you get more experienced, you will start to notice that need different things.

Support by phone may be more important to you or Linux vs Windows Operating Systems or as in my case, the amount of RAM may make the difference.

When you find a host that is reasonably able to provide all the features you need, make peace with the fact that things may go wrong at some point. As long as the BS is few and far between, don’t stress it.

Remember this is a marathon not a sprint.

Onuora Amobi is VP of Marketing at Learn About The Web. He has an extensive background in both Online Marketing and Enterprise Technology solutions.

8 Comments
  • Lars

    Unfortunate for bluehost customers. However, your outlook on it is refreshing. It’s easy to have misdirected anger and frustration, but calmness will win out. Good for you!

    • http://latw.wpengine.com/ Onuora Amobi

      🙂

  • Kelsy Martin

    Host issues always seem worse than they actually are. You did the right thing by not getting too angry or upset. I try to think of it like an actual business being shutdown by a snowstorm or power outage. Sometimes it just happens.

    • Wayne S

      Great analogy. Internet businesses are more similar to physical businesses than you think. Just like EVERY aspect of life, stuff happens. How you react is the important part. Nice job, Onuora.

  • Drew J

    Internet isn’t perfect. This stuff is hard to foresee, but you need to deal with it. Kudos to you for handling it as well as you did, Onuora.

  • Claire R

    Really, really difficult. You want to send that anger somewhere, but the host company obviously doesn’t want it to happen because they could lose business. It’s not good for anyone. You’re right about just keeping calm though. Sage advice.

  • Jason Claven

    10-15 years ago, we would’ve been in the same boat. A boat overflown with tequila, rum, and vodka. However, after living with this kind of stuff for awhile, it’s just much easier and smarter to go with the flow. Not worth throwing a pity party. S#%! happens.

  • Emily Williams

    I remember one time in college when our servers crashed for a couple of days. A lot of work and information was posted online, so a lot of work couldn’t get done and the majority of the school was affected. Even for bigger networks, this stuff happens. Bad luck, Onuora, but you’re karmically due now! :p

Web Hosting

5 Advanced Tips For Choosing A Web Hosting Service

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Finding a good, reputable web host is easy these days, what with the nearly limitless choice of web hosting providers available. The trick, however, is finding the best one for your specific needs.

One thing common among web hosting providers is that they have a tendency to overpromise in order to make you choose their services. Their marketing campaigns try to assure you that they would do anything for customers. Reality does not always pan out this way — this much you can be sure of.

The last thing you really want is to end up signing with a bad hosting service that will hinder the potential for success of your online business.

This article provides a few advanced tips for you to use when you have completed your research and shortlisted a few providers. It builds upon the previous piece that covered some basic strategies.

Here are 5 advanced tips for choosing a web hosting service:

Ignore Disk Space And Bandwidth

At least when starting out with shared hosting. The online landscape has changed for the better, so much so that disk space and data transfers are barely meaningful. They may have been in the late 90s, but not today, when almost every host seems to offer unlimited disk space and transfers.

Which in reality, is nothing but a marketing gimmick. Don’t let this factor affect your choice. Besides, you can store your images on Flickr, videos on YouTube and large data files on other cloud based services. Instead, focus on other features that your shortlisted web hosts provide.

Don’t Sign Up For Domain Names

With your hosting company, that is. It is best to keep these separate, preferably with a reputable domain provider. You will simply be entangling yourself into the rules of regulations of your host if you go this route. Just not worth it.

Say you have a bunch of domain names, some of which are due for renewal. If for some reason you are unable to renew them in time (family holidays, business tour), some hosts even have the nerves to suspend your complete account, taking down all your websites until you clear your dues.

Read the Terms of Service

Now this is a money tip. Once you have decided on a final list, and before you are ready to sign up, make sure you read the rules to know about limits. This ties into the earlier tip above, but pay close attention to any limitations on your hosting accounts, words like “disconnection” or “discontinuance”.

Hosting companies, at least some of them, will pull the plug and suspend your account if you are using too much CPU power or bandwidth, and violating their rules. Make sure you go prepared.

Renewal Prices

Another industry norm. These days, with the multitude of hosting deals, companies often sell their services at very cheap signup prices, but charge much higher when it comes to renewals. You don’t want to be going through the hassle of switching hosts every year, two years.

And that is because there really is no way to avoid the higher renewal prices. Avoid any unpleasant surprises, read the sales page or terms of service and search for the words “renew” or “renewal”. If you are signing up during a promotion, there may be a big difference between special and standard prices.

Refund Policy

A few more basic questions that you need to ask before reaching for your credit card. What if you cancel your hosting within the trial period? Are you provided with a full money return? Are there any cancellation charges? What is the host’s refund policy in case of substandard service?

It is important to keep tabs on how your hosting provider handles customer refunds — you don’t want to lose too much money when things take a wrong turn and you sign up with another company. Some hosts charge absurdly high cancellation fees. Avoid them at all costs.

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Web Hosting

5 Basic Tips For Choosing A Web Hosting Service

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Websites are, without doubt, the bread and butter for online business owners, and although a lot of factors go into creating one, hosting is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle.

Before you can build any site (a traditional website, a dynamic portal, or even a simple blog), you must know where it will be stored on the web. You can, obviously, house the website on your own personal computer during development, but it will have to be uploaded to a hosting service eventually.

These hosting services have host computers that have 24-hour access to the Internet.

Now, while a wide variety of options exist when it comes to choosing a web hosting service, there are some simple considerations that must always be kept in mind. We’ll look at some more advanced pointers in another article, but think of these as a fundamental guideline.

Here are 5 basic tips for choosing a web hosting service:

Know Your Requirements

What kind of web hosting you will need almost always comes down to understanding your requirements. You will need to have an idea of how much bandwidth or storage space you will require to comfortably support your website. Or websites, for that matter.

A small blog is not going to need terabytes of bandwidth every month, or hundreds of gigabytes of storage. And although most web hosts will happily upgrade you to a bigger plan, as and when needed, it is best to sort this out beforehand, and choose the right plan when starting out.

Features

This is a factor that actually ties into the tip above. The features of your chosen plan should match the type of website you are developing. If it is made up of simple, static HTML pages, then you can get away without the fancy bells and whistles.

But dynamics websites, ecommerce sites, and blogs will require support for PHP, databases — the latest technologies. Make sure your web host also supports backend interfaces like cPanel, which make management a fair bit easier.

Reviews

With the above two factors decided, now you can move onto the more interesting phase of your research. Seek out reviews and see what other customers have to say about their hosting companies. In this age of social media, Facebook and Twitter provide tons of insight and user experiences.

And then there are dedicated websites and forums that also make available customer reviews that you can read. If the hosting companies you have shortlisted have dedicated support sections, then these too, are a source for positive and negative ratings. Go with the ones that seem best to you.

Customer Support

The last thing you want is to be stuck with a broken website, and no one there to help you. And this is without even mentioning any unforeseen downtimes your host may experience. In any case, the quality of customer support a web host provides should be a heavy factor in determining which one to choose.

The best companies provide you access to an actual person you can talk to about an issue, offer 24/7 access to their support center, have an active social media presence in case of any problems, and provide the ability to get in touch with the support staff via multiple means, including phone and email.

Price

For some this may rank higher, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. A few extra bucks are nothing if you are serious about your online business — after all, time is just as precious as money. Opting for a cheaper, less reliable service could just as well end up costing you more.

That is not to say that the most expensive ones are always the best. But fact is, you should not really make price a factor for the tips above, and when researching a web host. Also take care not to be swooned in with every deal that comes your way. Choose a hosting company on your own terms.

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Marketing

Wordoid Helps You Find Domain Names That Are Brandable

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If you have ever had to find the perfect name (and domain name) for your new business or website, you know how difficult and time consuming the process can be. It sounds simple enough in theory, but can be downright aggravating and annoying.

Almost as if all the brandable names are all gone!

Well, they aren’t, and luckily there are tools that help you research these names. One of the best ones around is the creatively named Wordoid. Groovy name for a service? Wait till you hear what it does.

The website defines wordoid as a made-up word that sounds like natural words.

And this is what makes them good domain names, as people can easily spell and remember them. Here is a brief selection of such words to give you more of an idea:

  • expliqa.com
  • reactics.com
  • withink.com
  • dised.com
  • barrange.com
  • metrength.com
  • apped.com
  • ladded.com
  • processful.com

Works best if you are researching for some modern and catchy names, and the service also allows to refine your search based on language, quality, pattern and length.

Head over to the official Wordoid website to do some creative brainstorming here.

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