You know, when I originally planned this post to talk about reasons you might fear your Web hosting company, I meant for it to be a humorous and exaggerated look at misconceptions and occasionally irrational fears newbie webmasters have. And then my little tech-based world went to Hell. And it was thanks to multiple Web hosting companies. And suddenly I’m not laughing anymore.
Have you ever felt like fate was out to get you? That’s how it feels right now. I wanted to poke fun at Web hosting paranoia, so the Web hosting companies somehow picked up on that — like a wild animal smelling fear in its prey — and they made it a mission to make my life miserable. Or at least that’s how it seems.
But let’s pick this up anyway. Let’s have a bit of fun and talk about five unlikely (although, as I recently learned in some cases, still very possible) reasons you really should fear your Web hosting company!
1. Your Web hosting company might eat your data for lunch.
“No, no I really didn’t accidentally hit the delete button in my file manager. The hosting company must have done it. They lost my site!” Um, yeah. Unfortunately this probably does happen. And human error’s most likely to blame. Your human error.
2. Your hosting company will pull your site offline without any notice.
Oh, and just because they’re full of spite they’ll do it right after you go to bed so it’s down all night until you call them in the morning to fix whatever over-usage issue they claim you have. Better yet, they’ll wait until you go away for a long weekend. In my case, I was a sneaky little wench. I stayed up late. I called them just before midnight to remind them that the resource issue was a known problem resulting from something they were working on for several months, supposedly fixing (the last straw before deciding to move my sites there away from that host).
That word makes me want to light the torches and storm the castle. Are you with me? Fortunately I have yet to be hacked due to a host issue — only through a blog platform vulnerability (and it was easily remedied). Yes, hackers happen. Hackers suck. They should all be lined up and we should, well, “do really really not nice things” to them. But unless you go with an incredibly incompetent hosting company, you probably won’t be hacked as a result of anything they do. Yet I’ve seen plenty of blame thrown on them when people didn’t take appropriate precautions to protect their own sites.
4. Your account will be throttled.
Remember how I mentioned that my first host pissed me off to the point that I decided to leave? Well, within days of moving a blog to a new host (that came highly recommended), it was being severely throttled. It wasn’t a huge blog. The worst plugin culprits were removed before the server move. And the database was fairly well-optimized. I couldn’t understand what the issue could be. I called the host. In the end I cut the database size by around 60% by eliminating some features I’d consider fairly necessary. So I’m already incredibly unhappy (the host advertises the fact they can handle sites on this platform, but they can’t handle a modest one without constant throttling issues). While the site is nowhere near resource-intensive enough to need dedicated hosting (which I do use elsewhere for other sites outside of my little collection of bloggy-goodness), it’s looking worthwhile just to rid myself of shared hosting hassle for this one site in particular.
5. Their tech support department will be full of incompetent dolts.
Oh, this is my favorite. And for the last five years, I used to laugh at people who constantly told me their hosting support was awful. I mean, if they’re that bad every time you call, either the problem is with you not understanding what they’re saying, or they’re truly that bad of a company and you should have long since left, right? I was thrilled with my old host’s support people until a few months ago. But remember how I mentioned the throttling issue with the new host? Remember how I trimmed the database size by a whopping 60%? Well, that was on the recommendation of the host’s support rep. He insisted it was a certain table causing problems (I knew it wasn’t). He couldn’t however explain where the resource usage was coming from (no unusual traffic, no processes running that would cause heavy database loads, no plugins calling that data, no unusual crawlers visiting the site, etc.). Joyous day. So I humored him. And do you know what happened? After completely trimming and re-optimizing my database the throttling issues got worse!
So yeah. I want to say Web hosting companies are evil at this point and that all new webmasters should cower in fear. But instead I’ll just keep plugging away at my own hosting problems, crossing my fingers in hope that at least some of these common hosting fears are still unlikely to hit me.