Many people who I’m connected to on Twitter saw a pretty heated explosion from me on March 27. For the third time in less than a month, my websites at Social Media Explorer and Exploring Social Media, among others, went down. I tore into MediaTemple because, as my hosting provider, they are relied upon to host my websites, not host my crashed websites and do nothing about it.

Granted, I understand things happen. But on all three occasions, it appeared that my server resources were used up and the server needed to be reset. I’m sure there are those of you who understand server-side jargon, but I don’t. My dedicated, virtual server cost about $100 per month. I’ve had it for about nine months. Add the domains and what-not that I purchase, plus an old hosting package that I moved from but didn’t shut down and I’ve given Media Temple in the neighborhood of $2,000 in the two years I’ve been using them.

Still, I’m supposed to know when my server goes down because their resource allotment isn’t good enough for a couple of WordPress blogs, log in and hit a reset button?

Namecheap.com - Cheap domain name registration, renewal and transfers - Free SSL Certificates - Web HostingIn fairness, the MediaTemple DV servers are “self-managed.” Media Temple is not supposed to “manage the server.” I have a developer who helps me manage the server. But I don’t pay that much money for a server that needs to be reset like a 25-year-old, stand-up Galaga machine. GoDaddy, BlueHost, NetworkSolutions and dozens of other services will give me a hosting package that costs 1/10th the price and doesn’t need me to hit “reset.”

MediaTemple assured me that it was a cache problem with WordPress and gave me some advice on how to reset things so that the crash didn’t happen again. They also pushed back a bit on my rants and raves that the server crash had to be their fault since the server was “self-managed.”

My developer assured me the WordPress cache was in place. And I’m sorry, I will not take the blame for your equipment breaking, even if I am supposed to be taking care of it.

A business’s hosting company should be a good host, just as your business should be a good host to its customers.

No, the customer isn’t always right. In fact, the customer is sometimes a complete moron. And when the customer gets mad, he can be a real jackass.

But why add fuel to that fire?

MediaTemple’s Twitter person actually sent me a direct message right in the middle of my tirade saying something like, “There’s no need to attack us!”

You pay me $2K over two years and have what I’m supposed to supply you with mess up and tell me if you feel the need to attack me. When my website goes down, I lose audience members and potential customers or clients. I pay you to keep my website up and running. When it goes down and all I did was turn on a basketball game (I was watching the NCAA Tournament, which pissed me off even more since I was missing games while trying to get my website back up), it’s not my fault.

The point that I didn’t need to attack them may have been appropriate, but it wasn’t made at an appropriate time. When a customer is pissed off, you need to placate and let them calm down before you wag a finger at them, if you wag a finger at them at all. I’m a reasonable guy when I’m not unreasonable. I can look back now and say, “Okay, maybe I went a bit overboard.”

But your services killed my website three times in less than a month. You never tried to help me fix it until you realized there were a few thousand more people watching what I said on Twitter than you’re used to. There were no helpful emails or suggestions after the first two problems, even though I vented about the second one on Twitter a bit. On March 27, suddenly 35,000 audience members made someone perk up.

As of earlier this week, all my digital assets, sans a couple of domain names I have to wait out the 60-day minimum wait time to transfer, have moved to Namecheap.com. Now, Namecheap did have a bit of an inside track with me. Tamar Weinberg, one of my business partners in Exploring Social Media, works with them. Yes, I serve on a social media advisory board for Network Solutions, which probably would have been my second phone call, but Tamar was watching the battle of wits with MediaTemple and just said, “Dude … Namecheap will solve your problem. I’ll see to it.”

People like doing business with people they know. (I still love you, Shashi!)

But here’s the kicker … Namecheap figured I’d tell folks about moving, so they offered me a couple of discount codes to share with you to move with me. Sure, you may not be in a position or fed up enough to leave your current hosting company, but if you are and Namecheap looks good to you, you can use the code “HOSTU” for their shared, reseller and business hosting packages and the code “VPSX” for their virtual, private servers. Both give you a 10% discount. Both are good until April 30.

I’m tickled to be with Namecheap because of Tamar and the personal connection. That and they’re not MediaTemple, which has apologized profusely, but not soon enough for me to give up on them. But rest assured, I’m going to share any complications I have. I don’t intend to throw Media Temple under the bus and not continue to insist my hosting company do what they’re paid to do and not treat me condescendingly because I don’t know the difference between a cPanel and C++ … and I refuse to hit “Reset.”

At least for now, I’m singing the praises of Namecheap. And I will until they give me reason not to. They’re now the official hosting provider of Social Media Explorer and Exploring Social Media and a preferred hosting provider for ESM. And if they mess up, I know who to call. Heh.

Join me at Namecheap.com. I have a feeling we’re both going to be satisfied.

Note: The image above contains an affiliate link.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog and signature Explore events. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://nickhuhn.com nickhuhn

    I just moved all my domains to Namecheap after the Bob Parsons elephant fiasco. I’m pretty happy so far!

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com Ricardo Bueno

    Re: “And if they mess up, I know who to call…”

    Ghostbusters!!

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com Ricardo Bueno

    On another note, I think any business…every customer service (or Sales Rep) would benefit from treating each and every customer as if they were their only client.

    I witnessed some of your exchanges and thought it was…”unfortunate” that they didn’t go above and beyond (at least to my knowledge) to assist your or apologize. If I’m wrong, sorry, I don’t know the details and I didn’t care to pry. But my comment still stands, every business can benefit from treating each and every single client as if they were the only client they had. Care for your clients because if it wasn’t for them, you wouldn’t be in business.

  • http://deswalsh.com Des Walsh

    You did well, Jason, going to Namecheap. One of the reasons I recommend them for domain hosting is that, unlike at least one other well known domain host, they do not mine the registration process with little traps to get you pay for a lot more than you came in for – as in, just wanting to register this domain today, thanks. They host most of our domains and there has never been a problem.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Des. I’m excited to be with them. Appreciate your continued advice,
      readership and more.

  • http://twitter.com/DMSalko Dmitriy

    I’m thinking about moving to NameCheap. Yet I’ve saved some money on SSL certificates.
    NameCheap provides really cheap SSL that just work. For example, Godaddy’s cheapest SSL costs about $50 and at NameCheap you can get the one similar for $9!!!
    And NameCheap has a real wide range of issuers and even sells “green bar EV” certificates.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Good deal, Dmitriy. Glad you’ve got a client using them so you can
      test the waters! Heh.

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  • http://www.businessesgrow.com Mark W. Schaefer

    Amen. Here is what hosting companies miss: They are a freaking commodity. We don’t need a user interface, we don’t need self-manage options, we don’t need variable service plans. We need it to work and we need it to be cheap. Period.

    You could run a server in your bathroom. So guys, how are you going to compete with my bathroom? You have to make your service more reliable and cheaper than what I can do myself. That should not be difficult because you can scale and have redundancies I could never afford. Plus, I might eventually need to access my commode.

    So look, stop the excuses. If shit happens, as it often does in my bathroom, both figuratiuvely and literally, make it right and install a counter-meausure that will assure that problem will never, ever happen again. This is not difficult.

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    It sucks that you went down (I had the same issues when I was with Hostgator before moving to dedicated servers with BlogOnCloud9, who are awesome). And dealing with hosts can be a pain at times (though, again, Dana and Karen from BoC9 are excellent as are their Rackspace partners).

    But if I understand right, the package you had didn’t include support (that was your own guy). So, yes, definitely not great, but didn’t the previous hosts offer what they were being paid for?

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      No, they didn’t offer what I paid, Danny. I paid to have cloud servers with
      replication and all that jazz to ensure no or less down time. All I got was
      more down time than I had on non-replicated, non-cloud servers. Their own
      diagnosis told us it was a WP Cache issue which we discovered wasn’t the
      issue, so their own support folks couldn’t even diagnose their own problem.

      I had a server manager … and a good one, too … but regardless of the
      testing and settings we adjusted, MediaTemple’s servers failed us. We were
      not getting what we paid for, which was up time. You can nickle and dime the
      fine print all you want, but at the end of the day, I need my websites up.
      They weren’t. Dismissed.

      • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

        Gotcha – just saw the “self server” bit and thought that was their loop out.

        Here’s hoping the new guys are better. :)

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          If they had a loop out, I would have fired them anyway. “Oh, sorry Mr.
          Falls. We have a loop hole here that says it’s your problem. Good luck
          fixing that!” I can find better. ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Jason, I’m curious for more info in detail on what resource caps you were hitting on (mt)? Kmemsize? numfile? dcache? How many actual domains were you hosting? WordPress multisite? Were you using FastCGI?

    I myself am still with a (mt) (dv) and have been battling with resource caps. I’ve upgraded RAM once so far, but still keep hitting them. It got to a point to where I was rebooting at least once or twice a day. Faster switching to FastCGI on all my domains that helped greatly and upgrading the RAM once (256MB) helped. But as I sit today, we are still at about 86% resource utilization and see numfile QoS alerts and kmemsize alerts. I haven’t had to reboot in a few weeks, so that’s a least a plus.

    As far as notifications of problems, I’ve installed Monit so I know when services go down as well as using UptimeRobot to monitor sites when they are down.

    I’m curious how your experience so far with namecheap is. All hosts have different resource caps in place, do you know what namecheaps are set at? I’m wondering if you are just going to run into the same problems with them?

    Before (mt), we never had these problems on a shared Go Daddy hosting account obviously because they just scape with your utilization, but we switched because of their stability problems (mostly with mysql). We also wanted to run WP multisite.

    I see both sides with self-managed hosting. Obviously people run software on these VPS’s that are not optimized and can push those resource caps and that’s not (mt)’s problem and that’s why they have support limits in place cause they simply cannot deal with that. But I also see the other side where you just want your sites to be up and running good. It’s tough, because the next step up from a shared or grid hosting seems to be a VPS, but you honestly need a full-time admin yourself to make sure the server is running good. You can’t rely on the host to do that like you can with shared/grid.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Hey Pete. If I had a clue, I’d tell you. I will ask my developer to see if
      he can remember or has a record of what we were set at.

      I see your point on the hosting company being hands-off with self-hosted.
      But I trust my developer and know that we tried at least everything a
      self-hosted server manager should know to try to fix the resources issue and
      even with advice from MT, we kept seeing down time. Maybe I just don’t have
      enough patience to deal with it. Either way, their fault or mine, I was
      tired of dealing with it and left.

      So far, Namecheap is awesome. But rest assured, my developer and I are
      watching the resources issue for sure.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Hey Pete. My developer passed on the following to me:

      On our first VPS package with MT, which was about $50 per month, we had a problem with Kmemsize. We upgraded to a different VPS package ($100) and had problem with privvmpages … and for some unknown reason we saw our server stop before hitting limits.

      Yes, we had used FastCGI according to MT recommendation.

      http://wiki.mediatemple.net/w/(dv)_3.5:Run_PHP_as_FastCGI_and_resolve_Apache_permission_errors

      In fact there it’s the only normal way to resolve permission problems, other ways are less secure.

      Essentially, what MT’s pricing structure does is get you in a low price and then underperform to make you upgrade … or at least that was our experience. For what you actually need, even with not-so-complex websites, their VPS are more expensive than the real, dedicated servers with the same configuration.

      They big problem we found was they hide the kmemsize limit. At the starter level for $50 – it’s only 12mb. That is not enough for fast-cgi. And to double it to 24Mb, you need to upgrade to the $100 plan. This limit allows them to limit CPU usage in fact. This VPS is not much different to shared hosting. When we asked on their forum why they’re not showing kmemsize limit in specification of their service, they said they don’t have to. If it’s not enough – upgrade.

      Another problem with MT is their DV service comes unprepared. You need to configure everything yourself. Out of the box you’re getting something where you need to use 777 or your script won’t be able to write files. But if you want it to actually work well, you need to do several things from their KB. Any problems? They claim no responsibility because you’ve configured the software. But in fact, you have no choice. Once you start using it you have to configure stuff. It’s a bit of a support bait and switch.

      What we’re finding with Namecheap is that it really is dedicated hardware, not a VPS. It’s much faster, kmemsize limits don’t exist because it’s not virtual and the out-of-the-box configuration just works.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for this info! One last thing maybe you could ask him if he ever upgraded to (dv) 4.0? Thanks again!

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          We were on 3.5. But of course, that’s another up-sell! Ha!

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for this info! One last thing maybe you could ask him if he ever upgraded to (dv) 4.0? Thanks again!

  • http://www.cygnismedia.com/mobile-phone-application/iphone-app-developer.html iPhone Application Developer

    Great Techniques you have shared thanks for this post man.

  • Zach

    I feel your pain, mediatemple blows – far too expensive for a shitty service (with a unnecessarily complicated control panel) and the WORST support I’ve seen from any hosting company. Their fancy website belies their bullshit.