How To Be A Good Host … And Hosting Company

by Jason Falls |

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.

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls 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 Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).