A Cautionary Tale of Hosting and Bandwidth Sucking Plug-ins – Plus a Friday Blog Hop

Having your site – in this case my blog – out of commission for two full days is not cool.

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Especially when the site you’ve been with for more than ten years has no viable way to contact customer support, even though the email they send you out of the blue instructs you to do just that:

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Of course I didn’t get that message until after we’d just spent that past few hours tending to our 7 year old’s altercation with the monkey bars at school where he cracked the back of his head open pretty good. He’s fine, that whole scenario deserves it’s own post.

But imagine my surprise when I finally had a chance to sit down at my computer to do some blog hopping catch up, only to be greeted by this:

DeadBlogThat was staring me in my face anytime I tried to view a post, or even go to the dashboard in WordPress. Of course has no real means of contact – in spite of their claim of 24/7 customer support. Yeah, not so much. There is no phone number listed in any of the forums or help links or even in the ‘contact us’ part of their website – you are required to submit a support ticket and sit back and wait.

And wait…

And wait.

I happen to be a very patient person, but ‘hurry-up-and-wait’ is definitely not my favorite thing.

I posted about it on Facebook and tagged them – my friends were awesomely empathetic and many offered up their hosting as legit and great ones to check out. I also posted a comment on Bravenet’s Facebook wall, and still nothing. No reply, no response of any kind.

More than 18 hours after submitting the support ticket, I finally  got a response. Maybe they should word their “24 hours a day, 7 days a week” claim to customer service fame as “You’ll be lucky if you get a response within 24 hours, so go make yourself busy until we get to you” claim instead.

You know what I did during that 18+ hours of agonizing ‘hurry-up-and-wait’ mode? Looked into getting a new host. One that will actually communicate with me, particularly if I’ve been a loyal customer of theirs for over 10 years. And, you know, have phone support in order to save me from ripping my hair out by the roots in frustration.

When I finally did get a response, turns out one of my plug-ins, the W3 Total Cache plug-in that’s supposed to help your pages load much faster, has the opposite effect. Sure, in the beginning it seemed to work, but I suspect after several WordPress upgrades something was not working like it should, and now, after the plug-in had been installed for more than a year, it was suddenly causing concern with the magnitude of bandwidth it was eating up on the servers.

I did notice that I seemed to have more and more trouble even when I was working on a post and trying to preview it to make sure I didn’t have any glaring spelling or grammatical errors, when instead of the page loading in a new tab, my current tab would give me a warning that the connection to the server was lost.

The preview tab would sit staring blankly at me staring blankly at it before it would either finally load slow as molasses, or end up with an error page. I briefly wondered if it was a Bravenet issue, then assumed it was my internet connection, since we’re still waiting for our upgraded modem/router from Xfinity with their claims of a much faster internet experience. Seems we’re in ‘hurry-up-and-wait’ mode all around.

Not only did it take more than 18 hours to get a response, but my ticket sat there, “unassigned” during that time – I know this, because I kept checking on it as I started pulling all my files off their servers from all my other websites spanning more than 10 years. 

It wasn’t until after I’d initiated transfers on all five of my domains to a new host that I finally got a response. Funny how that works.

Of course their response required I respond to that response within that same support ticket.

And sit back and wait some more.

I had no problem removing the offending plug-in, especially if that means the sluggishness on my side would be gone, and of course didn’t want problems for any of my readers, either. But in order to do that, I needed to have my site reinstated so I could access the dashboard and deactivate and delete the plug-in.

Which could have been taken care of immediately almost 24 hours before if they had simply contacted me to let me know, rather than shut me down and throw me into panic mode. And of course after I replied to their reply that I’m happy to comply to the need to kill off the plug-in, I had to wait again.

Nothing like having modern like phone or internet to get things done much faster. They might has well have hired Paul Revere to send me a letter of explanation, or at least just sent up smoke signals. But then again, smoke signals would probably be bad for the environment, so….

Ironically the tech taking care of my support ticket supplied a phone number during the third response in case I had any questions – telling me that they don’t normally give out that number since they don’t actually have phone tech support, but that I’m welcome to use it if I should have any problems or issues going forward.

Sorry dude, you’re a day late and a dollar short.

During my imposed down time, I went ahead and secured three years of hosting service with a highly recommended company who actually does have legitimate 24/7 support, . I bet if I called them right now just to chat, they’d be fine with that.

I’ve gotten more from them in the past 24 hours than I have from Bravenet in 10+ years. And I’ve even had to call them a couple of times already with innate questions, which they were very happy to answer – I already feel like a valuable customer, even though I’m just getting started with them. 

I’m simultaneously looking forward to seeing how much better the overall experience is over at Bluehost whilst dreading the learning curve I’m currently facing on how to maneuver around their site. Luckily they’re actually available to help, so that certainly assuages the fear.

Hopefully the transition will be a smooth one over the next week or so – please bear with me. I have to wait 7 days for the domain transfers to take place – which ended up being another point of contention, since the domains purchased through Bravenet (who are in Canada) are managed by a company in India. Let’s just say I’ve had to jump through many hoops these past two days – and the hoops were pretty much rings of fire.

Moral of the story: Think twice before using any company that doesn’t at least have a way to contact customer service or tech support by phone if you get into a pinch. Also, if you happen to have the W3 Total Cache plug-in, you might want to check to see if it’s sucking up bandwidth that might get you in hot water with your hosting service. 

Are you impatient in the ‘hurry-up-and-wait’ mode like me?

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I’m linking up with the TGIF Bog & Instagram Hop this week – if you have a (or any weekday hop), let me know, are cool.

TGIF Blog Hop

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About StacyUncorked

After 20+ years in the Corporate World and years of infertility, Stacy was surprised when Princess Nagger made her miraculous appearance - deciding to forgo the career and stay home was a no-brainer. As if her hands weren't full enough, 8 years later she and her husband added Little Dude through adoption, adding a whole new dimension (of crazy) to their family and even more sleepless nights. When she’s not refereeing kids, dogs and cats, she loves to write, hence the reason she decided to start her little blog, and because she never got a baby book to mark milestones, this was the next best thing. She also enjoys doing reviews and giveaways for products she or her family would willingly use and can stand behind. She loves to cook and try new techniques to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Crafty by nature, she takes on a lot of unique projects and enjoy seeing the end result. Her favorite, of course, is making her award winning wine out of fruits and grapes. Experiments with water currently underway.
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6 thoughts on “A Cautionary Tale of Hosting and Bandwidth Sucking Plug-ins – Plus a Friday Blog Hop

  1. Well…honestly I’ve noticed some odd things in the way your site worked, too. But…I figured it was something done on purpose. I don’t know, if you’re aware, but when I commented your site opened up in three separate tabs before the comment was totally submitted. I hope BlueHost works great for you and I definitely wouldn’t want to undertake a server without phone tech support available to me because, well…I’m a bit insecure like that. lol I’ll be patiently waiting your transfer and hope for the best for you. Have a good weekend! 😉 PS: Funny, I just noticed your blog didn’t open up in three different tabs. I guess that plugin you deleted may have been the source of that problems. Weird!

  2. Pingback: Super Bowl Disappointment, a Haunted Mansion and some Hilarity – Random Tuesday Thoughts Coffee Chat

  3. Oh so sorry this happened to you. Unfortunately, things like this have to happen so you can find something good come of it, like you did with a new host.

    Thanks for linking up at the TGIF Hop! Hope you’ll join us again!

  4. Hmm, well, in comment to Cathy’s comment, when ever I comment (LOL – to the wording) a 2nd tab opens on your page. I’d say that is a setting in your theme?! I find it a bit strange, but… one can get used to it 🙂 As for providers, weeeell, I am actually right at this moment about to be moving away from bluehost. Sorry. Not because of customer service, but because of hiccups i.e site downs without explanation etc. But maybe that’s just me. I guess so. In any case. I now want a small company with ‘personalized’ customer service. A bit more to pay, but – I’m sure it will be worth it. I wish you only good things with your new service provider!!