Yes, our website MyTestbox.com was down for several days starting with the last weekend and lasting until day before yesterday.
As you have already seen, we went through a major overhaul of our site design. We got many reviews of our last design that it was nice and elegant but too dark for long reading.
Well, we listened to the reviews and changed for the better.
However, this change wasn’t without pain… And this “thanks” is to our webhosting company, Bluehost.com. I have chosen Bluehost (it was my responsibility – I didn’t know I was going to regret that) after researching offers and reviews for several hosting providers. Our site is not that big in terms of storage and traffic demands (at least, for now) so I wanted to get a good offer with a fair price (we were looking, basically, for a shared account for now). From among hundreds of companies in this field I have selected a few (of course, I have researched all of them). Goddady, Dreamhost, Lunarpages, Hostway, Hostgator were among the frontrunners but in the end I settled down for Bluehost.com.
Good offering, good price and, as I read and then experienced, good customer service.
One big drawback though: from among many reviews almost nobody mentioned about their backup policy. Thinking it’s pretty solid I went with them and signed for one year (on their features page they say “Courtesy Site Backups” but they don’t tell how often they are doing this “courtesy”).
For several months all went fine. Site was up, handled traffic quite well. Then all the hell broke loose: the site could not connect to the database (we use MySQL database for the backend, the front end being the well-known web software WordPress).
I found out the Bluehost’s database server was down. I called them and they, curteously, explained that they had a problem with their database system and they have to reset it, which means restoring from a backup.
1-2 weeks old backups??
But guess what? Their backup happened to be one week old! And thus I lost several posts. Ok, I wrote them back (one thing I dislike the most is repeating the efforts of what has already been done). I just finshed those articles (took me 2-3 days because I have other things to do too) and guess what? Bluehost’s database went cuckoo again. So I lost AGAIN what I have just wrote! No wonder, they had, yet AGAIN, a backup one week old. Yes, I know, I should have my backup too. I understand that. But not always you can have the latest nor have time to have the latest. So I learned my lesson and I installed a backup plugin for the WordPress database which does a daily backup and it’s kept on the server and I download it from time to time on my computer.
Now, other months went by…and we decided to change the site’s design. Last week we did that and then we started to put back stuff we had before also upgrading WordPress (and configuring). Again, we just finished and this time the Bluehost’s web server went to meet its Creator. In other words, it died. And because we did work directly on the server (yeah, silly again) no backups were made.
When it was time to recover the files Bluehost said “We are sorry, the backup we have is two weeks old…“. Their apologies didn’t help me much. We had to re-do ALL what we have done previously. Which meant another week lost.
Now, I asked them and I ask you too: is it normal that a web hosting company over 10 years old to have this one or two weeks backup policy??
I mean there are many other companies which have daily backups (but not better offers) and even we had to pay we would had paid to recover our files. They didn’t even have that (a paid backup policy).
“We do a courtesy backup for our clients…” they said. Courtesy backup?? Paying customers are relying on the hosting company to take care of their site, aren’t they? Especially when the things are going awry. They would be happy to pay 2-3 dollars more just to have peace of mind. In today’s world sites are not static anymore like they were 10 years ago. The content is changing quite often and that needs to be backed up often. I guess they are still stuck in yesterday’s era with their backup policy. I understand backing up so many files on a server takes some time. But other companies do it — they can do it too (doesn’t hurt to ask others.)
Godaddy to the rescue
So, after hours of mumblings we switched to Godaddy (I have the domain with Godaddy and I didn’t want to have all the eggs in the same basket – but it seems now I do). Goddady is based in the same city I am, so at least they are local (not to mention they are the world’s biggest domain reseller).
Godaddy had a good offer of their version of just introduced cloud hosting called “Grid Hosting” which resembles somehow with Amazon S3, MediaTemple, Mosso or Joyent offers.
So far we are happy, the site seems to respond faster than on Bluehost…but it’s to early to tell more. Hopefully, they’ll do better and yes, they have a daily backup policy (thank you very much!).
One goal of MyTestBox is to present reviews and opinions about hosting companies too (they are hosting many of the web software we are or will review) besides web software reviews and news from the industry.
If you want to tell us your opinions/feedback about other web hosting companies you are welcome to write articles as guest authors and send them to us.
Soon we can give access to people to register and post articles in our activity field.
It seems the CEO of Bluehost, Matt Heaton, found a method to make the backups more faster (and thus more often) by “dumping the name of any file that was created/modified (any bytes written) at the time the file was modified and use that as a list of files to back up“.
Hopefully, they will implement this ASAP because what happened to me did happen to others too and that is a “blue” spot on the company’s cheek.
Host Color said that it now offers an authoring hosting plan based on TextPattern (TXP) CMS. TextPattern CMS is an elegant web content management platform, best for writers, journalists and other professionals who need to publish online textual presentations and easy to manage them (it’s the equivalent to WordPress and MovableType blogging platforms).The Hostcolor’s TextPattern hosting service is made exclusively for TXP websites. It can not be used to run other software applications. It is priced at $3.99 per month and enables owners of TextPattern CMS websites to work in customized web hosting environment.
The limitation is set due to quality assurance, so the hosting company can guarantee that customers of TXP Plan will use the promotional price of $3.99/month to host TextPattern websites only.
Host Color offers web hosting plans in price range between $2.99 and $11.99 per month. Priced at only $3.99/month TextPattern Plan is among the most inexpensive ones. Alongside with TextPattern authoring CMS Host Color allows its TXP customers to use ZenPhoto gallery.
The TextPattern hosting plan features 1,000 MB disc space and 5 GB monthly transfer. Host Color says that these quotas will be increased for anyone who needs more space and monthly transfer, but it does not want to promote any numbers that aren’t realistic or might be considered as overselling.
Besides pre-installed TextPattern CMS, customers can use a number of TXP skins without additional cost, and to meter their visitors with AWStats.
Anyone who wants to register new domain name with thei TXP plan has to pay only $8.95 for web address under COM, NET, ORG, INFO, BIZ, US or WS extensions.
Last week Host Color introduced its entry-level Virtuozzo VPS Hosting Plan – “VPS Start”. It is priced at $19.95 per month and features 192 MB RAM, 10 GB disc space and 50 GB data transfer per month.
The web host recently has been very active in promoting some national and regional Top-Level domains such as .DE, .ME, .US, .Asia, .BZ, .CN and .TW. It also opened its new Affiliate Program, that transfers 25% of the company’s revenue per sale to its affiliates and also pays them for each unique visitor sent to Host Color’s website.
About Textpatern content management system (CMS)
A flexible, elegant and easy-to-use content management system, Textpattern is both free and open source. Sites published with Textpattern can employ unlimited registered contributors, each of whom may be assigned privileges by the publisher of the site. Installing and managing plugins that extend Textpattern’s abilities is straightforward. Overall, is a good contender of WordPress and MovableType although it’s not the most trendy publishing software outhere.
About Host Color
Host Color LLC is a quality U.S. web hosting company incorporated in Delaware. It powers thousands of business and personal websites in data centers in South Bend, Indiana, U.S. and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The company also provides fully Managed dedicated hosting through HC Servers and European hosting services through HC Europe. It offers discounts to academics and non-governmental organizations.