Web Host Ethics

Written by Richard Lowe

Okay, I've had to change web hosts half a dozen times inrepparttar last year and I've noticed a pattern. It's a very clear and simple pattern, actually a series of behaviors onrepparttar 134447 part of web hosting companies. These behaviors cause these companies to lose customers and gain poor reputations.

To sum it all up in a single word: ethics. Web hosts need to act ethically. As long as they are ethical towards their business and customers, they thrive. When they become unethical, they will fail.

What are web hosting company ethics? This is a code which all hosting companies need to follow if they want to stay in business forrepparttar 134448 long term.

The most important goal is up-time - Almost anything can be forgiven as long as sites are up and running, as close to 100% ofrepparttar 134449 time as possible. Every feature provided by a hosting company needs to be working and working properly. A small amount of downtime (an hour or two in a month long period) is acceptable, but more than that is not.

Every time I've had to change web hosts, this wasrepparttar 134450 base reason. Unexplained and unexpected downtime. Oh, there were many excuses and many reasons which I'm sure were perfectly valid. Butrepparttar 134451 basic reason why I create and maintain a web site is so people can see it - and they cannot see it ifrepparttar 134452 site is down.

To make it even worse, sites which are down for a significant length of time have side effects. Webrings owners often check for broken rings using automated code - down sites will trigger suspensions and even deletions. Search engines tend to drop sites which are down too often or for too long a period of time. And, of course, visitors may remove your site from their bookmarks, thinking you have closed it or moved on.

The second most important goal is performance - I understand that you want to jam as many sites on a single server as you can. This is how you maximize your profits. Please understand that all ofrepparttar 134453 web sites which you host must perform well. So don't overload your servers.

Stay in communication - We all know that things happen. Sometimes servers do crash and once in a while they require maintenance. Let your customers know about important events. If you are concerned that they might consider it spam, give your customersrepparttar 134454 option to receive updates if they desire.

I had one host (Hostrocket) which performed, in my opinion, one ofrepparttar 134455 most hostile acts that I have ever seen against a paying customer. I had a CGI script on my site which logged each 404 error in a text file. Normally this script was harmless and used little CPU. Unfortunately, withrepparttar 134456 new breed of worms strikingrepparttar 134457 internet, 404 errors went way up andrepparttar 134458 script began using large amounts of processor.

One day I tried to reach my site and didn't get my friendly front page. I got a "forbidden" error. I freaked out and sent off a quick email torepparttar 134459 web host support group. I didn't receive a response. Not a word (and it was only early afternoon). I sent another, then another. Nothing. Finally, 18 frantic hours later, I received a note that my site was closed down because ofrepparttar 134460 script.

The number of four letter words that spewed from my mouth that day would have turned a street girl's face red. I was so angry - not because they closed my site, but because these idiots (again, Hostrocket) didn't tell me what they had done. Because of that, I wasted almost an entire day trying to figure out what was wrong.

What I would have done had I beenrepparttar 134461 technical person in their company is simple. Just disablerepparttar 134462 script and send off an email torepparttar 134463 web site owner explaining why and telling him not to do it again. Ifrepparttar 134464 owner ranrepparttar 134465 script again, then shut downrepparttar 134466 site (and, of course, send another email).

A Change in Paradigm: Dedicated Server

Written by Richard Lowe

I found it hard to believe, but suddenly I was faced with a real problem. Well, I suppose most people would not consider it a huge problem, quiterepparttar opposite, in fact. However, it was stressing me out complete, interfering with my writing. I even had trouble sleeping.

What was this horrendous problem? My web site was becoming very popular. So popular, in fact, that I was getting very worried about bandwidth charges.

You see, this was happening after September 11th, 2001, and I had been reading about some people who had created very special and beautiful sites. These sites were so incredible that they attracted lots and lots of visitors. So many visitors that they received hundreds of gigabytes worth of traffic. The webmasters suddenly found themselves charged hundreds or even thousands of dollars for using bandwidth over their allocations.

I had purchased a contract with a shared hosting service which allowed 27gb/month of traffic. This seemed like more than enough atrepparttar 134446 time. However, I was noticingrepparttar 134447 bandwidth increasing at an alarming rate - about 2gb/day. At that rate, I would exceedrepparttar 134448 allotment by quite a bit. I had some time, but not much.

Okay, what to do? I looked around atrepparttar 134449 various shared hosting options and didn't see much that was all that attractive. There were some that offered "unlimited" bandwidth - I didn't trust these at all. Most ofrepparttar 134450 terms and conditions actually did place a "reasonable" limit of some kind. I preferred a limit that was know verses a limit that was unknown.

Actually, truth be known, I was getting a little tired ofrepparttar 134451 paid host option. I mean, it's far improved from free hosts, but there is still much room for improvement. Some ofrepparttar 134452 things that were bothering me were:

Downtime - All ofrepparttar 134453 shared hosting servers that I'd checked out so far seemed to be down more often than desired. I've been inrepparttar 134454 computer industry for over 23 years, and to me a few hours of downtime in an entire year is about all that's acceptable. It's not that hard to achieve these kinds of statistics - I've been doing it myself for years.

Support - The level of support from virtually all hosting companies I've used to date has been pathetic to mediocre. My expectation is simple. My site is down, I want someone to work on it quickly. I want to call someone, get an answer right away, and getrepparttar 134455 problem resolved. Especially during normal business hours. I have never received that level of support from any hosting company yet.

Strange errors - I've noticed that my web sites will run fine for a few days or weeks, then start having strange delays. I know this because I monitor my sites with an automated service. These delays are probably caused by things that other customers are doing onrepparttar 134456 same server.

Lack of communication - Web host support people seem to forget that we webmasters and businessmen depend upon our web sites. I don't know about you, but if my site goes down for any length of time I completely freak out. I want to know why it's down and what's being done about it. And virtually always I get no answers. This is most annoying whenrepparttar 134457 downtime has been planned - these hosts have my email address, why is it so hard to send an email and let me know what's going on?

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