A bad day – Web Hosting

I have been hosting my websites for the last 4 years or so on a premium provider, MediaTemple. They have been efficient, no hassle, and have offered great service when I needed it. I have 7 domains hosted with them, and their basic hosting package has served me well.

I have sung praises to them, and have recommended them, even though they are not the cheapest supplier out there. For me, the $20 a month has been worth it for the support, the reliability, and the high quality tools they have offered.

To compare, I use GoDaddy for one of the sites I manage (for a non-profit that I donate my time to). Their support is OK. Their tools are crappy to manage the hosting, the data bases, and other administrivia. But what I hate most of all, is the constant upselling they do. They continually try to sell more domains, more services, addons. It is enough to make me loathe logging into their website unless I have to.

I had been plotting how to move that site to Media Temple when the prepaid period was up.

Then today I got the email from the founder and CEO of MediaTemple. Since he wouldn’t know me from Adam, I was worried.

I was right to be worried. He was announcing that Media Temple was being acquired by GoDaddy. A million voices were crying “Nooooooooooooo!” in my head. Of all the sleazeball, scummy webhosting providers to sell to, they had to pick the bottom feeders. The shit-birds at GoDaddy. Of course the email was full of assurances that the MediaTemple experience wouldn’t change, and that it would be autonomous from the GoDaddy. Their posted FAQ was about how GoDaddy was looking to improve their relationship with web developers, and professionals, and that acquiring Media Temple was a path forward there.

Yeah, and pigs will fly.

If GoDaddy wants to improve its image and reputation among the serious web developers and professionals, they should probably stop being scum of the earth, marketing bloated, pushers of mediocre products. Furthermore, they should improve their infrastructure, and tools on the back end so that I don’t have to navigate 10 pages to figure out how to set a CNAME.

Reading the comments on the FAQ was about 99-1 against this move, and how a lot of people will be looking for new hosting. I know I will be moving completely off them.

Perhaps it is time to go VPS.

GoDaddy can kiss my ass

Soft porn advertisements, shitty hosting.
Soft porn advertisements, shitty hosting.

There are many valid reasons to hate GoDaddy web hosting, from their soft-porn advertisements, to their owner’s proclivity to go big game hunting in Africa, to the barrage of pushy marketing of their goods and services (no, I don’t want to add domains today). Today though, I will be complaining about their support and their absolutely shitty hosting platform.

Until Friday, March 22, 2013, the few times I needed support, I received quick, accurate, and insightful help. Leading up to the Friday a website that I run for a local non-profit, Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption, had been sluggish in loading for a week or so. I noticed it taking a minute to respond to the original URL request. and similarly on the back end (we had a fundraising event on Wednesday, so I was doing daily tweaks to keep the excitement up) it was a pig, taking minutes to load.

But starting Friday morning, it was pretty much unreachable. It would time out, or present the default Apache 500 series error. I could ping the server, I could FTP to it, I could SSH to it, but the Apache/MySql system seemed completely broken. I head on over to the support area, and log a ticket. They estimated that it would take 11 hours to get a response (in the past it had always been less than 2 hours), and the status noted that Friday Evening they would be doing maintenance on their 4GH platform (where my linux hosting is) to fix some resource allocation issues.  But no real details.

I also went to their customer forums, and noted that there was a long stream of other people with similar comments/complaints. I posted there as well, and got a prompt response from one of their support droids, telling me that the upgrade/maintenance to the 4GH platform will resolve the issue. But also 4 other people commented on my post that they were experiencing the exact same thing.

Groan.

Saturday morning, and things are back up, but still sluggish. Feels like there is some delays in their system. 20 hours after opening the ticket, I get an email response. Instead of mentioning anything at all about their problems, I get a list of unhelpful suggestions:

Support Staff Response
Dear Geoffrey,Thank you for contacting Online Support. You can make modifications to your site that improve performance. Some of these changes are easy to manage while others might take some time to figure out.

Here are four things you can do to speed up your site:

GZIP Compression

Smaller pages load faster, regardless of your Internet connection speed. You can make your pages smaller by compressing them with GZIP. (GZIP is only available on our Linux Hosting plans.) For more information about GZIP and our hosting, see Compressing Web Pages for Faster Load Times.

Image Sizes

If you use HTML to make large images small, a site visitor still needs to download the larger version. If you need a small image, don’t use HTML to do it—shrink it in an image-editing program instead.

Scripting

You can edit to say more with less. A good programmer does the same thing with code. If the code on your site is inefficient, it impacts your site’s performance. There isn’t a quick fix for bloated code, but if you’re using GZIP and you’ve reduced your image sizes, analyze your code to make your site even faster. One way to make a database-driven site faster is to use a database index to improve the speed of data retrieval.

CSS

Cascading style sheets are great for formatting the look and feel of your website. If your style sheet contains a lot of styles that aren’t being used, you are forcing browsers to download things they don’t need. If you’re trying to maximize performance, trim your CSS files and remove anything that’s unnecessary.

Please let us know if we can assist you in any other way.

For the record, GZIP compression was enabled, I run the site on Joomla, I make sure that all the images are 640 pixels wide or less (and set thumbnails to 200×200 pixel png’s for speed), and really? want me to rewrite the Joomla core to use less PHP scripting?  I already have a pretty clean CSS.

So basically, they flipped me the bird, told me that the problem was mine, not theirs, and closed the case. Oh, and in the header of the email they were trying to sell me more domains.

Fucktards. I am now preparing to move the site and domains to my personal hosting provider, the awesome folks over at Media Temple. I will abandon a year of prepaid Go Daddy hosting to get away from those scumbags.