in Articles by Jeffrey_Smith

When the Server Crashes, who suffersIf organic rankings are part of your business plan, then ensuring that you have a reliable host to safeguard your data and your site is crucial.
Why Reliable Hosting is Imperative for Your Business! When the Server Goes Down, Who Suffers the most? Your Host or Your Reputation?

The first and most obvious reason (to have more up-time than down-time) is your visitors the other, which is equally as important is search engine spiders (in order to maintain your existing rankings and stay visible in search engines).

After indexing, search engine spiders randomly frequent pages to ensure that (a) the page exists and (b) there have been no updates to report back to the search engine’s index.

In the event that a spider (a.k.a user-agent or robot) visits and your pages are off-line or missing in action, you risk all of your hard work to attain that organic ranking (which could have been years) being flushed away as a result, not to mention a cunning competitor naturally occupying your spot.

What happens when your Host Drops the Ball?

O.K, so this is where the rant starts, but there is a reason for this post. The INSPIRATION behind the jaded emotion is to let businesses know (no matter how big or small) that poor customer service is not something you can brush under the rug. So if you make a mistake in business, own up to it and do your best to make it right, before someone goes “social” on you and drops the dime on your reputation.

Long story short, we have used GoDaddy for the past 2 years for hosting our site. However, recently as a result of a social media and traffic deluge from a popular post. Our pages were experiencing outages as a result of pushing the bandwidth to the limits.

You know about The Digg Effect (getting hit with 25,000 server-toasting visitors as a result of the front page), well, I can assure you there is a Stumble and Sphinn Effect as well that can leave your servers reeling if you’re not prepared to deal with a social media deluge.

It all started when an esteemed SEO with notoriety Sphunn a page of ours at Sphinn, from there a few more pages got Stumbled and traffic was heading into the stratosphere. Then, while trying to access a few pages, I experienced a few 500 internal server errors which prevented access to the site.

To offset any unforeseen event of an outage, I then called our host www.GoDaddy.com to perform a a simple task (to increase the bandwidth and upgrade the hosting to offset the anticipated rush) which turned into a Hosting Horror Story in hindsight.

As a result, they left our site virtually crippled and off-line for nearly three days (which was just restored hours ago today) after eight (hour long) phone calls just to get the point across and cut through the red tape, they finally lead on to the facts (someone dropped the ball).

The thing that really bothered me the most was, they assured us of no outages, interruptions, etc. for such a simple migration. Then when something goes wrong, instead of informing us, they were tight-lipped about the situation, which led us to believe that it was a denial of service attack or some other black hat /server exploitation or hack attempt that was responsible for high-jacking our domain.

After 8 phone calls later, 2 additional mistakes from GoDaddy (restoring the data in the wrong folders) and an acknowledgement that they dropped the ball, they offered to waive the $150 restore fee for losing the data as a result of their mistake (wow).

Then, after another 24 hours, after failing to communicate that the service had been restored to a manageable level (which our own developers could have easily handled in less than an hour to get us back up and running) I had to call 3 more times just to force them to restore the site back to it’s prior functioning status as opposed to an empty FTP site with their (everything is working fine pitch).

I want to take a moment to state, that for those of our RSS subscribers, or individuals who have been frequenting our site lately, I apologize for being off line as of late.The moral of the story, no matter what type of business you are in, incurring downtime as a result of server problems (accidental or human induced) is one of the most harrowing experiences any business will have to endure.

Not only is your ability to communicate with the masses terminated, but your reputation and brand image can plummet as a result of the dent in your credibility your when new or unique visitors try to visit your site, only to find a (this page/site is missing in action) 404 error.

This goes back to Murphy’s law, if something can go wrong, it probably will, so as your business grows, your need proportionately expands for a reliable hosting environment which will require a stint of research and a strategic move on your part.

Finding the right business partner that can provide a hassle free, straight-forward solution for a critical dilemma without defaulting to a generic we cannot guarantee that your site will be up and running but we will do the best we can to remedy the situation within 72 hours spiel is not someone you want to trust with your brand. Who has 72 hours to spare in the middle of a media barrage? 72 seconds maybe, but even then it’s all about damage control and reaching new prospects.

Needless to say, terms like “disappointing and unacceptable” come to mind but fail to describe the stress and anxiety one feels when confronted with such a harsh reality.

In conclusion, you need to take steps to protect yourself like backing up your data regularly (particularly your databases) and keep a mirror, just in case you have to do a quick switch-a-roo and flip your DNS to another service provider in a pinch.

In this particular scenario, since they had escalated the situation to their “Advanced Hosting Team” the database and the content was on lock down, because it appeared as a hack. So, this is one situation we could have avoided and then shifted to another hosting environment, had we been prepared.

Because leaving your business in the hands of the wrong host can leave you high and dry with a mere shadow of your websites’ former stature left in it’s place if your service provider drops the ball.

If you have a hosting horror story, feel free to share your comments and let businesses know, that poor customer service has real world repercussions (such as blogging to the masses and SERP control). With the range and scope of social media and RSS each voice can have a profound impact on reputation management.  

About Jeffrey_Smith

In 2006, Jeffrey Smith founded SEO Design Solutions (An SEO Provider who now develops SEO Software for WordPress).

Jeffrey has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and marketing strategies to increase rankings, revenue and reach.

10 thoughts on “Why Reliable Hosting is Imperative for Your Business!
  1. Surely, someone has had a Hosting Horror Story?

    Let it out…It’s Time to Go Social! let’s hear it…

  2. I’m not a fan of GoDaddy (bad customer service), in my experience you have to pay a hefty price for your uptime and excellent customer service, which in the long run is worth it to stop these unfortunate occurrences happening.

    Great post!

  3. Chris says:

    GoDaddy hosting is 3.99 a month…what do you expect.

  4. @ Matt:

    I guess we all have to learn from our mistakes, I just realized that I predicted this in the last incident I had with those clowns when they moved the site to a dedicated server the first time two strikes are all we need this relationship is over…
    link is here http://seodesignsolutions.com/blog/mini-blogs/down-time-and-offline/

    @ Chris:

    Point well taken, you got me on that one.

  5. OldSchool says:

    Jeffrey, I am sorry to hear this. I am actually preparing a blog post about closely related issues. I lost faith in GoDaddy for anything except for as a domain registrar. My most recent outage came on he day of a hot Sphinn; they were doing maintenance without warning. Previously, I had a site go down right after a press release due to a server glitch, and last week there was an Apache glitch on one of my sites on the day it got a glowing review. Those we all three different hosts, and neither were GoDaddy. Timing is everything!

  6. I have had similar things happen on godaddy on non-mission critical websites. I switched to a different host One and One. They have proven to be pretty reliable. I have not noticed a moment of down time in the past year. But on mission critical sites and applications I recommend Rackspace. I have dealt with some other hosting companies and the bang for the buck Rackspace is the Best. Another mission cirtical service I found above par is NEOspire.

    In the mean time there is a wordpress plugin that can help you with auto backup. I recommend it as it has come in handy for me. Backup WordPress plugin

  7. @Chris:

    The alternatives you offer have great insight and are most definitely appreciated. The backup Plugin for instance is a must have WordPress Plugin, and I am sure others who have had a similar incident will benefit from it as well.

  8. @OldSchool:

    Let me know when your article is published, look forward to reading it. Also, it’s amazing how sometimes in the midst of a media blitz, that things go kaput! It’s just one experience, you never want to repeat.

  9. I found extremely reliable hosting that actually complements my business with even more compensation. Yes… compensation which essentially is better than free because I come out on top every month.

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