Blog Update: Why My Server Failed Me & Who Saved My Day…
I’m going through blogging withdrawals and although this is the last thing I should be doing right now (I can’t even tell you what my backlogged work looks like), I feel obligated to share what has been going on around here and give all of you some sort of a blog update, too. I am going to try and turn a miserable, long, depressing, and terribly frustrating novel into a short novel… let’s see how I do!
You may or may not have noticed, but MamaNYC was up and down more times than I can count between May 20th and today, June 2nd. My old database was apparently corrupt and broken. I wouldn’t find this out until much later (yesterday), but I was in a panic over downtime and it was happening at the worst possible time … ever.
WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS.
If I had to tattoo my forehead with a motto that described my life, I would surely choose the ole’ "When it rains.." saying. The week prior to my server issues was FANTASTIC. Good luck was coming into my life from all directions. Short-lived it was!
Personal life emergencies, dilemmas, and happenings suddenly came barging in and my ‘real life’ was sent into a whirlspin of craziness. Simultaneously, of course, MamaNYC began to crash – constantly. The server would go down for HOURS (1-4 hours at a time). It would come back up, but only to crash again after 20 minutes. I wasn’t home at the time, so I was limited to what I could do while on the road. The only way that I actually knew about all of the UP and DOWN on MamaNYC was thanks to server alerts from Pingdom.
[2 hours was NOTHING. MamaNYC was down sometimes for 6-8+ hours!]
PINGDOM —-> Use their service to monitor website status and receive email alerts telling you when your site goes down. They will followup once the server is up and running again, which will detail the up time and let you know how long it was down for. AWESOME alert and a MUST for anyone operating a .COM! We can’t be on our computers or mobile devices 24-hours a day, so this is a great method to know if your host is or isn’t as reliable as you THINK it is!
Normally I would have been right on top of a server issue, but my ‘real life’ needed some attention and I had to surpress my anger over the downtime and take care of things around here. It killed me. Anyone that knows me well is aware of how seriously I take my work as a blogger. It’s an outlet for stress relief. It’s my time to be and socialize as an adult. It’s MINE (I have two kids, so there are few things I can claim 110% ownership of in my life).
Downtime for 5-minutes drives me nuts. . .
so imagine that frustration x 15 days!
I couldn’t figure it out on my own. My blog traffic did peak and I am thankful that it has consistently increased, but it didn’t seem like that would be enough to cause a MAJOR crash. I decided to ask my host for help, but they were useless. They blamed the issue solely on my traffic increase and suggested moving up a level on my VPS (virtual private server) to include a greater bandwidth package.
Later that day, I decided to upgrade my package by one level. I was on their Level 3 VPS hosting package, but moved up to Level 4. MamaNYC continued to crash, consistenty and constantly. That was a waste of time.
I went back to the drawing board and continued to investigate on my own. Ta-dah! I discovered a plugin that was bogging down my server BIG TIME. I would say that the traffic peaking on MamaNYC was 35% of problem, but my ex-host neglecting to see a plugin continually looping around and around (think of an endless reload or refresh button that never stops) — that scared me.
Whether my ex-host neglected to see the plugin error, or lied to me thinking that I didn’t know better (and didn’t understand how to read bandwidth reports), I wanted out. Either one of these reasons was good enough for me to switch hosts.
Bring in RFE Hosting…
I had decided that enough was enough after 5-6 days of continual Pingdom SERVER DOWN email alerts. I was receiving an average of 25 Pingdom alerts EVERY HOUR. You do the math. I had to go and it had to happen NOW.
[Just a TASTE of what my inbox looked like...for 2+ weeks]
Since my personal life was upsided down, I wasn’t able to do the transfer on my own as I normally would. I kept telling myself I would do it ‘tomorrow’, but tomorrow never came. After a FULL week of tomorrows, I finally contacted Aaron at RFE Hosting, explained my situaton, and his rapid response over Memorial Day Weekend spoke volumes.
As a web designer, Internet marketing consultant, and e-commerce venturist and business manager, I have dealt with my share of hosts. I purchased my first domain at the age of 11 back in 1995. Things have changed and certain package inclusions have increased and varied. One requirement has remained the same: I need reliability, swift customer support, and consistency. I don’t care about your unlimited email accounts or Fantastico (maybe I do, but that’s besides the point) — all I want is to know you will be there and actually read my complaints. I am not a robot and you shouldn’t respond like one either. Sheesh…
RFE Hosting saved the day. Aaron swooped in and took over my transfer, which would have NEVER happened if I left it up to fitting somewhere in my schedule last week. I am forever thankful… because he went to hell and back with my database.
My domain (mamanyc.net) FINALLY propagated (moved, transferred, updated) late Friday night. Great, right? No. MamaNYC was a big and blank NOTHING.
To sum this all up (I have to put my son to bed and this is turning into a novel, clearly) - my database at my old server was corrupt and broken. No one saw this or informed me, which solidifies my feelings and reasoning for moving hosts in the first place. Due to the large volume of files resting on my server, transferring took many hours. Many – meaning nearly ALL day.
This huge undertaking meant a lot to me and that is why I felt compelled to publicly thank Aaron at RFE Hosting. I wouldn’t have a place to let out my blogging cravings if it wasn’t for RFE Hosting. I am thrilled to have them as my new host and glad to see the Pingdom emails have STOPPED!
I wasn’t able to do anything for days. No emails coming or going. Blog posts couldn’t be published, drafted, or deleted in anger. I was feeling useless and ashamed that I couldn’t fulfill my responsibilities and meet deadlines. It’s as if your car broke down for 2-weeks and there was no such thing as carpooling, taxi rides, trains, or bus fares. Having to tell your boss(es) that you just CAN’T work is tough, but in my position — I couldn’t even call in sick. I had zero access to emails and my entire blog was nonexistent.
With that being said, I am BACK. I am thrilled and cannot wait to let all of my blog cravings out and get started on the huge backlog of work that I have sitting in my office.
So… what should I do first?
(I’ll start by running around the house like a chicken without a head).