Wed. Aug. 2, 2017: Website Woes and the Cost of Choosing an Unreliable Host

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Yesterday wound up being an up-and-down day. The “up” parts were the rituals, morning and evening, for Lammas.

The “down” was, of course, the webhost failing me yet again on cover release day. 1&1.com simply does not provide the services for which they charge. It’s not that I don’t know HOW to code or use the tools; it’s that they too often don’t work. They were the wrong choice for me, and I’ve paid a high, high price, both financially and otherwise. When I sat down and figured the fiscal losses caused by their unreliability, I was shocked. With Mercury Retrograde coming up this month, I can’t change yet, but, since they are not interested in providing the services for which I pay, I will HAVE to change before the end of the year. With major book releases coming in October, November, and January, this has to be addressed, and timed so the website isn’t down at crucial times.

Of course, today, the website is just as bad as yesterday. This time, it let me make SOME of the changes on the page, but it doesn’t show up when I load, or refresh. So I had to try to re-submit the changes – which had vanished, even though they were saved. And this time, the coding wouldn’t take AT ALL.

List of woes:

–Webhost is unreliable. At least a third of the time (often more) I try to get in to either the website to update or to any of the emails to check mail, et al, the website is down and can’t be used. Since I have short windows when I can do this work, I need to be able to access the website and the email when I need to, not when they happen to feel like allowing it. I’m paying for access 24/7, not for once a week between allocated hours that they don’t reveal. When I ask what’s going on, virtual shrugging and saying, “Yeah, we were down; too bad” is not okay. You’re paid enough by enough people to be up more than you’re down.

–Tools don’t work. I can change the coding or use the tools until I’m ready to scream, and the page sits there, unchanged. Once in awhile, a tool will work for MAYBE 5 minutes. Then I have to save, log out, go to a different browser, log back in, and maybe the tool will work for another five minutes, or maybe that’s it for the day. The longest I’ve been able to do any work on a website without the site going into complete failure is 15 minutes. That is NOT okay. I should be able to do whatever work I need to do on the site for however long it takes me to do it. Doesn’t matter which browser is used, and it’s not my computer. I’ve used a variety of computers to check, a variety of browsers, and it’s always the same problem. I don’t have this issue when I do client work for anyone who has ANY other host.  1&1 claims this is for “security.”  Um, no.  It’s a lack of your platform working.

–Their customer service is non-existent. I don’t care where their technicians are located. I DO care that they refuse to explain anything properly. Their “customer service” and “technicians” are not as bad as those who work for Dell. My only experience with Dell’s customer service personnel is that they are sexist, misogynist pigs who make demeaning comments to me as a woman and about women. Dell’s response to any request for help was met with “women in my country don’t make demands” and “I decide whether or not you get help. Not you.” Honey, you’re working for an AMERICAN company who charges AMERICAN dollars. You treat women like people or you should be fired. As a customer paying for a service, it is the customer service representative’s job to treat me with respect and fulfill my needs. I’m not asking for anything out of bounds; I am asking that I get the services for which I pay, and to be treated with respect. To be fair, though, Dell had the worst and most abusive technicians and “customer service” personnel with which I’ve ever dealt. One of the reasons I no longer do business with them. That and the fact that their products fail the day after the warranty runs out.

–Supposedly, I can have “unlimited” subdomains. Yet if I want to actually build any more of them, I have to pay an additional monthly fee.

–Supposedly, again, I can build all the additional projects I want by uploading ftp files. Only they won’t give me the access code so I can upload them.

—-Supposedly, they support WordPress platforms. Supposedly, that is part of my package. Yet, if I actually want to use said platforms, you guessed it — an additional monthly fee.

–Supposedly, I have a “business” package which allows me to use marketing tools and to have things like a “Buy Now” button for Paypal. Only if I try to add such buttons or use the tools, I am suddenly charged an additional monthly fee. That monthly fee, to put a “Buy Now” button on my site, is double the quarterly fee for all the sites combined.

–My fees regularly go up, and the package terms change from week-to-week. Hosting contracts normally run for a year, unless you sign on for a multi-year agreement, and then are renewed every year. The agreement I made was that each contract would run for a year, paid quarterly. Now, they are changing the terms week-to-week, and charging me a higher fee every month. This is in addition to telling me there is an extra monthly charge every time I want to use a tool that is supposedly part of my package. Those are NOT the terms to which I agreed. I like paying quarterly. I’d like it even better if I actually got the services for which I paid.

–I have approached customer disservice multiple times about these issues. In return, I get flippant, demeaning, and inappropriate replies. Not acceptable. It’s time for me to hunt down the executive office’s contact information (I believe it’s in Germany), and to also get the Attorney General and the FCC involved. Not that I think there will be much support from the FCC, with its current governance.

Certain parts of my package are held hostage, and I can’t figure out how to release them. Otherwise, I would have left ages ago.

I’m more tech savvy now than I was before. I’ve found a way to enjoy technology, and, let’s face it, every profession has to evolve, or it dies. I still can’t get at everything I want, but I’m getting better. And, once I’ve done a technology upgrade on some of my home equipment, the research I’m doing on new webhosts will pay off, and I’ll move EVERYTHING. Probably slowly, one site at a time. The Devon Ellington site will be the most difficult, because it is the most complex, with the most subdomains. But it’s necessary.

What I need in a new webhost:

–Reliability. I need to be able to access what I need to access WHEN I need to access it.

–Customer Service. When I ask a question and say I need the steps laid out in writing, do it. Don’t argue. Don’t make rude comments about the fact I’m a woman. Don’t tell me that I have to do things YOUR way. I am the PAYING customer, and YOU are supposed to serve the customer. Period.

–Wordpress platforms. I am the most comfortable working on WordPress. While I appreciate the simpler website builders, and while, with enough time and no interruptions, I CAN code from scratch now (thanks to tutelage of wonderful people like Colin Galbraith, et al), WordPress is my comfort zone.

–A reasonable price that is stable for at least a year, and doesn’t double or triple the following year. I’m not a rich corporate client. I am a freelancer. I believe in paying for service. I shop around, and have to choose the package that gives me what I need for the price I can afford. But once I do that, I expect to get the service for which I pay.

I don’t think that’s unreasonable. I pay X fee for the services listed; I thereby get those services for which I paid.

If you have any suggestions for reliable, reasonably priced webhosts with good customer service, I’d love suggestions. I’ve heard good things about Bluehost. I’m also looking at Fat Cow and Host Gator. GoDaddy is NOT an option. Can’t stand them. I’m putting together a list of what I need, and I’m sending it to the hosts that seem to offer those types of packages, so that I get a response IN WRITING that, if I switch to them, they commit to providing what is promised. We’ll see how that works.

On to other things:

I’m working on August’s To Do list, but it’s not ready yet.

On today’s agenda, however, is work on the essay, work on the back matter for PLAYING THE ANGLES, planning the social media posts between now and then for the release, and working on “Labor Intensive.”

So I better get to it, now that I’ve got my litany of complaints against my webhost up! 😉

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

We’re supposed to get snow today.

Yesterday was Hell Day, pure and simple. And not because of the DMV (called RMV here). They were actually lovely and helpful, and how often can you say that? Okay, so I look like a serial killer in my driver’s license photo, but it was better than the first one, where I looked like a drug addict. I have to say this is THE worst driver’s license photo of my life.

It was because of ALLSTATE INSURANCE. Now, our family has been with Allstate for more than 30 years. When we lost the Ford in the flood, they were absolutely lovely.

No more. They did the wrong paperwork when I called their “relocation specialist” a few days before the move, which means I have the wrong paperwork, and I couldn’t get new plates or re-register the car in MA. I need a form called the RMV-1, which, according to the RMV, I can download from the Allstate site with an electronic signature, easy peasy, go down to the public library at the corner and come right back.

Of course, the form doesn’t exist on their site. And when I call, freezing from the parking lot of the library in weather in the teens, I get an outsourced male idiot who doesn’t know what I’m talking about and makes inappropriate comments pertaining to my gender. I go back home, get on the phone, and try to sort it out with someone who’s actually based in the US and gives a fuck. The insurance policy is fully paid up until March, the car passed inspection, it’s properly registered, the title is clear, this should not be a problem. They don’t know what an RMV-1 is, they don’t care to find out, they think MA is “weird” with its regulations, and they won’t send me the form until I give them proof that I’ve sent back my NY license plates. I can’t do that until I get MA plates — I can’t drive around without plates — and I can’t get the MA plates without the RMV-1. But ALLSTATE doesn’t care. Not only will they not give me the form I need to get the MA plates, they’ve told the DMV in NY to start fining me DAILY until they receive the plates.

So, basically, ALLSTATE fucked me up the ass (and do not pardon the language), taking my money, not giving me service. I shouldn’t be surprised, but after 30+ years dealing with an individual agent who was very helpful, it was a shock. They don’t even HAVE an agent anywhere around so I can go into an office and get it sorted out. They say they wrote me a “new” policy based on MA regulations, but won’t give me the policy number — which I need to keep in my glove compartment in case something happens should there be an accident or a stop between now and the time they deign to send me my new insurance card — if they ever do.

Totally unacceptable. I checked with the office of the Commissioner of Insurance in MA, and they are breaking laws six ways from Sunday. I’m going to call the corporate headquarters this morning to see if they will deign to do something, and then file a complaint with the state because the company is not following the law.

That still doesn’t get me my insurance form or my new plates or get rid of the fines, which I think should be picked up by ALLSTATE because they created the situation unnecessarily.

Not to mention the fact that, when they get tired of talking to you, they tell you they can’t get through to the person who has to make the authorization and will call back. Which, of course, they NEVER do. I’m still waiting for a call back on the renter’s insurance they promised me a month ago.

And then, the chick I spoke to had the GALL to say, “I hope you recommend us to all your friends.” Are you freaking KIDDING me? Why would I want someone I like to go through this?

In other words, today will totally suck, too. I was supposed to go to the Osterville Holiday Stroll tonight, but I’m not feeling festive. I can’t not drive — supposedly the “new” policy, the one they refused to give me the number on, kicked in at midnight, so, even without paperwork, I’m covered. But I have to pick up my mom’s pills and a few other things. And I’m uncomfortable driving without the appropriate paperwork in the car. “Oh, they have to give you time to transfer,” little chicklet chirps, which, of course, we all know is a BIG FAT LIE, because if you don’t have the right paperwork, you’re screwed.

And Mercury is retrograde, so I’m supposed to stay low, stay quiet, and go shopping.

I am NOT a happy camper.

Devon