Trading in one headache for two migraines

My website went down – again, for about the bazillionth time since I’ve signed up with VizaWeb, the webhosting server that famed tech reporter Leo Laporte endorsed on his radio show and was swiftly overwhelmed with accounts. Having grown tired with the unreliability of the host, not to mention the ardor that surrounded me losing the .com domain and struggling to secure the .net equivalent and get it pointed in the right direction, I decided it’s time to find a new host.

A bit of research took me to a new server, who offered infinite disk space and bandwidth (not that I use a whole lot, but it’s nice to know that I have it) for the price of $4.95/month. I quickly signed up for the offer, not realizing that I was about to embark on a technological ordeal that mirrors my botched attempt to upgrade my old computer a while back in sheer aggravation.

Y’see, most of the stuff on the website is pretty static, consisting of basic SHTML files, the layout template, and the various image files used throughout. As such, they can easily be moved around. However, there are two things that are not quite as portable: the message boards and the Rules Wiki. Both of them use a MySQL database that, to my knowledge, has to be backed up, reimported to the new server, and carefully calibrated to align with the correct directories and whatnot in order for them to work. And of course, unless I find a way to successfully transfer the two databases, the above two features will be bereft of content.

Add to this the fact that even if I start from scratch, the message board refuses to cooperate. I try to log in, and despite the fact that it says clear as day that I’m the board administrator, I get denied access because “the username could not be found”. Quoi? I try to uninstall the board and reinstall, and now the server is saying that the page no longer exists.

And don’t even get me started on the Wiki. I haven’t even tried to get that thing running. (Indeed, I think I messed it up on this side somehow as well – It’s been down for several hours, and I have no idea what i did or how to fix it.)

Suddenly random outages is looking increasingly appealing.


One thought on “Trading in one headache for two migraines

  1. nangbaby

    Provided that you have a local copy of your site, the only difficulty with the database would be to implement it on the new host. The database can be dumped pretty easily.

    In any case, anyone offering unlimited space and bandwidth is not only very likely to be a bad provider, but is also stretching the truth. The reality is that if your site uses too much of the server’s CPU for any reason, it will probably get shut down, even if you didn’t do anything wrong. And if someone else’s site is using too many resources, or if your server is having problems for whatever reason, you’re in trouble and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    The sad thing is that a lot of the “big name” hosts do it too, although some are more honest about than others.

    I know you probably don’t want advice, but I’m going to give it anyway. Shop around for a new host, in spite of the hassle you will have to go through. Ask the sales department of your prospective new hosts what steps would need to be taken in this situation and what help, if any can be offered in the move. Provide as much detail as possible. Be warned that the sales departments are not necessarily indicative of the quality service that you will receive — some places have GREAT support, but so-so sales people, while others have great sales reps but terrible techs. However, if your host is messing up and you can leave, you should. There are far too many companies out there to pay for substandard service.

    Also, try to get either a short-term contract or monthly hosting if you can. A lot of companies will trap you in that year or two year contract which will save you a whole bunch of money…if the company is good. Otherwise, you will lose your money when you end up going host-hunting a month later.

    Also, unless VizaWeb wants to lower its reputation further, discuss the situation with them once you’ve selected a new host. They shouldn’t give you too much grief about leaving. They may or may not help you move, but it’s not likely they’re going to do anything unprofessional and block your way. Just don’t cancel with them until a few days after you’ve changed your name servers for the domain name itself.


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