twitter google

Five Ounces of Growing Pains

No, it wasn’t you. It was us.

Yesterday was offline for about half the day.

And I am sorry if you don’t want to read this long diatribe, but I need to vent. Is that alright? I just need a few minutes… er, a few thousand words. If you are bored by this stuff, that’s cool, read the next article. However, if you want to know why were down for most of yesterday, then feel free to read on.

The reason why we disappeared can be blamed squarely on the shoulders of our former hosting company, Blue Host. Without warning or any communication, the “fine people” at Blue Host decided to not only suspend our account, but they banned us and terminated our contract.

It turns out that the EXCLUSIVE statement released to us by Brett Rogers’ manager and trainer, Mike Reilly, caused the site to crash and brought Blue Host more traffic than they could handle. They claimed that our traffic was effecting the performance of “500 other sites.”

I know we’re good, but good enough to bring down 500 sites? Nice.

Well, the truth is that we’ve been having issues with Blue Host for about a month now. We were told if we gave them more money they would upgrade us and we’d be operating at four-times the capacity. We did that yet we ran into even more problems.

When we’d see a “Account Suspended” message we would call them and they’d tell us that too many requests were being pulled up. This was a plausible explanation except for the fact it started happening at low-peak times such as Saturday night at 11 p.m. or Sunday morning at 7 a.m.

Not only that, but our traffic in August wasn’t as strong as it was in July (a record setting month for us) and things were running well even before we paid to “quadruple” our capacity.

So things weren’t adding up and the site was going offline more and more. We knew upgrading our server wasn’t good enough and we knew we needed to change companies. The problem was that none of us involved with 5 Oz. has a background in systems administration so the move was being done in stages.

Well, we kept trying to work with the incompetent staff at Blue Host to help us out in the short-term but they pulled the rug out from under us and shut us down yesterday. We tried to work with them but what we were subjected to was some of the most inhumane customer service treatment I have ever experienced. If we weren’t dealing with someone who was reading out of a manual, we were dealing with someone who was absolutely miserable about life and wanted to take out their frustrations on us. I mean, some of the people we dealt with made AOL tech support reps from the ’90’s look professional. “Blue” is a fitting name for their company because some of the people I spoke to sounded like they needed to call into a suicide hotline. I think the President of the company should get everyone there prescriptions of Lexipro.

And the best was when I was flat out told “Our administrator says you need to go out and find another company to host your site.” That’s a direct quote.

Matt Cava and I are still trying to figure out how they could kick us off without warning. Look, we had outgrown Blue Host, there’s no denying that. But a call from someone professional there saying, “Hey guys, you’re growth has exceeded our resources. It might be best if you moved on. How about we give you a week to find another hosting solution?”

But no, they didn’t have the courtesy to do anything of the sort and thousands of people were left in the dark as a result. We could have actually had the site switched over in 45 minutes at one point if they had just turned the site completely back on. We pleaded with them to do this but they said “they couldn’t take the risk” even though I clearly outlined to them that since it was after 5 p.m. and people had left work, our peak traffic period was over and I told them it wouldn’t crash. They couldn’t have cared less because the reality was they didn’t need our business anymore.

I’m not sure how wise it was on their part to treat us in such a manner. There’s no logical explanation other than they are just miserable human beings who probably are getting paid like dirt and hate their jobs. That’s fine, but where’s the logic in making enemies with a highly-trafficked site? I am telling you all right now that if you ever decide to start your own site and you choose Blue Host as your provider, you will be making a critical mistake. And if you are a blogger who already happens to use Blue Host, things might be fine but wait until your traffic grows. When you need help you will be dealing with surly reps who don’t know what they are doing and you could be terminated on a whim just like we were. I don’t know how else to put it, but Blue Host sucks. And if you want to blame anyone for what happened yesterday, feel free to go to their site and let them know what you think of them.

There are a few kinks still needed to be worked (like no images and an inability to access sub pages) out but the bottom line is we’re back online and I’ve got some big posts planned for today to make up for yesterday. These are good posts and I hope they don’t crash us again. But you’ll be able to read them today thanks to the heroic actions of David Andrest. Dave is a friend to the site and dropped everything when we placed an emergency call to him when we pleaded for his help. He stepped up and worked through the night to make the server switch and he did it for nothing more than a thank you. If Dave hadn’t come to our rescue, it might as been as long as a week for us to come back online (not an exaggeration because like I said, we’re not IT guys or systems administrators and we don’t have the money to pay for one).

So it’s been a real crappy week and I’m sorry if the posts haven’t been the best or if you’ve had trouble bringing us up. But in addition to dealing with Blue Host’s crap, I also have a wife who has a torn ACL and is in a lot of pain. I’m not having a lot of fun right now but we’re not going anywhere and I hope you don’t go anywhere either because all of the setbacks are only going to make us a better site in the long-term and I’d hate for you to miss out on all the great content we’re going to keep bringing you.

I try to find a silver lining in everything and there was something that lifted my spirits yesterday which was that I received a TON of e-mails and phone calls from people asking if we knew the site was down and if we knew when it would be back up. We were contacted by regulars and we were also contacted by some important people in the MMA industry as well — people that I can’t believe even read the site. I mean, I got some calls from people and I’m still trying to figure out how they got my number. But a lot of people were unhappy they couldn’t get their 5 Oz. so I guess that means we’re doing something right?

Follow 5OZ