Third Time is the Charm

Welcome to the third reboot of my website.  I’m not really expecting many people to read it, just those that see my email address and are curious.  It’s really just more of a collection point for my thoughts, ideas, and other musings.

Just another number…

I’m a very loyal kind of guy.  And I don’t expect a lot in return, just to be treated fairly and consistently.

My old hosting company, JaguarPC, used to be awesome.  They would help you with any issue, even if it was to repair damage you caused yourself.  And their pricing was fair.  Not the cheapest, but very reasonable when combined with their great customer service.

As they grew, they lost that hunger, that personal touch that made them special.  Tickets that they used to help with starting falling on deaf ears.  A complaint about PHP being misconfigured and causing the error log to fill up was replied to with “most people just ignore it”.  If it weren’t such a pain to switch hosts that would have been the last straw.  But the last straw came this week.

I have one web application.  It has a MySQL table with about 7k rows that was optimized and indexed as well as was feasible.  The table was parsed once every 5 minutes to sanitize the data.  For comparison, I moved the app to my home server (less CPU, not shared, MySQL restricted to 250MB), and the parse only takes about 3 seconds and the CPU never spikes about 29%.  A “tiny” MySQL instance on a small Windows VM can handle tables with 100k rows pretty easily.

I was moved to a new “more powerful” shared server a few months ago.  The server was never stable, and I asked to be moved to a different server, and the answer was “no, we fixed it”.  It was never fixed.  Last week I received a new ticket confirmation in my email saying simply “cron jobs causing server instability”.  I immediately logged into my server and they had deleted the cron jobs for my web app.   Wow, great customer service there.  Not “We’re still having problems with the server, could we turn off your cron jobs to see if that makes a difference?”  Just a blunt email with an implication that I was causing the stability issues on the server.   Of course, the issue isn’t resolved, and that server has been down several times since then.  So seeya later Jag.

Maybe they just put way too many accounts on their new shared servers, but why blame yourself when you can blame your customers?  It seems to be a real trend the last few years.  Good customer service is a “free” way to increase customer retention.  During economic downturns like this, with companies complaining about how slim their margins are and how little their customers are spending, it seems like a no brainer to treat your customers better, not worse.

The kicker – I had typed up a thoughtful response on their cancellation form.  There was a textbox titled “Did you know we have affiliate programs?” that I didn’t fill out.  I skipped it, and got an error page.  When I clicked on the back link on that page, my nice thoughtful reply was gone, so forget that.  No way I’m taking the time to fill that out a second time.  They need to learn some basic UI/UX and do some simple functional testing.

Double bonus kicker – They billed me even though I had filled out their cancel form.  They did refund it fairly promptly, but being that it’s 2014 you’d think that the cancellation form would automatically turn off the account instead of requiring manual processing.

P.S. – vDeck is a terrible hosting platform.  Steer clear.  As dated as it is, cPanel is still king.

Third time is the charm…