Andy Beard was nice enough to let others know about my hosting problems with Lunarpages and I thought I would just give a few more details about what happened in my month of hosting hell!
I must begin by saying that if Lunarpages hadn’t pulled what I’ve come to think of as a “fast one” by charging me for two years worth of VPS when I wanted a monthly account I might still be with them. They refunded, but did not apologize.
I will more than likely need a VPS or a Dedicated hosting account in the near future.
If you are looking to switch web hosts I wouldn’t go with Lunarpages – not because of my story (they were fine up until I had troubles), but because they only provide phone support from 8 am until 8 pm Monday to Friday. If something goes wrong with your sites you want 24/7 support, preferably with a web host that offers 24/7 phone support. It makes a difference.
Unlike others who’ve recently had hosting problems with their web hosts due to high CPU resource issues Lunarpages wouldn’t tell me what time my problems started on the days that they noticed a high CPU resource usage. It certainly might have helped if I’d known exactly what time the problem occurred.
It would have also helped if they could have told me which of my many domains the problem was located on. Surely a web hosting company must be able to see that in their daily logs?
I have 10 domains. 15 WordPress installations, 16 blogs, one very large HTML based website (it’s been around since 1995 so it’s busy), and one website that’s run using the Joomla CMS.
When a web host tells you that your account has used too much CPU resources and can’t tell you what caused the problem other than it was a script on one of your sites, and you have as many sites and two types of scripted website platforms (Joomla and WordPress) to go through as I do it’s pretty near impossible to pinpoint what is causing the problem.
Web hosting companies need to be able to give their clients more information when a problem occurs. They’ll have happier customers, will be more likely to retain their client base and obviously the website owner would be more than likely happy to fix a potential problem with their site. Bad scripts and plugins don’t only occasionally cause cpu resource issues, they are often security risks too.
Almost everything that I use on my sites was up to date, but I did go through my sites and spent time updating any plugins that had been updated, and I removed plugins that I thought might call the database too often. A post view counter plugin and post rating plugin were removed. If anything was causing a problem I suspect it could have been these plugins, but I removed them June 26th – hours after getting my first notice of CPU problems. I basically only left the plugins or add ons that I thought were essential to the running of my sites.
Lunarpages kept coming back telling me that my sites were using too much CPU resources after I’d done all of the above. I even went through all my directories looking for any files that seemed too large or ones that I didn’t recognize in case there were files that I hadn’t put there. I didn’t find anything out of order.
At this point I’m not sure that I had a problem with any of my plugins, modules or components. It might simply have been a traffic problem or spam attack.
I think it’s also interesting to note that I heard from Lunarpages approximately four times in the first two weeks beginning June 26th. Each time they reported my CPU resource overuse. I then went a period of almost two weeks without hearing from them. By this time I’d deleted plugins and upgraded anything that had needed upgrading. I wrote to them asking if my problems were resolved since I hadn’t been hearing from them and they wrote back to tell me that I still had CPU resource issues. Three days later they suspended my account.
Whether that means anything exactly I don’t know, but if this issue was happening daily wouldn’t they have been reporting the issue to me daily?
The day my account was suspended they shut me down at 11:35 am. I was not home at the time so I know I wasn’t doing anything to my sites that might have caused an overuse of CPU resource, say deleting spam for example, when the trouble occurred.
The issue that finally shut me down must have been due to traffic or calls to the database. All they would tell me was that the resource usage when up so high that it almost crashed the non production server that my account was on.
In the month of July my sites in total got 1.2 million page views. That’s with all my sites down for almost four days, and several time outs throughout the month of July. The majority of those page views were on the seven blogs that I have on my feverishthoughts.com domain (over 800,000 page views) with Tricia’s Musings, As the Garden Grows and Odd planet being the most popular sites.
Since Lunarpages was unable or unwilling to tell me what times my CPU resources went up, or on which domain, it was very difficult to pinpoint where the problem was occurring or even if there truly was a problem with one of my scripts.
If they’d been able to tell me that it was the feverishthoughts.com domain I would have first suspected high traffic as the cause. If they’d said it was on my Joomla run domain I would have suspected a faulty script.
I didn’t go around yelling Lunarpages sucks. I’m still not doing that. I’ve had a bad experience that left a bad taste in my mouth, but others might have years of successful hosting with them.
I appreciate that in the beginning they moved my account to another server – a slower non production server that slowed my sites and that was perhaps less able to handle my traffic – so that I’d have some time to figure out the source of my problem.
Their handling of my issues beginning on July 21st when my account was suspended and their subsequent moving of my account to VPS after I’d told them NO when they mentioned the $75 hour service charge and then going ahead, doing it anyway, creating a two year VPS account when I’d only originally agreed to a monthly account which should have been covered using the remainder of the balance of my two year shared hosting account (19 months remained!) and then charging me $642 – well yeah … that makes them suck. That’s just plain wrong.
Each time I wrote to support it took anywhere from 8 to 24 hours for a reply. The majority of my issue with them happened on the weekend when they do not offer phone support and I suspect have fewer staff working.
I felt like I was writing the same questions, requests and or instructions over and over again in my dealings with support. They weren’t listening.
I don’t think that I’m that hard to understand. Am I? 😉 No means no, yes means yes, send me more info means send me more info. Right?
I do think that in the near future I will have to move to VPS or dedicated hosting because my traffic is increasing substantially each month. 6 of my domains are newish and I haven’t done much to promote them, once they begin to get busy I’m sure I’ll need to upgrade.
I am interested in hearing what companies others are dealing with, and I’d prefer to be able to use C-panel as that’s what I’m used to although I can learn a new system if I need to.
when I quickly had to change web hosts I went with Hostgator and have been with them since July 23 or 24. Not long enough to fully assess their service.
I will say that I do appreciate that they have a support ticket system, live chat and telephone support – all 24/7. I’m on shared hosting right now but they also offer what they call semi dedicated (which I think must be like VPS) and Dedicated servers so I can move up if I have a problem or if my sites get too busy.