This morning I received an unexpected phone call.
I had just pulled an espresso shot as part of my usual heart-starting morning routine and sat down to enjoy my breakfast.
Next minute, my iPhone rings with a “Blocked” number. I pick it up with a slightly grumpy “Hello?”
A robot on the other end of the line says:
“Hello. . . I’m calling from HostGator. . . one of your accounts has a script running that is causing problems for the server.”
The piece of toast that was hanging out of my mouth dropped a little.
I was actually pretty happy that they were so pro-active and calling me, rather than simply relying on email that might not get to me.
However, I also knew from experience that when you get your host contacting you about this sort of thing it normally means hours of painful work ahead.
They tend to never help find the source of the problem, but just shut down your account and tell you to sort it out.
Especially from a host that is as inexpensive as HostGator. You simply don’t expect too much service when you’re paying $9.95 a month for unlimited domains.
The robot caller went on to tell me that a support ticket had been created for me to help sort out the problem.
At least they looked like they were ready to help me I thought.
My laptop was sitting on the table, so I opened up Gmail.
There was indeed a ticket in there. However, the contents surprised me.
It started off with:
“A WordPress installation located at http://www.xxxxx.xxx was causing some issues on the server that it was on. “
“Boom. There goes my morning. . .”, I cursed.
As I kept reading my mood changed. It went on to say:
“Instead of suspending the site, the plugin WP-Super-Cache was installed to greatly reduce the load that is caused by this particular installation. We determined that this was not in place by checking the .htaccess directives, so though you may already have had this plug-in it was not fully configured.
Please let us know if you see any issues, or if you have any questions regarding this and we will be happy to assist!”
They then went on to give a full technical breakdown of the figures from the server to show the problems that the WordPress installation was causing.
I couldn’t believe it.
Instead of saying here are the problems, you go fix it, they just went ahead and solved my problem.
So they saw that the WordPress blog was getting too much traffic, and then found a plug-in that would cache the pages to reduce the load completely.
I’ve had over a decade of dealing with web hosts including with fancy hosts like “Rackspace” where they proclaim “Fanatical Support”. Yet, I’ve never had such a proactive and positive approach as this.
All on an account that costs less than 10 bucks a month for unlimited sites.
I was so surprised, I had to check if they really had fixed the problem and to find out what else I needed to do.
So I shot back and email that said:
“Thanks for this. I like your proactive approach.
Was the load due to too many visitors? Or something else?
Did you install the super-cache and set it working? Is there anything else we need to do?”
Just 17 minutes later I receive an answer (with probably 10 minutes of email drafting in there).
By the way, I consider anything under an hour great.
“We did install and get Super-Cache working. This caused the server issue that your account was causing to cease, which prevented us from having to disable any portion of your account.”
They then went onto explain the reason why WordPress causes load, explaining how it retrieves the contents on the fly for each user. They then detailed how WP-Supercache solves these issues.
Today, the guys at HostGator just proved that cheap isn’t always nasty.
They probably saved me 3 hours of work which would amount to hundreds of dollars of my time.
As I was writing this I also checked on our uptime stats for this site to see if their uptime matched their customer service.
It did with only a few minutes down here and there. The uptime is actually better than our sites hosted on the Rackspace Cloud.
Anyway, bravo HostGator and thanks to Ben and Shaun specifically.
If you’re looking for excellent inexpensive hosting with proactive, fast and friendly support you can’t go past HostGator.