Case in point. I have a client whose web site was suddenly just, ‘gone’.
I’d received no notifications of any billing that was due, and neither had they.
So I go digging through all the invoices I have on my account and couldn’t find any evidence that I’d fronted the money for the domain name. The client also couldn’t find any evidence that they’d paid for the domain name.
In checking through my invoices I ran across one invoice that said it was a bill for two domains but neither of the domain names was listed.
So After waiting 50 minutes on hold, I get connected to a snotty person in billing. This person tries to make the problem about me and my mismanagement of the domain. Uhhh NO! And this guy keeps cutting me off mid sentence as I’m trying to answer his question about if I’d properly entered the DNS information. Uhhh yeah I guess I did since the site has been up for 3 freaking years!
I was talking to my client at the same time I had this guy from Hostgator on the phone. Yes, it was a bit of a ploy. I could have muted my mic or put the Hostgator rep on hold. I didn’t because I wanted him to hear exactly what I was saying.
“Well, this guy I’m talking to has yet to provide any information about this mystery invoice, and can’t seem to find any invoice with your domain name on it.”
The guy at Hostgator got a little excited about that. Then asks to place me on hold.
After a few minutes he comes back and say that the mystery invoice is in fact the invoice for the two domains that have been suspended. (The original invoice was for 3 years beginning in 2012, which means that it expired in 2015.)
Since the invoice and the associated domains were apparently somehow botched up in Hostgators billing system, it meant that the Hostgator systems never sent a billing notice, generated a request for payment, or notified anyone that these domains were due for renewal.
Uhhh how is this my fault?
After a brief pause suddenly the Hostgator rep is very interested in getting this resolved.
In other words they’ve begun to behave like typical IT people in large companies.
There’s a reason most employees bring their own shit into a company. It’s because the IT people are such assholes that nobody wants to deal with them.
One Hostgator rep was very helpful a couple of weeks ago. He told me that my website had malware.
“Okay,” I said, “Which of the 10 sites that I host are your referring to?”
“You should have malware protection on your sites.”
“Dude, not at a cost of 9.99 or 19.99 per month per site! And by the way, aren’t you supposed to be monitoring for that kind of stuff? Why did I have to ask you if there was something going on with a particular site? Why did one of your colleagues just tell me that they found no evidence of malware? Are you just trying to sell me a rather expensive service?”
Suddenly, that representative went silent.
Regarding malware protection on sites, I wouldn’t mind paying for a service if it protected my main site and all the sites I host. Just scan the whole tree say up to 25 individual domains, once a day. That would be fine and it would be a worth while expense.
Ahh suddenly the domains are associated with my account. I’ve even got an invoice. Yippee! Paid it just now, but the site isn’t up yet.
Looks like all the DNS info is correct although it’s curious why some of my DNS entries point to one server and some of them point to another. I’d have thought that all my sites would be hosted on the same server as my main umbrella site.
Why do I feel like I’m peeling an onion?
I’ll give it a couple more hours then if the sites are still not back we’ll have another conversation with Hostgator.
I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t something else going on. I wonder if they switched the server that my stuff is hosted on and that has caused a bunch of weird little problems.
It’s probably worth my time to get it straightened out, since I’m going to be with them for another couple of years. However, based on what I’m seeing I think the next couple years I’ll be shopping and comparing Hosting providers.
After waiting 48 hours, my client’s website still wasn’t up. I called Hostgator once again.
This time, I got hold of someone from the Old Hostgator. That Texas drawl was somehow comforting and he got right on the situation. No nonsense, no bullshit. It was, “I see, well let me check on that.”
A moment or two later he said that’s strange, then a couple of moments later, he was asking for my client’s website address again. Then he said, “There it is.” and started describing the site. I checked it on my end and there the client site was.
“Sometimes the DNS propagation takes time and the occasional kick in the pants.”
I swear if I could talk to that guy every time I needed something I’d be a seriously happy camper.
Trouble is, I know that it’s catch as catch can, and the next time I call them it’s likely I’ll be talking to someone not from Texas. They may be in Texas, but they’re not from Texas, there’s a big difference.
For the moment, everything is up and running. It only took two phone calls and one online chat session to get the issue resolved.