Green Web Hosting Quest – turning a rant into an opportunity

My site was down for about 12 hours on Friday. 12. Hours. Aurgh! 12! When I called tech support I was told that they have backup servers that can be used if customers like me have an emergency need. “Techguy” said they’d get my files “moved to the backup within 24 hours.”

  1. “If,” huh? Ha.
  2. For “customers like me?” Does that mean they only have backups for the really really upset customers who catch on to an outage, call, and are ready to leave?
  3. If backups are available, why does it take 24 hours to get my sites up and running?

After a few hours, I called back to ask just how far into that 24 hours I would be likely to see my sites again. Errm… well, I told myself I was calling back for a forecast, but, really, I wanted to bite someone connected to the outage. No… that’s not quite it, either.

I was hoping they would reveal an understandable extenuating circumstance, and offer to put themselves on the line for me. They have a 99.99% uptime guarantee. I wanted them to put their money where their reputation is. This is not an uncommon customer hope.

Customers want to be loyal, but first a business has to confirm that we’re smart to trust them – show us, often and generously.

Tech Support: get your story straight

This time I got “Techgal,” who said there could be no guarantee of when my sites would come back online, because though their work to solve problems is ongoing, with an “intermittent server problem” they had no way of telling how long repairs would take.

Intermittent my eye. At that point my site had been down, completely down, for several hours. What’s more, she confirmed that they are operating without a net. Her “no way of telling how long repairs would take” strongly suggests that their contingency plans are about as solid as Swiss cheese. There was no confirmation of even a 24 hour backup.

I like budget hosting, but not at this price.

What can you do, besides bite the tech support person on the way out the door, and wish more of the world sat at the feet of Seth Godin and Steve Krug?

You just watch me. I can shop.

Next time, green hosting

Solar powered web hosting is a viable alternative. Its existence hadn’t even occurred to me until last month, when I was researching the idea of doing something special at Cre8asiteForums for Earth Day. Now that I know green hosting is available and trusted by people I trust, I want some, too!

A quick search brought up about a dozen alternatives, some of which look pretty good. They offer the whole range of standard web hosting services, often at prices that are in line with what you’d expect anywhere.

Question #1: Do you have an uptime guarantee?

I have a checklist and a plan, and a strong desire to be involved in consumer confidence fulfillment. I’m going to be calling US web site hosts that use renewable energy. I will compile the results into a blog post to share here.

I want facts and feedback before I make a move on something as important to me as web site hosting. If you are a green web host or have experiences to share about a green host, please contact me.