Someone throw us a life preserver.. We're going down!
It’s my server.. my server!!! I can’t believe what I’ve been through for the last few days.. I should really say the last three months. I was having some pretty significant lag times on my site, specifically my Miva pages.
I’ve blogged over the last few months that things are slowing down, and we needed to put our thinking caps on. I assumed that this business was failing because of me and my lack of ingenuity. Maybe, to some degree, that’s true. I’m never without fault. But sometimes my optimism kicks me in the butt, and I don’t see what’s right in front of me. I just don’t see the obvious. That my server was keeping folks from shopping my site.
I opened a ticket in November with my host, Aplus.net. We have a shared hosting plan for our site, and have ever since we started 6 years ago. Since November we’ve been having some problems with our miva pages, and shopping cart in general being very slow. So much so that our sales dropped off to almost nothing.
On December 15, upon following up on our job ticket that wasn’t getting any attention by the folks at aplus, I called and emailed. Later that day we got a phone call stating that there’s a Master ticket to refer to now. It’s a universal problem, not exclusive to us, and they were working on it.
We continued to be slow.
Intermittently my site would speed up.. we’d get a few sales, then it would drop off. Today, however, we have a new issue. A new customer called this morning and told us that she got this error code. (Which incidently, we also get every time we try to place an order)
_Unable to authorize payment: ERROR-101:ERROR#-101 Account is not in a normal state. Contact your RSB person!_
So I call Aplus… AGAIN. And I’m calm, although I have no reason to be. I can’t pay my bills. And although my customer services rep was very apologetic and helpful, there’s no hope in site for at least two weeks. She informed me that they moved all of their Miva clients to a new server. We are all having these intermittent problems. Their best guess at resolution is 2 weeks. I AM OUTRAGED! WHO RUNS A BUSINESS LIKE THIS? WHO TREATS LONG-STANDING CUSTOMERS LIKE THIS? Aplus has never fallen so short. My business is failing at their hand and they don’t care!
I asked if my site could be moved temporarily to our dedicated server. Yes, of course it can, but then I’d end up with a bunch of other issues, and that then isn’t covered by my service plan. Apparently they don’t see that it’s in their best interest to hold my hand… even after 6 years of loyalty.
Damn it! I don’t want to have to deal with this. Am I right in assuming that if I move servers now, to a new host, that my site has to be completely re-indexed by the engines. I’ll lose all credibility with those engines, all placement!? That’s 6 years of my hard work.
Then of course, the huge pressing question of “where do I take my business?” I’m reading claims that my site can be migrated in one afternoon, but my domain can’t be moved in one day… that’s a two week process correct? How do I handle this, and where do I go. And let’s not forget the mess of moving a gateway. That took forever to set up way back in the day. Dealing with each credit card company. No No NO!
I’ve been told to check out Hostasaurus. I have to have a Miva shopping cart, and this has to happen fast. I am looking for the best host with the most comprehensive service at the most reasonable price. I’m setting out to do my homework now, and any and all feedback is appreciated!
Tanya Steinberg says:
A bit of good news for you - moving your site to a new host will not affect your search engine rankings unless you have considerable downtime. Also you should be able to update the domain name servers for your domain name to point to your new hosting provider with little to no down time if done right. We offer hosting services and domain name registration services and have handled situations such as these more times then you can imagine. Unfortunately its common place and most hosts aren't willing to "hand hold" as you put it. If you need some help I'd be more than happy to give you a hand, even if I have to hold it : ).
Mark Simon says:
Hostasaurus as you mentioned is a great Miva Merchant host along with any on the premier partner list, http://www.mivamerchant.com/partners/index.mvc?list=premier_hosting
Miva Merchant also offers a hosting options now including a dedicated server: http://www.mivamerchant.com/products/merchant/saas/
You can likely get this done very quickly with the options above.
Good luck and reach out to me if you get stuck, msimon at mivamerchant.com
Louis Camassa says:
I can see why your sales have dropped -I tried to access the website within your profile, and It just dies.
While a move to another server is time consuming and strenuous, sometimes it’s for the best. Especially if the host you are currently with cant get your website to load!
You are right, it will take some time to move the site. It will take more than a day for proper planning and execution. For example, some things to consider beyond what you mentioned: security certificate (SSL), DNS records (mx, a, ns, sub domains) will need to be updated, email addresses/configurations (passwords, user accounts, forwards, auto-replies, aliases, etc..), FTP login/passwords, cron jobs, server stats/log files, and, of course, your files and databases.
Your search engine placement shouldn’t be affected, as long as the URL’s remain the same-which they should. The IP address will be different, but just changing that isn’t usually enough to affect your ranking.
I don’t know who your payment gateway is, but I don’t see why you would have any problems with them. Authorize.net, and some of the other larger gateways are server agnostic-they don’t care where your domain is hosted.
When looking for another host, some critical questions to ask:
Uptime guarantee SLA for: response time on tickets, outages, and hardware replacement Hardware limits on space and bandwidth
I list out all the most important questions based upon my requirements, and send it to the top 5 hosting providers in my price range.
There are A LOT of hosting companies out there-many that are smaller and less specialized. I recommend going with a larger company that has established SLA's and helps to develop and implement business best practices. Some that I found that meet this requirement and are more cost effective are; Rackspace, SoftLayer, Media Temple, and Layered Technologies (including fastservers.net). Although, some of these companies specialize more in managed services (which is much more costly). All of the providers I have listed are leaders in the industry.
I’ve personally used fastservers.net for many years (before they merged with layeredtech) and have nothing but good things to say about the company. Their support was responsive, articulate and always upbeat. Check out their SLA at http://www.layeredtech.com/managed-services/defcon/defcon-levels/
Feel free to use my hosting checklist at http://www.lc7inc.com/hosting-servers/web-hosting-checklist/