News: Really Shitty Relationships… In Web Hosting

New web hosting services are like new relationships.... complete with the disdain you have for the old ones.
November 3, 2011

After 5 different versions of this website (7 if you count the reconstructions of previous builds), I was – up until the end of last week – still managing to operate off of a free web hosting service; which I think after 8 years kinda says something.

I started this site in 2003 when I was still in high school working in a music store selling instruments – all that money I made at work went into paying for university, thus I was faced with the ultimate decision of cheaping out on a good number of endeavours I was – and still currently am – trying to undertake. So when I first discovered Byethost in fall 2008 it seemed too good to be true. I eventually discovered that IT WAS, but it took two years for that to really come to the forefront.

On the outside, my fourth free web hosting service Byethost had a fair amount of storage and bandwidth for a free setup; two things that are usually fairly low offerings for free hosting services. But ultimately the thing that drew me to Byethost was its PHP offerings server-side that would allow me to implement a custom WordPress build.

My previous (third) free web host, the now-defunct iTrello, wasn’t operating off of the newest version of PHP and while using content management system Drupal for Stratasfear v.4.0 I often found myself restricted by what sorts of plugins and widgets I could implement on the site as iTrello‘s server couldn’t run a large number of the newer ones. Drupal itself was designed much more for people with a really strong grasp of code, quite beyond my mere HTML and CSS abilities, so I found myself restricted in a great many cases just by that content management operation.

With Byethost though it was kind of like meeting this really cool girl who shared all your interests and made your ex-girlfriend look like a train wreck… it was going to be awesome… so awesome that I became intimately tangled in her web… and then she tried to choke the life out of me.

Right off the bat back in 2008 Byethost wouldn’t allow me to implement WordPress‘ proprietary spam filter plugin Akismet, though with all of the other bells and whistles at start-up I was willing to overlook this issue and manually manage my spam comments.

Over the past 2 years though I’d begun to notice Byethost slowly choking down on its free hosting offerings to new account signups. Until finally about two months ago I started to notice that my own site was starting to receive some of these… issues. Pages wouldn’t load and I’d receive error messages that I was over-taxing the server with too many page loads…. I’d say that’s a little hard to do when the page I’m loading is my WordPress Dashboard…. and I’m the only one with the access information. I had moved in with this girl, given her all of my stuff, and now I wasn’t allowed to use the kitchen, the shower, and in most cases even the electricity.

I tried getting in touch with their help center but that eventually just spiraled into a cyclical series of emails where I’d explain the problem, Byethost Help would tell me that because I was on a free account I wasn’t able to perform those functions (even though I USE TO BE ABLE TO previously), and then they would try to up-sell me to a paid account.

Last Friday I tried to post an update on the site and was completely unable to access my WordPress Dashboard from the moment I turned on my computer in the morning… so later that day, out of pure spite, I signed up for a paid account at one of their competitors: Bluehost.

I’ve worked on websites before that were hosted on Bluehost, so I knew enough about it research-wise to know they’re reliable…. and thus far Bluehost has been TOTALLY AWESOME. Their services dwarf Byethost‘s offerings, and their help desk even walked me through the site migration process step-by-step over live chat.

My new web host and I totally “get” each other…. To all of you still reading this; first: thanks for sticking through the nerd code babble, second: take this as a warning: “Stay away from Byethost, she’s a fickle bitch… and she won’t give back that sick t-shirt you really like either”

Bluehost, I know we just met, but I think I love you….

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