It’s been a long strange trip trying to find my warm and cosy place on the web for Uber.la. We’re not HUGE, but when we get an occasional hit post, it can cause havoc with a small hosting service. It seems the efficiencies of WordPress on the content side are less forgiving on the database side when the site moves up to around 20 concurrent users. With my previous hosting, an highly virtualized service, a single popular tweet could bring down server A. Me and all of his A clients as well. BAD for me. Worse for him.
Still it seemed to take… Well, the problems started getting worse in November. And by January I’d had it. Promises of an upgraded server simply were not happening. Meanwhile, this site would go OFFLINE several times a day for an average of 10 – 15 minutes at a time. When this was happening even when I was not actively tweeting, it was time for radical action.
And the move to A2 Hosting went swimmingly, thanks to my host Brian Muthig.
I was hoping to see a large increase in page views per visit, since the site was now MUCH MORE responsive. But the metrics didn’t validate that prediction.
Yes, occasionally we do get a hit, like our Dec. 25 post on Guitar Center’s Egregious Unsubscribe Practice. (see spike above) But in general things have simply carried along as usual. The traffic does seem to be up, over all. Even the down spaces are a bit thicker. Presumably because, now, after a tweet the site does not go down or sag under the load. I’ve seen concurrent sessions in the 50’s now with my accelerated A2 hosting.
But the BIGGEST change, that I owe to the new speedy SSD disk system from A2, is this: WordPress feels like an App again. The site is responsive. I can open an new post and not have to copy and paste my content before ever save. (when your site times out, even your draft can be lost) I still do, just to be safe, but since getting the kinks worked out with A2, I have had zero alerts from Pingdom about this site. ZERO. Rather than 4 – 6 a day.
But again, opening and writing within WordPress is back to being fun. There is no 45-second waits to open an new post, or 2-minute waits and failure on trying to save a post.
Am I happy with A2. Yes. Is it perfect. No.
So a small fly in the ointment happened this morning at around 3:50 am.
And that wasn’t the worst part. This is what this site looked like about an hour ago. For about 4 hours. Hmm… And I do this for a “living?”
The good news is, the Live Chat rep, recognized my distress when I pinged him in all caps on the A2 Live Support Chat.
Now, often LIVE CHAT support is a mixed bag. For a large multi-national corporation you are likely to get an English-as-a-2nd-language chatter who provides canned responses like. “Let me check on that for you.” and “Just a minute, let me see what I can do.” And often the terminal response from these “customer support representatives” is, “I’m sorry I can’t make that change for you at this time. You need to call our 800# customer support number between the hours of…”
Not today. This is Sunday morning. Super Bowl Sunday, I might ad, and Jason B was online and ready to go. [Maybe it was Jason that suspended my account without a phone call, but heck at 3:50am, I’d a been a little pissed.]
And that’s the end of the story.
I got an email a few minutes after this exchange making notes from our conversation and pasting in the email from Brian that spelled out my free 6 months of hosting.
So we’re back on the train. And my site is back on the speeding bullet train of SSD-powered cloud hosting. Take a look around. Check out the various areas of the site and see if you notice the responsiveness of the site. And if you’re in the business of web marketing, you might consider what a SLOW server is costing you.
Keep It Social Out There!(tm)