It was a long process filled with many peaks and valleys, but Wakeboarder.com is back online after a very painful server move. Free e-mail should also be back up shortly after we work out a few bugs for those who are waiting.
So, for those of you who don't know, web sites are stored on computers which run software specifically for running web sites. Wakeboarder.com is on it's own computer, called a server, and it was being stored at a local hosting facility here in Eugene, Oregon. A hosting facility provides a server with the connection to the internet and the bandwidth the server needs to handle all the traffic.
Things were rolling along fine with our setup, until the hosting facility decided they wanted to double what they were charging us. We were already displeased with their lack of customer support, so combined with prices that were much higher then we wanted to pay and their support, we decided it was time to move to a new hosting facility.
A friend offered to help with the server move, and to move it to a hosting facility two hours away in Portland. The pricing looked fine, so we pulled out the server over the weekend and took it up to Portland. My friend brought the server in to the hosting facility and set it up and got the site back online. I left work at 5 pm last Monday with everything working fine. When I checked that night at 9 pm the server was offline again. I called and e-mailed their "24-hour technical support", and got no response, so I went to bed having nothing else I could do.
The following morning, Tuesday, I got to work and the server was still down and no one had responded to my tech support calls and e-mails. We called again, and they told us they'd go reboot the machine. Six hours later, they finally went over and pushed the button to restart it. That's fast response time!
Everything was working fine again, then the next morning, Wednesday, I noticed that the server was once again offline. I called the hosting facility, and managed to get to the manager of their support department. She told me that my server was "causing problems and that they unplugged it last night". First, I was extremely angry that they didn't warn me and just unplugged my server without notice, and then they never even bothered to tell me after the fact that they did it. I had to figure it out and contact them. I'm actually paying money for this service? So, I asked her what she meant by "causing problems", and she said that my server was flooding their network and using too much bandwidth. She said they would not put it back online, and someone had to come in and "fix it". Well, we didn't change anything on a server that's worked just fine for over two years, so we were pretty sure nothing was wrong with it. My friend and I deduced that they were just not prepared for the amount of bandwidth Wakeboarder.com used.
To solve the problem, I called back a couple of hours later and asked if they could put the server back online and I'd disable the web site. This would allow me to test for problems, and to see if it was the web site usage or if something was actually wrong with the server. The guy in support said he didn't have the authority to plug the server back in. I asked who did have the authority, and he said the manager of support did, who was the lady I talked to earlier. I asked if I could speak with her, and he said she was at lunch. It was 3 pm at this point, so I figured she takes late lunches. So I left a message to have her call me.
Two hours later, it's 5 pm and I haven't received a call back. I call again, and the guy in support says that she's still out to lunch. Huh? Who takes 2 hour lunches? Anyway, I left a message to have her call or e-mail me anytime that evening because she apparently works until 9 pm.
Well, Thusrday morning rolled around, and I hadn't received a call or e-mail from the support manager, or anyone else there. At this point, as you could guess, I was losing my patience for these people. My friend and I decide that we need to get the server out of there and find a new place to have it hosted. So, I do some research and find a place that leases servers for a good price, and will give us the bandwidth and support Wakeboarder.com needs. I begin the process of ordering the new server and setting it up, while my friend heads down to the hosting facility to get the server out of there so we can plug it in at his work to transfer the files to the new server at the new host. When he gets there, they won't let him take the server because the manager of support isn't there. This is the same manager who refuses to call or e-mail us back. So my friend says "Wait, you're trying to tell me that first you unplug our server when nothing is wrong with it, you don't tell us you unplugged it until we figured it out, you won't plug it back in and let us disable it to test it, nobody will call us back, and now you won't let us take it out of here?" So basically, these people have taken the Wakeboarder.com server hostage. A few hours later we convince them to plug it back in so we can at least transfer the files to our new server.
Well, so on Friday we start the file transfer, and there is 2 GB of files. So essentially, it took us Friday, the weekend, and Monday to really get everything transferred and to configure everything on the new server. Meanwhile, the old server is still being held hostage, but we'll get it back soon with a commando mission. Not that we need the server now, but it's the principal of it.
Sorry for the inconvenience of the site being down, but we think we're now at a top-notch hosting facility which will provide us with the equipment and service we need.