As I mentioned last week, and as some of you continued to notice, my blogs were having some issues after I moved to my new domain. As I've mentioned before, I chose a great tool for blogging called dasBlog. It is used by hundreds of people, has an active developer community, and is used by many high traffic blogs. I felt like I made a solid choice, and still do. Unfortunately, I took the word of one of the community members about which hosting service to use. Big mistake. The hosting service I was using up until yesterday was BoundGrid.net. They offered a pretty good package, and a very reasonable price. But as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. And what I didn't get was good service.
I'm sure that if everything went smoothly, I would have loved them like the person who had originally recommended them. But the true test of any company is how they react when you are having problems with their service. Last week, The World According to Nick was crashing about 3 to 4 times per day due to Out of Memory Exceptions. This also had the effect of taking down The Coding Monkey. The sites would automatically recycle, but would be down for 5 to 10 minutes while this happened.
When I originally emailed the technical support group, they looked at the site, said it was up (it had recycled by then), and told me to contact them when it happened so they could "investigate further". I sent them my copy of the error logs that showed exactly what was happening, but they insisted they could only do something if the site was down. For a problem that occurs randomly, this is not an easy thing to do. Luckily for me, I was able to catch it when it was down, and I immediately contacted them. Their "solution" was to perform an iisreset and thank me for using their service.
This would happen 3 to 4 times a day, and each time I happened to notice it and saw the site was down, I would contact their technical support group, and all they would do was perform an iisreset. As I continued to escalate my complaint, their response turned into "check your code". Of course, I'm running production level code that hundreds, if not thousands, of other people are using, but I did anyway. I also contacted one of the lead developers for dasBlog (Scott Hanselman), and asked for his help. He was baffled and had never heard of anything like this. We started asking basic questions about the environment I was running on, to try to see how the site was configured. BoundGrid basically told me that I had more memory than a site like mine needed, and refused to answer my very specific questions about where I was running.
At this point, not only had I looked at the dasBlog code, but I had made more than a half dozen configuration changes to dasBlog that might ease the memory requirements. None of these changes worked. On Monday I finally got sick and tired of it all, and decided to switch hosting providers. I chose StormHosts, and I couldn't be happier with my decision. They're slightly more expensive, but their service and support has been fantastic thus far. When I originally copied my site up to their servers, there were some permissions issues that were not allowing me to post. They worked the problem through, kept in constant contact with me, and gave very personal responses that showed that they knew what they were looking at. They also host several other major bloggers who all use dasBlog. I highly recommend them. As for BoundGrid, I can only assume that their technical support team's only previous experience with computers was working the automated fry machine at McDonald's, and being handed a copy of "So You Want To Be a Network Administrator".
Thankfully BoundGrid offers a 30 day money back guarantee, which I am taking full advantage of, so my mistake won't cost me any money. However, it has cost me great frustration, time, and effort.