As I think about the lovely state of web hosts
these days, I can't help but think how the Wild Wild West went
through similar disarray before settling into order. Fast
forward about 160 years to today and you'll find Billy the Kidd on
the hosting side of things. If your lucky.
I did my research. Honest, I did.
I went to websites spouting praises for my chosen host, I even
picked one moderately priced. The doors were open and the site
was launched. How lovely, everything seems to work.
Gosh, could it be this easy? Well, no or I wouldn't be writing
this. Within a few weeks, my chosen host decided that web
hosting wasn't for them and they decided to go open up a McDonalds.
Oh and btw, please turn off the lights before you take your site to
another host. Hmmm... This isn't good. I have until when
to find a new host? Next Friday! Gosh squash. I
have to get moving.
Tom, good buddy. Your site seems
stable. Who do you use? Ok, new host here I come.
Propagate the site, setup shop and ready to go. Well, we'll
get into propagating the site below but the move to my new host was
relatively painless. I did say relatively, I didn't migrate
the guestbook, msg board or anything remotely database, I basically
started over. Whew, safe at last on a new host.
Ok, burned once, can't happen again, can
it? Well duh! Hmmm... site seems to be down today.
Where's that number for my host tech support line? No number!
What! How do I get support? Here's an email address.
Reading fine print, blah blah blah, all emails will be responded to
within 24 hours. What! a whole day for someone to know
my site is down! Ok, let's go find the actual owners of the
servers. You see, alot of web hosting companies are merely
resellers of someone else's servers. They are middle men.
Useless for the most part. Don't waste your time with these
companies if you want to run a site, find one that owns the servers
and for Gods sake don't pick the one I did: Funky Host (ok, you can
stop laughing now).
Finally got a tech guy on the line at the
"Well, it appears someone migrated your
site to a new server."
"It looks like an error on their part."
"No. It should be fine in about 24-72
" Ummm... that's like 2,3 days from now.
What if they do it again."
"Oh, we can fix it if they screw up again."
"Yeah, in 24-72 hours."
"Exactly." Ok, let's not use Funky
More research, more careful selection.
Ah, this one gets good reviews and they own their own servers, what
a winning combination. Let's do an easy migration and
start over again. No one that has registered on my site will
be mad, will they? Grumble, grumble, the site was moved.
Ah, happy times ahead. I can talk to
their tech support via online chat in realtime. Holy Shock and
Awe, a real live person, who will talk to me. Wow! Well,
as I later came to learn, that was a much needed tool. Email
problems, site problems, even car trouble could be attributed to
this host. Hey, my sites down again. Online chat... 3
"Can we help you?"
"Yes, why is my site down?"
"I don't know, what did you change?"
"I deleted all my files, come on, I didn't
do anything, it's not working."
"Ummm (I assume they were typing)... you're
"Yes, I know."
"Did you move to the new server?"
"Ummmm.... no. Why would I?"
"Well, we moved everyone to new servers and
you need to move your site."
"Why didn't anyone tell me?"
"I don't know."
Grumble, grumble. Jeeze, I can't
start the site over this time, I have to migrate all the databases,
archives, msg board, comments and all that stuff that has
accumulated over the months, sort of like the mold growing on the
underside of your toilet lid, but not exactly. Whew, one week
later, I had it migrated. Great googly moogly, that was like
pulling teeth. Hope I don't have to go through that again (pay
attention to my use of foreshadowing).
I said propagating a site was no picnic...
what really happens to confuse the world when you propagate a site.
Well, let's get slightly technical and then pull back for more fun.
When you type
www.latexmaskcentral.com into your web browser (or for you folks
that have it set as your homepage, I applaud you), some machine
called a nameserver out there in the backwoods of Tennessee or the
rivers of the Amazon or someplace like that wakes up and points you
to the real server that houses your files. This server
probably lives in the northernmost reaches of Alaska if you are
lucky. Anyway, when you move to a new hosting company, you
move to a new machine. That same nameserver in the Amazon has to
point you to the new one. It's just like moving to a new house
and having the post office figure out where you're mail should go.
This is what is knows as propagating to the new nameserver.
This can take from 24-72 hours, so any move you make to a new host
can be costly. What winds up happening which is really
interesting is that some people will find a nameserver that directs
them to the new host while others will find one pointing them to the
old host (this is why it can take up to 3 days for ALL the
nameservers in the world to be updated). This leads to your
site living in 2 places for a short time period and no one but
you knows about it. It does open up to alot of potential fun
Ok, tech talk over, back to the the real
world. My site was living in peace and harmony with the web
and my aura was golden, but death, taxes and a nonstable website are
the only constants in this world. My sacrifice to the Gods of
the web must not have been adequate because yet another hosting
company in my life decided to open up a McDonalds. At least they
were nice enough to give me 3 days notice. Wow! Thanks
Hmmm... this site now has a good deal of
baggage to transport. Sounds like a fun time ahead.
I pulled out my tarot cards and set out to find my new host.
Jason recommended his first love whom he returned to after having an
affair with another host. Well, they've been around since '97
and I didn't have alot of time, they even have a phone number.
Good Lord, could it be? Well, depending on where you are in
the world and if you found that nameserver in the Amazon, you
probably are on the new host now. In fact, if you are reading
this, then I know you are.
When will the web settle down? Who
knows, like anything new its got its kinks to work out for sure.
Any John, Rick or Berry can string together a T1 line and run their
own host even from their bathroom. Hopefully, I've found one
that doesn't have a craving for Quarter Pounders.