One of the major parts of being in business is being visible. Having a presence people can easily find and see. My online visibility has been very sketchy over the past 8 months and yet I’ve had very little time to be able to do anything about it.
A couple of years back I changed hosts as I found the original hosting I ever had were, well, less than great at customer service. I had an issue with my sent emails ending up in Spam, and when they refused to entertain the thought that anything could be done to rectify it by trying to de-blacklist the shared server I was on I decided it was time for a change. It was around that time I updated the look of my website, not something I have ever found an easy thing to do but the learning curve was worth it and the site did look better for it.
I also made the site work for me by having certain questionnaire forms on it so brides and grooms could let me know their wishes for their big days, but on the back end I added a few things that would possibly improve its performance but also keep me more aware of activities on my site and of my site.
One such plugin for WordPress is Jetpack. It has a few features about it, like giving insight info and supposedly helping with image performance. The one thing that really interested me about it was it would let me know when my site went down from the internet, therefore giving me the chance to find out what was wrong and get it back online as soon as possible.
You know what, it does that so well. Every little moment of downtime is reported, even if its just a minute or two. You get an email to say its down, and an email again to say its back, sometimes its that quick that you get no chance to check and see if a fix is possible or even needed.
In the vast majority of downtime cases it’s going to be some sort of server error that is pretty much out of your hands, so letting the hosting company know your website is down is pretty much the only thing you can do, but, no matter who you are with hosting wise you wouldn’t expect to have to much downtime anyway, so it won’t be something you should be having to do every few days anyway, so why the need to monitor the site.
The thing is if you don’t monitor your site like this, how would you know its performing the way it should be. In the early days of being with my second hosting company I would get a warning of an issue every few days. Then 8 months or so ago they had a big shake up and moved their servers from one area of the country to another, and whilst the move was expected to cause issues, and it did, they were solved within hours and the coming days gave me the best service I’d had in ages with no Jetpack reports for a few weeks.
Then again I started to get a few a week, then it increased to a few a day. So I reported it to the support team. I wanted to know why these dropouts were happening. They may have only been 4-15 minutes at a time, but it was happening 3 to 5 times a day. One of the replies I got back from my hosting support was that I shouldn’t trust all of Jetpacks warnings to be correct. For me this didn’t put any issues to rest but simply poked at my curiosity and so any warning I got from there on in, where possible, I made sure I tried to view the site from the front and and login to the back end. Low and behold every time I checked the site had indeed gone down.
The awkward thing is with this situation is that it hasn’t been a priority for me as I’ve been and continue to be busy with weddings and portraits, so finding the time to argue the point or get a resolution hasn’t been within grasp.
The past three days have pushed me over the edge though and I’ve squeezed some extra time into my day to give up on my second hosting and move on to my third. On the 8th of Dec my site was down twice resulting in downtime of 41 minutes, on the 9th it was down 4 times resulting in 52 mins of downtime and on the 10th it was down 6 times resulting in 18 minutes of downtime and I’m sure it would have been far more but my transfer to SiteGround had completed not long after the 6th outage. Over the past few weeks its been an average of 27 mins a day of down time, and you might think what is the bother with that, it’s not much, but if that continues it averages out at 164.25 hours a year, and that sounds far worse.
I’ve been on Sitegrounds servers for about 27 hours so far and as yet I’ve had nothing from Jetpack, where before I would have had 4-7 reports, so I’m very much hoping the last email I got from Jetpack will be the last I see from them for a while.
Using Jetpack couldn’t be simpler. Use the add Plugin feature in your WordPress menu and install it. Then you’ll need to get a WordPress.com account, even if you don’t need an extra blog or website, you’ll need to get one so that it can monitor your self hosted WordPress website. Reason being is that if your website has gone down, how can a plugin thats part of the website that has gone down communicate with you, it can’t. So you have to link the plugin to a dormant wordpress.com account and it’s that which will send you the notifications when it can’t find your website online, simples huh.
Hoping very much my online presence will be far more stable now with SiteGround, oh and I’m not in the habit of slating other companies online unless they really have hacked me off, so that’s why I’ve not named and shamed. You might think that they should be named and shamed ater the poor downtime figures I was getting but I was on a shared Server, as I am now, but they made me aware after that they never guarantee uptime for shared servers. I thought when I signed up to them that they did, but on searching their website I can find no such info, so I won’t slander them by saying they didn’t deliver on promises, but I will move on to new hosts as is my right as I simply can’t put up with being on such unstable shared servers.
Anyway, that’s that and fingers crossed all will be well from here on in.
Catch you later