Friday, August 17, 2007

Time for a new webhost

Those of you who have gone over to my website recently might have noticed that some parts of my site are inaccessible. For example, if you go to see pictures of Kirby, you'll notice that none of them will load. Same for my pictures of my trips to Japan or Dubai. And if you try to read Lori's page, you're probably going to come across this: "The Web page or file that you requested is temporarily unavailable. It has been so popular this month that it exceeded its free monthly traffic allotment. Access to this Web site will be restored on the first of next month."

A bit of background: after I finished graduate school in early 2000, Lori and I opened an e-mail account with Mindspring (which was shortly thereafter brought out by EarthLink). With each e-mail address came ten megabytes of web storage. My web site consists of both my and Lori's web space allotments; a total of 20 MB of space (the domain I own,, simply redirects to EarthLink's server). Lori's portion of the site is where I've stored a lot of pictures, including ones of Kirby or recent travels.

And it seemed to work fine, at least until earlier this year when I noticed that Lori's portion of the website was no longer accessible. The message claims that bandwidth has been exceeded for the month, which initially surprised me since I couldn't imagine that anything on Lori's portion of the site would be so popular as to exceed its monthly bandwidth allocation. However, as the months passed - and access to her portion of the site was in fact not restored even though the message indicated otherwise - it was clear that there was a fundamental problem with EarthLink's web hosting system.

So I contacted EarthLink's web tech support folks (who have been outsourced to India and are only reachable through online chat sessions rather than by telephone). The first conversation I had with them back at the beginning of May was rather unhelpful:

Indian Tech Support Guy: Thank you for contacting EarthLink LiveChat, how may I help you today?

Me: Hi. I've been with Earthlink (Mindspring) for many years now. I have a question about the free webspace that comes with my and my wife's account.

ITSG: Please let me know your question. I will provide you the required information.

Me: My web site is at It seems to be working fine. But some of the pictures and pages link back to my wife's web site at Lately, I've been getting the following error message: "The Web page or file that you requested is temporarily unavailable. It has been so popular this month that it exceeded its free monthly traffic allotment. Access to this Web site will be restored on the first of next month." I find it hard to believe that so many people are going to my wife's site that it's using up all of the allotted bandwidth. Also, since it's a new month, shouldn't the site be available again?

ITSG: Yes, the site will be again on the first of next month if it is closed due to bandwidth.

Me: But it *is* a new month! It's May 2nd! I want to know why the bandwidth has been used up already. Are people hotlinking images off my wife's website and stealing my wife's bandwidth?

ITSG: I have gone through your wife's web site. As per the EarthLink norms it should be up be now. It is taking little more time this time. I request you to wait for another 24 hours. I am sure it will the site will be up by then.

Me: Okay, and if it isn't? Do I come back here for another chat?

ITSG: I am sure it should fix the issue by next 24 hours.

Me: Okay. I'm wondering if there's anything I can do to keep this from happening again.

ITSG: The only to save band width is to restrict your site by giving to the less number of people. You can do this by password protecting the site.

Me: I'd hate to have to password protect it. I just can't imagine that so many people are going to look at the pictures on my wife's site.

ITSG: If you wish you can host web site with us where you can get more band width.

(Of course. Even though we're tech support, we'll gladly try to sell you one of our services!)

Me: Eh, I'll wait 24 hours, as you suggest, and see what happens.

ITSG: I am sure by that issue will be fixed. Your site should be up by next 24 hours. Have a wonderful day.

Me: Okay, Thanks.

Of course, nothing happened. May came and went. As did June. My wife's portion of the website never became available; it just redirected to the same "bandwidth exceeded" message. So, in July, I had another chat with EarthLink's web tech support staff. This second conversation was just as unhelpful as the first:

Indian Tech Support Guy: Thank you for contacting EarthLink LiveChat, how may I help you today?

Me: I'm having a problem with my website. Are you the person I can speak with about this?

ITSG: Sure, you can. Please let me know the complete website address with which you are facing the issue.

Me: Okay. My website is My wife's website is Her website has been offline for several months now.

ITSG: To best assist you, you need to speak with a Web Hosting Technical Support Representative. Please standby while I transfer you. Please wait while I transfer the chat to the best suited site operator.

(Oh? I thought you just said that you could help me with this problem. Anyway...)

Another Indian Tech Support Guy: Hello, I see you've already been chatting. Please give me a moment so I can read the previous chat and pick up where you left off.

Me: Hi there.

AITSG: Does the mailbox ldstevens got inactive at any point of time?

Me: Not that I am aware of. She still receives e-mail at that account. I'm concerned about her website. has been offline for several months. Something about the bandwidth being exceeded. I find this hard to believe, but I understand that at the beginning of the month there is a reset and so the site should be up again.

AITSG: Yes, you are correct. We are aware of the issue and working on it, it had been a problem from some time now.

Me: Okay. Every time I try to access my wife's site I get a "Sorry... Page Temporarily Unavailable" message. When will this problem be resolved?

AITSG: I am sorry, we do not have any expected time frame regarding the issue. I am very sorry for the inconvenience.

Me: Hmmm. There's no way for you to reset it? I have pictures of trips and pictures of my son on that site that people would like to see, but for several months now they've been unable to do so.

AITSG: No, I need to escalate the issue to our engineers and get this updated.

Me: This hasn't been a problem with my website, It is still active. But I have a lot of links from my website to hers that haven't worked lately. I'm so frustrated that I am thinking about leaving Earthlink and using another webhost.

AITSG: Yes, we are experiencing the issues with some of them only. I am sorry for the inconvenience, we will do our best to get the site back as soon as possible. We do not want to loose any of long standing customers. I will escalate the issue with high priority and get the issue resolved as soon as possible.

Me: I'd appreciate it.

July came and went. And now we're in the second half of August. There still hasn't been a resolution to the issue. Lori's ten megabytes of web space are still offline. I'm getting the distinct impression that the folks at EarthLink either don't know how to repair the problem or just don't care. I've been more than patient with them and I've gotten nowhere.

So, it's time to move on. My website needs a new home. The question is, who should I use? If anybody out there has any suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them.

1 comment:

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