One of the quiet little sites I have is the White Bear Consulting site. It’s mostly just used to take an occasional order for the MSDE Manager series of tools and still provides a large number of downloads of the free version. But as the popularity of the MSDE gets replaced by interest in SQL Express, I’m expecting the activity to decline.
However, what’s disappointed me most is the nonsense I’ve had to deal with having the site hosted by Connexus here in Australia. You’d think a simple FrontPage site that doesn’t change would be the simplest thing to look after. They seem incapable of keeping the site working for more than a few weeks in a row. I used to really like their hosting. You could call them and find a human at the end of the phone. The good part was the human that answered also understood things like routing.
At this point in its life, I’d hoped the site would take very little of my time but it’s got to the point where I seem to have to place an order on the site myself each day to find out if it’s still working. What tends to happen is that things are quiet for a few weeks, I eventually think that’s odd and check the site, only to find, yet again, that it doesn’t work. Sometimes this is short-circuited by a customer who emails directly because they’re wondering what happened to their order. Bummer about all the others that didn’t let me know.
The events over the last eight weeks should give a picture of the situation. In December, I noticed the default page of the site had become a bunch of binary gibberish. I called the HelpDesk, spent my time on hold having them explain how my call may be recorded to let them keep their high level of service and eventually got to a lady who said she’d look into it. When I called back a couple of days later to find why it wasn’t fixed, they asked me if I happened to have a copy of what the site should have on it. I said that surely they should have a backup available to restore it from but that only brought another promise to look into it and let me know. Quite some days later it was still broken so I made up a new version of the page and uploaded it to fix it myself. I’m still waiting on their response.
Now only a few weeks later, the site won’t send emails. Got yet another email from a customer complaining we hadn’t processed her order as the site promised. Of course, I have no copy of the emails even though the forwarding email addresses are working fine. I called the HelpDesk, listened again to the message about how they were keeping the standard of support high and got a lady named Angela who I explained the problem to. She told me she’d look into it and call me back. I explained that that was the same sort of promise I got last time I had a problem and that it was simply silly that they couldn’t keep a basic site running. She promised to call me back Saturday morning. I double-checked that with her because I didn’t have a high-degree of faith that it would happen.
Not surprising, it didn’t happen. I range the HelpDesk again today, listened for a bit longer to promises of quality service while on hold and got another fellow that told me Angela wasn’t in today anyway. He said he’d look into it for me. I explained the pain level. He put me on hold and then went off to work it out. After a long time on hold, the Connexus phone system eventually cut me off and diverted me to a voicemail box. I left a message. Later in the day, I got a call from today’s guy who said he couldn’t work out what was wrong and neither could the other people he spoke to. They would have to sort it out and call me back but that wouldn’t be till at least Monday.
Shall we say, I don’t now have a great deal of faith that anything will get sorted out or that I will hear back. Last time I was left to sort it out myself.
Overall, over the last couple of years, I can’t tell you how many times it’s stopped. Mostly, the explanation involves some mumbling about new servers and reconfiguration, etc. Other times I’ve tried to upload a new downloadable version and been unable to, only to find they’ve changed the passwords on the site and *forgot* to let me know.
Surely it doesn’t have to be this hard. <sigh> Even if there’s some technical problem that’s hard to resolve (who knows why on such a simple site), it’s simply unacceptable for them to not follow through on issues and for staff to not call back when they promise, etc.
Connexus hosting –> Not Recommended!