Two weeks after we first contacted our site host with concerns about site slowness … four days after we started a full-court press via phone … the saga has reached hair-pulling stage. Click ahead only if you want to read our vent. (If you can even get to a second page. Again, we promise to get this fixed one way or another …)
Our site hosting company is one of the original big names of the internet, Yahoo! At the time we started this humble little enterprise in late 2005, it seemed to make sense; they were the most reliable-sounding of a handful of companies available at the time to host a WordPress blog. In recent months, the WordPress user community has grown increasingly disgruntled with them, and perhaps this seemingly unresolvable mystery problem is an example of why.
Certainly, others have had tech trouble with Yahoo!: The web is littered with tales of people having trouble getting the company to deal with e-mail issues. For most users, their e-mail product is free and perhaps that’s a case of “you get what you pay for.” But we pay them a not entirely paltry sum each month for “small business hosting” (even though we do not yet have anything revenue-generating on the site) via Yahoo! so you would think we would get a better service level.
After slow response via e-mail in a couple of initial exchanges last weekend and a few days later, then finally a note that said “call us,” we did. We have since talked to a half-dozen reps, in calls lasting up to 45 minutes, with the reps’ background environments sounding like everything from a prison boiler room to the Australian HQ of the company to which Yahoo! apparently outsources these services. We have several “case numbers.” We have ringing ears from horrible on-hold music (worse than the old-fashioned “elevator music” of the seventies). We have repeated promises that we have been escalated to the ominous-sounding “second tier.”
This morning we thought the fever had broken. The site seemed navigable and accessible. Then after a few hours away from the computer, we encountered the same old issues … the home page came up OK … but when we tried clicking to a second page, such as the comments, or the administrative area where we make and/or edit posts, 90 percent of the time, it became yet another frustrating case of “you can’t get there from here.”
About that same time we noticed the problems had returned, we opened our Yahoo! mail … and blew the proverbial gasket upon seeing a relatively fresh note saying “We believe your problem is solved. We noticed you have high-resolution photos on your page. This can cause slow loading of pages.”
Simultaneous to this message, in a different browser window, we were receiving a “500 Internal Server Error” page while simply trying to get to a page that we knew didn’t have a single photo … the standalone page for the “Alki anecdote” post and its comments.
The photos are not the problem. We know they might cause slow loading for whomever is still out there with a dial-up connection. This is something else. The Yahoo! people have led us through a parade of diagnostics (including “traceroute,” including calling our internet service provider, Comcast, etc., including looking at the “health of the internet” to see if there is some stealth problem just affecting users in Seattle) that show it’s a hangup somewhere between here and there, not anything we have done to or with the site via its content. You would think that a multi-billion-dollar internet company, the one that is trying to stop losing ground to its archrival Google, would have access to somebody with enough tech savvy to figure out why a simple little placeblog here in the Silicon Forest suddenly is getting gummed up when people, whether its owners or its readers, try to get from page to page.
Anyway, please bear with us. Our next move would be changing to a different hosting company but at the moment, we don’t have reliable enough access to our database (more than 2000 posts) to guarantee we wouldn’t lose them in the process, so we’re kind of stuck. But we’ll keep being the squeaky wheel hoping to get the grease, until we know it’s fixed and the site is reliable again. Wish we were techy enough (and supplied with the right equipment) to figure out how to host it ourselves!