Recently, I changed hosting services. I had been with my previous host, who shall remain nameless, since 2002. During that time, I had no issues and was completely satisfied with the service.
It’s easy to be satisfied when there are no issues. I mind my own business and rarely, if ever, contact my host for any reason. So I had no reason to complain and could never understand why others trashed the customer support at this particular hosting service as being near non-existent, slow to respond, apathetic, lackluster, and rather rude.
In May, things changed. Suddenly, I started having all sorts of problems. My website became sluggish, slow-to-load, and unresponsive. Every time I tried to make updates, I was kicked out of WordPress with error messages saying my connection was lost. Other sporadic messages said that WordPress could no longer establish a secure connection because my server was not configured correctly. I was getting server errors left and right. More than once I could not log in because my username/password were not being recognized. Several times I could not access my site at all because, I was told, my own IP address had been blocked by my server’s firewall. It was a hot mess.
This went on all summer—it was one thing after the other. I contacted tech support repeatedly looking for answers. It took them forever to respond. First, they blamed WordPress. Then, they told me that the OpenSSL version 1.x I needed for WordPress requires CentOS 6 and up and, unfortunately, the server I was hosted on was still using CentOS 5 . . . as if this was somehow my fault. I felt a definite disconnect. Their responses were oftentimes generic, not addressing my specific issues at all. The final blow came when they announced that brute force attacks on my website as well as a lot of hits from some bad Bots and IP addresses were causing spikes on their shared server. They wanted me to fix it.
I don’t know anything about brute force attacks or how to stop them. I’m a web designer. I rely on my host to keep its servers updated and secure. If there are security or other issues with my website, I expect my host to be readily available and willing to put some effort into helping me resolve the problem(s).
In retrospect, I believe the sudden issues I experienced were directly related to the shared server my site was on. At the same time I was having problems, my host was in the process of upgrading its servers from CentOS 5 to CentOS 6, and the final portion of that upgrade was with the carriers that provided the connectivity at my data center. There may have been too many people on the shared server, or my host may have arbitrarily reduced CPU limits for its customers. Whatever. Whatever my host was (or was not) doing during that server upgrade was having a definite negative impact on my website.
All I have left to say is . . . for 13 years of good service . . . thank you, thank you very much. Bye bye.