Bluehost outage results in Twitter love and backup plans

September 17, 2010

Last night my website was inaccessible for several hours. Some of you e-mailed to tell me of the issue, others tweeted.

The hosting company apparently had a power outage and needed a transformer replaced (read enraged tweets here) — not something they could’ve controlled.

Some reports said that Bluehost knew about the outage prior but failed to inform its clients. Others defended the hosting company saying it was a one-off incidence.

 Bluehost outage results in Twitter love and backup plans

For the average user all of that didn’t matter.

What they — I — wanted was my site to be back up and running.

Coupled with that was the fear that my data could be corrupted. I do weekly backups of my data but given yesterday’s experience I need to do it every day.

Someone on twitter suggested that I run cron jobs.

I had no clue what they were until my husband said, “Oh yeah that’s easy … it’ll automatically backup your data. I’ll write the script for you.”

I could’ve Googled it, but it’s so much more cool when the guy next to you already knows the answer without your having to look it up — kind of like having my own Google Instant!

For those of you, nerdy but not geeky folks affected by the outage and looking into auto-backup solutions, here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up cron jobs. Even if you haven’t had a website disappearance experience before, it might be a good idea to do auto-backups just to be safe.

As of this morning, everything is backed up on my hard disk and on a cloud. I now know what cron jobs are — not anything close to the first two thoughts that had come to my mind when I read the term — and I am researching other web hosting options.

For me two big things came out of this outage:

  1. Twitter proved to be an effective source of information. Thanks to everyone else who tweeted about the problem, I knew it wasn’t an issue at my end. For some reason I felt reassured knowing others were suffering. Weird how that whole “empathy thing” works. Within an hour of Bluehost-bashing someone from their end finally started tweeting (first time ever since February) pacifying clients and giving them real-time updates on the situation — sprinkled with a few smart-ass comments:

    @hawaiihypnosis I’m sorry that we didn’t warn you that transformer was going to explode, but we are working on a new predictive algorithm icon smile Bluehost outage results in Twitter love and backup plans

  2. Planning is good and backups are necessary. Whenever I travel, my friends and husband will attest, I try to have a well-detailed Plan A and a slightly less-detailed Plan B. Part of the plan is to leave scope for spontaneity, but I’m not one of those who can pack my bags, take a last-minute travel deal and fly someplace I haven’t already researched. It’s out of character for me. The backend of this website is no different.

So, for those of you unable to access my blog yesterday, I invite you to read the Pleasantly Disturbed Thursday post here.

Hope you have a good weekend — mine will be spent researching and planning where to host this site problem-free (is there anything like that?).

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F Bluehost outage results in Twitter love and backup plans

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2 Responses to Bluehost outage results in Twitter love and backup plans

  1. KevinNo Gravatar on September 17, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Have heard of such situations earlier where twitter has been well used as a medium to get a company to act on complaints. That’s the power of social media.

    Yeah, I’ve faced outages with other hosting providers as well.

    The best thing would be to manage your own hosting I suppose. Your husband should know how to set one up with a cheap, old Linux machine.

    Or go for a better hosting service provider. You will have to research about which is a good one though.

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar on September 21, 2010 at 7:32 pm

      Thanks, Kevin. I’m still looking … I read someplace not to invest money in one’s blog until one has a means of income through it. But I think investing in a reliable hosting company is a prudent decision. The blog can only make money when it’s online, right? :)


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