How I Spent My Winter Break & Why Godaddy Isn’t My Blog Host

And no this has nothing to do with SOPA… yet. We’ve been on the run since Friday… Woe, that was two weeks ago. Man, time flies… Christmas eve-eve I was busy working on Tricia’s video, using my blog-woes as a cover story. Alas, the blog woes was more than a convenient cover-story (see below). Friday, last day at work, Tricia had gone back to her place to do all the thousands of things the holidays seems to require of all mothers. Saturday, Xmas eve, was spent outside Tampa with Tricia’s older brother, Mike. I got some NFL in on that day. Then Sunday, Christmas Day, was spent at Tricia’s with her mom, son and granddaughter. It was unhurried and very comfortable. It was perfect.

So around Wednesday, the last week of the break, Tricia asked me what did I want to do with my Christmas break. Was I thinking of going anywhere or doing anything special? Number one, I wouldn’t think about going anywhere without including her and number two, there was only half a week left of my break. So, after a brief pause I told her that I was already doing it. She looked at me, puzzled. I’d spent my days mostly on the computer, laboriously updating hundreds of feature images in my blog after the move to my new blog host and chasing down other bloggy stuff. Hmmm. That was the short, mostly painless version. I really did enjoy having the time to do all of this silly bloggy stuff. But the real story goes back to Thanksgiving week when I began to investigate upgrading my Godaddy hosted blog(s)… Here’s the long painful rendition…

Tuesday, November 29th
Still waiting for last Godaddy website hosting update. Ack. Tech warned that it could be up to 72 hours… Has it already been 72 hours? Damn. I was just in the process of trying to develop the habit of doing at least three posts a week, but I had a post disappear between issuing the last update and when the site was updated. So, as always, I plan something and then have to adjust said plan to wait for other things first. Damn.

So, I had been trying to decide whether to re-up my Godaddy hosting plan or go with something else. Of late I had been depending less and less on my FTP access to my go daddy site. I’d been wanting to move everything away from my expiring MobileMe iDisk hosting, but was getting discouraged because I’d been running into server errors, etc. I purchased a year’s worth of SquareSpace, but I wasn’t impressed with what I could do with the site that didn’t look like a blog (and couldn’t get a “magazine” theme with rotating gallery up top). Damn.

I very briefly experimented with the Onswipe theme to make the main blog more iPad fun. Alas, because I had far more Twitter posts than full-feature posts, Onswipe didn’t really work. Then last week it dawned of me that I could create twitter-specific WordPress blogs and remove them from my main blog so that themes like Onswipe would work. Doh! Now I just have to wait for my hosting plan to return from the “upgrade.”


Friday, December 2nd: Friday Sick of Hosting Problems
Friday on a week that didn’t quite equal a full week doesn’t quite feel like a proper Friday. I’ve been sick most of the week and slept all of yesterday, so my poor sense of direction/focus isn’t all that unexpected. Add to that I’m still waiting for Godaddy to pull their heads out of their asses.

Two weeks ago I talked to a tech about upgrading my old hosting service to their new shiny “4GH” and he suggested that I enable a service that would automatically require that they move me to a newer server and then after that the upgrade would just be a check-box. Or so he said. I enabled the first part and it took a bit over 48-hours before I had access to the backend again, signaling that that step was completed. So I contacted Godaddy on the 25th to renew my hosting plan, indicating that I wanted to be moved to the 4GH plan. The tech said no problem, it should take between one to 72-hours for the update and that I should get an email indicating that the change was made. Seven-days later I’m still seeing the “pending account change” status. I contacted their tech on Wednesday and got a trouble ticket and they told me that the connection had timed-out and that’s why the upgrade hadn’t completed. So I waited until today to re-check the status. No change. The tech escalated the trouble ticket and suggested that I might sign up for a one-month hosting plan, move my blogs to the new server then after the month move it back to the “fixed” hosting plan. I told her that I can’t see putting more work into something when they haven’t delivered on the original upgrade. Why should I spend more money, buying a month’s worth of hosting? I ended the call thinking that if I’m not back with backend access in another 24-hours that I should take my business elsewhere.

I don’t know where I’d switch to. I’m thinking that if the problem isn’t resolved then I will cancel my renewal and create a new service and move to the new service. Time to research the alternative hosting services. Ack.

Sunday, December 4th: Web Hosting
I think I know the hold music by heart now. Sad. They resolved my upgrade issue after seven-days, so that I’m not getting the “pending” message anymore, but, the upgrade to their 4GH plan, the one that I requested didn’t go through. Ah, right. And now I can’t Dreamweaver or Transmit to log into the site so that I can back things up. So…. brain-dead decision, I thought maybe it was a password problem and because I had access to the hosting dashboard, I decided to change the password to something less cryptic. Now the password setting is twirling the “pending change” icon of death. FUCK.

Just called tech support… yeah, something is happening… it’s been escalated to the next level tech support and I should expect another email with another ticket number. Damn. I was actually thinking that I’d like to avoid the hassle, cancel my previous “upgrade” (the one that didn’t happen), and then open another hosting account with the vaunted 4GH service. But now, well, I haven’t posted to my blog in over a week and I’m tired of having to work with tech support just to access my own damn content. Time to move my Internet tent. Damn.

Tuesday, December 6th: Loyalty
It’s completely illogical for me to feel anything or to feel bad about canceling my godaddy hosting account. Sorry if you were expecting something more personal or something along that line. I guess it comes down to caring about things that one spends a lot of time doing and I spend a lot of time in this space, writing, researching, reading, connecting, and so anything that gets in the way of me feeling connected or threatens my continued connection causes an emotional reaction. So, I was looking through my records and I’ve been registering domain names with godaddy since the end of 2006 and started hosting my sites with them since January 2007 and in Internet time almost five years is forever. Yeah, I’m a bit depressed about having to cancel the hosting and hassle of looking for a new provider and then having to build everything back up. And even though these words are not reaching out to the Net (yet), thank god that I found this program (DayOne) that prompts me to do my daily writing. What a godsend. Okay. Back to the business of getting back online.

Wednesday, December 7th: Moving
There’s generally an assumption that anything “Internet” is less than “In Real Life,” that it takes less time, less energy, less meaning. I don’t think that is so. I’ve been working on getting my website/blogs reset/set-up since the 25th and it there hasn’t been anything about this process that’s been “less” anything. So, today i’m now in the process of moving my blogs/websites to a new host. I’ve got the skeleton of the new blog setup on the new host and the right domain name pointed to the right host. All I need to do with wait 24-hours for the information to filter across the Internet so that it works with my browser… More waiting. Damn. I’m going to be glad when this process is over and I can get back to creating good content. Ack.

Thursday, December 8th: Living Online
I started this post yesterday, but got interrupted when I accidentally over-wrote my new wordpress blog with another that I was setting up for Tricia. Live online/die online. Damn.

Friday, December 9th: Living Online, continued
Still struggling with getting a different domain name to work with my old hosting account, so that I can move the main domain name to my new hosting account. This is turning into the proverbial removing the table cloth without losing the table settings trick. Ack. So, besides accidentally 86-ing all the work I’d done yesterday last night when I was creating a separate blog for Tricia (ARGHHH!), I’m now reconciling myself with the idea that I’m going to have to manually reset the main image (feature image) for every single blog post… currently there are 957 posts on this blog. [fail trombone]. Well, back to work.

Saturday, December 10th: Silent Blog
Since my godaddy hosting troubles around Thanksgiving I haven’t posted another blog post. Thank god for Day One, the app that I’m using to record my thoughts (and the fact that the app bugs me every day to write something…). So, I have posts to upload… I’ve just been frustrated at not having a reliable … host. Well, the blog is up on the new host, but I need to transfer my main domain name to the new host and that requires that I get another domain name take over that spot and … well, I’m going to have to call godaddy to get it up and running. Damn. Moving one’s blog is a royal pain in the ass. Oh yeah, I’m having to manually set up the “feature image” on all of my posts and edit the categories to make it run with all the different devices (web, iPhone and iPad). Yay. Be back after the Godaddy encounter. 🙂

Sunday, December 11th: Manually Moving Blog Content
Last few days have been spent manually moving my blog media, resetting categories and resetting feature images on the new blog host. Yeah, really exciting. I decided that I’ll go back as far as 2008 to make changes (I have posts that go back to 2003).

Last step was to replace the primary domain on the expiring godaddy account so that the majority of hosted images would point to the new host. Looks like the transfer worked and the temp primary domain seems to work, but I can’t access the admin functions. I can probably do a WordPress reinstall if necessary, but I’m keeping the temp godaddy going just as an image/content backup reference/resource. Time to move my Internet flag to the new place. Onward and upward.

Wednesday, December 14th: blogs and webmail
I’ve been spending the past four days working on bringing my blog back up, mostly resetting, copying and posting images, resetting categories and today trying to get my hosted email account to work. No luck with the email. But they warn that it can 24-hours for the changes to take effect. Where have I heard this before and why does it bother me. So, around 2:30 pm (ET) on Thursday it should all work perfectly. Ack.

Tuesday, December 20th
Going back to add “feature” images to old blog posts and ran into “video pulled for copyright claim”… damn. The internet is not reliable. Surprise.

Tuesday, December 27th: Sometimes Whining Works
That’s right, sometimes whining works, especially on Twitter. A couple days ago I was taking some time to clean up my inbox and working on a bunch of things that hadn’t been working on my blog and ran headlong into a conflict between my flickr widget and my dynamic feature image function and then once I got that working I couldn’t get a plugin called Onswipe that creates a special iPad theme to work. So I did the most constructive thing that I could imagine, I whined on Twitter:

“Frustrated w/ blog,fixed dynamic content display (java script), now onswipe won’t work.If I wanted this much troubleshooting I’d run windows” @jbb

Then within less than a day I got the following message:

@jbb hey joe, what’s up? How can we help?

So another day later I wrote Jason an email explaining my problem and what I’d been using with my wordpress blog and a bit later got a response with a zip file of an updated version of the plug-in. I’ve been working on the blog today and it’s been mostly good. Onswipe works, but there are some things that don’t quite work.

So, it’s not enough to just complain, but to complain to the anonymous internet! Who knew?

Tuesday, January 3rd: Bloggy Status
So after all of this, what’s the scoop? Godaddy was sacked as my hosting service because they couldn’t deliver on their promised vaunted 4GH service at the beginning of December. I moved to FatCow and they’ve been decent. Moving everything over has been a hassle and took over a month to reset all of the broken links and images. When I dug deep to get conflicting plug-ins to work together I decide to sack my previous expensive theme and go with one simplistic theme that should work across computers and iPads (making getting Onswipe to work with my blog moot). I love StudioPress and might use them for my separate photography and video specific blogs, but it turns out that simpler can be better, hence the move to the MINIMATICA theme by One Designs.

So, the move had nothing to do with SOPA, but I’ve been slowing moving my domains to for quite a while and the SOPA bullshit has made the decision all the better. My hosting account with godaddy expires in seven days on January 10th. Thus will end five-years of service. Weird that I’d feel funny about that. Thus are the reflections of one who lives so much online.