What's Going On?
You may have noticed Hounds in the Kitchen has had some trouble recently. From images not loading to receiving errors when trying to look on the web to a whole day without service, our website was as googly as Devie's eye. Boo.
IX Hosting Fail
Most of these failures were coming from my host, Columbus-based IX Hosting. They warned me that data on my site was causing 'server overload' and suggested I upgrade to their next level of hosting, a costly VPS service. I did some research and didn't think that was necessary.
Then this week, they shut down HoundsInTheKitchen.com for failure to abide by their terms of service. Apparently unlimited hosting is actually quite limited.
I had no choice but to play nice and convince them to give me the site back. I wanted it for just enough time that I could switch to a new host. I did that and am with a no-contract host while I figure out what to do next.
I have to say I am terribly disappointed with IX Hosting. I initially chose them because I love supporting a local company. I worked with some great people, all of whom have now moved on to other businesses.
For the last month I have expressed my discontent with a slowly loading site to IX service reps directly and via social media. I have not once received a positive response. When I was in a panic this week while the site was down, I complained on twitter and no one from IX attempted to help. Maybe I did violate terms of service somewhere but a good host would help me understand why and respond to me, not leave a customer feeling bullied into a costly upgrade.
Another IX user reached out to me in the last few days saying the exact same thing happened to him. Not good. Shop around and don't choose IX if you are looking for a web host.
My chief concern when IX allowed access to me was migrating data to a new host. I attempted to move over the custom designed theme but it was too much for the moment.
You can see that the easy install theme is very wonky right now. Pictures are oddly sized, some widgets aren't working yet, but all the content is here.
Migrating a site is tricky and has taken many hours and heartaches this week. I felt un-anchored with three years of life's work tied up out of my reach.
I'm not sure what is the right move from here. I work terribly hard at creating content for Hounds in the Kitchen. My writing here is completely unpaid.
It feels ridiculous to pay a fair amount per month to host a site on which I don't make money. I could switch to a cheap host, but I might end up with the same problems I just went through.
My idea to ask for donations and promote ebook sales engaged very few readers. If I add advertisements to make up the difference, you would see at least two ad blocks, perhaps three.
While I do make residual income from teaching classes and social media clients, I truly believe I could advertise these services with a much simpler (and free) wordpress.com site. It would seem like a downstep to return to wordpress.com but server steadiness and cost savings might make up for lack of flexibility.
At any rate, I wanted to let you know what was up here. Thank you for reading. I appreciate everyone who has reached out to me to report outages and offer suggestions. Feel free to continue in the comments - what would you do?