At the beginning of this year, I renewed my webhosting arrangement with WestHost and immediately regretted it when my server suffered hours of downtime in February. Since then, I’ve “caught” my server down several times. This is particularly distressing because I don’t monitor it constantly, which means it could have been down numerous times when I just didn’t notice.
Unstable WestHost Shared Hosting
There are multiple tiers of webhosting. The cheapest, and therefore least reliable, is called shared hosting. The way it works is that the webhosting company loads up numerous websites onto a single server. Often, these websites are smaller, low-traffic websites, so it really doesn’t matter if there are a lot of them on one server. However, if one of them experiences an issue, it can affect all of the websites hosted on that server. To worst webhosts load up too many websites on a single sever compromising both the speed of these sites and their integrity. A very full server is more likely to be taken down by a spike in traffic or memory usage since it is running close to capacity.
I don’t know if this is WebHost’s problem or not. I really don’t care. What I do care about is that the WebHost Status page always says the same thing. First, the server “became unresponsive and had to be rebooted.” Then, a file integrity check was forced. If you know anything about computers, you know that they don’t like having the plug pulled. They like to be shut down nicely. If they don’t get shut down properly, they will often launch into a file system check that can take an hour or more. That means with every, “Oops, we had to reboot the server,” comes an hour or more of down time. For months, it seemed like this was a surprise to the WestHost engineers who posted estimated fix times to the webhosting status page of 10 or 20 minutes. Then AFTER the file check started, they changed the fix time.
I understand that shared hosting is the cheapest hosting, and I’ll be moving away from it on WestHost, at least, as soon as possible. However, it is inexcusable that a server just has to be rebooted so frequently. Obviously, there is a problem. Either the server is overloaded, or it’s monitoring is substandard. There is no reason a tech shouldn’t be able to notice that a problem is arising on server and make the necessary adjustments, or if there really is nothing that can be done, at least the server can be rebooted cleanly so that there is no need for over an hour of down time to run a system check.
My next move is to check the internet to see if someone monitors this sort of thing. If not, it should be a trivial task to take a screenshot of the WestHost status page every hour. That would catch most of these server reboots since they come with an hour long file integrity check. Maybe if the company knew that someone noticed just how often they had to reboot a sever and keep it down for a file check, they just might do something to keep it from happening so often.