It happened this time, last week. I woke up early and sat down to work on The Pin the Map Project when suddenly I was greeted with a white screen and error message that read: “Database Server Issue” where my homepage should have been. Admittedly, I am not a tech savvy person and even less so when it comes to website development and coding, so the error message sent me into a spiral. Once I had managed to rule out WordPress as the culprit, I turned my focus (and rage) onto Bluehost.
For those unfamiliar with Bluehost, Bluehost is a hosting platform for websites. I joined Bluehost on the recommendation of another blogger years ago, and while they haven’t been spectacular to date, they also haven’t been troublesome either. In what would be the first of many Bluehost live support chats I had last week, I waited patiently as a tech specialist tried to troubleshoot my website. Throwing explanations at me like “your website is OOM (out of memory)” and “you’ve maxed out your disk space,” I was convinced to upgrade my hosting plan from a standard plan to a more expensive VPS hosting plan.
Confident my problem had been solved (and now seeing the homepage back up and running) I thanked Bluehost and exited the chat. Half an hour later, my website crashed again. This is how the next five days of my life unfolded: I would wake up and see my website was (yet again) crashed, I’d then reach out to Bluehost and sit as they tried (yet again) to troubleshoot my issue, only for the problem to resolve for half an hour (enough time for me to thank the tech specialist and leave the chat) and then crash again.
What to do when your website has crashed
There is nothing more unnerving and soul-sucking than watching 8+ years of hard work suddenly disappear without warning. For all the times that I can be hard on my website, to watch it crash again and again made me realize just how important The Pin the Map Project is to me. I found myself making bargains with God: “Dear God, I promise to never again take my website for granted AND to write a new post every day if you please just bring my work back to me.”
Frustrated, uninformed and feeling helpless, I decided to hire myself a website developer off Fiverr. In the 8+ years that my website has been running, I have never had a dedicated website developer. The talented woman who designed my site, transferred it to WordPress.org and set me up with Bluehost had been kind enough to troubleshoot the site throughout the years, but simply isn’t available enough to me in times of need.
I turned to Fiverr and found Pankaj, a tech wizard. Visit his website here: kreativopro.com! I cannot say enough good things about this talented mechanical engineer turned website developer who quite literally HELD my hand every step of the way, every day that my website was down. It is only because of this man that my website is up and running again AND even improved. So, when your website has crashed, turn to the pros.
To hell with Bluehost! Why I switched to Dreamhost
After five days of watching my poor website crash in slow motion, and Bluehost doing nothing to solve it, I decided enough was enough. My breaking point came when I paid $60 USD to upgrade my Bluehost hosting plan with the promise it would solve all my website issues. Two days later, $60 poorer and The Pin the Map Project had dissolved into nothing but a broken homepage. After consulting my website developer and turning to the internet for alternate hosting servers, I decided to switch to DreamHost.
Can anyone recommend a better hosting service then @bluehost? After four days of problems with them, I am officially done.
— Nikki Vargas (@TravelEditorNik) March 1, 2018
I was recommended DreamHost by Brooke Saward of World of Wanderlust, whose work I’ve admired for years. I figured if DreamHost is good enough for her website then it will be good enough for mine. It took about two days to download all the files that make up The Pin the Map Project and (with the help of that Godsend web developer) transfer my website to DreamHost. A few days now into DreamHost and I can already see a WORLD of a difference! My website moves faster, has not crashed and the dashboard of DreamHost is much easier to navigate and use.
I gave Bluehost many years of business, all the while blindly handing over my money entirely unsure of what they were doing but happy just to have a working website. It took a week of losing my website, 10+ hours of collective tech support chats and the hiring of a web developer to realize that one should never be so passive when it comes to their hard work and passion. Yesterday I had the utmost pleasure of canceling my Bluehost account and never looking back.