Yesterday my server was down for several hours. This hardly ever used to happen, but lately I’ve had a lot of little outages, and my hosting company’s technical support (the company is Bluehost) has also been outsourced to India. It used to be that when I opened a live chat with tech support I would immediately be connected to a bright and eager tech in Utah; now the wait is long, and the person on the other end never seems particularly well-informed.

I have always really, really liked this company, and since I signed up in 2005 I have sung its praises to anyone who asked for a recommendation. (Here, for example, is a plug from 2013.) But the quality of the service and support have declined since they were bought by another outfit a while back. It’s a disappointment, and so yesterday I said as much on Twitter.

Guess what! Just today I got an email telling me that a file I’ve had stashed on the server for years constitutes a terms-of-service violation. The tone was chilling:

Upon review of your account, the following example file(s) that we found to be in violation of our Terms of Service are as follows. PLEASE NOTE: this is not an all inclusive list. You will need to fully review your account for addition files that violate the Terms of Service…

If these violations have not been rectified within 48 Hours of this notice, your account’s web site(s) will be deactivated, access to your account will be disabled, and you will need to call our service line, 888-401-HOST, option 6, to discuss and resolve the suspension of your account. If your account becomes deactivated, it (and all of its files, databases, and emails) will be subsequently deleted.

I’ve since gone and looked through all of my files; I think I’ve cleaned up everything that the company might object to. But if this site vanishes over the next few days, that’s why. (I’ve downloaded site backups, so if the worst does happen I’ll reappear, eventually, with a new host.)


  1. Wilbur Hassenfus says

    Somebody tells me hosting is reliable and doesn’t outsource support to India (yet, at least). I know she’s been with them for several years and she has a long and vengeful memory when it comes to vendor incompetence. FWIW.

    Good luck finding more honest/competent hosting.

    Posted March 23, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Thanks, Wilbur.

    I re-read the TOS, and it appears that even a “profane” word on my site might be grounds for summary termination. (Pretty much everything I write is G-rated, but I don’t like the idea of having a scowling schoolmarm scanning my posts, or, especially, my readers’ comments.)

    I’ve been looking around. Dreamhost seems promising too.

    Posted March 23, 2016 at 8:31 pm | Permalink
  3. Joseph A. says

    Nearly Free Speech is a reasonable company with a commitment to free expression: I have been with them for eight years. Good folks.

    Posted March 23, 2016 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
  4. JK says

    Your *support* by any chance getting to you outta Maharashtra, Kerala or Gujarat?

    Gotta watch them metaphors if so.

    Posted March 23, 2016 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *