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Just a few weeks away from our a series of concerts, just when publicity is critical, and the BMTG site is down. It’s displaying an internal server error, which at first I thought might be my fault, until I realised that I hadn’t changed the site since it was previously working.

Having said that it was pointed out recently that a sub-domain, used by members, was broken. It too was displaying the same error and it turned out to be due a PHP variable I was displaying on the screen (invisibily at the bottom of the page for debugging purposes). Not sure why it caused a server error, but removal of it fixed the problem. At the time I thought it was odd that it hadn’t affected the main site because that too used the same variable. Anyway, I changed the main site as well. That was weeks ago.

So, the site is down. It’s been like that since, at least, first thing this morning and there’s no sign of it working. The host, Streamline.net, “escalated it to a 2nd line engineer”. Whatever that means. But they’re saying it might not be fixed within 24 hours. Great.

Which is why I’ve taken this opportunity to sign up with Memset. Not only are they regularly voted as the UK’s best host, but they provide their service free of charge for charities. So I’m already set up and I’ve copied the site into a test region. I just need the BMTG site to come back up so that I can  start testing the Memset version. If it offers me everything I need, I’ll be waving goodbye to Streamline. I’ve been plagued by downtime and speed issues (particularly FTP speed).

This site is also hosted by Streamline. Memset is more expensive for your general hosting, but I’m certainly seeing the advantage. The BMTG site will be a test – if all goes well, then I can’t see any reason why I won’t migrate this domain to Memset as well.

And they’re carbon neutral.

Update (15/04/2008):

Streamline are officially rubbish. The BMTG site was a combination of slow or inoperative for about a week and all I got was messages that engineers were looking at it. Oh, and I couldn’t access the MySQL tables.

Thankfully, I use MySQL Tools to create regular backups on my home PC, so I used some of those to rebuild the tables at Memset. I also decided to rush out the version of the website that I was working on – I’m still testing this now even though it’s been live for a number of days.

The hard bit came when I found that Memset don’t allow domain transfers. Rather than keep the domain at Streamline, I decided to move it to 1&1. Their prices are also remarkable cheap. So, I moved the IPS TAG from Streamline to 1&1 (whilst still keeping the DNS pointing to Streamline). When that was done, I simply updated the DNS at 1&1 to Memset. If there was any downtime during all of this, it wasn’t very long at all.

And Memset hosting really flies… far better than it was ever at Streamline. In a word – “superb”. And free for charity hosting.

Before closing down the account at Streamline I asked, because of the issues we’d had, whether they’d consider (especially as this was a charity not-for-profit) refunding part of the remaining hosting fees. They ignored this request and simply closed it down. Nice.

I still have Artiss.co.uk (including this blog) hosted by Streamline, because I paid for 2 years hosting back in December. Unless anyone wants to donate some money, I can’t justify moving right now. Ironically, I wrote this blog offline a couple of days ago but have been unable to upload it due to my blog being down. Thanks to Streamline.

Update (01/12/2008):

Well, you could tell I needed to get some development work tonight on the Copy+ site because the host, Streamline.net, allowed the SQL server to fall over in a crumpling heap. Therefore bringing down both this site and that one (they share SQL servers) for a good couple of hours during the busy tea-time period.

Thanks.

As if the slow site responses weren’t enough.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again… I’m moving. In the New Year. To Memset.

Update (23/12/2008):

So, this site was down last weekend. My host, Streamline.net, didn’t show anything in their service status and didn’t do anything until Monday lunchtime.

So I contacted them to find out what happened and to generally enquire about the problems I’m having with slow response times.

They chose to ignore the first query and the second, via  a rambling reply, can be summed up in 3 sentences…

“..you may get performance issues as you are using shared hosting”

“We have tested the server you are on and cannot find any issues”

“Streamline don’t provide support on your contents… [we] have to assume your contents are at fault.”

Funny how other hosts are able to provide shared hosting and yet a decent amount of performance at the same time. And to just blame it on me (or rather WordPress) is staggering.

Update (14/01/2009)

Now that I’ve finally moved “home” away from Streamline and to Memset, I can talk about my experience.

And I would say that Streamline are the shoddiest bunch of merchants I’ve come across. My site crawled, especially when using MySQL, and they denied there were any issues.

Recently my site was down for 4 days – across a weekend, unfortunately, when they appear to do nothing. I asked repeatedly for details of what had caused the problems but they ignored my requests. I also highlighted my site speed issues but they said it wasn’t them, but my website code.

Somehow they have an uptime guarantee. I didn’t try and claim against it because most of my problems were speed related rather than being out-and-out down. Besides, a lot of the down-time didn’t appear on their Service Status so I suspect they’ll say that doesn’t count.

But they say you get what you pay for. Streamline is half the cost of Memset. But you don’t get half the quality. Not even a tenth. If you’re considering Streamline because they’re cheap… save up and go elsewhere.