Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Best Laid Plans...

I had a whole slew of posts planned for this week. However, as ever I've been overtaken by events. I'm afraid that I had to waste a large part of yesterday evening trying to find out why traffic to The Sleaze had apparently halted at approximately 17:00, despite the web host's server status claiming nothing was wrong. The long and the short of it was that, despite the claims of the server status page, every page of the site seemed to be timing out, suggesting a very serious problem at the host's end. Intermittently, the odd visitor was able to get through, but the server logs (which I managed to access after over an hour of trying), showed that bot activity was much lower than normal. Again, this indicated a serious problem. Again, the host's site disagreed. Finally, just after midnight, the site seemed to become fully accessible. Nevertheless, traffic is continuing to decline, (particularly in the evenings, usually the site's busiest period), and I now suspect that this has less to do the with algorithm changes at Google (which, like everyone else, I'd been blaming), and more to do with my web host.

I mentioned a couple of months ago that my web host of several years standing had been taken over by a company I'd never heard of, and that I wasn't particularly impressed by what I'd seen. Looking back at my stats, the long decline of The Sleaze's traffic seems to coincide with the takeover. I can only assume that the new owners don't want small customers running non-profit sites like myself, and are doing their damnedest to get rid of us - by deliberately throttling our sites to death, if necessary. OK, I know that sounds paranoid, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so to speak. I'm currently in the process of setting up an account with another host, and I'll shortly be moving The Sleaze there and redirecting the DNS. If traffic improves, then I'll be reasonably sure that I'm right in my suspicions. If it doesn't, well, I was going to change host anyway - there are only a couple of months left to run on my current deal and I'm not prepared to pay the prices the new owners are quoting. Of course, the other thing which has been delayed by this nonsense with the web host are my plans to completely overhaul the site and rebuild it around a Content Management System (CMS). I had hoped to make some progress on this project this week. No doubt people will tell me that 'these things are sent to try us', but I could still do without them.

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