Confessions of an Accidental Webmaster (Me)

I wish I knew html, I wish I knew some type of programming, I wish I knew a lot about putting websites together and making fancy web pages, but I do not. Period, End of Discussion. In the several years since I’ve had websites of my own, I’ve learned precious little beyond how to add bold and italics to text, but yet somehow I manage.

Well, not “somehow” at all. One of my secrets for being able to manage at all is that I have help — Paid help (though not paid by me, fortunately — or, that is, not directly).

My secret is  the fine folks in the Tech Support department at BlueHost.

Let me be clear. Setting up a WP blog, like this one, is a piece of cake. It couldn’t be simpler to do. Changing themes, adding plug-ins — all of that a snap, one that simply astounds me every time I do any of it. How can they DO that, add all that ease of use into a product so awesome in other ways as well?

But it’s not enough. Sometime – eventually — you’re going to have to add a squeeze or landing or splash page that isn’t part of your blog set-up, or upload a zipped file for new subscribers to download, or do any number of other things independently of your WP blog structure.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be brutal. You can break something. Or just flub up and make yourself cry. A lot. (Ask me how I know.)

Here are two examples that happened to me recently.

Suddenly, when I tried to access a couple of plugins, WP told me “You don’t have sufficient permissions to access this.”

What? I own the joint! Don’t tell ME I don’t have permission….!

A lot of good that little mini-rant did me. WP was adamant, and I was locked out without recourse. I poked around in MySQL database and looked at permissions there but saw no problem (pretending to be knowledgeable and competent, just for kicks). No use, so I picked up the phone.

The kindly BlueHost tech support guy — with my permission — got into my Dashboard while I was in there too and he painstakingly, one by one, disabled various plug-ins (some of which I’d recently installed), until the culprit was found and isolated. Once it was deactivated, everything was fine, but to make sure I deleted it from the line up of plugins. I don’t think I’d have thought of doing that — though I will if there’s ever a next time.

Then just the other day, I was in the hidden recesses of my domain — in File Manager in the CPanel — mucking around. I was trying to re-create an html page I had on one domain in a subdirectory of another domain. Since the original was not in its own folder (subdirectory) but loose along with other files that belonged to that domain rather than just that one html page, it wasn’t as simple as just copying all from one to the other. Rather, I had to choose which ones to copy over.

Well, I guessed wrong. Maybe there’s a better way to do it, but my approach was educated guessing. Hey, that works for me once in a while!

So, what I ended up with was a list of folders in the new domain, one of which had two arrows chasing each other round and round where the folder icon should have been. Forever, or so I worried. I couldn’t click on it or anything else. I had apparently created one of those endless loops. I don’t know for sure, that’s another quasi-educated guess of mine. All I know is everything was quite stuck except those two circular arrows circling. And circling.

Naturally, I called my friends at Tech Support (I have them on speed dial, you may have already guessed), and the nice gentleman was ready to help me sort it out — actually look for what the problem was. But by that time — late in the day and one of those difficult days at that — I was ready to just quit. “Oh, no. Please just trash the thing. I’ll come back some other day when I have more time — not to mention more patience,” I protested. Somewhat reluctantly it seemed to me, he agreed. And got rid of my problem.

Those are just two examples. They’ve helped me with so much more — how to configure my ftp (FireFTP for FireFox– not FileZilla, which I don’t find the easiest and best to use at all), how to set the DNS servers (so simple, except the first time), how to work with MySQL database, and so many other things that time and my ailing memory have erased.

Perhaps most miraculous of all, they do it all without EVER allowing me to feel  like the techno-dunce I am. I call them without hesitation when I need to, and they’re always competent, gracious, and extraordinarily helpful.

There are other good hosting companies out there. I’ve tried HostGator, which everyone else recommends — and I don’t care for them. I’m sure their tech support members are very competent and all, but they didn’t live up to the standards that BlueHost has inadvertently trained me to expect. And people at GoDaddy are the ones who made me understand what a Techno-Dunce I really a — deserving mostly of their scorn. And can you believe it? At the time I was actually paying long distance charges to learn that from them! (That’s just one of the reasons my contempt for GoDaddy knows no bounds.)

In addition to what I consider to be BlueHost’s world class tech support, they offer unlimited domains — imagine, an unlimited number of domains! — on your one account for just $4.95 a month, an incredible bargain IMO. And a bunch of other features and goodies too. Yes, there are other hosting companies that offer similar good deals, but I think BlueHost has the whole package. I truly consider them right at the top of my list of “the best things I’ve ever found” in my online internet marketing career.

I know for sure I couldn’t do it without them. Or if I did, only be with a tech support freelancer on retainer.

So tell me. What kinds of experiences have you had with your hosting company?



One Response to Confessions of an Accidental Webmaster (Me)

  1. I have used 5 different hosting companies. Each one seemed good for awhile and then where there was a problem, they could not always resolve it and get it fixed. Since i had spent so much time creating websites, it was imperative to me that when there was a problem, the tech support people at the hosting company should be able to identify the cause and then explain how they resolved it.

    Now for the best part. i have been using Hostgator for 2 plus years. I have 4 domains and 49 WordPress blogs. On 4/26, I was checking some of my blogs and there were gone. Everything the day before had worked. Talk about panic!

    I began calling Hostgator, using their online chat and emailing tech support. For 28 hours, I was out of business and very mad. They finally were able to restore 27 of my blogs and I have checked them out and they are good now. But they did not have any backups of the other 22 blogs.

    Now for the real slap in the face. I continued to press them mas to what had happened. Was I hacked?

    They finally told me that after going through their logs, they determined that all of the files.blogs and domains had been deleted from my computer. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

    Why on earth would I delete blogs that I have spent so much time setting up and trying to add new content to on a regular basis.

    Because of this experience, I will more than likely be looking to change hosting companies again. This has been an ordeal and i hope noone else ever has to go through this.
    Mickey Lieberman recently posted..Diabetes eBook – An eBook for those newly diagnosed with diabetes

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