HOLY. COW. I’ve had my main website, sdakotabirds.com, for nearly 20 years now. It’s a massive, sprawling, out-of-control website with literally thousands of photographs, and hundreds of pages of information on birds of the United States. It’s been a labor of love over the years as I slowly add to it, but I’m not exactly a web programming wizard. I still rely on some basic, simple tools to make my website (primarily Microsoft’s Expression Web, so old it’s now freeware), and over the years have struggled to keep up with new web standards. But despite my lack of technical expertise and lack of any direct “help” on my website, I’ve managed to maintain my site in good working order.
Over the 20 years, I’ve only had two web hosting providers. The first was “Tripod”, back in the days when things were quite a bit a bit simpler. I don’t remember the exact reason I switched from Tripod, but know I had outgrown what they were providing, and I wasn’t happy with the technical support. For someone like me with no real training in website or blog development, I NEED that technical support! So about 12 years, I switched to StartLogic.
For many years, StartLogic was…OK. That’s about as high a compliment as I can give them, because I’ve always had occasional issues with their support of my website. Over the last few years, that “support” has become worse and worse. Three or so years ago, someone somehow hacked into my website, and inserted a ton of malicious code that was forwarding my traffic to seedy locations, particularly from my blog. StartLogic couldn’t have been LESS helpful during that time, to the point that the only way they said I could “save” my site was to permanently delete much of the content!! In the end, I ended up deleting my blog and starting fresh with the new blog you see here.But I stayed with StartLogic, as the technical challenges of changing hosts was more than I wanted to tackle.
Things just went downhill from there. Issues with my website were incredibly difficult to resolve through StartLogic. Online tech support was weak or non-existent, and often DAYS would pass between communications attempting to resolve problems. This past week was the last straw. Over the past 8 years or so, I’ve used a specific piece of software to “crawl” my site and automatically generate a sitemap. That sitemap helps Google and other search engines to map and index my site. I’ve always used the same piece of software, and hadn’t run into any problems, until this past week. I updated a number of pages on my website last week, and wanted to re-run the sitemap generator to get a fresh sitemap. The sitemap generator ran for about half an hour, pinging pages on my website as it generated the sitemap. It finished, and I uploaded the fresh sitemap to my online site.
And then the fun began! Within minutes I got an email from StartLogic, notifying me that they had shut down my site! They cited “resource abuse”, noting I was on a shared server, and that “abnormally heavy traffic” on my site resulted in some automatic bot flagging my site as “abusing” those shared resources. StartLogic told me to inform them when the problem was corrected, and that they’d then review my site and consider restoring access.
I knew this wasn’t going to be easy, given the horrible support offered by StartLogic over the last several years. I responded in their online support “ticket”, telling them that the “problem” was undoubtedly the sitemap crawler I had just run. I told them I’d run the crawler countless times in the past without any issue, but begrudgingly ALSO told them that in the interests of avoiding such a site shutdown in the future, I would stop using that sitemap crawler.
I waited. StartLogic responded a day later, saying they were temporarily restoring website access while they reviewed the case. Indeed, for one day, things seemed back to normal. But less than a day later, when trying to access my own website from my home computer, it showed the site was down. I tried different browsers. I tried logging on from my desktop, laptop, my iPhone, and my iPad, to no avail. I could not access my site from my home WiFi and IP address. I COULD, however, access my website from my work computer. Clearly StartLogic had blocked access TO MY OWN SITE from MY OWN IP ADDRESS.
I again went to their online help. FOUR TIMES over the course of a week, I initiated an online chat with a “help” representative. The “help” is in quotations, because StartLogic’s online support had been degrading for years to anything OTHER than real support. I explained the situation to the online chat support. Four different times, I explained the sitemap crawler, and that in the interests of avoiding future issues, that I would no longer use it. Four different times, the FUCKING CLUELESS StartLogic “support” said they’d forward my issues to…whatever higher-up authority that could actually do something about it.
Meanwhile, DAYS had passed where I could not access my OWN FUCKING WEBSITE from MY OWN COMPUTER. In addition to initiating online chats four times, I updated the online “support ticket” several times. Finally, two days ago, I received an email. It simply said that StartLogic had flagged my IP address as a “security risk”. They said that once something had been flagged, they had no mechanism to remove the block of that IP address. Their “solution” they proposed?
They laughingly told me the only way I’d ever be able to see my OWN SITE from my OWN HOME HARDWARE would be if I went to my internet service provider, and had THEM change my home IP address!! In other words, instead of simply removing the IP block on THEIR end, something THEY initiated in response to a “problem” i said would never happen again, they washed their hands of the issue. One more interaction with them on a chat, and they said sorry, they just cannot remove any security block once it had taken effect.
GOOD…FUCKING…BYE, StartLogic!! Given my lack of technical expertise, I dreaded moving to another hosting provider, but enough is enough. With just a bit of online research as to a reputable and reliable hosting provider, I purchased the services of InMotionhosting. I was prepared for a struggle in trying to move my site over to InMotion, and was particularly apprehensive that it wouldn’t be possible to transfer my blog (and long blog history) over to the new provider. However, I was easily able to figure out how to transfer most of my site, and for a very small fee, InMotionHosting very quickly (less than a day) backed up my blog databases from StartLogic and successfully transferred them to the new host.
A hosting provider that actually provided wonderful, FAST, and efficient service!! After struggling with StartLogic for so long, I had no idea such service was even possible! I’m now happy to say ALL content from StartLogic has been successfully transported to the new host. The main website content, the blog, and even security components like SSL and the like….all transferred quickly and painlessly, and the site is working just as it should. And may I say, much FASTER than it ever performed when hosted by StartLogic.
In a rather funny conclusion to the story…despite StartLogic saying that security policy made it impossible to unblock my home IP address…within HALF AN HOUR after going out to their online support one last time and basically telling them (more nicely than they deserved!) that I was DROPPING their wretched service….they suddenly unblocked my home IP address! Followed up with a pathetic email stating the issue had been “resolved”!!
Given my level of “dissatisfaction” (to put it kindly) with StartLogic, I’ve also taken the opportunity to provide reviews of their services to several online web-hosting review sites. One of those, webhostinggeeks.com, provide a summary of recent reviews, and also provided a graph of how many domains StartLogic has serviced over the years. Not surprisingly, the number of websites using StartLogic has been declining for years. If by chance you’re reading this and happen to still be using their services…stop. Just stop. You can do better…