Dreamhost and hosting issues

So, at about 8.40am today, I noticed my sites (fadingwhispers.org and janetalkstech.com) were rather sluggish. I managed to post a comment on Fading Whispers before both sites went dark i.e. were not accessible on the internet. I didn’t panick and kept refreshing a couple of times. After ~2 hrs of waiting and anxiously refreshing Firefox, I finally sent a support ticket to Dreamhost and a little under an hour later, I got a response that the server that my sites were on, needed a reboot and that things should be back to normal. In the meantime, I was advised by the Dreamhost representative that I should disable the All in One SEO Plugin because it was “known to cause major issues on shared servers.” He also helpfully noted that I was running a WordPress site and directed me to some WordPress troubleshooting tips (perhaps my little trafficked site’s plugins were interfering). I dutifully deleted plugins that were not active on both sites. Also, since it was only Fading Whispers that was acessible after being informed of the server being rebooted, I deactivated plugins that I could live without i.e. OpenID plugin for WordPress which I discovered (from the WordPress article) could be problematic on shared servers, the All in One SEO Plugin, ELA Archives, BDP Setup and some more.

It is currently 10pm and Jane Talks Tech! is still down because (according to a second response from Dreamhost to my support ticket), the server my site is on has been experiencing “intermittent” downtime. Intermittent, my butt. It’s been the whole freaking day! I’m just happy this happened on the weekend when traffic is the least. However, I’m not happy at the downtime because I had some posts I needed to churn out which will be delayed because of this. I’ll update this post as new developments occur.

A quick plug. :)

So, I received several anonymous *cough* Matt *cough* complaints about my lack of blogging and my blather about techy stuff. So, I heeded those complaints and got a spanking new domain (Jane Talks Tech!) and it’s live!!! πŸ˜€ So, if I’m true to my word, I’ll keep Fading Whispers: The Chronicles as my truly personal website and JaneTalksTech.com as my “technical” site. So there!

A smooth migration and webmaster troubles

I lost the better part of traffic for Friday, but I’ll take lost traffic over a botched migration of web hosts any day! Yes, I took the plunge, made a Dreamhost customer happy by using their affiliate code (PS: that’s my own affiliate code and you can use it to sign up for a plan (or simply put my personal email address in the referral section) at Dreamhost too!)  and became a DreamHost customer myself. I tested Dreamhost’s service out for a few days and once I got comfortable with the interface, I migrated all my files after making sure I’d backed up my wordpress files and database. Yes, I’ve been burned and I tried to be super-careful this time so please if you find any oddness going around, feel free to email me or drop a comment.

Also, I took the liberty of updating home page at fadingwhispers.org. I visited one of my favorite sites for free website layouts (Magitek Designs) and I downloaded one that I thought looked particularly appealing. Well, after a lot of trial and error, I altered the layout to my satisfaction and here’s the finished product. Here’s a screenshot:  I just love what I’ve done and it’s also XHTML compliant!
It took me about 2 hrs to tweak this and I’m sure I’ll be doing some more editing. I’m definitely proud of how it turned out. I wasn’t even planning on doing any coding (thanks to WordPress’s fantastic and free themes), but Google Webmaster Tools was having a hard time with the 301 redirect I had done to redirect http://fadingwhispers.org to http://fadingwhispers.org/home. What does that mean? Well, here’s how the Google Webmaster Tools works.

  1. It is basically a tool to keep track of how Google indexes your site and its content. It lets you keep your hand on the pulse of the site, in a manner of speaking vis a vis broken links, sites linking to you, search terms, et cetera.
  2. You add your site and Google tells you that you need to verify or prove your ownership of this site by inserting a meta tag into your index page or uploading a special file.
  3. If all goes well, Google verifies your site properly and you can view crawl statistics and such. In my case, I verified my root site (fadingwhispers.org) before doing the 301 redirect. After creating the .htacess file with the 301 redirect instructions, Google magically un-verified my site. It wouldn’t let me verify my site.

So, there lay my dilemma. Should I take a chance on doing another 301 redirect under my new hosts (Dream Host) or simply throw up a web page that will be a “home page”? Well, I figured that since I had time, I would try to beat some web layout into submission and that’s how my umpteenth website iteration was born. πŸ™‚ The best part about having a simple XHTML home page up is that the Google gods will finally deign to let me see my site statistics. Anyway, to make this potentially long story short, my home page is up and you should check it out! πŸ˜€ Shameless plug there. I’ve also been experimenting with various Google adsense formats so please tell me how much you hate/detest/loathe or love/adore/desire these new ad formats.

It’s Friday and I’m as happy as a lark. My husband’s healthy. I’m alive and breathing. My family is doing well. I’ve got my yogurt. I’m content. lol. My website is running smoothly and I simply feel blessed. Here’s to a great weekend.