A Tale of Two (Or More) Hosts

So let me tell you a little story.

One day, there was a peasant girl with big dreams. Dreams filled with words and visions, dreams of writing stories for others to love and meeting those others online. To that end, she built a website. She did her research (and her husband did, too!), and together, they found the BESTEST host in the world. Filled with joy, the peasant girl invited friends and family to join her, and soon built a site for everyone she loved as a special, digital present.

But that happy ending was not to be. One dark, stormy night, just after Christmas in 2013, something… went… wrong.

The server went down, not only for the peasant girl, but also the loved ones she’d built sites for. Even the host’s support site went down, which meant the peasant girl couldn’t ask for help. And oh, what torment came then! The site came up… and went down. It came up, went down, and up and down and up and down and up and down!

The peasant girl fretted; was this not the bestest host? She wrung her hands, and asked for help, but the evil host remained eerily silent.  The bestest host in the world once stayed up all the time, but now, it had changed.

All was not well in Server-Server Land.

The peasant girl sent out a fearful, even louder call for help! Surely there was some solution, some reason this dreadful curse was happening. Had she done something wrong? Other fearful cries echoed back as her reply, and that was how she learned the truth: the host was down for everyone.

Dismayed, the peasant girl sought for solutions. She begged for answers, explanations, anything at all – but an evil curse had transformed the bestest host in the world to a repository of mean people. All its helpful 24/7 support-fairies vanished, eaten (and replaced) by wicked trolls.

Up and down, up and down, the server continued to tease. “You will never feel safe, haha!” it mocked. “You have nowhere else to go! You must suffer my shoddy service and seller-page lies for all eternity! Where will you find my promises for so little munny?”

The peasant girl’s digital gift to those she loved was breaking, and so was her heart. “I don’t believe you,” she said, and her husband agreed. He gave her his best and sharpest search-engine sword and kissed her. “I know you can do it,” he said, and thus armed with his belief and his blade, she quested for a new bestest host.

There had to be a better solution. There had to be! But the world of hosts had changed. So many promised good things, and so many lied. “We have as much space as you need!” they said with their siren-call, but the little asterisk in their FAQ told a different story. Space limitations, bandwidth limitations, and more – the peasant girl asked and called and chatted to no avail. Wicked trolls donned friendly masks, only to admit when interrogated with great vigor that their promises were empty. Not enough space; not enough bandwidth. No one would help her move.

Desperate and alone, the peasant girl fell for one of the promises, lured by assurances of refunds… and for three days of labor, sweat, and darkness, tried to upload her site to the new trickster’s host. Alas! They had lied, too, on their site and in their support chat and even over the Twitter. (“Oh, sorry, when we said unlimited space we really meant just a couple of gigs.” “Oh, sorry, we can’t move your site over though we promised we would, so you have to upload it yourself.” “Oh, sorry, we blocked your IP address for no reason so your FTP upload won’t work.” “Oh, sorry, we did it again.” “Oh, sorry, we did it again.” “Oh, looks like your site is too big to upload, sorry. Maybe we can build you a brand new one for EXTRA MUNNIES.”)

The peasant girl cancelled and fell back in despair.

“Who’s your daddy?” the once-bestest host crooned, satisfied it had beaten her into silence. “You’ll take what I give like the rest of the peasants, for you have no choice. No one offers what I do for the price.”

“No. No! I will NEVER SURRENDER!” The peasant girl leaped to her feet, plugged her fingers in her ears, and escaped the only way she knew how.

For a time, there was silence.

An unfamiliar coolness wafted over her skin, easing the pain, dissipating the scent of charred flesh and hair. Her eyes fluttered open. Above her stood a vision of wonder and calming, blue lights.

“Are you all right?” it asked in a cultured British voice. “I don’t mean to pry. It’s just that you seem to be on fire.”

“Oh, I… yowza,” said the peasant girl. “You certainly do have a lot of flashy parts.”

“I’ve spent a long time building them,” said the host humbly.

“And your chat and 24/7 service are staffed with… nice people. Eloquent people. People who double-check things instead of making empty promises,” said the peasant in wonder.

“I only want to help,” the host said.

“You seem too good to be true.”

He smiled. “You may try me and see how my promises fare. I offer a money-back guarantee.”

He’d been around for a while (and really DID have a cultured British accent), and she wanted to believe him. “But I can’t afford you,” said the peasant, staring at all the pretty blinking lights.

The host-angel smiled. “But you can. For I have…

A Coupon!”

The peasant girl smiled and took his hand.

Within a day, the sites were moved. Email settings changed, FTP was updated, and suddenly, the peasant girl found she held a precious treasure in her hands: a site that would not go down (nearly as often), and support that actually stayed nice even when asked dumb questions. The forums resumed; pages loaded quickly. And the evil host didn’t even care that she left, so maybe it had a happy ending, too. Sort of.

And all was well in Server-Server Land.

The End

Note as of (7/24/14): I have to tell you that The Other Host has charged me FIVE MORE TIMES since I cancelled with them. They keep telling me they cancelled my account, and then, oops! Yet another service was still up and running and automatically took my money. Twice. Poorly played, guys. 

I will say that customer service got right on it and fixed it. , but it still should never have happened at all. I am so glad I moved.

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