When I first decided I was interested in putting a website online using my own hosting, I began the search for a reliable web host. After days of research, I ended up using FatCow because they were the least expensive host that came with the most features. They advertise getting unlimited storage space, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited websites for just $40 a year… Yeah, right.
On June 3rd, I purchased a program called Ultimatum which allows you to create your own WordPress themes inside of WordPress. I installed the plugin, started using it that night, and had a pretty good theme developed before I took a break for the night. The next morning, I logged onto my website and I saw a nice image of flying cows letting me know my website was suspended. Headed over to my other websites – Omega Web, How To Make Lumpia, TKAM Online… All suspended! I’ve never had this happen to me before, so I decided to call FatCow and see what was up.
Once FatCow got on the phone, they began to tell me that my website IanEberle.com was sending too many requests to their servers. I didn’t really know why that could be because it’s not like I got an influx of visitors overnight. FatCow pretty much gave me two options to pick from, neither of which I wanted to choose. Their support basically told me I could take IanEberle.com down completely or I could stop using FatCow and find another web host that can handle my “traffic.” Looking at my Google Analytics, I didn’t have any more legitimate traffic, so I thought it could have been something to do with Ultimatum.
I called FatCow again to ask them if they could review what was causing the problems and they told me “Since WordPress is open-source, too many things can go wrong with it. Therefore, we do not offer support for WordPress websites.” Not only would they not help me, but I wasn’t even asking them for WordPress support. I was needing them to decipher my usage logs and tell me exactly what file was causing the problems… Still no help.
To make a long story short, I posted a thread on the Ultimatum forums and within two hours the developer of the program responded to me. I was feeding him information about FatCow, giving him my usage logs, and trying to figure out what exactly had happened. After about three hours, he figured out that it was an error within a tool called TimThumb that is used to resize images dynamically on a website. Apparently TimThumb would open up 15 requests to the server at a time and continue sending the same requests over and over again… This is what caused the problem. After more and more people came in the thread and started sharing their stories about TimThumb and its issues, the Ultimatum developer removed it from the program and released a new version that would not get my websites suspended.
Even though it was actually a PHP script causing my websites to get suspended, I was unhappy with the way FatCow went about it. They didn’t give me a notice saying “Hey, fix this or you’ll get suspended,” they just did it. Not only did they just flat out shut me down, but they wouldn’t even help get my websites back online. I decided to switch to GoDaddy hosting because they offer a great reseller program that I can use to offer hosting to my web design clients. I talked on the phone with the GoDaddy support guy and he told me that in a case like that, GoDaddy would give me a couple days to resolve the error before they completely take my websites down.
After everything was settled out, my websites were down for about 7 days. I am trying to transfer my domain names from FatCow to GoDaddy, but FatCow won’t allow me to change the nameservers on any of the domains… That means I have to wait for them to fully transfer before I can actually put content on my GoDaddy servers. It’s not that big of a deal, but it’s still annoying. I’m just going to be glad when I have my servers completely cleared off and call FatCow to cancel my account. I’m done with them.