Hosting (again)

by samantha copeland on August 30, 2023

So I've pulled the trigger and everything is live on GoDaddy. The webhost is working well, nice and responsive, I did a pilot site for about a month and had good uptime with that. GoDaddy has one very convenient feature: the recovery console. Every so often RDP won't connect, and even though it is configured to restart, the Remote Desktop Services have died, the recovery console bypasses RDP and allows me to remote in (secured VNC) and start the service, with my prior hosting company, I had to reboot the server as there was no bypass for recovery processes.

The only wrinkle has been outbound mail, which is unfortunate. I don't think I will be going forward with SendMetric, I got bounce messages when forwarding (as an attachment) some spam to an abuse mailbox, and their support said the blocking was working as designed, this in addition to some other reported issues, where they said there would be a fix in the future, made me have second thoughts. I will say this, they are responsive and will explain things, but it feels a lot like having a nanny, and never knowing when the other shoe will drop. I've decided to shell out the $$$ for the entry level MailChannels and that is working as expected, you get what you pay for sometimes.

As far as email goes, I've also had to spend every spare moment writing a mail digest agent for one of my hosted client sites as I've left their mail habits slide too long. Basically it's a scheduled task to send a twice daily summary (sender, subject, date/time, and a link to where they can view the whole message) of recent arrivals to the inbox/junk folder on specific mailboxes to a set distribution list & disable auto forwarding of the inbound mail. Junk gets included because there's a fair amount of real email that shows up in spam, and this way it won't be overlooked by mistake.

Their habits weren't a problem with the old hosting company, but it might be with the new one under spam guidelines, and more and most mail providers are getting pickier about alias forwards and their validation (SPF/DK/DKIM etc). Essentially they have a few org volunteers who want all the messages forwarding to their personal emails, and they well publicize these addresses, so they get a lot of spam. Their main leader had an alias forward to his gmail, 90% loyalty program newsletters, and it was constantly bouncing. I emailed him to offer to convert his alias to a mailbox so he could just check it directly, and his response was "If you see anything you think I might need, just let me know. Not opposed to opening a place for them to direct to but doubt I'd ever check it." Essentially reducing me to secretary, even though they already have one.

Addition 9/2:

I was sent my final invoice earlier this week from my old company and interestingly, it was through 10/4 not 9/29 and was for my usual $95. I logged a ticket, because it is poor customer relations to bill for a service past its known end date, and again got a "we'll look into it" with no further response for several days, pinged them again, this time the owner replied (last night, I haven't seen a post from him in a long time) and he basically stated that their migration hasn't gone well, and many customers have troublesome migrations (probably their Cold Fusion users), and in fact they would be extending their now "aging and cannot be relied on" legacy system until "at least June 2024" - would have been nice to know way sooner! I literally dropped everything I was doing in my spare time to research alternate hosting when they were providing no clear answers for nearly two weeks, and if I hadn't had a weird feeling several weeks earlier, I would have been starting from scratch. I only removed them from consideration when they quoted the crazy markup as I truly would have preferred a known quantity. Oh well. I told him my thoughts on the matter, esp the 300% vs 30% markup and the difficulty in getting a clear quote.