As an independent web developer, I often refer my clients to website hosting services. A website hoster is a company that allows you to store your content online, which can then be accessed by going to a certain domain name. For example, my website (Watson-Design.com) is hosted by a third-party website hoster. That hoster stores the database, server settings, and website files (including code, images, and all of that good stuff) for my website. I pay them to store (or “host”) my data, and to keep it backed-up, so that if anything should happen to that data (like some data loss during a server migration), they can restore it to its former glory.
So when a third-party hoster loses the data of a client of mine, and then can’t restore it, I tend to get really, REALLY pissed off.
Today I discovered that this very situation happened to a client of mine, and I am LIVID. I don’t know how it happened, or when, but apparently the hoster transitioned to running CloudLinux on their servers. During this transition, all of the data in my client’s database mysteriously disappeared. And now that we’re aware of the issue, that hoster is claiming that they can’t restore the database. They say that their backup shows that the database is empty, and that we’ll have to use a backup that I made long ago (back in February, before we made a bunch of updates to the site).
I am almost too angry to speak. The whole purpose of a website hoster is to store my data, and to keep it safe. The reason I PAY YOU is to store my data, back it up, and make several copies we can roll back to in case something bad happens. When you don’t do that, when you lose our data, you’re essentially robbing me. You’re taking my money, and not providing the service that I paid you for. And by NOT doing your damn jobs, you’re forcing me and my client to spend more time and money to re-do the work we’d already done. And there’s nothing I hate more than having to re-do work I’ve already done.
Should I, the web dev, have made a backup of the site when it was in a stable position? Certainly I should have. Yes. Totally. It’s a good practice to have, and I shouldn’t have omitted it just because I was too busy. But that doesn’t in any way lessen the responsibility of the hoster to provide the service they’re getting f*cking paid for. If you claim to do nightly backups, if you claim to offer data redundancy (as in, multiple copies of the same data for the purposes of restoration), if you claim 100% guaranteed customer satisfaction, then you’d better damn well protect my data. Don’t claim to protect my data. ACTUALLY DO IT.
This is the internet, folks. And all the internet IS is data. Scads and scads of data. If you can’t protect the data of your customers from YOUR OWN SERVER UPDATES, then you have no business charging money for your service, and you need to GTFO already. I am serious. Your webs
And that jangling sound you hear? That’s me with my cat ‘o nine tails, fashioned from IDE cables and old RAM chips. And I’m looking for that customer satisfaction your promised.