Service Disruption – iWeb Montreal Data Center

If there is one thing I hate it is when my clients websites go down. I work hard to keep the server software and client websites software up to date to keep the sites up and the servers running as best as they can. There are things outside of my control that can make all the work I do to keep the servers running all pointless. Unfortunately it was these things that have caused the last two extended periods of downtime for me and my clients.

I choose to host at iWeb for many reasons, like the fact they offer a Canadian data center, they had redundant power and quick hardware replacement. I have been a happy customer with them since 2009, unfortunately that has all gone out the window with their last two periods of downtime.

Both the incident in February and this latest incident started with power problems at the Montreal data center where our servers are located. While I do not get all the specifics of the problems it appears that iWeb has a severe problem with power at the Montreal data center and are unable to keep the power on. The problem in February and this latest problem has cost us and all of our clients 20+ hours of downtime!

This amount of downtime is unacceptable and I have begun looking at alternatives for me and all of my clients websites. In the coming week I will hopefully have a new dedicated server vendor found and will notify all clients of the migration plan. If any clients would like to find their own hosts I completely understand your frustration. If you are considering moving only one website I recommend taking a look at either WPEngine for shared hosting or DigitalOcean if you want more control over your entire website. I will be in touch with each of you over the next week with more information regarding the migration away from iWeb.

Thanks for your patience as I work to get us all more reliable hosting. It is unfortunate that iWeb has become so unreliable after such a long period with them but they clearly have let down all of their customers, and possibly flat out lied on their website regarding power redundancy at their data centers.

Web Hosting Recommendations

WordPress Hosting & Managed WordPress Hosting

It has been awhile since I talked about web hosting so I thought I would update everyone on what I am using and what web hosting I have been impressed with over the last year.

As many of you know I have and host many of my clients websites on my dedicated server through iWeb. I have been pleased with iWeb over the years and recently moved all of my clients sites from one dedicated server to a new one. The new dedicated server is faster and has considerably more memory than the old server. The net result of the move has been improved speed and response times for all of my clients websites that on are on that server. The best part for me, besides the extra speed, is the fact that the new server is actually cheaper than the server I had before!

Another web host I have been impressed with this year is WP Engine. I have one client that hosts on WP Engine and it has been a really good experience so far. If you have not heard about them they offer managed WordPress hosting. It is sort of like shared hosting but they take care of many of the little things that make running your own WordPress website a little easier.

A few things that really impress me about WP Engine is the speed of the service. On regular shared hosting you usually need to worry about setting up a caching plugin to help speed up your website and to lower the load on the shared CPU and memory. WP Engine takes care of all of that. No need to use a caching plugin. That is one whole section of managing a WordPress website taken off your hands so you can focus on the website and not managing the caching.

I am also really impressed with the ability to have a staging site on WP Engine. Testing new plugins and changes to a live website can end up taking the site down occasionally and for a site that you want up 24/7 is really not acceptable. I usually run testing versions of many of my clients websites but WP Engine makes it easy to do. Click a button it copies the live site to a staging site. Go login to the staging site, load the new plugin or make your changes, make sure it all works and then you can either copy the staging site over to live or go and make the changes to the live site knowing they will work.

That being said I do have one complaint about WP Engine, it can’t all be good right. Because it is managed WordPress hosting they have a list of plugins you cannot install. The caching plugins are not a problem but you will want to check their list of disallowed plugins before moving to them just in case you rely on one they don’t like. For the most part most WordPress sites should not have a problem.

If you run a WordPress website WP Engine is worth looking at. It costs a little more but they have impressed me so far.

If you are just starting your own website using WordPress or something else, I still have web hosting accounts with Hostgator and Dreamhost. Both accounts are shared accounts and they are still worth looking into. I host several of my own side projects on Hostgator and is has been very reliable for the price I pay. I host my personal blog over at Dreamhost and I have been happy with them as well. Both are shared hosts so they may not be the fastest in the world but if you are just getting started they are worth looking at.

Those have been my favorite web hosts for 2013. Finding a good web host is one of the biggest challenges you can face when getting your website online. You often get what you pay for in web hosting. If you are up to running your own dedicated server you will get more control over your web presence. If you don’t want that kind of headache or don’t want to fuss with lots of little things a managed host, like WP Engine is an excellent choice.

What are your favorite web hosts and why?

Cancelling Web Hosting

Ordering web hosting is easy. Web hosts make it simple to order web hosting packages of all sizes from shared hosting accounts to dedicated servers, but have you ever tried to cancel a web hosting account? Web hosting is a competitive industry and once they get you as a customer they want to keep you as a customer for as long as they can, sometimes even by tying your hands with their terms of service. This is why it is important to read through their terms of service. Recently I leased a new dedicated server to replace a dedicated server from Bluefur. Bluefur has been ok, but I was able to get a great deal on a new dedicated server from another company that included a higher management level, and better hardware so I decided to make the switch.

I ordered the new server and started getting it setup to host some of my clients websites that were on the Bluefur dedicated server. I should have sent in my cancellation notice to Bluefur then, but I was busy trying to get accounts moved over and wanted to make sure I got all of the information off of that old server before cancelling. All web hosts have a cancellation policy in their terms of service, I understand that, my mistake was not refreshing myself on Bluefur’s terms of service, after all I had been with them for five years. Hard to remember everything I read five years ago. Anyone dare to guess how long it takes Bluefur to cancel a server? 2 days? 7 days? Certainly it can’t be more than 2 weeks right? Wrong, Bluefur’s cancellation policy is 30 DAYS!

Servers require to be cancelled 30 days prior to the cancellation.

Let’s compare some other web hosts terms of service for their cancellation policies.


Looks to me like Hostgator processes your cancellation request quickly.

Once we receive your cancellation and have confirmed all necessary information with you via e-mail, we will inform you in writing (typically email) that your account has been canceled. Your cancellation confirmation will contain a ticket/tracking number in the subject for your reference, and for verification purposes. You should immediately receive an automatic “Your request has been received…” email with a tracking number. An employee will confirm your request (and process your cancellation) shortly thereafter. If you do not hear back from us, or do not receive the automatic confirmation email within a few minutes after submitting your cancellation, please contact us immediately via phone.


BlueHost does not give an estimate of how long your cancellation will happen, but for customers that have been with them longer than 30 days they offer a refund that is pro-rated, so it certainly can’t take 30 days to cancel and account.

Cancellations After 30 Days. Subscriber may cancel his/her/its Services at any time, before or after automatic account renewal, and, with the exception of any Nonrefundable Fees set forth in Paragraph 3.01(A) and setup fees, if any, which are nonrefundable after 30 calendar days, receive a pro-rated refund for all other fees paid for Services, less $10 per “Free Domain Name.”

Media Temple

It appears you can actually cancel your account with Media Temple through the web account centre. Boy that would be convenient. They even have a phone number you can call to cancel the account.

Cancellation. Security measures have been put in place to insure the safe cancellation of all customer related services. In the event that a Service or Account needs to be closed, customers may contact the cancellation desk by phone (877-578-4000) Monday – Thursday 9:00am – 5:00pm. An email confirmation system will be used in conjunction with the AccountCenter to insure that cancellations are legitimate. Requests to close by FAX, or email are not accepted.


No time is specified for how long it will take them to cancel your account, but the cancellation form states:

A WestHost representative will contact you within ONE hour.

That suggests they get right to work on cancelling your account.


They offer a close your account option in their control panel. No waiting 30 days. You can cancel just before you would be billed again and not have to worry about paying for a month of service you were not going to use.


Does not state how long it takes you to cancel your account, but I wuld bet it is not 30 business days.

You may request to cancel your Doteasy hosting account(s) at any time without any fees or obligations.

My mistake was not checking up on Bluefur’s cancellation policy sooner, and now I am stuck with an extra month of service on a dedicated server that I am not using. Needless to say I checked again what the cancellation policy is on the two dedicated servers that I now manage from two different companies. Both have cancellation periods of 48 hours, 2 days. While there is a difference between shared hosting accounts and dedicated servers, isn’t 30 days notice a little excessive?

I used to recommend Bluefur as a web host to people, but given their 30 day cancellation policy I would highly recommend you think twice before going with Bluefur hosting. If you are looking for shared hosting I have been pleased with DreamHost lately and run some personal blogs with them. If you are interested in a dedicated server, my new dedicated server is at iWeb. Interestingly enough, the dedicated server I actually had with Bluefur was actually hosted with iWeb.

What do you think a fair cancellation policy is for dedicated servers? What is your web hosts cancellation policy?

Going Green with Web Hosting

The Tree by helmet13.
'The Tree' by helmet13.
I do not talk about web hosting very often here on the blog. Not that web hosting is not important, on the contrary without it you can’t have a website. If your web hosting goes down it literally costs you money. Not everyone wants to deal with the hassles of finding a good web host and that is why I always give clients the choice of hosting there website with me or finding their own web host. For the few clients that do decide to find their own web hosting I often recommend a couple of companies that I have had good experiences with. has been good to me since I started LGR Computer Enterprises and they continue to provide me with good service and are a Canadian company. I also host several of my own personal web projects with Hostgator and I have been happy with them. Hostgator has also done a lot of work lately to become more environmentally friendly by purchasing wind power to offset the carbon emissions generated by the servers. It is nice to see web hosts moving to be more environmentally friendly.

The control panels that come with both and Hostgator are cPanel, and while I am happy with cPanel, it can be somewhat daunting to people. There is a learning curve that comes with cPanel and if you are not a geek it can be a little to much. Not all web hosts use cPanel, however, and recently I have started using Dreamhost as well for some projects. Epiblogger for instance was moved over to Dreamhost in August.

Dreamhost uses it’s own web control panel, and I would say it is not as daunting as cPanel is, yet offers people what they need. Most people want to install some kind of content management system and they offer a one click install that you can use to install WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. You can even find the OpenX ad server on the list of software you can install. The one click install can take care of installing the software easily for most people. The best part of the one click install that I have seen on Epiblogger is how quickly the WordPress upgrades are available after being released. When WordPress released 2.6.5 Dreamhost had the upgrade available later that day. The Fantastico installed available through cPanel will take considerably longer before the upgrade is available to install.

Dreamhost is also environmentally friendly and have been longer than Hostgator. That was one of the reasons Epiblogger was moved over to Dreamhost in August. They are carbon neutral, so you can feel a little better about using them as your web hosting knowing that your web site is not throwing even more CO2 into the atmosphere.

Dreamhost also makes it possible for people to create their own promotional codes so if you are looking to try a new web host I have created a special LGR Internet Solutions promotional code for Dreamhost that will give you $50.00 off of your cost if you signup for a year or more. Simply use LGR50 in the promotional code box in step 7 of the signup. Or You can click here to signup to use the LGR Dreamhost promotional code.

Of course if you are one of my blog or web consulting clients and just want me to take care of setting up the hosting for you I would be happy to do that for you. I will even be happy to offer you space on Dreamhost so you can feel good about your website being carbon neutral!

In case you are wondering, most of the links above are affiliate links. If you feel like giving me a Christmas gift you can signup to one of the web hosts I recommend. They are the services I use and I trust. Thanks!

Clustered Web Hosting

I am very happy with my dedicated servers from I have had very little problems with them over the years and they are easy to maintain. Recently though I came across a company called FastNext that has a clustered web hosting solution. Each cluster has two servers and mirrors each other so if one of the servers goes down the other can take over. This should help survive the Digg/Slashdot effect. It sounds like a great idea and for $6.95/month it really does not cost much more than some other hosting plans. I might have to look into getting an account there myself for my next big project.

Need Web Hosting?

For people starting out creating a website for either themselves or for their business understanding all of the little things there are to know about the websites can be difficult. Usually when I get a phone call from a potential new client the first questions they ask me are how much and how long will it take? This is understandable, people need and want to focus on their business, so unless their business is on the Internet they don’t often care about all of the little details. It is because of this that I offer to register domain names and setup web hosting on one of my servers. People want a one stop shop that they can go to to get what their website setup, instead of going all over the place.

Occasionally I do get asked about what web hosting companies I would recommend and I certainly don’t mind recommending people to other web hosts because I can easily work with most hosts out there. If you are interested in what hosts I recommend here are the two that I deal with on a regular basis. is the host that I have my dedicated servers with. I choose them for a couple of reasons. I wanted a Canadian web hosting company with servers in Canada. Their prices are very competitive and there support is very quick to respond to emails. I had a shared hosting plan with them before I started my company and moved up to dedicated servers after I started my company. I have been very pleased with their service and support. I must admit though that I don’t use their support services very often, simply because I have very few problems with the dedicated servers I have from them. also offers shared hosting. I was very happy with my shared account from them before moving up and it is very reasonably priced.

The other web host that I deal with regularly is Host Gator. I still have a personal shared hosting account with Host Gator and host multiple domains on the one account. I have been very pleased with their support and how quickly they respond. I just recently moved a couple of other domains and websites there because the web host that I had them on had taken two and half days to fix a problem. If you are interested in just starting up your own personal blog or starting your own Internet based business take a look at the Host Gator shared web hosting.

Of course, if you want to focus on your business or your blog and don’t want to deal with registering a domain on your own and finding web hosting and getting a designer and a programmer I would be happy to help you set it all up for you.