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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Farewell to InMotion Hosting

Nearly two years ago, when some con artists in New Jersey who were taking my money for web hosting blew up this site, I found refuge in a better company, InMotion Hosting out of Los Angeles. But over time, InMotion became kind of a pain, too. They kept insisting that my site was using up too much resources on their server; that it was all the fault of the blogging software I use, Movable Type; and that I really needed to either switch software or start a whole new blog.

Most of that turned out to be not true. If properly configured, a server can handle the load that my blog was placing on it. But InMotion didn't know how to configure the server to make the program work, or didn't want to be bothered, or both. Once I switched to my new host, Orty.com, all was suddenly well. It was quite clear that InMotion had decided -- wrongly -- that Movable Type is too much of a resource hog and simply shouldn't be run on their equipment, period.

I didn't cancel my account with InMotion right away, even though the blog had been moved off their server. I had some non-blog-related data on their server, I had paid for a year's worth of service in advance, and so I didn't get around to moving the rest of my stuff off for several months. When I went to do so, however, I found to my horror that InMotion had unilaterally made some of my data unavailable to me, because they had determined that I was violating my contract with them by backing up some non-website-related files from my home computer to their server. After giving me a stern lecture on this subject, their tech support gal reluctantly restored the directory, but when I came back a few months later to finish copying it over, it was gone again, and this time I was told it had disappeared without a trace.

At no time did InMotion ever give me any advance notice that they were moving or erasing my data. It was only when I went to retrieve it that I was ever told there was a problem. And in each case, the tech support people who answered the phone were pretty snippy about it.

That is waaaaaay not cool.

I was kind of expecting that when my time with them was through, I'd give InMotion Hosting about a B-minus rating. But after what happened to my data, I'd have to give them a D. They need an attitude adjustment. Yeah, they answer the phone, they speak English, and they can take care of simple things quickly. But they failed me in several important respects.

You may have to do some looking, but you can do better.

Comments (17)

WebHostingTalk should be consulted no matter what kind of web hosting you're shopping for. You won't find orty.com listed there anywhere (as I'm a small shop and have a day job which is why I'm selective about my clients), but I'd recommend digging through the huge forum archive there no matter what. And befriend some people in the industry who have been around a while and will speak open and freely about companies -- that's basically what I did, and have found good companies to deal with and insider information that sometimes has gotten me out before the fit hit the shan.

Sadly, though, every good company eventually gets too big for their britches and tries to screw you (which is why we had to move your site before). So always try to have a backup plan and/or accounts with more than one company, if you can afford it, so that stuff can be moved/setup quickly. If the server's setup right, transferring/moving accounts between servers is a fairly painless process.

But glad to hear you're happy with my services -- after having dealt with people all week who I couldn't please at all, it's nice to hear it :-)

The best you can do is server yourself. Here's an Oregon instance: Arachnoid.COM

Of course, self-serverice means being knowledgeably skilled in computer programming and operation ... or employing someone who is. Yet we must keep and bear our own home computers to prevent a Government takeover. Kind of like ham radio operators, (who assemble, operate, and maintain their own equipment), communicating freely with anyone in the world.

But then, I endorse growing our own food, building our own home, fabricating our own clothes, maintaining our own vehicle, celebrating our own entertainments -- the Amish way -- rather than living life by throwing money at it.

(Did you hear the news? There are NO bank failures and NO gasoline rationing so far, in Amish country.)

I'm an Amish Blogger.

My family on my mother's mother's side is Amish.

- View my profile. Three things they say come not back to men nor women--the spoken word, the past life and the neglected opportunity. - Will Dearth, Dear Brutus by J M Barrie

Thanks for outing InMotion Hosting. I'd rather pay a little more and always get good service than get a good deal and go through this kind of hassle.

It's unfortunate that you've had multiple bad experiences with Web hosting. There are v. good developers out there who work hard for their customers, but the bad apples screw it up for everyone. I have had some websites through Homestead for a while now and am working on a new one with DreamHost. I have always had excellent customer service from Homestead and DreamHost has been, well, dreamy... so far.

To be fair, Moveable Type *is* a huge resource hog. It's a terrible web publishing engine that requires a TON of overhead everytime you "publish". For small sites you'll never have an issue but nearly every large site I've ever hosted has had problems (spam comments filling up DB, migration issues, etc etc). I prefer a low-weight PHP/mySQL solution like Wordpress or Drupal.

Dreamhost is one of the better shared hosting places, but they are a big shop and will not always be responsive. Especially if you run into cgi-bin config issues (Moveable Type, YABB, etc) which requires getting a hold of the rare clueful tech support grunt to escalate the issue.

Movable Type can be trouble the way it comes straight out of the box. But if you change the settings to require only dynamic publishing of archives, use some handy resource-friendly plug-ins for internal search functions, and be sure to have a good spam filter like Akismet, it's not all that much of a resource drain. I did all of that, but InMotion still couldn't get the hang of it. Orty's servers have consistently handled my MT blog with ease from day one.

I believe the issues at InMotion were with Apache settings, but they wouldn't hear of it. I'm glad to be out of there.

There are v. good developers out there who work hard for their customers, but the bad apples screw it up for everyone.

In this case, it wasn't lack of attention, but just a bad attitude. I would have forgiven their bias against Movable Type. But when they start screwing around with my data without notice, then it's goodbye, with serious hard feelings.

i'm an InMotion user, switched over from Aplus.net two years ago (who consistently got top CNET ratings). they've been awesome with two notable exceptions--mail servers and billing. i have ongoing problems with those. very frustrating.

but, after almost 15 years of dealing with web hosts, it seems every host has problems and challenges. so far, InMotion has problems i can live with--and a lot of hosting bonuses that are better than most (especially open source installs.) i'd sure like to use someone local and dependable, though.

oh, and I use Wordpress, but may be moving to Drupal.

Be sure you understand, and don't violate, their terms of service. They can be nasty when they want to be.

> I believe the issues at InMotion were
> with Apache settings, but they wouldn't
> hear of it. I'm glad to be out of there.

You were almost certainly correct. I'm going through this game of hot-potato right now with Dreamhost and a client's web forum software (perl/cgi based, sigh...) that suddenly stopped working last week.

Another problem with perl/cgi web apps and shared hosting setups: limited or no access to your server log files and web server conf files. And without those you can't even start troubleshooting a cgi issue.

Every blog software, out of the box, is going to be a resource hog with the kind of traffic this site sees.

I've personally used both MT and Wordpress, and continue to use both for specific purposes. I think MT's static publishing model is better for high traffic sites, as static pages are stupidly easy for Apache to serve while database driven-pages are harder on the server. That's why there are plugins for Wordpress to enable static published pages and serious caching, as they even know that a zillion database calls is going to bring down a server quick.

That being said, the multitude of cool plugins for Wordpress far outnumbers plugins for MT. Many plugins for WP don't have an equal for MT.

So to each their own -- they're both great systems and with tweaking, both of them can handle huge sites. But let's not let this disintegrate into a debate about which blog software is best, 'K? :-)

> I think MT's static publishing model is better for high traffic sites

Serving static files is easier on a web server, yes. But that advantage breaks down if you are trying to offer comments, forums, user tagging, trackbacks, all that "web two point oh" goodness... MT needs a careful master and constant vigilance unless you are using it as CMS.

Your (very intelligent) decision to disable blog comments after X amount of days is very helpful in keeping MT issues to a minimum.

Your (very intelligent) decision to disable blog comments after X amount of days is very helpful in keeping MT issues to a minimum.

As I say, with Jake's help we have tamed MT, and it now runs without creating unmanageable server loads. But InMotion couldn't, or wouldn't, handle it.


I recommend you check out www.Netfirms.net . I've found them to be inexpensive, reliable and ... live accessible by phone.


InMotion is accessible by phone. That is not the problem I have had with them.


Did you ever have any problems with database user permission issues with InMotion. I am trying to run a stored procedure and I keep getting an 'execute command denied for user' error. I have been going around with tech all day. They will not allow me to issue privilege grants on phpMyAdmin.

They keep telling me something is wrong with my code, but my code is working fine on my local machine. I revoked all privileges from my user on my local machine and I received the same error that I am receiving on their server. But when I grant all privileges my code works fine.

Did you ever have any problems such as this with InMotion?

I never got into that particular issue. If the folks you're talking to can't help you, ask to speak to someone at "level 2." At that level, I dealt with a guy named Shelby DeNike, based in Los Angeles, who knew what he was talking about.

InMotion has its internal rules, on which it is not flexible. In my case, they refused to let me run a "wget" script, even when I went to virtual dedicated service. No big deal, but I was surprised how vehement they were about it.

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