Those who have been checking my blog over the last few days have probably noticed a lot of down-time. I’m completely to blame.

This is a long, boring post. For those who don’t want to read it, here are the key points:

  • ANHost is fast.
  • Their tech support didn’t impress me.
  • My blog is a fairly complex and custom-made WP theme. Their system couldn’t handle it well.
  • Some less-customized blogs run extremely well on ANHost.
  • Dream Host is still the best choice for me.

In nearly every way, Dream Host has been great. They give you insane amounts of bandwidth, they allow you to host an unlimited number of domains, they support two versions of PHP, and you even get shell access! For eight bucks a month!

Still, though, I had one minor complaint. My site doesn’t really load as quickly as I want it to. It’s okay, but I’m on a fast connection. Several of my friends in China have told me it loads quickly, but my buddy Nathan, in Michigan, said it’s slow. I tried a few online speed tests, and found that basically any database-generated page on my site was a bit on the slow side.

So, I decided to try ANHost, the one that David uses. His page always loads blindingly fast, and I haven’t ever noticed it down, so trying his host seemed like a good bet.

Unfortunately, I was never even able to get my page working. From the first transaction I had with them, things just went wrong. After paying for a year’s access, I was taken to a page that would automatically call the phone number I had entered. Unfortunately, it put a US area code at the front of my number, despite the fact that I had selected Taiwan on their address entry form. A quick call to their support line dealt with this problem, but then I immediately ran into another small problem. Then came a more serious one- after copying my files and database over to their system, only my WordPress pages would load, not the blog posts. When I alerted their admins to the problem, they promptly looked at my main page, decided everything was okay and didn’t bother to click on the links to the blog posts I’d said were down. They just emailed back and said everything was “fine”.

Next, I sent direct links to a dozen posts from this year, all of which were returning Internal Server 500 errors. Then they sent this email:

Sorry, but I do not see the folder “2007” in your account that’s why your links aren’t working. Please advise.

Considering that I had already told them my site was database driven, and that WordPress is the most popular blogging platform, I think I can safely say that the support at ANHost sucks. I explained that there shouldn’t be a 2007 folder, and then finally got some real help.

According to their admins the shared server I’d been on had had a problem with its PHP register globals settings. Suddenly all my posts were loading, and they were loading extremely quickly! Yay!

But my main page was no longer loading. Frustrated from long and fruitless exchanges with ANHost support, I tried to fix the problem myself via settings in my user account… and I completely messed them up, accidentally causing my site to use 40% of the shared server’s resources. My account was suspended and soon I received another email from ANHost:

The only way that we can get your site back online is if we go with a dedicated solution.

Please visit http://www.midphase.com/, and click “Dedicated server” to review your options.
We realize this is a bit of a jump, but your site has simply outgrown a shared hosting environment.
Any fees paid toward your midPhase account will be credited on a dedicated plan.

Thank you.

It was time to give up and go back to Dreamhost.