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Idol Blogger Crashes Server and Teaches us a Lesson about Hosting

Posted By Darren Rowse 24th of May 2006 Pro Blogging News 0 Comments

I just came across a story that makes me quite angry but also has an important lesson in it for bloggers on shared servers. It concerns the story of idolbloglive.com – a blog about Amercian Idol.

As you’d expect with a blog on the topic of American Idol it’s a blog that has had a bit of traffic in the last week or so (the grand final is tomorrow).

Unfortunately for it’s owner (djslim) his hosting provider suspended his account saying that he had crashed their server and is virtually holding his content ransom. He writes, “The only way to come back online or to retrieve the files is to upgrade my account which costs $110.00 a month.”

From what I can discern having spoken with one of djslim’s associates – the server apparently ‘crashed’ when it peaked at about 3500 page views in an hour from about 500 visitors (see graph below). I’m not sure what server from a professional hosting company crashes with a load of 500 visitors but thats what the host reported.

At that point the host (Surpass Hosting) of the site switched the hosting off without any warning and is refusing to allow access even to retrieve files. Obviously this blog had ‘surpassed’ what it’s host would allow (sorry – couldn’t resist).

I get angry when I hear of hosts switching off account without warning and holding content ransom in this way.

Having said that this is a good warning for bloggers to check into their hosts before signing up both to read their contract see what the limits are in terms of bandwidth but also what the host does when those limits are reached. It’s also a pretty good argument for dedicated hosting instead of shared hosting and for backing up your files along the way.

D  5 23 2006 Idolslim

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. At the end of the day, you cant beat a dedicated box for security, and they are getting cheaper, you can find dedicated boxes these days for as little as $50-$60 per month.

    I will rather go for $50-$60 VPS than a $50-$60 “dedicated server”, which is most likely a Celeron with desktop-grade hardware, slow IO, non-redundant disk, unmanaged, etc. Where VPS at that price range is most likely to be fully managed on high-end servers.

    And running a dedicated server is no more secure than running a VPS on a paravirtualisation technology like Xen, which all VMs are isolated. At the end, you don’t really own the dedicated server, but it is leased to you by the hosting company under terms and conditions. Unlike co-location you don’t have physical access, and there still exists possibility that they’ll disconnect you and hold your data for ransom. (obviously most good hosts don’t do)

    You need a good dedicated (or a cluster of those) to run one very busy site. However if you have a handful of blogsites, I’ll rather host them in different VPS at different data centres. Never put all eggs in one basket…

  2. […] idolbloglive.com is a very good example of how we can protect ourself from situation like this. Accordinng to Problogger, idol blog live crash when it reach 3500 page view per hour and the hosting company suspend the account, holding his blog for ransom by refusing him the rights to transfer it to another hosting company. Unfortunately for it’s owner (djslim) his hosting provider suspended his account saying that he had crashed their server and is virtually holding his content ransom. He writes, “The only way to come back online or to retrieve the files is to upgrade my account which costs $110.00 a month.” […]

  3. imeNOC IISS


    I already responded to the site owner. I am not the person doing the
    ticket, but I know of the situation. No one’s data is being held ransom.
    If he has to move hosts, then we provide a backup. If he hasn’t received
    his backup yet, then he has to reply to his ticket to get the link to
    his backup.


    Boris wrote:
    > IP Address: xx.xxx.xx.xxx
    > Name: B.
    > E-Mail: [email protected]
    > Feedback: I happened to read this story:
    > https://problogger.com/idol-blogger-crashes-server-and-teaches-us-a-lesson-about-hosting/#more-2632
    > Keeping people’s data ransom, in order to force them into costly upgrade is totaly unacceptable.
    > You have just lost a few thousands customers.

  4. […] ProBlogger postea una valiosa lección en cuanto a la importancia del hosting. Yo ya he tocado numerosas veces el tema – por experiencia propia y ajenas – y vale la pena aprender de las catástrofes de los demás para evitarlas. […]

  5. […] We’ve heard lots about lousy hosts that suspend hosting accounts without a tinge of guilt, or good hosts with just some lousy luck – crashed servers, bombed hard disk drives or corrupted databases. I’ve even had some friends who’ve lost weeks of posts due to database problems or sheer carelessness. […]

  6. Yep, I’ve heard of this all too often. This is why I proselytize so much for thrid party backups. With my own sites, I use a three-tiered backup process, 1 the host, 2 a thrid party (another host) and 3 my own hard drive. I have not had a significant data loss on any of the sites I use this on. Recently I did have a problem on one site, and the host’s backup failed (it was hosted on a Servint VPS), but thanks to having backups in other places, I only lost a few hours of data (rolling back to the most recent uncorrupted backup. Do it, and do it religiously.

  7. […] I have used a virtual and reseller account at surpasshosting.com for a while now. I would strongly recommend them as your web hosting company. Update: I have to strike this one, I ran into this post by problogger.net, it scared me. I never ran into problem with surpass hosting except that time they installed phpsuexec. Their technical support has been perfect on this issue. […]

  8. Darren,

    When did you switch to a dedicated host, and why? At what point in a blog’s life cycle do you think it is worthwhile?



  9. […] a service like Blogger.com you can never be sure your content is safe and sound. I want you to read this post and that should be enough to convince you to start your blogging journey with your own private […]

  10. I’ve been with surpasshosting on both shared and reseller hosting since 2003. This is undoubtedly the best hosting company I have been with (out of 6) They run phpsuexec on all their servers, which is sure the best way to do things on shared hosting. Support has ALWAYS been excellent and I have had genuine 99.9% uptime. Aren’t I the lucky one! nope, thousand of others will credit Surpass with the same good repute.

  11. This does raise a concern, especially when you depend on a free service. The catch is that it takes time to generate a following so you cannot predict the size that your blog will be. I think companies should host their own blogs on their own servers so as to avoid a potential disaster.

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