On Firing a Vendor

by admin on April 14, 2009

All last week I worked on a project plan to migrate a old web site that's running on a PHP script to a modern WordPress platform and guess what is getting in the way? That's right, the vendors who have been getting monthly support payments for years without providing any value whatsoever. First it was the email marketing vendor. Five grand a year to send out emails that get snagged by the spam filters? Thanks g'bye, we don't need your services. Next up is the web hosting service.

Now, everbody knows that the business is a deflationary environment: What used to cost $1000 five years ago, you can now get for $500 (laptops). What used to cost $75, you can get for $25 (network hubs). Web hosting is the perfect example. Businesses who have paid for web hosting are used to paying $30 or even $50 a month for a shared account package that you can get for $12 or $10 at very reputable hosting companies that even have customer service representatives that pick up the phone when you have a question.

So last Thursday I'm a conference call with the client and a techie from the web hosting company and the topic is moving the web site from a very old server to a server that supports WordPress. This should not be a big problem. All I need is PHP5 (to run the latest WordPress plug-ins) and a MySQL database. Well this is going to cost about $40.00 with taxes included and that's about 300% higher than the going market rate for a shared account. Whatever, I don't need to look like a total hard-ass and recommend that we fire a second vendor in the same week. Besides I don't want to have the hassle of web migration dumped on my lap.

During the conference call, the techie is competent enough to show me Cpanel on the "new" server. It looks like a pretty old version of Cpanel but whatever. I ask if PHP5 is loaded on the "new" server. No, it isn't. Well, okay, get me a server that has PHP5, it's only been out for 2+ years. So she shows me another server that has PHP5 but this Cpanel version doesn't have the mySQL feature. So I gotta go through phpAdmin to access mySQL.

Now, if you aren't a web geek, maybe your head is spinning a bit, but honestly I'm not asking for the world here. WordPress installation with the latest and greatest Cpanel front-end is literally a 3 minute chore if you haveĀ  the Fantastisco script installed. It's literally a one-button push and pick the directory you want to install it in, and away you go.

Okay, so we get through the telecon and we agreed to do the switchover on Saturday, with the proviso that if stuff starts to go off the rails, then we revert to the old server so we don't have any downtime. On Saturday morning I get an email from the techie saying she was going to flip the switch on domain name server but she noticed that the transfer of the web site hasn't taken place yet.

??!!!!.....Yeah so I write an email back saying the files haven't been transferred yet because we were expect you to transfer the files!!

And I get an email saying blah, blah, blah, this company doesn't support web site migration, we need to do that ourselves, she send me a link to a ftp program download and wishes me a nice day. What I am thinking? I'm thinking okay, I've got a company with two servers. Let us assume they are on the same network. I've got 500 megs of html and php code. To transfer 500 megs of files over a 100baseT network would take maybe 3 minutes tops. Now for me to ftp 500 megs to my personal computer, and then ftp 500 megs back to the new web site server, would take me all freakin' day.

So I send an email to web hosting company saying hey thanks, I'll have to get back to you on this. And then I send an email to my client saying okay, we have to consider a new approach, which is codespeak for "let's dump this turkey."

Bing, bang, boom, thanks for the five-year relationship, but see you later. Of course, I'll still got to get my hands on the files.

{ 1 comment }

Jeff Lazerus April 15, 2009 at 5:13 am

$5000/yr for email? I’ll do it for $4250!

You’d think that with all the competition among web hosting companies, this wouldn’t be that much of a problem.

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