I’m Alive Again

It may have taken me a full day but The Digital Reader is finally back online.

In a strange way I was one of the victims of Hurricane Sandy, though not quite in the way you might expect. My site went down early Tuesday because of a billing error, not the storm. According to my webhost, 1And1, I was in arrears in payment for my account. Why they could not have billed the valid credit card number they had on file, I do not know.

What I do know was that when I learned my site was returning a 404 error Tuesday morning, I contacted tech support and told that only the billing dept could disable the block. Unfortunately for me, these folks only work from 9 to 5, weekdays. What was even worse for me was that these folks worked in Westchester, PA, and thanks to Sandy they did not go in to the 0ffice on Tuesday.

And no, there was no one else who could have restored my account. It had to be the billings people. And no, they couldn’t remote in from home and fix it. And no, it does not make any sense that a hosting company which is supposed to provide 24 hours a day support would create a point-failure source like this.

What, did they think the internet turned itself off after 5pm? (Thank goodness my issue didn’t happen on a Friday before a 3-day weekend; I would have been screwed.) I do wonder if that is what they were thinking, but it doesn’t matter because I am back on line.

Guess what? It turns out that if I kick and scream loud enough on Twitter and Facebook someone can actually remotely log in at 1am and fix the problem. That’s something I will remember in the future.

P.S. And for the record, I am giving a negative recommendation concerning 1And1. They apparently think it is okay to create a situation where they cannot correct their own mistake for a day and a half. That is clearly not a good idea.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Eric Riback31 October, 2012

    try hostgator

    1. Hayden31 October, 2012

      100% agree. Been hosting my websites with hostgator for many years and have had nothing but excellent service. Their ticket system is very good and I get replies to my queries in very quick time.

  2. Carly31 October, 2012

    On the other hand, if this is the worst you have to face over the hurricane, you’re in pretty good shape. Much luckier than most of NJ, for starters.

    1. Nate Hoffelder31 October, 2012

      I was also without power for several hours, but I have a better than average power company and they fixed their network in record time.

      1. Carly31 October, 2012

        Send them my way. We’ve been told no power until November 5th.

        1. Nate Hoffelder31 October, 2012

          It helps that Novec is a coop and not a for profit company. There are people in this area who are stuck with Pepco who still don’t have their power back.

          1. Carly31 October, 2012

            I am sure. And I don’t know where you are based, but since 80% of NJ is powerless, even the most dedicated companies are overstretched trying to fix it all.

  3. nathan31 October, 2012

    Hostgator is the way to go.

  4. Robert Nagle31 October, 2012

    It really is amazing how quickly webhosts will cut off service in the event of a simple billing problem. There needs to be grace periods for these things. What if the site owner was hospitalized for 2 weeks? Does that mean the hosting service has the right to kick his content out? (By the way, if you are looking for 100% Renewable Energy + Cpanel hosting, I recommend Greek Geeks (I believe they are owned by hostgater).

    1. Nate Hoffelder31 October, 2012

      TBF, there were warnings. I responded by confirming that my CC info was valid and current. I don’t know why it wasn’t charged.

  5. Chuck31 October, 2012

    It really says a lot about customer service when someone has to resort to bitching and moaning on social media, like FB and Twitter, before a customer actually receives some service.

  6. Richard Adin31 October, 2012

    I’m surprised at the problem you had with 1and1. I’ve been with them for 12 years now and have been very happy with their service. I’ve not had a problem like yours, Nate; they bill my credit card automatically, and always have. You should put your research skills to use and find out who the CEO is and e-mail him/her. Ask why your credit card isn’t being automatically billed and why 1and1 doesn’t have contingency plans. It seems to me that if they have a valid credit card on file and don’t bill it but cut you off instead, they would be liable for any damages you suffer.

    Anyway, I’m sorry you had the problem, especially as I recommended 1and1 to you.

  7. digital reader fan31 October, 2012

    Is this not more of the same problem, he has to put in all this hard work the get customer service.

    “You should put your research skills to use and find out who the CEO is and e-mail him/her. “

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