Tag Archives | troubleshooting

How to Get Faster Web Hosting Support

Faster Support Response Times Web hosts live and die by the support response time sword.  This one thing alone can make or break any web host.  While providing the best support is often a weight carried mostly on the back of your web host, there are things you can do (as a hosting client) to speed up the time it takes to get your web hosting problems fixed.

Let me share with you my tips on how you can faster web hosting support, with any web host out there on the planet.

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How to Give Faster Web Hosting Support

Better Web Hosting Support

A web hosting company can not keep a customer base happy with sloppy support habits.  Think of your reply back to a web hosting customer as a sandwich.  You start out with the slice of bread introducing yourself, you have the goodies inside which represent your reply and you have the second piece of bread to finish things off.  If you learn how to build your sandwich reply, then you can handle support situations in a much faster way than the web host down the block is doing it, making your web hosting company just a little ‘bit better.

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Using Proxy Sites to Troubleshoot Web Site Downtime

Poor Tom... Now when most people think about surfing via a proxy, they are talking about doing it for privacy reasons.  Proxy sites can also be used for troubleshooting problems between yourself and the server your web site is hosted on.

Think of it as your chance to check your web site out as if you were across the country, or across the globe.  It lets you trick the server into thinking you are coming from another location, so you can see what somebody in a different location might see if they went to your web site.

Tom Troubleshoots via a Proxy

There are a number of different proxy web sites out there.  Here are a few examples:

Now, why might somebody want to use a proxy site?  When it comes to web hosting, it is often used to see if a web site is really down or if you are having some sort of connection problem between yourself and the hosting server in question.  Let me explain further.Solve Downtime with Proxy SurfingTom notices his web site isn’t coming up.  He goes to his favorite proxy site, and tries browsing from there, and it does come up.  This tells him that there is a problem between himself and the hosting server, but there is not a problem between other people and the hosting server.

Now, I would say this is as much of a troubleshooting solution as it is a troubleshooting tip. Oh boy, you know that you can’t see your web site but other people can.  That still isn’t fixing your problems, right?  Well, letting your web hosting support team know that you have tested it this way will save them time as they look into the problem for you.  It could be there is a problem with the connection down the line with your internet provider.  You might be blocked for some reason on the server side.  You might have accidently started to block yourself, even.

Site Down? Do This Before Contacting Support…

Website Down? Having issues with random downtime or errors with your web site, but every time you contact hosting support they say:

“Well, all is fine on this end – nothing we can do.”

If you find yourself in these shoes, what you need to do is paint a better picture of the problems when they are happening so they will have more information to work from when it comes to troubleshooting your mysterious issue. It really comes down to the fact that you need to help support so that they can help you.

Step 1 – Clear Your Browser History and Cache

Before making notes for support I want you to clear out your browser history and cache. This may sound silly but you would be surprised how many times it can fix the problem any hosting customer might be having with their web site. Often times, the browser is still pulling up old information it has saved to the “memory” if you will, and not going out to the web each time to look for the new information. You might also try to clear your DNS information too, but that is often only used for new hosting accounts with a new domain or hosting accounts that have recently had the domain name changed.

Step 2 – Record Your IP Address

First thing you need to do is make record of your current IP address. If you are unsure how you can find your IP address a simple Google search for “what is my IP” will give you several Online resources that should get you that magical set of numbers that you desire. If all else fails, just bookmark whatismyip.com.

Step 3 – Do a Traceroute to Your Domain

Now the next thing I want you to do is do a traceroute to see where the bottle neck might be. We covered the basics on how to do a traceroute a few weeks ago. For those of you still not sure here is the “quicky” version:

  1. From the Start menu, select “Run…”
  2. When the run box comes up, then type in cmd
  3. When you get the command prompt, enter tracert yourdomain.com
  4. Hit the “enter” key on your keyboard and wait.

That would be for Windows XP and Vista users. Apple users can find the traceroute tab under the Hard Drive icon > Applications folder > Utilities folder > Network Utility program. When it comes to Windows, some people are confused on how exactly to copy and paste the traceroute information into a text document or e-mail to support. The best way to go about this is to right click on the command line window (anywhere in the black part) and select “Select All”. Then to copy, hit the Ctrl + C keys on your keyboard. Then you can right click with your mouse, and select paste to paste it into your text file you are saving this information to.

Step 4 – Try View Your Web Site via a Proxy Service

Now that you have that information collected, I would like for you to try to view your web site via a proxy service. This checks your web site from another server’s location from somewhere else in the world. If you can’t pull it up from the proxy service or your own regular browser experience, there may be something wrong on the hosting side. If you can’t pull it up on your PC but you can pull it up via a proxy, there might be a few thing wrong. It could be:

  • A Network Issue Between Yourself and Your Service
  • Your IP Maybe Blocked from the Server
  • Might be a Problem on Your ISP’s Side of Things

Here are a couple of proxy services to try:

http://www.megaproxy.com/freesurf/ or http://www.proxify.com/

Do these suggested things each time you notice the problem, and this way you can paint your hosting support team a better picture of what the problem is. This is no knock on the hosting customers out there, but sometimes they don’t realized that a tech support’s best chance to get a problem fixed is having tons of good information passed along so we can recreate the problem on the server side of things.

If that can happen, and they can rebuild the events from the information you pass to them your web site will go back up a lot quicker.