Yes, folks, it looks like it’s time for a new host again. Back in November, eMax managed to lose my entire home directory for two days. Yesterday, the site was unavailable practically all day because of database problems. With just those two outages their availability for the past year has fallen below 99%, which I know is a higher than I really need but which I also know is lower than any of a hundred competitors can provide for the same price. What really irked me both times, though, is that they claimed the problem was fixed before it really was. I’m willing to be patient. I filed my support tickets as low priority even though they represented total outages as far as I was concerned. I made it perfectly clear that I understand how these things happen and can sometimes take some time to resolve. That patience is a form of professional courtesy which I extend to people whose field is closely related to mine, but lying to me says that they’re not professionals at all. Disrespect your customers and they leave. Simple.

I’ve come to the conclusion that web hosts – at least reasonably-priced ones – are not so much like permanent equipment as they are like perishable supplies. The very same things that make them good eventually cause their servers and their personnel to become overloaded, until they’re not good any more. Experience with my seven previous hosts is that the process takes a little more than a year on average, so after doing this longer than 90% of bloggers I’m almost inclined to switch preemptively every year or so just to stay ahead of the problems. That lack of loyalty arguably makes me part of the problem, but this is one case where I don’t feel a need to be the only guy hunting the stag. Even if my switching is the last straw that turns my new host from good to bad, nobody’s going to die or anything. My moving pretty much affects only me, and besides, it gives me a chance to clean out some of the junk in my online attic.

So, you all know the drill by now. Nothing should be any different – this is really far less of a change than the software upgrade a couple of weeks ago – but if there does seem to be something awry then let me know.