21:00 PM

Running out of bandwidth...the good, the bad and the ugly (support)

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher


Running out of bandwidth is something I have to watch out for, since our traffic continues to jump higher - especially when we have scoops and exclusive stories.

But running out of bandwidth can be a frustrating experience, as we found recently with our web hosting service TotalChoice Hosting. There was no phone number to call, just a "live" chat channel and the opportunity to email support "tickets."

SiliconValleyWatcher was off line for about 6 hours as traffic surged above our monthly quota. And I couldn't open up the pipes because there was no way to buy more bandwidth online. I found that I would have to wait until the next morning and email the sales department!!!

Nobody to call in times of trouble, plus hours spent sorting out problems. That's why I will be changing hosting providers. When your business is offline, you had better get somebody on the line pronto.

Fanatical support sounds fine to me

I'm thinking of changing to RackSpace. I interviewed one of their top executives a few months ago, but never got to write the company's interesting story.

This San Antonio, Texas web hosting provider says it has fanatical support. It is so fanatical about support that it has even trademarked the term "Fanatical Support." This company awards its top-performing support people with a straitjacket — plus other perks, such as limo rides to top restaurants. This and other activities constantly motivate their support staff.

Next time I get kicked offline by my service provider, I'm sure RackSpace will answer my call PDQ. And that's what you need in a crisis situation: Support staff competing for the straitjacket award! I'll take it.

My good buddy Om Malik, of Business 2.0 and the very popular GigaOm.com broadband blog, reported excellent support from RackSpace when they called him up a few months ago and told him his server had died. The RackSpace people worked through the night recovering his data and set him up on a new server by the morning.

[PS: I'm a few days behind on my emails--my apologies to all. I've been off-line with my kids.]