How do you host your website? You might choose to host it on the bare-metal of a dedicated server, or on a cost-effective VPS. If you’re anything like me, you probably choose to host your site on a managed, shared-hosting package, mostly out of pure laziness. After all, who wants to do server management in their spare time?
The other day, my website was automatically upgraded to the latest and greatest WordPress; version 3.9. Not long after, everything broke.
Suddenly, I was unable to create new blog posts. I couldn’t log in. I couldn’t see my Jetpack statistics. Nothing worked. Nightmare. Fortunately, my problem was solved in a matter of minutes by Hector; a rather polite chap working for my web host.
This exchange made me think of the cardinal rules for effectively working with your hosting company when your site breaks. If you follow these rules, you should be able to painlessly fix your site in a matter of minutes.
We get it. Your site is broken. Nothing works. It sucks.
Want to know what won’t fix your site? Being rude to the guy trying to fix it. Neither will sullying his mother’s good name. No, you need to be polite and considerate. Not just because that’s how your parents raised you, but because it’s totally in your best interests to be likable and polite.
First and foremost, it means that the guy working on the most intimate facets of your website doesn’t hate you. That’s probably a good thing.
Also, it means that if an obvious solution doesn’t present itself, he will be motivated to go the extra mile to find a satisfactory fix to your problem. Trust me on this. I used to work tech support. The people who I stayed on the phone longest with were the ones who said ‘hello’, asked me how I was doing and thanked me for my time.
So, before you start chatting with the tech-support guy, think of the person on the other end of the conversation. Thank him for his time. Ask him how his day is going. Manners doesn’t cost anything.
Oh boy. This is a big one.
When speaking to your host’s technical support team, please don’t just tell them that your site is broken. They already know that. People don’t tend to contact technicians because they want to talk about the latest goings on in Days Of Our Lives.
Tell them what site you’re referring to. Tell them the type of web hosting package you have. Tell them what CMS or blogging platform you’re running. Do you know the version number of the software? Tell them that. Tell them specifically what part of your website isn’t working. Did you get an error message? Copy it into the chat window.
The more clues you provide, the faster your website will get back up and running. It’s in your best interests to be communicative.
When you’re waiting on someone else, time slows to a crawl. The time it takes for the little digital clock on the corner of your computer screen to increment by one feels just that bit longer.
Waiting on someone else sucks. Yet, here you don’t seem to have much of a choice in the matter. The person on the other end of the phone line or chat window is deep in thought, trying to fix what’s up with your site.
Don’t message them every two minutes, asking what’s up. That’s just not cool, and will probably make it take longer for them to solve your problem. Just take a deep breath. Relax. Perhaps do some meditation.
Don’t Take Things Into Your Own Hands
When speaking to tech support, they start by building an understanding of your site. They work out detailed information about how it works, and how it’s configured, and they work from this understanding.
With that in mind, if things don’t progress at the pace you like, don’t try to take over and fix things yourself. There’s a good chance you might end up interfering with what your counterpart is doing, making it take longer to get everything back up and running. Step back and let them do their job.
It’s annoying when things you rely upon break. And yet, it’s important to remember that when speaking to a representative of your web hosting company, there’s another person involved. Be polite. Be considerate. Be patient.
Did I miss anything? Any thoughts on this piece? Drop me a comment below, and let me know.