ASO – A Small Orange

I’ve been hearing nothing but great feedback from a hosting company called A Small Orange. I’ve been curious about them for a few months now and this morning I created an account. I’m leaving Hostmonster because I noticed my websites have been loading slow. At work (different account), it has been slow as well. It turns out that other users (shared environment) seem to be hogging the resources – which leads to less resources for my websites, thus the slow loading. I have slowly moved my websites over (this one included) and have seen quite a difference. It feels like I just installed WordPress and it has no content yet – at least for me it feels that way. Hopefully it loads fast for you as well, or at least faster.

Once I move, I’ll be closing my account with Hostmonster and hope for a refund of unused services. This is not the first time I’ve moved out from them and they’re easy to work with. They are a great hosting company, it’s just this time I want something faster.

After Dump GoDaddy Day

I finally got confirmation of one domain successfully transferred over to my new registrar. One more domain to go. I’m leaving this domain with GoDaddy for now. I’ve also cancelled my hosting account and moved back to my old host, Hostmonster. They had a good deal during the holidays at $3.95 per month, so I signed up for 2 years. Of course if I cancel early, they will refund the amount for the unused time.

This is the first time I’m transferring domains. It’s easy but in my case I had paid for privacy information. If you have this, there are additional steps you have to take. It was a little headache at first but I just didn’t want to keep most of my stuff with GoDaddy.

My new registrar is Namecheap. We’ll see how they are. I’ve read mixed reviews so I’m not comfortable moving this domain to them yet.

Dump GoDaddy Day

Well, I’ll be participating in Dump GoDaddy Day (December 29, 2011). I will be moving my domains to another registrar and my hosting to another server. It’s ridiculous how they support SOPA. Many will also be dumping Godaddy. So for the next few days I will be moving my domains and hosting. It is possible that there will be down time. Sorry for the inconvenience but I don’t like supporting companies that support things I don’t agree with.

No more Hostasp.net

After a few days of playing around with their server and having some difficulties, I decided to cancel their service. I’m new to Windows hosting since I’ve always used Linux hosting, so I’m not that all familiar with it. A lot of my questions can easily be resolved if they had a better FAQ or knowledge base section on their website.

If they had a local US number I can call, it would make getting support a bit easier and faster. I used to complain that Godaddy has phone support but it was long distance, but it’s still a US number. Besides, long distance is a thing of the past within the US since it’s pretty much a local call with most cell phone plans. I just thought it was weird that they didn’t use an 800 number.

Instead, I had to create a ticket in their system, which isn’t bad but the response time averaged over 6 hours. They also had a chat software installed on their website but being located outside the US, the hours were different and most of the time it’s offline. At that rate, I figured a few weeks before I can get settled in and it’s unreasonable. Only solution I had was to cancel the service and find one closer to home or at least easily accessible within the US.

Don’t get me wrong, the features you get for the price they are charging are great. You get an IP address, unlimited databases (MSSQL 2008 and MySQL), remote connection to the database, web deploy compatibility, and refund any time. If my comfort level and knowledge with Windows hosting environment matched with Linux, I wouldn’t need that much support. I think this company is new and has a potential of becoming better. Once I get more familiar with Windows servers, I may look at them again.

Hostasp.net first thoughts

I’ve been looking around for a cheap host for .NET. It’s more expensive than Linux shared hosting. I didn’t want to spend too much being that I just want to play around with it to familiarize myself with the technology – so I’m not asking for much. What I do need is a plan where I can create more than 1 MSSQL database and support .NET framework version 4.

I found Hostasp.net from http://www.microsoft.com/web/Hosting/Home. This page has a large, extensive list but little feedback. I took a chance with that company for its price and features. It’s been a day and here are my first thoughts.

The company is based out of India. There’s a huge time difference so I was concerned about contacting someone via email and getting a response in a reasonable time frame. I sent a question using their ticketing system and the response took a little over 3 hours, not bad. I also found a 15% off coupon so it even made the already low price more appealing. So I figured it was worth a try. Here are my likes and dislikes based on a 24 hour period.

LIKES:

  • The deluxe hosting plan for Windows is $48 annually. This includes unlimited databases (MSSQL and MySQL), up to 5 domains hosted, a dedicated IP address, and a free domain name.
  • The set up took under an hour. I receive emails for every update on my account during the set up.
  • It supports up to .NET framework 4 (but currently have an open ticket regarding this)
  • You can request a month trial for .99 cents. You just have to submit a ticket.
  • You can request to cancel your account and get a refund, anytime.
  • The test pages I have created seem to load quick. Although I haven’t made complex pages yet, just simple ones for testing.

DISLIKES:

  • They have a phone number you can call but it’s long distance (international). There’s many different ways to provide phone support customers in the US even though a company is based elsewhere. VOIP is the number solution. They could at least use Skype to get a US number, whether 800 or any area code, and it would still be a local call since many cell phone plans include free long distance calls to and from the US.
  • There is a way to chat with someone from their website but during the day (my time) it’s usually unavailable or away.
  • The control panel is a little weird but I’ve been using cPanel and probably expect certain things or used to how things are. This might be a bias dislike.

So far I haven’t been able to test what I need to with this host. I checked out Godaddy’s plans. With any purchase of a domain from them, you can get free hosting, supported by ads. This didn’t work since the free hosting doesn’t support .NET framework version 4. So I ended up getting the low plan just to test things.

I’ll continue to play with Hostasp.net for a few more days and see if I can get it to work. We’ll see whether I keep this host or go with Godaddy.

WordPress [an error occurred while processing this directive]

I’ve been getting the [an error occurred while processing this directive] error every time I go to my website. I googled it and found this http://wordpress.org/support/topic/204631?replies=4. People suggested it was caused by the WP Super Cache plugin. I’m currently running 0.9.7. Well, how could you get to the plugins interface if every page displayed that error?

I ended up using phpMyAdmin that my host has and went in the database to manually disable the plugin. Luckily the tables and data entry values were specific so it wasn’t hard to figure out where to start looking. The table you want to look for is “wpau_active_plugins_info”. This table should have records of plugins that are active – hence the table name. Inside this table, look in “plugin_name” column. This is where I found the WP Super Cache entry. I deleted it and reload the page. It fixed the problem.

New home at Hostmonster

Last year I pre-paid a hosting account from Godaddy and had my sites hosted there. The price for a shared hosting account is great. It’s been okay at first but then my needs grew and my sites started to lag a little. I thought it was my WordPress at first so I started disabling themes and plugins. That didn’t fix it. Then I went through the database to see if I can optimize it further, no go. I guess it’s a common thing to happen when you have a shared server that your sites may lag a little. There were times I get a timeout error though and that isn’t really normal.

Aside from the lag, I didn’t like how to access MySQL’s interface (phpMyAdmin). Every link I click on opens a new window/tab until I have like 3 different ones opened. There is also the possibility that your databases are in different servers. Also, creating a database can take up to hours before it is complete.

GoDaddy’s Hosting Connection is just horrible. Many of the add-ons are free but some aren’t. The selections aren’t that appealing nor many. After seeing that, I started to miss cPanel.

Finally, my year was up and I started to look for another host. After doing some research, I chose Hostmonster. The price is slightly higher than GoDaddy but I get unlimited storage and bandwidth. I also get my cPanel (hooray!) – amongst other goodies.

I’ve had them for almost 2 weeks now. There have been some problems. Last week my sites were inaccessible a couple of times on Monday but it was due to system updates. Kind of odd that they were running it during work hours. I’m used to seeing those done usually late at night or in the weekend. Now today same thing. This time they told me that someone else on the server was taking up most of the computer’s resources. It’s been a weird experience so far but for the most part my sites are loading up normal (faster than GoDaddy). I hope they can provide a more reliable service, consistently. I will see in the next week or two. If not, I’ll be switching to another company. What’s great with Hostmonster is you pay in advance, but if you leave early, they will prorate what you have already used and refund the rest.

I don’t think I’ll be using GoDaddy as a host again but I will continue to buy domains from them until some other company starts to charge less than they do. GoDaddy provides good packages for hosting needs. But as a developer, my needs can’t be met unless I get a more expensive package from them.

First thoughts on Firefox 3

I’ve been using Firefox 3 for over a week now and so far it’s been good. It has some improvements over version 2. Here are some of the new features.

  • Smart location bar: This feature is great. If you visited a website before but can’t remember the exact URL, you can type a portion or something about it and Firefox will try to list the URL it thinks you want to visit.
  • The new password manager is less annoying. When you visit a site where you enter a password, it no longer creates a pop up asking you what you want to do – remember the password, not now, or never for this site. Instead a little bar up the top asks the question, so you can continue to browse the page uninterrupted.
  • On OS X, Firefox 3’s look and feel is similar to Safari but has a ton more features.
  • New and better security.
  • Saving bookmarks is easier.
  • The add-ons manager is better.

Those are some of the things I like. It is not a perfect browser. It still crashes from time to time on OS X. I’m sure it crashes on Windows as well. But what I miss the most from FIrefox 2 is browser sync. This is no longer compatible with version 3. I did, however, installed the toolbar. It has it’s own bookmark management system. So far it’s been good. I just have to play with it more and get used to it.

I still have Firefox 2 running at work. I haven’t upgraded it yet because I have to continue to run web applications on it. I feel many of our users haven’t upgraded yet so just in case, our applications must continue to support it. I doubt there will be any problems though but who knows. All my other computers have already upgraded, I suggest you try it out.

Piclens supports video

I’ve been using Piclens for a couple of weeks now and it’s amazing. It takes photos from your website and turn it in to a 3D gallery for viewing. I recently got an update message for my Firefox browser. I updated the plugin and viewed the Piclens page again. This time their demo includes video. It’s pretty cool. If you want to see how it works, just install the plugin from their web site and visit Flickr, YouTube, Friendster, or any other sites they mention. I also played around with it and made this. Remember you must have the plugin installed on your browser for it to work. I still haven’t gotten it to work with Safari for OS X yet.