Some of you may have visited my website to see what I have been up to outside of Shipbucket. Anything good that I draw or thought that I follow with drawings, like the Fisherless RN and Superimposed Germany, start in my website before they go to Shipbucket. That way my failures remain mine.
My website started as a homepage through my Internet Provider until they canceled their homepage system. So I had to find a cheap alternative. Mr Google helped and I went with a Hosting site called "Freehosting". I pay for my Domain name registration on an anual renewal basis, about US$15 a year. First two years, no problem, send me the bill, I pay and away we go.
Unfortunately this year, no bill to pay has been sent, first I hear is from a regular user of my website who e-mailed me to tell me the site was down. I figured it had to be a hardware failure and e-mail my host "Whats happening?". No reply. I go to the client maintenance section and check that I am still financially up to date, which shows that I am paid through to 26th October 2018. But my Domain name shows as being "Expired". I send a couple of e-mails to my Host asking what the problem is and...... nothing. Black hole... No response.
In the two years I have been with this Host I have never received an answer to any e-mail I have sent them. They have never acknowledged there is a problem on their site when they have been down. In fact their customer service has been Zero. Not good for what is essentially a service company.
So, I had two options:
1/. Pay the latest statement showing on my account to get my Domain Name back up, even though it is paid for through to 26th October. What I call Economic Terrorism, having to ransom my Domain Name or have my site down for 3 months at least. With the same problem likely to happen next year. Something I found when talking to other Domain Name Hosts, was that the only way I could transfer my Domain Name away from Freehosting was to get an 'EPP' number from Freehosting that would allow me to transfer the Domain Name to another Host company. Needless to say I received no answer to my two requests for this number.
2/. Take the pain and wait till my Domain Name comes free in three months time (now two months). That is what I have done. I have a 'purchase' order with my future host to grab my Domain Name once it comes free at the end of October so that nobody else can steal it out from under me and I get held to ransom all over again. What I have done is to use a future host that is based in New Zealand where I live. That way I can go thump some desks if a similar strategy is tried in the future. Bit hard to go to Prague where my current host resides. I can't see any authorities being interested in chasing up after what is essentially a US$4.00 event.
I have used a lot of four letter words and probably invented a few more over the last six weeks. One of those times when going cheap has cost me dearly.
I have a tracking button on my page that tells me how many numbers of visitors have been on my site, also tells me where they are from etc. Current number is up over 70,000 which is pretty good for an unadvertised 'homepage'. What has been funny are the three people from Russia who seem to be able to still access my website where no one else can. My own personal hackers!
If you have any further questions on what I have written, please ask, and I will endeavour to answer them. Hopefully it will help someone not make the same mistake I made.