Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I have been dealing with our web host SiteGround for the past three days and I am still no closer to getting answers

I just don't get it! According to an email alert I received on 3 February from our web host SiteGround, the Operating System and other proprietary software for the server take 10GB of disk space. Our Church and State website takes an additional 2GB but that still leaves our server with 8GB because our SiteGround plan comes with 20GB. SiteGround technical support tells me that there are also logs, cache and temporary files - generated by the server - that grow until they are 'flushed' at some point, after which the disk usage reverts back to normal. Even if these files took another 2GB, that would still leave our server with 6GB; plenty for me to get on with without having to constantly check my Server Status page, which three days ago stated that our server had used 84% of our disk storage. The problem here lies in the fact that as soon as 90% of available storage is used, SiteGround issues an alert stating that without an upgrade our site could start experiencing service problems. They issued us with such an alert for the first time three weeks ago when coincidentally Declan was at a court hearing (see part two below).

The 84% figure I discovered last Monday made absolutely no sense. On 15 December 2015, when our site took more than 3GB, the standard flush brought our disk usage down from 85% to 72%. On 5 January 2016, when our site took 2.75GB, the flush brought our disk usage down from 80% to 69%. But on Monday, even though our site now only takes 2GB (because I have deleted lots of old pictures we don't need anymore), the disk usage stood at 84%. I quickly contacted SiteGround technical support but by the close of business on Monday all they would confirm was that there would be "no flush any time soon", which meant we could have been heading straight for service problems despite the fact that our chairman in North Carolina, Dr Stephen Mumford, pays SiteGround $1,000 a year to ensure that our 2GB site runs smoothly in 20GB of disk space without unnecessary hitches.

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Yesterday morning I discovered that a flush had taken place overnight, but our total disk usage is still inexplicably high at 74% instead of 67% or less. 74% of 20GB is 14.8GB, meaning that, minus the 10GB taken for the Operating System and other proprietary software and the 2GB taken by our site, something is taking more than 2.5GB of disk space - the equivalent of a website bigger than Church and State! Neither yesterday nor today have SiteGround provided me with an explanation to account for this extra 2.5GB that I consider satisfactory. Based in Bulgaria, SiteGround is among the top hosting companies, as their Recap 2015 shows. And this link provides a look behind the scenes at their work, with the interview questions answered by their CEO, Tenko Nikolov.

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The following is taken from part two of my blog post on 3 February, "Heavey v The Greater London Authority: Outcome of Preliminary Hearing".

While Declan was at Court, I received for the first time ever an alert from our hosting company SiteGround stating that our Church and State website had used 90% of our available storage and that we could start experiencing service problems.

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At first I thought this was some kind of mistake. I have these two screenshots dated 28 January 2016 showing that our disk space usage is 2.48GB and that we are only using 69% of the available storage:

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I find it inexplicable how I could have received this alert, especially since our disk space usage is now just 2.39GB (ie, 0.09GB less than when we were only using 69% of the available storage). Our chairman Dr Stephen Mumford is paying SiteGround $1,000 per year to host the site and I am hoping this can be sorted without another upgrade.

SITEGROUND UPDATE (4 February): After two days of correspondence with SiteGround, a technical support supervisor has finally explained that the reason for the 90% usage was "the cPanel upgrade done by our system administrators recently". All the files left behind by this upgrade have now been 'flushed' and everything is back to normal.