Re: “What was wrong with your website for the past 4 hours?”

In the spirit of Black Friday, I went searching for some great deals.

I came across a few at Namecheap – namely, $0.98 each for the first year of shared web hosting and do­main registration.

If you’ve been keeping up with me for a while, you know that I occasionally do website redesigns every few years. I’m long overdue for my next redesign, and there’s actually a valid reason for that.

The thing that’s holding me back is the fact that my current web host appears to be keeping cached copies of my .CSS files such that changes don’t go into effect until about 10-20 minutes after the edits are pub­lished. As you can imagine, making and testing changes to stylesheets is essentially impossible when your .CSS edits only refresh four times an hour.

For this reason, I was especially compelled to take advantage of the $0.98-for-one-year web hosting bar­gain from Namecheap.

I acted on my compulsion at 11 AM EST this morning when the coupon code was released on Namecheap’s special Black Friday timed deals page. The several hundred coupon codes sold out within a handful of mi­nutes, and I was fortunate enough to be one of the people to get one.

About an hour and a half after my purchase, I started moving files over to my new server, and by 1 PM EST, I was pretty much done. All I had to do was wait for the DNS to propagate, and my new old website would be live.

Or so I thought.

An hour after everything was done, I noticed that my website started displaying an error message, rather than my website. This told me two things – first, that the DNS had propagated (because if it hadn’t, it would still be showing me my old working website from my old host), and second, that there was a problem with Namecheap’s hosting service.

After fiddling around with my local cache settings and trying to access my website from different devices and different proxies, I concluded with certainty that the problem was on Namecheap’s side, and opened a live support chat window at 2:24 PM.

By 2:32 PM, the problem was solved: “Unfortunately domain DNS zone was asynchronized with our host­ing DNS cluster. Please accept our apologies for the temporary inconvenience. Domain name is re­solv­ing now.”

I reloaded my website and discovered that it was, in fact, working … but now there was a new problem. It was loading excruciatingly slowly. A few minutes later, it stopped loading at all, and was replaced by Error 508, which apparently meant I had (already) reached my resource limit.

At 2:44 PM, I realized that the error message had disappeared, but the loading was still extraordinarily slow. I tested the page loading time with Pingdom and got a result of 60 seconds.

I think the rest of the story is best told with the chat log:

[2:56] Elena M.: The server is working properly. I have disabled the theme and the site load was 6.78s

[2:57] Parkzer: What do you mean you disabled the theme? And 6.78 seconds is still an ex­treme­ly long time, my website usually used to load in less than 1 second

[2:57] Elena M.: just renamed the theme folder, I have changed it back

[2:58] Parkzer: The theme for WordPress? That only applies to items inside my /blog folder; my landing page is completely independent from WordPress and it’s a standalone PHP file. I’m also a little bit concerned that, in your opinion, the server is working properly when a page takes 6.78 seconds to load

[3:03] Elena M.: We are checking if something can be done from our side

[3:38] Elena M.: The technicians just told me that the server is OK. Please try to optimize your site or recheck the load in few hours. maybe there are connectivity issues in the net­work

[3:40] Parkzer: There is nothing wrong with my website, I had this exact same website run­ning on another host and every page loaded in less than 1 second

[3:41] Parkzer: So does this mean that, if I stay with Namecheap hosting, these random site loading problems might pop up once in a while, and you guys won’t be able to do anything about it because, supposedly, the “server is OK”?

[3:47] Elena M.: There are no server issues at the moment. In case of any or resource usage, we can investigate the issue and perform some actions, but at the moment we do not see any issues from the server side

[3:52] Parkzer: Can you move me to a different server?

[3:59] Elena M.: To do that please create a ticket with the request

[4:00] Parkzer: How long does it take to be moved to a different server?

[4:00] Elena M.: After all the details are confirmed – few hours

I obviously did not have another hour, let alone a few of them, to wait any longer. I thanked Elena for the little bits and pieces of help here and there that she was able to provide, but let her know that I gave Namecheap a chance and it did not work out.

I promptly switched my nameservers back to my old host, and reapplied CloudFlare to my account; my website was back up and running at full speed by 4:13 PM, 11 minutes after I had disconnected the chat with Namecheap support.

So, for those of you who were wondering why my website was down and/or slow earlier today, now you know. Of course, switching back to my old web host doesn’t solve the .CSS file caching problems, but hav­ing a website with an old graphic design is better than having a website with one-minute loading times.

(Please note that this blog post addresses Namecheap’s shared hosting service, not their domain name service. I’ve been using Namecheap’s domain registration for years now, and I am 99.9% satisfied with it. Just because I am unhappy with one of Namecheap’s services doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with the entire company.)


An administrator from my current hosting company (the one I switched back to after this Namecheap fiasco) reached out to me on Twitter and helped me solve the problem I was having with cached CSS files (our conversation can be found in the Comments section below).

For those who were wondering why I didn’t just contact an admin in the first place, it’s because I’m not the primary account holder.

Edit 2:

A hosting team lead from Namecheap reached out to me via email as a follow-up to the chat I had with Elena earlier today. She said that she is taking my complaint seriously and is looking further into it. She brought up the request I had earlier regarding the server transfer.

I responded to her letting her know that all my previous hosting problems had been resolved, and I am no longer interested in using Namecheap Shared Hosting. I reminded her that I still use Namecheap’s domain services and would be remaining a Namecheap customer in that area. I also let her know that, because of the value I got from my $0.98 purchase, I will not be requesting cancellation or a refund.