I've never formally written about NearlyFreeSpeech.net until now, even though I've always had good things to say. Even after some extended downtime I'm excited to say I'm still on the bandwagon. The reason is their transparency. I've worked with many hosts before, and none are as honest or transparent. Even the Rackspace Cloud gave glossed over responses to their problems. A few of my NFS sites went down just about all of yesterday because of a server failure. I logged into the control panel (proprietary, but I actually prefer it over cPanel or hsphere) and looked at the sticky support note left for all customers.
I half-expected to see "teh service is dwn!! were trying to fix it! sry lol!" as with most hosts. Instead, there was page after page of updates with details and explanation. After this, I was able to rest easy, because I had a good idea of how long it would take to get everything back up. Whenever it didn't go as planned, they'd post another update.
I cannot stress how awesome this was. Yes, they made my downtime awesome by treating me and the other customers as if we were techs in the server room. I didn't really care about my sites being down, because I knew they were working really hard on it and probably wouldn't go to bed until it was fixed.
This brings up another point though: transparency makes your customers wet. I know it's been discussed time after time, but it really is true. People don't like "Our apologies, our service went down," as much as they like "Our service went down from 6:30-8:30 UTC today when lightning struck main Big-IP load-balancer, and our failover didn't switch the backup on."
What's a Big-IP? What's "failover?" It doesn't matter...treating your customers as equals and letting them decide if information is relevant or not will make them wet.
In my three years experience with NFS, this is the first downtime I've experienced. Their support was amazing enough to update every customer with detailed information about the problems they were experiencing and how they were fixing it. I cannot recommend them more. For larger sites that require custom services running, you're out of luck. For blogs, informational sites, paypal-driven shopping carts (no SSL, yet), etc this is the best shared host I've dealt with, ever. They're dirt cheap, and the only host I know of who won't disable your site without a court order or copyright violation.
With the economy getting increasingly depressed, and the country feeling more anxious and desperate every day, there remains only one thing between our current state and complete chaos.
Donuts. Be they round, square, creme-filled or just little spheres covered in sugar, they hold together the very fabric of our society. Not only is this common knowledge, it has been scientifically proven by many recent studies.
The U.S. government, knowing the importance of donuts, passed a bill today that would help a local shopkeeper in Brownsville, Kentucky stay in business. The bill passed by congress details a $14 trillion bail-out package for the shop in exchange for 2% equity in the company.
"I couldn't be happier," proclaimed Rick Thomson, shop owner, enjoying his new beach house in Hawaii. "I'm finally starting to realize how important the government is. It's good to finally see our tax dollars at work." Rick had been running his shop "The Donut Gutter" for over 5 years before the financial crisis hit. When bankruptcy looked like the only option, he petitioned congress for help.
"Well, we got his letter and immediately made it a first national priority," said Congressman Piotto. "People think small businesses are a dime a dozen, but they are actually more important than big businesses! This is because of the trickle-up theory of economics. Just think how many other local businesses Mr. Thomas will now stimulate. And because the government owns 2% of his company, we made a lot of money! 2% of 14 trillion is $280 billion. It's a win-win." Piotto is also first-advisor to the national treasurer.
Since Rick's business was bailed-out, over 200,000 other companies from around the country are petitioning for congressional aid. A recent study showed a 90% growth in the rate of companies needing a government bail-out. The study failed to conclude the reason for this, but a follow-up study is planned for 2011.
"It's just not fair," said CEO of GM as he stomped his foot and frowned. "Nobody cares about big business anymore. We never got a bail-out, even though we've been selling the same cars for what's probably been hundreds of years!"
One thing is for sure, we owe everything our country stands for to Rick Thomas, a brave man who fought bankruptcy, a hurting economy, and big business all for his right to $14 trillion in tax dollars.