As I mentioned a few days ago, I’ve changed hosts for this Web site. In fact, I ended up changing hosts a couple more times than I had planned. I had been with PowWeb for a few years and was very happy with them in all but one respect. This Weblog, despite its dormancy, gets nearly 5,000 Spam comments a month. With moderation and the requirement that people sign in to comment, none of those comments actually appear publicly, but deleting them from the moderation queue is tedious. The Akismet plug-in helps a great deal, but I was still left with a handful of Spam comments to moderate every few days. It was the Bad Behavior plug-in that fixed the problem completely. It focuses not on human comments, but on automated processes posting trackback and comment Spam, and it seems to prevent it without exception.
In June or July of last year, PowWeb changed their Web hosting platform (to Microsoft products I believe, but I’m not sure), and not only did the Bad Behavior plug-in no longer work, but it prevented all access to the Weblog, even for administrative purposes. PowWeb’s technical support people had to go into the Weblog’s database themselves to de-activate the plug-in. As they told me at the time, “the Bad Behavior plugin cannot be made to work on our platform as it conflicts with HTTP request[s] for your site on our architecture and [is] causing the error ‘Precondition Failed’. Unfortunately, the Bad Behavior plugin has to be disabled.” I lived with the situation for more than six months, but the Sisyphean effort of regularly deleting comment Spam from a Weblog that I was rarely even posting on finally got to me, and I decided to switch hosts to one with a platform that would support the Bad Behavior plug-in
At Chris‘s suggestion, I tried his Web host. At first, they seemed great. They even had an automated system that called me while I was registering on the Web to verify my contact information. I changed the domain name servers to point at my new address, and thought everything was almost settled. But then I had a problem with the database for the Weblog, and tried to contact their technical support people. After about three days of exploring different methods of contacting them (during which I discovered language on their Web site threatening to charge customers if the issue they contacted support with wasn’t an emergency), it dawned on me that there were no people. So I moved back to PowWeb.
I spoke to Chris again, and he did some research on the WebHosting Talk forums. He suggested HostPC, and I switched to them yesterday. So far, I’ve been very happy. I got 1 GB of disk space and 10 GB of monthly data transfer for a year for $25. Technically, everything seems to be in order, and they answered the one question I had (which was really just impatience on my part) almost immediately. So my Web site has been moved, the Bad Behavior plug-in is re-activated, and there’s no Spam in my comment moderation queue.