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  • Anatomy of an Outage

    Monday, August 10, 2009 by
    Wednesday, August 5, 2009 started out as a normal day at HostGator’s Houston headquarters. Around 4:00 PM CT, a major power surge that occurred as the result of a transformer near our office blowing up made the day anything but ordinary. Lights flickered, battery backups beeped, fire alarms went off, and Internet signals all died down almost immediately. People began to wait for the building’s $200,000 hurricane-ready generator to start up, but it didn’t. In the mean time, one of the three major “legs” of power that feeds the building with the power it needs to function was out because of exploded transformer. The building was underpowered and the higher voltage motors and equipment started burning out from the heat and stress of running without the adequate amounts of power. Expensive equipment continued to get damaged. A compressor on the air conditioning burnt out (cost: $35,000), air handlers got destroyed (cost: $5,000), an elevator motor got fried (cost: $10,000) and lots of other equipment in the building’s mechanical room still isn’t working correctly (cost: unknown). The total cost of the damages is expected to be upwards of $60,000. As the building’s systems started to go down and the people in charge of HostGator’s office began calling in electricians, power companies, and repairmen, the rest of the management team began going into what we refer to internally as “hurricane mode."
    • Twitter updates started to go out informing customers of a power problem in the building and possible service delays.
    • Employees were rallied and were sent to the other employees’ homes.
    • Our phone number was redirected (our VOIP system is housed in our office) and the message on our phone system was updated to inform customers of the outage.
    • Our support site was updated with an emergency notice.
    • A forum post was made with additional details.
  • Talk to HostGator Live on July 29 at 8 PM CT

    Wednesday, July 15, 2009 by
    Update: Thanks to all of those who participated! Our second Open Session was a success. A recording of the session is available on this page. Due to the success of the first Open Session we hosted a couple of weeks ago, we're hosting another one soon. This Open Session will be held on Wednesday, July 29 at 8 PM CT. Just like last time, this Open Session will be a chance for both potential and existing HostGator customers to come into a live chat with other customers and HostGator employees and get tips, information, and have a chance to ask questions and get answers from the people who make the decisions at HostGator. Participants can either call in or just listen on their computers. There is also a text chat for people who would prefer to type their questions.
  • Chat with HostGator this Thursday at 5 PM CT

    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 by
    Update: This took place and was a big success. HostGator employees answered a ton of questions about backups, VPS solutions, Windows hosting, affiliates, and more. We appreciate people taking the time to come by and ask questions. This upcoming Thursday (July 2, 2009) at 5 PM CT (Houston-time), HostGator is going to be hosting an Open Session where potential and existing customers alike can come chat with HostGator employees and each other. The Open Session is going to be pretty informal, but for some context, some things we do want to do include:
    • Question and answer session with HostGator employees
    • Tips and suggestions on how to get the most out of your HostGator account and website from our best support people
    • Suggestions from customers about how HostGator can improve (customer service, Terms of Service, procedures and policies, etc.)
    This is the first time HostGator has done something like this, but we think it will serve as a great opportunity to talk to our customers and hear their questions, opinions, and suggestions. If you have any particular items you'd like us to discuss or research, feel free to leave them in the comments. Oh, and we're also going to be giving out some free hosting during the session for both attending and participating.
  • All TPS reports require cover sheets.

    Friday, April 3, 2009 by
    TPS ReportIf you’ve ever seen Office Space, you most likely know that all TPS reports (that’s “Test Procedure Specification” for the uninformed) require cover sheets. The painfully ridiculous incident in the movie has become both a critical fixture of anti-corporate culture and a quintessential example of the eccentricities of bureaucracies of corporate America. At HostGator, there are no TPS reports and cover sheets aren’t required to be put on anything. However, we do keep track of quite a few numbers and metrics and one of the metrics we do watch closely is chat volume. The graph below is an average of the number of chats we completed per hour on any given day and at any given time throughout the month of March. The numbers are averaged, meaning that every Monday at 1 PM was averaged together to create a collective Monday at 1 PM metric. Our week-to-week variation is usually pretty negligible, so what you see on the graph is a fairly good representation of our chat volume for a given day. Note that the Y-axis starts at 30, meaning we never average less than 30 chats completed per hour.