They never tell you everything …

by Nate Hoffelder

After a decade of running The Digital Reader, Nate is a veteran web publisher with experience in design, maintenance, recovery, and troubleshooting. What little he doesn't know, he can learn.

May 30, 2017

I have a hard-earned lesson on working with hosting companies and the websites they support. Would you like to hear it?

Webhosts come in all shapes and sizes. They’re good or bad, expensive or cheap, capable or not, and sometimes chaotic neutral, but they all share one certain trait.

Hosting companies cover such a wide spectrum that it’s almost impossible to make a generalization, but in my years of running and maintaining websites I have found that they all post incomplete instructions.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re reading about how to add SSL to your site, change the nameservers, create a backup, or set up an email account.

The one thing I have found with every hosting company I have worked with is that they all neglect to tell you everything you need to know. They might forget to include a detail, or the instructions might simply be out of date.

But there has always been at least one key detail left out.

So why does this matter?

That’s simple.

If you have a website, at some point you will ask your hosting company how to perform some technical task, and they will very helpfully point you to the instructions they posted on their website.

If you follow those instructions to the letter, you will get frustrated when they don’t work.

But now that you know that the instructions are incomplete or inaccurate, you can approach them from the correct mindset. Ask yourself what part of the instructions was left out, forgotten, or is outdated, and you will have taken the first step to getting the project done without tearing out your hair.

P.S. While this concept may be obvious to some, it was not apparent to me until after the 4th time I was given bad instructions by yet another hosting company. And so I thought this was a tip worth sharing.

Hi, I'm Nate.

I build and fix websites for authors, and I am also a tech VA. I can build you a website that looks great and turns visitors into fans, and I can also fix your tech when it breaks. Let me fight with tech support so you don’t have to.

My blog has everything you need to know about websites and online services. Don’t see what you need. or want personalized help? Reach out.

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