fish or cut baitIf you’re in the practice of hosting your clients’ web sites, this message is for you.

The other day I received two emails from my web host, InMotion Hosting, where I maintain an agency account only for clients. In other words, I lease a server, which saves my clients money and lets me use tools I am familiar with (as opposed to dealing with a variety of hosts and their varying CPanel configurations and levels of support.

In the emails, I was (quite nicely) informed that a backup utility (WordPressBackup) on one of my client’s web sites was bringing the entire server to its knees. Some poor piece of software had been installed and it was continually sending “requests” that were tying up the server’s resources.

I had 48 hours to amend the situation (backups to a server are against my terms of service (TOS)) or ALL of my clients’ web sites would be removed.

This is kind of a shocking Tuesday morning email!

Turns out one of my clients had given his user name and password to someone who claimed to know a lot about boosting his search engine optimization (SEO) results on Google and other directories.

This someone had installed a malware plug-in that makes backups of the web site, and it makes them to the exact same server on which the original web site files reside.

Two reasons this scenario of backing up files is bad:

  1. Should something happen to the server, the backup is useless. You need to make a backup to another server.
  2. Some plug-ins, like this one, are just built inefficiently. It drained my server.

So I had to go in to the underbelly of the web site, get rid of the offending plug-in, and fix permissions files so that the whole ball of wax would work again.

Unfortunately, there are not degrees nor widespread certification in the field of search engine optimization. But, trust me, any SEO person who claims that adding underlines and quotation marks to text will yield better search engine results is a rogue agent. And that’s who my client hired.

That’s too bad for this particular client, and one reason I spend a lot of time educating all clients about how real SEO works.

So, my task tomorrow is to set this client free … to find another web host. I never dreamed this would happen, but I see a new codicil in my web client contract forming even now.

I can’t afford rogue agents that threaten my entire livelihood.

The moral of this story: if you host clients’ web sites, make sure you know who is working with your files.

When to cut bait with a client

by susan time to read: 2 min

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