When you reach out to your hosting provider - or anyone for that matter - to get support, there are some things that are good to understand, and some techniques that will help you get support efficiently, and make it more likely that the experience will be satisfying.
You might contact support for a few reasons:
The catch is, you might not know which is the case for your problem. Or, you might think it's one, when it's actually the another.
Let's talk more about this point above: 1. Something isn't working
This is a good question, and you might start by asking yourself this. But we believe this is the wrong way to look at it. Or at least, it tends to lead to looking at things as too "black or white", "me vs. them", or blaming the other side.
Solving a problem with your website requires work. It might be the host needs to do some work, to fix a bug or add an enhancement. It might be that you need to do some work, such as changing settings inside your site, or updating a plugin. Sometimes either one of you might be able to fix the problem, in a different way.
No matter what, there is also work to be done together. You and your host should work together as a team to understand the problem, and figure out the best solution.
"Is it me, or is it my host?" The problem might be more on the hosting site, or more on your side. Either way, teamwork is usually a big part of solving the problem.
Successfully hosting your WordPress site somewhere is a partnership. Your site will have certain needs and requirements, and to successfully host it, your host will need to meet those requirements.
If your needs don't match what your host provides, neither of you is wrong. There just is not a match.
Not every host is the same, and not every site is the same. Most hosts, including SITE DISTRICT can host most WordPress sites without without any issuess. However, some WordPress sites are highly customized, and may have plugins & requirements that a host has not seen yet, or just doesn't support.
When you contact support, one thing that may need to happen is to determine if your site and the current hosting environment are compatible. If the answer turns out to be "No", then there are usually several solutions:
Which one is best will depend on the situation, and some solutions involve additional risk and uncertainty.
In many cases, and especially if your host has good support & the ability to adapt their platform, the solution is relatively quick and easy. In other cases, there is no quick and easy solution.
In some cases, the easiest solution is to switch hosting, to a host that can better support your needs, either because of difference in their platform, better support, or both.
Before you contact your support person, here are some things than can increase your chances of success:
When you contact support, you usually have some type of problem or question. In order for the person on the other side to be able to help you, they need to understand your problem or question.
This is not as easy as it sounds. The reason for this is usually a lack of context.
The person that is helping you often needs to (or at least should) know some background information about how you got to the point when you decided to contact support. The person you are talking to also did not see and experience everything that you did. What might be "obvious" to you might be much less so to other person.
Try to make sure that the person who is helping you understands the background of your problem. If you've talked about it before, remind them. If this is a new issue for you both, tell them what you were trying to do and how you got to where you are now.
In order to solve a problem, the person you are communicating with must first understand it. Often, the easiest way to understand it is to see the problem.
Let me say that again, because it's so important:
You want to make it so the person helping you can see and experience the same thing as you and also understand what is wrong with what you are seeing.
The easiest way for a support person to help with a problem is often if they can reproduce the problem for themselves.
A good way for a support person to do this is for you to provide the following:
Let's say you are editing a page on your blog, and you get an error when saving. You might need to communicate as follows:
How you communicate your issue can vary. Also, if the support person understands enough of your context, you may need to communicate less.
More details are almost always helpful, but they take longer to communiate.
Some things that are almost always SUPER helpful to a support person are:
Your support person may ask for these if you didn't provide them. Think about how confident you are the the support person can fill in the details. If there's doubt, it's often better provide more details and screenshots right away, as it could easily reduce the time for understanding and solving your problem.
Sometimes an issue can't be reliably reproduced. Either because you don't know exactly what you are doing that is causing it, or because the cause is something that is not under your control, and might not be consistent.
This often makes it a much harder problem to solve. But not always.
Here are some things that can help:
There are many ways to communicate with your host or support person. What is available will depend on your hosting provider.
Some of the possible options include:
Which one is best depends on both what your host offers, and what works best for you. The tools are means to an end. That said, for certain problems, some of the tools tend to be much better than others.
At SITE DISTRICT, we offer all these options (except a Ticket System, to come later ...) as a means of getting support.
Keep in mind that some formats are better for real-time or near real-time communiation, while others are better for longer messages & more details.
If you need to share URLs or screenshots, a phone or voice call by itself is not the best, though you might combine it with one of the other communication methods that lets you share those easily.
You or your host may like to keep things organized in a certain fashion as well. This makes it easier to solve problems efficiently, as you might both be working on multiple tasks or issues at once. Try to keep things organized, and each issue separate. This will make it easier for both you and your host to solve the problem and refer back to the solution later if necessary.
If the issue that you are experiencing is on a website in your browser, there are some specific things you can do to make it easier to either solve the problem yourself, of make it much easier for your support person to help you solve it together.
We hope that you found the page useful, and it will help you get better support, both at SITE DISTRICT, and with other services.
If this approach to support resonates with you, or you're just looking for better support with hosting your WordPress site, Sign Up and give us a try.