We’re Back!

Salt Lake City, UT – What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Here at First Tracks!! Online we’ve been butting heads with our web host for several months now, but everything came to a head last week when Hostgator, our previous web host, alternately shut down and throttled FTO’s web service repeatedly. They started complaining that we were using too much of the server’s CPU even though we had made no structural changes to the site. We responded with everything we could do to minimize our load on the server, but nothing we did was sufficient to ease their concerns. And even though we have referred friends and colleagues to Hostgator numerous times over the years, their customer service had become abysmal ever since the company was acquired by Endurance International Group in 2012. It’s nearly impossible to fix problems when you’re lucky to get response to a support ticket within 16 hours.

It’s also hard to do business as an online ski magazine when your website is down more than it’s up, and while our readers were frustrated with our site’s availability, we were even more so. Even though it cut into our revenue (FTO is supported entirely by advertising), more importantly, it negatively impacted our reputation in the skiing world. This was intolerable. We thus began our search for a new web host despite the monumental task of relocating all of our data.

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Following several trials and false starts over the intervening days we finally settled in today with WiredTree. Their staff has been exceptional, their response times extraordinary. They could not have made the transition to their server any easier, and we’re well beyond being pleased with our new partnership. CDN services are being provided by CloudFlare to make your website experience even faster.

If you’re reading this, it’s coming from WiredTree’s data center at 427 LaSalle in downtown Chicago, which is connected to the globe via some of the world’s preeminent fiber optic backbones. Our offices, of course, remain in Salt Lake City, Utah, but our spiffy new virtual private server in Chicago is humming and ready to bring “the ski and snowboard world to your keyboard” in record time.

And we couldn’t be more anxious to do so, as new stories are in the can and ready for publication, beginning tomorrow — forgive us if after all of this we’re ready to go celebrate with a beer and wait for tomorrow. We sincerely apologize to our users for the frustration you’ve experienced over the past 10 days, and we promise to make it up to you. You’re our bread and butter, our lifeblood, and we owe all of our remarkable success over the past 19 years to you.

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So take your ski hat (or helmet) off and make a few turns for us, will you please? You deserve it. We can’t overstate our gratitude that you stuck with us throughout all of this.

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