Friday, December 1, 2017

All good things come to an end

Apologies for the recent issues and slowness with our site. We don't like what's happening, and we would actually fix issues quickly if things were fully in our control.

Let us explain.

So what happened?

Billsup is hosted on a business pro hosting plan with arvixe, which means that arvixe, as the hosting provider, control the server capacity, resources, and admin privileges on our servers, while we (Billsup) have to rely on them to fix uptime issues. We chose them 6 years ago due to budget contraints and arvixe had great value and reviews at the time.

We used to love arvixe as did many others until recently when they changed owners. They are no longer reliable as many of you have experienced - in fact the recent data loss, migration mistake, and outages can be directly attributed to their lack of competency.

In detail...
  • Oct 13: arvixe emailed us saying that they will upgrade our admin panel (We thought okay, cool, zero downtime).
  • Nov 16: arvixe emailed us again and said server migration is complete and redirecting traffic to new server (eh? migration? but cool, zero down time!)
  • Nov 17: Server is down. Apparently arvixe didn't configure the new server properly - wrong config files, missing binaries, SSL certificate missing, wrong redirects, the list goes on 😅  no help from arvixe after numerous chats and tickets. We spent hours troubleshooting and fixed these configuration problems.
  • Nov 18: realized our brand new server has a database that's 8 days old. Apparently they cloned our databases to the new server on Nov 9 but didn't start redirecting traffic to new server until Nov 16. Again no help from arvixe after numerous chats and tickets. We again spent hours recovering your data.
  • Nov 28: 😡 Unstable server performance and responses, and lack of support from their live support or sysadmins, even until now.
We're sorry that our users had to endure this pain with us 😖 😭

What's next?

1. Build an export feature

We want to make sure all your bills can be downloaded so you feel safe. This should be available within 3 weeks.

2. Move away from arvixe

As arvixe is no longer reliable, we plan to move away from it even though we still have another year of contract with them. In case you didn't know, we moved to AWS for a short while a few years ago, but we just couldn't bear the cost. This time, we will try to migrate our services to azure for a more stable experience and keep it running there for at least a couple months. This will take a few days to a week, so bear with us while we move over.

3. Retire our services

Wait... what?!? Well, it has been 6 years since we started Billsup. Between the mobile app compatibility and hosting issues, along with the changing world of technology and needs, we felt that we couldn't dedicate the time or financial resources to continue to provide a high quality and stable service for you.

You may feel all sorts of emotions - anger, frustration, sadness - well, us too. It has been an extremely difficult decision to make as we use Billsup for our own bill tracking, and we have spent endless hours and sleepless nights building and maintaining the system. For those geeks out there who are just curious, we will be later blog about our algorithms here.

Before we go, we want to make sure you can download your data, and also find a new home for your bill tracking. Here are some apps to try if you liked Billsup:

We are thankful for our supporters over the years, especially those who have stuck with us since the early alpha stages,
Your friends at Billsup