Hosting Services Are Not Designed For Humans

Written by Yaron Schoen February 25, 2012

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For over a decade I have been building websites. And for over a decade my least favorite part is dealing with domain names, hosting providers and everything in between. It's not the domain squatters or the large companies that degrade woman that bother me (though I do hate them both). The problem is that the whole process of setting up a domain with a hosting provider is not designed for humans. It is designed for geeks/robots that know exactly what they're doing. Unlike me.

For example I am switching hosting providers and it is a hellish process. Why can't this be easy? Right now, in order for me to view my sites on the new server (so I can check and see if they migrated them correctly), I need to create redirects through terminal. TERMINAL! DAMN IT JIM I'M A DESIGNER, NOT A DOCTOR!

Now I need to contact Media Temple (the company that I have my domains registered at) to figure out how to configure an 'A' record for my domains to point to the DNS of the new hosting provider. WHAT?! I work on the web and have no clue what that means, god knows what people that don't, go through.

I just called Media Temple and wow, changing an A record is like decoding DaVinci's Code. There was no way I would have known how to get there and what to insert in the blank fields. I had to create 3 records by clicking on the button "Add a record" (I am not sure is they mean "add a record" or "add 'A' record). I had to fill one field with an '*' one with 'www' and leave one blank, along with the new IP. How was I to know this without asking customer support, god knows.

Above you can see the screen to change DNS A records through Media Temple. Obviously this was not designed for a normal person. It is actually insulting, because this is making me look like an idiot by not knowing what to do. It makes me feel helpless, and the only way I can complete my task is by calling customer support.

Now, I'm not going to do an unsolicited design exercise here. I am not writing this to prove how awesome of a designer I am, but to help existing hosting companies, or entrepreneurs create useable hosting platforms. They need to understand that a good design is not a stock image of a server rack on fire, thrown into a sweet glossy looking homepage. No. A well designed platform means your backend works for NORMAL PEOPLE that want to simply: get in, get the task done, and get the hell out of there.

Can someone please simplify this god awful process? When building a hosting company remember that your clients are humans not computers. Try to design for them.

Written in New York. © 2013