Scope of Support
Updated Aug 16, 2022
Our support team is online 24/7, 365 days a year. We’re an experienced, close-knit team, and we offer support through tickets and our community forum. This article details the type of requests that fall within our scope of support and which do not.
GridPane is a self-managed hosting platform that allows for a tremendous amount of freedom and control when compared to other WordPress hosting solutions. Due to the number of options that we offer vs regular and “managed” hosting companies, expectations from our clients can vary wildly.
Table of Contents
Part 1. Getting Help
Knowledge Base (KB)
While our ticket and community response times are fast, every feature of our platform is thoroughly documented, and we have some of the most comprehensive troubleshooting guides available anywhere. Even the more complex topics are broken down into easy-to-follow steps, and you will be able to solve and avoid the more common questions/issues that we see.
If it’s not an emergency, the knowledge base is usually the quickest way to get the information you’re looking for.
We’ve invested over $100,000 into creating our knowledge base, and it is a gold mine of useful information. In fact, if you were to absorb the information inside our troubleshooting guides, you would be able to step into our support team and begin answering support tickets on your very first day.
If you have an emergency or you’ve searched the knowledge base and haven’t found an answer to the issue you’re facing, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on support for assistance.
Support Tickets & Community Forum
We offer support through our community forum and ticketing, and we use a priority system to ensure that the most urgent issues related to our systems are addressed first.
Support for the Panel plan begins in our community forum. Our team members are active there 24/7, as well as other community members, so there’s assistance available from multiple places. If it’s an issue that only our team can solve (an issue within our stack or application), we’ll create a support ticket for you within our support system and continue with you there.
Developer accounts have the ability to create support tickets, but we also encourage the use of the community forum in instances where the answers to your questions may benefit the wider community and where it’s not specific to our software.
Part 2. Support for GridPane Software
Our support scope is to maintain the hosting stack, and this can involve some investigation into issues where it’s not clear whether the issue that you may be facing is directly related to the server or to WordPress (or even to an external service connected to your site).
In 90+% of cases, issues we encounter are website-specific and not server stack related.
If you experience an issue with something not working correctly with our stack, we’ll investigate and take care of it.
If it’s a site-specific issue, that’s general WordPress development work and is your responsibility as the website owner/developer. This includes anything that is specific to an individual website or caused by an individual website (including things such as a 502 or 504 error).
Custom server configurations are beyond the scope of our support, but our knowledge base has step-by-step documentation for almost everything that you may be looking to accomplish. This includes how to customize the Web Application Firewalls, make Nginx work for specific plugins, how to exclude pages from the server cache, and much more.
We take care of all the maintenance needed to keep the operating system up-to-date and our stack and app working correctly. This includes all security updates and any package updates that are beneficial to you. Learn more here:
Server Updates / Maintenance / Security Patches – What Updates Does GridPane Take Care Of?
Platform (Your Account Dashboard)
It is our responsibility to host and maintain our dashboard where you can manage your sites and servers, as well as to continually improve it to make your experience with us as streamlined as possible. If you spot a bug or even think you may have found one, please let us know, and we will investigate and fix the issue ASAP.
Part 3. Our Support vs Managed Hosts
Most “managed” WordPress hosts run a very specific server configuration within a strict and rigid framework that doesn’t allow for customization. They often have bans on many popular plugins, and due to these platform restrictions, their support teams have a far narrower focus than our own. If it’s inside their box, great! If not, sorry, no can do (and that is a totally fair and valid standpoint for them to take).
GridPane, on the other hand, offers two separate server stacks with two separate database options. As a GridPane customer, you have unlimited freedom to pick and choose your server provider and datacenter locations, you retain full root access to your servers, and we don’t impose any theme or plugin bans. We also include significantly more functionality and features than most hosts, and there’s nothing on our platform that prevents you from installing additional software on your servers if you want to.
This freedom, combined with our extensive features and ability to customize any of your website/server settings, means that our support team has considerably more ground to cover when it comes to providing support as a whole.
Due to this, not only do we see more support tickets than we would otherwise, but there have been some misunderstandings in the past (especially at times when we’ve gone above and beyond our scope of support to solve WordPress-level issues).
This has led some clients to believe we should provide direct DevOps assistance and/or WordPress development assistance on-demand for free. Unfortunately, even though we would love to do this, this is beyond the scope of any host, including our direct competitor “managed” WordPress hosting providers.
Support for WordPress Professionals
The level of support we offer is far more wide-ranging than almost any other host, but it’s also more suited to professionals who work with WordPress and are comfortable with simple coding tasks. Running a search and replace, for example, is something that a managed host may do on request, but it is not something a WordPress agency needs help with.
We also work with you to solve issues, which means you are required to do basic debugging and help our team to help you. For example, you need to read (or at least copy and paste) your website logs. In most cases, if you read them, you will probably identify the issue and won’t even need our assistance.
360 Preemptive Support
Our 360 service is designed to monitor both your websites and your servers to offer a holistic, preemptive service that identifies issues before they might become critical.
It includes proactive monitoring that will automatically create a support ticket should we detect that one or more of your websites are down or are experiencing an issue. We’ll take care of the heavy lifting 24/7 and offer advice and guidance wherever needed.
DevOps as a Service
We do offer DevOps assistance as an additional service for complex issues. This starts at $250/hour for a minimum of 5 hours.
Part 4. Support Limitations
Our dashboard allows you to easily access all of your server logs, and our team can help you analyze these logs and provide guidance when applicable. We will always strive to provide best-effort support, however, we can’t be the support team for your themes, plugins, or other service/software providers.
In these cases, you would need to go through their recommended support channels and work directly with the creator/provider.
Site Specific Support
90+% of the tickets we see in support are site-specific and not related to our platform malfunctioning. It is not feasible to provide site-specific support on our pricing model, and it is your responsibility to maintain and fix problems that are specific to your websites and not our software.
We’re regularly asked for advice/consulting on a significant range of different types of issues, use cases, recommendations, and more. Please post these types of requests in the community forum, as we will not answer these types of questions/requests inside a private support ticket that no one else on the platform will be able to benefit from. They also are outside of our scope of support.
If you would like to consult with us for an upcoming project, a service offering that you’re putting together, or about what services you should use with our platform in a one-on-one setting, we can arrange a paid Zoom call for you with a member of our team.
Plugins and Theme Support
Sometimes it’s not clear what the root cause of an issue is. For example, 504 errors manifest themselves as server errors when in reality, they are almost always due to an issue within the website itself and almost always due to a plugin or theme.
We can provide guidance when it comes to identifying underlying issues, such as checking processes within the server, checking out the status of your databases, and analyzing error logs you send to us.
We do not provide nameservers or email servers, but it’s usually quick and easy to identify when DNS is misconfigured with a DNS checker like this one.
We can provide guidance when your domain is not behind a proxy service, and you can learn about DNS management here: Setting DNS Records
We have a native integration with SendGrid (more integrations coming in the future), which you can use to quickly and easily configure SMTP for your websites. For troubleshooting SendGrid, please follow the instructions in this article:
Troubleshooting the SendGrid SMTP Integration
There is nothing inside our stack that will interfere with your SMTP plugin if our SendGrid integration is not active on your site.
Part 5. Outside Our Scope of Support
Our platform is optimized for WordPress and offers a suite of tools that make it easy to manage your websites and servers. However, our team isn’t a replacement for your WordPress developer/s.
Like any managed host, there are a few things that are outside the scope of our support. These include: –
- Site customization or content updates
- Web development services/fixes
- Theme and plugin customization/fixes
- Writing custom code (.htaccess, GeoIP, custom firewall rules, custom caching rules, etc.)
- Code audits
- Any code editing. We can help you identify fatal PHP errors, corrupt or locked database tables, and potentially spot problematic plugins or themes to help you get your site back online. However, fixing broken or conflicting code within your website is a task for you or the theme/plugin developer.
- Migrating your websites
- Direct contact with your server provider on your behalf – though we can help you communicate effectively with them.
- Malware cleanup (take advantage of our suite of security tools, ensure you have backups, follow best security practices, and you will be considerably safer than most websites).
Our focus is 100% WordPress, and we cannot provide support for your other applications.
That said, you can absolutely run non-WordPress applications on GridPane, and they may even run incredibly well (the same foundation that makes WordPress perform usually makes lighter-weight PHP apps run even better). However, please make sure that you host them on their own individual servers and keep them separate and isolated from your WordPress websites.
Running a non-WordPress application on servers where you also run production WordPress websites may void our ability to provide support for that server, including any WordPress websites on it. This is something that we would never want to do but may have to depending on the circumstances.
Be safe and run it separately on its own server, and then we can provide you with WordPress support when you need it for your other servers.
You can learn more in this article:
How to Install Non-WordPress Sites/Applications on GridPane
Part 6. Getting the Most Out of Our Support
To ensure that we can provide you with the quickest possible resolutions, the more information you can offer us, the more efficient our team can operate as a whole. Many tickets that reach us have clear answers in the logs, and you can save time by becoming familiar with them.
There are a few things you can provide when creating a support ticket that will greatly help us give you the quickest possible resolution. These are things w will ask you for anyway, so including them when you create the ticket will only help us resolve your issue more efficiently:
- Please always check your logs and provide them when submitting a ticket (where applicable).
- Provide us with your server IP and website URL/s (where applicable).
- Screenshots and quick screen recordings are a great way to show us exactly what’s happening and what you’re seeing.
- Tell us if there was anything being done or anything done recently when the issue occurred. Any context you can provide around the issue can potentially save a lot of time.