Web Hosting Woes
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Host Gator Woes

Or perhaps…Host Gator Blows might be more a more appropriate name for this post.

The TL;DR version of this post…

Host Gator sucks ever since the the EIG takeover. If you’re looking for affordable and reliable shared or reseller hosting, then follow my advice and try either: SiteGroundInnoHosting or StableHost. Avoid Host Gator, BlueHost, HostMonster or any of the other huge webhosts that are now under the greedy EIG umbrella. Their primary goal is to maximize profits at their clients’ expense by overcrowding servers and having understaffed support.

My Reseller Hosting Rant

Host Gator, a company that was once regarded as a premier choice for shared and reseller hosting, appears to be on a slippery slope. The Houston, TX based webhost was recently bought by webhosting giant EIG, and ever since, their service and support have gone steadily downhill. This is a shame, because I have been a happy customer of theirs for the past 3 years.

Although support has been helpful and polite, response times have worsened. Combine the slower response times with the increasing service issues, and you’re left with a webhosting reseller’s nightmare. As a web developer who also provides shared hosting for my clients, the Host Gator problem has become a real thorn in my side. So much so, that although I have over a year’s worth of pre-paid service, I’m strongly considering jumping ship immediately.

Soon after the EIG buyout, I noticed my sites were becoming a little less responsive. Not a huge deal, but enough for me to want to monitor things. Then, a few weeks ago I received notification saying that they were planning on migrating my accounts to a new server with upgraded hardware. Fantastic, I thought!

The supposed upgrade has been anything but fantastic. 🙁 My sites have been experiencing lengthy and frequent downtime, causing a huge disruption in my day to day, and making for some unhappy clients. This disturbing trend is not isolated to my server, or even to Host Gator for that matter, and seems to be a growing problem with many of the hosts that EIG has acquired.

Times like these are when I regret my decision to ever venture into the reselling business. :\ Most of the time it can be a nice value added service which I’m able to provide, with a relatively passive (albeit very modest) income stream. However…when things go wrong, as they are right now with Host Gator, it quickly becomes more trouble than it is worth.

I began offering web hosting to my clients in an effort to make things easier for them, in terms of reducing the barriers to getting up and running online. A lot of clients don’t realize how many components are involved in owning and maintaining a website. The more of these problems I can solve, the better, so being able to offer hosting is one burden I can relieve from my clients, as well I am able to provide myself with a familiar hosting environment within which to function. Having to navigate some of the various webhosts’ proprietary control panels can be a real pain in the ass, as I much prefer one consistent user interface, my preference being cPanel.

My clients also really like having one go-to contact for all things website related. This usually works out well for everyone involved, but whenever I have issues with a shared reseller hosting provider, I rue the day I decided to offer hosting to my clients. I am a web developer, not a webhost. I have no desire to become a webhost. I merely provide this service as a natural extension of the primary development services that I provide.

Having said that, it is of critical importance that my hosting services be a hassle-free turn key solution. The moment I have to shift attention to a hosting-related support issue, which 9 times out of 10 I am not charging for, the modest amount of profit I gain from offering this service begins to shrink quickly. Sometimes it can even turn into a losing venture if the support issue should drag on and on, and/or I should need to compensate my clients in some way. Regardless of what’s going on at the data center, I am the one who is responsible for making good. That’s what I signed on for when I took on the mantle of webhost.

Think long and hard about that if you’re considering offering this type of service, either exclusively as a webhost or as a value-added service to your development clients. You are at the mercy of the host you’re using, and if they’re having issues, then it’s up to you to make things right with your clients. For this reason, it’s obviously best to only provide this type of service if you have a great deal of confidence in your hosting provider, otherwise you’re in for frequent and massive headaches.

Alright, so back to my present issue with Host Gator… I have over one year’s worth of paid service left on my plan, but that is due to a make-good they applied to my account in compensation for some service issues I had last year. Although it’s hard to turn down free hosting, if it’s not reliable, then it’s worthless! I may continue to utilize the account for a few of my blogs which I don’t rely on for an income, but I am determined to get my clients’ sites away from HG within the next few days.

Alternatives to Host Gator for Reseller Hosting

If you’re looking for reliable yet inexpensive hosting, there are 3 companies that I will recommend. The first is InnoHosting – a company which I’ve been using for nearly 6 years as part of my web services offerings. For basic shared hosting, I really like SiteGround. The performance, stability, security and support is superb. Another reseller worth mentioning is StableHost. While I have not used StableHost yet, I have seen many rave reviews of their service and I have had 2 pleasant conversations with their support staff. I’m likely going to purchase a plan through them within the coming weeks.

Although I’ve been a satisfied InnoHosting customer for many years, I do not believe in putting all of my eggs into one basket. I feel much more comfortable if I don’t have one single point of failure, which is why I use 3 hosts presently, with accounts spread across 4 different servers.

Some reasons to look at InnoHosting for reseller hosting…

  • They are a relatively small company with a timely and courteous support staff.
  • They are an overselling enabled reseller.
  • They provide resellers with a free WHMCS license.
  • They are very strict with abuse and are quick to act when it comes to account compromises. This may be rough if you’re the victim, but it results in a more stable and secure hosting environment as a whole.
  • Because I said so. 😉

Why I recommend StableHost as a hosting reseller…

  • They have glowing reviews on WHT, which is a great place to seek legit feedback about a particular host.
  • They offer a generous amount of space and bandwidth.
  • Pricing is very reasonable.
  • Their servers run LiteSpeed, which many people prefer for running certain applications, including WordPress.
  • Pre-sale support has been prompt and professional in my experience.

The 3rd company I utilize is Servint, which is far and away the best webhost I’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with; however, they only provide premium hosting solutions, which means it is not for everyone.

At any rate, I’ll be moving my clients immediately away from Host Gator and onto my box with InnoHosting. Next, I’ll be setting up a new account with Stable Host in order to allow for additional clients as well as load balancing. It’s always a good idea to have multiple servers, as opposed to one big plan, because it offers you more flexibility, plus the added peace of mind of not having all of your sites go down at once should there be a hardware failure, etc.

Ok, well, I feel a little better now after that rant. Blogging is always good therapy. 😉

Update: After about 8.5 hours of solid downtime, here is the copy/paste response I received to my support ticket.

Thank you for contacting HostGator. I apologize for the delay in response, due to a higher than normal ticket volume our response time is not where we’d like. We were experiencing some issues with some of our Reseller servers yesterday, and your server was one of them. I sincerely apologize for this inconvenience, and this situation has been resolved. I assure you that as soon as an issue is found, we work diligently to resolve the issue to provide the uptime and performance our customer’s expect.

Not very satisfying is it..?

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1 thought on “Host Gator Woes”

  1. Here is my rant:
    Dear hostgator, you can not imagine how outraged I am now. You made me very upset with your reckless behavior. I have been hosting my company websites with you for a long time and never had any issues until lately when I started receiving these “CPU Abuse” Emails, I have responded to everyone of them and you even discovered that the site was coming under attack from outside Ip addresses; something that I cannot control.

    You are impacting our company revenue and interrupting customer access to our services by suspending our account. Your actions are baseless because this is an open internet where good and bad people can surf freely. I believe that I have taken all necessary precautions to protect my websites and your servers. Your actions are in need of immediate correction before I involve my attorney and file legal action against Hostagator for impacting and interfering with our business and internet commerce. As a loyal and long time customer, my expectations were that you would work with us not only to send us a “scolding” email accusing of abusing your resources but to offer real suggestions of how to address the issue. As I explained before “abuse” by definition is a deliberate act and in this case your choice of words could not be any more wrong. These CPU uses are due to hackers trying to flood the website with fake traffic in hope of injecting malicious code.

    I highly recommend that you restore the account to full access immediately. Please reconsider your actions and restore our access at your earliest convenience.

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