Recently, I had a very disappointing hosting experience. I mean hosting for my websites, in case that is not clear. If you think about it, any of us who have websites are at the mercy of the company that hosts our sites. It’s kind of like our brothers who have brick & mortar businesses, they are at the mercy of the landlord from whom they rent their office or retail space. If our web host treats us improperly, it can put our Internet businesses under, at least for a few days.
Let me go back a few years and give you a bit of history. Over the years from the mid-1990s until 2004, I used a number of different hosts to serve my various web pages. In 2004, I decided to step up to a higher quality of hosting, at a higher price of course. I moved all of my websites to a company called ServInt. I was with ServInt for about 5 years, and I always had excellent service from them. In 2009, I decided to move away from ServInt. Why would I move if the service was good? Well, for a few reasons, but mostly I felt that I did not have the technical expertise to stay at ServInt. You see, with ServInt, you are managing the server yourself. There is technical assistance available, but it felt intimidating to me. What I will say is that with ServInt, when I needed technical support, I always got a response, and usually a fix, within 15 minutes. But, because I felt I did not have the proper expertise, I felt that I’d be better to move to a host that did the full server management themselves, and I could just concentrate on my sites.
So, in 2009, I moved to HostGator. I set up 4 different accounts with HostGator because I had so many sites. For the first year or so, I really didn’t have any problems with HostGator, no complaints. It was also a lot cheaper than ServInt, which was nice as well. But, after that first year, I started having problems with HostGator. From time to time they would shut down my sites, making various claims that I was using too much in the way of server resources. Now, I monitor my server status closely, the load on the server, etc., and I never saw a time when I was taxing the server. Funny thing was that I had other friends with HostGator, and they would get shut down for the same reasons, and within weeks of when it happened to me. It was like HostGator was just randomly shutting down clients for no reason.
Back in February of this year, HostGator shut down my 4 biggest sites. When I would contact the tech support department at HostGator, on average it would take them 15 hours to respond to my ticket. In the meantime, my most important websites were down, and I was losing a lot of money. It took about three days to get my sites back up and to be honest, I didn’t really do anything to change anything, they finally just restored access to my sites.
That was the last straw for me. I decided immediately to move my sites away from HostGator. I could not afford to have my sites down like that, and especially for that amount of time. I understand that no host will give you 100% uptime, but when they are purposefully shutting down your sites for no real reason, that is just too much, and especially when your site is down for days on end. After deep reflection, I decided to bite the bullet, spend the money and go back to ServInt. Yeah, I still feel a bit intimidated by the tech end, but when I need help, help is available, and they help quickly and in a friendly way. Also, I have a very good friend who lives a couple of hours away from me who is a real techie, and he also hosts with ServInt. He is available to assist me when needed, as well. So, it was off to ServInt for me.
For about a month now, I have been hosting on ServInt, with some sites still on HostGator as well. I have been moving sites over to the new host a few sites at a time. Now, I have most of the sites moved to ServInt, and I am breathing a lot easier. In my experience with ServInt, they never shut my sites down. If there was some kind of problem, they just e-mailed me to talk about it, so that any problems could be fixed. The strong-arm tactics at HostGator are not present at ServInt. ServInt is more like my partner, HostGator is more like my adversary. I want to work in a partner relationship, where both players are working to provide the best experience for my website readers. Working against each other like I was doing with HostGator is just too stressful, and not a good experience for my web audience.
I’m sticking with ServInt. I feel like I’m back home again!