Web Hosting Services: the good, the bad, and the ugly

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Web Hosting Services: the good, the bad, and the ugly

I’ve been offering web hosting services to my clients for several years. Although it’s an additional revenue stream, I do it mainly to save my clients the trouble of finding their own service, and because it allows me to use a system I know well.

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Originally, I worked with HostGator, but after experiencing slow load times and other problems, I switched to Site5 in 2013. I found their performance and customer service to be far superior – until late last summer.

Almost overnight, issues requiring tech support became a weekly occurrence. If that wasn’t bad enough, they were taking days to respond to my support tickets. Using their online chat was a frustrating experience, with long wait times and representatives who copied and pasted canned phrases from a manual without even taking the time to read what I was actually asking.

A few months earlier, I’d learned that Site5 had been purchased by Endurance International Group (EIG), one of the world’s largest hosting companies, notorious for buying up smaller companies and running them into the ground. If I’d only had one website, I’d have jumped ship fairly quickly, but migrating approximately 30 client sites wasn’t a job I was eager to undertake!

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when they migrated my reseller account to a new server without warning, taking my clients’ websites and emails offline. It took days, and in some cases weeks, to get everything up and running properly again. It was a nightmare, and knowing I wasn’t the only one affected didn’t make me feel any better.

Once the dust settled, it was tempting to leave things as they were, but I just couldn’t risk Site5 screwing up again, so I began my search for a new hosting company not owned by EIG.

My absolute favorite hosting company is WP Engine, but since their service costs quite a bit more, I knew that most of my clients wouldn’t want to make the switch. It might seem expensive, but it includes enhanced security, daily backups, WordPress updates, Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, and many other features you would normally pay extra for.

I ended up choosing InMotion because of their extensive documentation and the professional manner in which they responded to my initial inquiry. For one thing, they are employee-owned, so the likelihood of them being bought out by EIG is slim to none. The migration process wasn’t quite as seamless as they’d led me to believe, but there were no major glitches, and I think I’ve made a good choice.

InMotion has made it to many “best web hosting services” lists, including The Simple Dollar’s Best Web Hosting Providers. The Simple Dollar also recommends SiteGround, which I’ve heard great things about, but I didn’t feel it was right for my needs. It’s interesting to note that all of their other picks are owned by EIG. Nonetheless, it’s a useful guide that outlines the four main types of web hosting plans, the limitations of free web hosting, and tips on shopping for the best web hosting provider.

Which web hosting services have you used? What do you like and dislike about them?

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Gravatar mystery man

A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

Gravatar mystery man

A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

11 Comments

  1. B. on February 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

    I may add chemicloud.com to the list. They are a small company taking good care of their customers. I am using them for some time, and I’m very happy with their Support team and services. Just like S5 used to be before EIG bought them out. In case you want to give them a try, use the free trial.

    • Janet Barclay on February 22, 2017 at 6:15 am

      Hopefully I won’t need to move again any time soon, but thanks for the recommendation. It may be of interest to some of my readers!

  2. Seana Turner on February 22, 2017 at 7:33 am

    I have always used BlueHost. This was interesting to read. I feel like running a website and blog has so many moving parts that it is hard to keep up. Definitely something I should give more thought to!

    • Janet Barclay on February 22, 2017 at 8:39 am

      I know a few people who have had problems with BlueHost, especially around email. Have you been lucky? (They are also owned by EIG, by the way.)

  3. Angee on February 22, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Great article and I totally hear you about hosting. I have used Dreamhost for the last 9 years and love them. Very rarely do I have to communicate with them. They are small and steady yet quick to respond should I ever have a question.

    • Janet Barclay on February 23, 2017 at 5:45 am

      Good to hear about another good one – thanks, Angee!

  4. Sabrina Quairli on February 22, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    I have a love-hate relationship with my host company. I prefer not to say who it is, though. I’ve been with them for a while now. I love their customer service most of the time. And, now that I am buying a VPS, it has gotten a bit better. I seem to get more experienced people which are great. I never heard of InMotion though. Something to check out in the future. Thanks for sharing.

    • Janet Barclay on February 23, 2017 at 5:48 am

      Dealing with experienced people makes a big difference, doesn’t it?

  5. Linda Samuels on February 27, 2017 at 10:33 am

    The tech end is great when all is working, but when things go wonky, it’s so frustrating. Having great customer support is key.

    My sites are hosted on a Squarespace platform. The few times I’ve had some tech issues, I’ve enlisted help from my web designer to help me navigate or negotiate the kinks through with Squarespace. I’m pretty good on the backend with certain things, but when it comes to code or migration, I know it’s essential to get expert help.

    Your clients are so lucky to have you as their expert, Janet.

    • Janet Barclay on February 27, 2017 at 11:37 am

      One of the advantages of services like Squarespace is the integration of hosting with your website platform. Of course, the downside is that you don’t have the option of moving it to another platform or web host easily.

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Linda – they mean a lot to me!

  6. […] aren’t all the same! And even when you’ve found one you’re happy with, that can change. Here’s what happens when a good one goes bad. There are tens of thousands of hosting companies, most of which I have no experience with, so I […]

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