The Real Cost of Web Hosting Problems

Like most people, I like a bargain – but problems with web hosting have cost me dearly over the past few years.

I have two hosting accounts with TMZ and their server performance has always seemed fine.
About 4 months ago they started making changes to their servers and I got locked out of one of my account cPanel and FTP.
That shouldn’t have been a problem except their Online support was offline, emails bounced and it took a week to get even a response using their support ticketing system.
In the end it took more than 3 weeks to get access my account again.
Maybe not too much of a problem for social users – but no way to run a business.

Then just over a month ago, something changed and I am still locked out of my cPanel and FTP for the other account.
Now I have no way to make changes to half a dozen sub-domains or, more importantly, a MySql database I use for my software products – and that is a really major problem for me.

These aren’t the only problems I have had.
A couple of years ago I had over 50 real money making domains hosted with Mattie Blaze (who have since passed their business over to Hostgator). Their servers got hacked and my sites were shut down for many weeks and never I recovered this business.

I also made the mistake of buying a low cost hosting account called WeHostForMe that I found on DigitalPoint.
Everything started off well and the guy running it was very helpful – until his server got hacked and ALL 6 of my domains hosted there got burned then disappeared.
About 6 weeks later with his server finally restored I was offered a small discount to keep using this service – but my time and energy recreating 6 websites far outweighed any possible savings – and I would still be at risk of the same thing happening again.

Starting out I used 1and1 – until they started billing me annually for domains that only needed to be paid for every 2 years and they made it impossible to cancel anything online.
When I did manage to cancel renewing a domain they managed to put it into some sort of no mans land – where I needed to pay nominet £15 before another registrar was able to recover it for me – before it had even expired!
Initially low cost – but terrible value and expensive in the long run. I will never do business with 1and1 again.

That lesson taught me the value of controlling all of my domain names.
So I now register domains completely separately from any hosting accounts – using Powerhoster, GoDaddy, and DomainCheapsters.
Why do I use 3 companies – all eventually provided by GoDaddy?
For years I have used PowerHoster without problem and they provide an excellent service and value for money.
Then a couple of years back I started buying products from Brian Johnson who bought a license from GoDaddy to offer domain names at cut prices. Everything was OK until I discovered Brian’s renewal costs were much higher than PowerHoster. Since then Brian has reduced his prices, but not before I had moved most of my domains back to PowerHoster.
Greg Jacob’s WP Mage business plan involved buying aged domains from GoDaddy – the only reason I use GoDaddy directly. Without discount codes GoDaddy new domain names and renewals are expensive.
I also use Telivo, now LCN to register domains for about half the price of suppliers from USA.

One other thing, I’d like to mention is that the GoDaddy style domain management tools (also used by PowerHoster and Domain Cheapsters)really are world class – far superior to any other I have found

I also have hosting accounts with some of the big players – but even they make changes to suit themselves, rather than their customers.
One recently migrated away from using cPanel – and along with it my Fantastico wordpress details for over 200 blogs.
Now I have to use simple scripts and waste lots of time managing add on and sub domains one by one from their custom control panel – where they try to sell me domain names – instead of being able to make changes in bulk.

The positive side of using a  hosting account from a major player is that once somebody managed to hack into over 400 sites on a server, Justhost restored all 3Gigabytes for me – well worth the annual $10 fee.
This is something they wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t paid extra for daily backups!

Why do I use more than one hosting account?
Well, over the years as an Engineer, I have developed lots of high reliability products – where ‘redundancy’ is the name of the game. A bit like not putting all your eggs in one basket – with a twist that keeps everything working all the time.
Also I paid lots of $ to buy WPMage – tools to automate blogging. Greg Jacobs the creator, recommended not having more than 20 domains on any one hosting account – to restrict any problems from Google to only a portion of my business.
Nowadays, I have changed my business model and dont don’t use WPMage. But I still have lots of domains and like to avoid the possibility of them all going off line at the same time.

The lessons I have painfully learnt the hard way are:

  • Buy reputable web hosting
  • Avoid using reseller hosting packages
  • Pay for your hosting company to provide guaranteed backups – and not just ones they can restore at their own discretion.
  • Make regular backups of all your online content – and keep copies on your own PC
  • Always register domain names separately from hosting

Today I have just signed up with a hosting company John Thornhill recommended called D9 Hosting.
Hopefully they will manage to copy the data from my one accessible TMZ hosting account and set up their server for me to redirect the domain nameservers. I’ll let you know how I get on with this new hosting account.

D9 Hosting Unlimited Domain Web Hosting
UPDATE I’ve now been using D9 Hosting for a couple of weeks and they have so far provided not only excellent performance but also excellent technical support.
In case you haven’t already noticed, I have high expectations from the services I pay $ for and am not slow to comment on any shortcomings – so it’s really great to discover, for a change,  a company that actually exceeds my expectations!

If things carry on the way they have started with D9 Hosting then I’ll almost certainly switch other hosting accounts to them in the future.

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