My Horror Hosting Story – Be Careful What You Wish For
This story might well chill you to the bone…it’s a tale of a wide eyed, innocent young lad being thrown into a den of wolves. By the way, wolves get a pretty bad rap thanks to movies and the like. They are actually quite timid animals and rarely have they attacked a human but that’s a story for another day. Let’s get back to my horror hosting story….
Okay, the preceding paragraph might be exaggerating the story somewhat for effect but I would suggest it is an enlightening cautionary tale for anyone thinking about getting hosting.
As we all know, hosting is one of three essential elements of any internet business. Without hosting, you can’t show off you website or blog…you can’t get your first foothold on the internet marketing…errr…market.
But when people first start out, they often try to do things as cheap as possible. Or they have no experience and judgment to tell if something is a steaming pile of horse manure. A few years back I was that person. A perfect mark in other words.
I joined a membership that offered adsense sites and content for the sites. Part of the membership was a forum where other members offered services. The services were recommended by the owner of the membership and was given their official thumbs up, gold badge award for excellence etc.
One of these services was a guy offering hosting. His rate was something amazing by comparison to other services (half the cost of anything else around), what’s more, he offered a free domain name with every hosting package that you took.
Since he was being recommended by the owner of the membership I thought it would be worth a try….and it was cheap.
So, my first mistake was to get the free domain name as the root domain name of the hosting account. As with most hosting, you can create add on domains under a root account but to access the new domains you have to go through the root domain.
Anyhow, I put up the root domain and a few other domains that I had got from the adsense membership site.
They had been up and running a few weeks when I noticed that they weren’t displaying anymore. What’s more there was a great hue and cry on the forum of the membership site that all the sites hosted by the guy weren’t working.
The guy running the hosting became quite sheepish. He apologized and said he was working on the problem. I think it was a week before he finally got it sorted out.
By this stage his official thumbs up and gold badge awards had been revoked by the owner and people were flaming him something shocking on the forum.
People left in droves but for some reasons I decided to stay with him….give him another chance…it was probably because I was too lazy to change and sort of hoped it would be alright.
Anyhow, it sort of calmed down for a few more weeks… probably because I was the only one hosting with him now.
Then I asked him to install a script on my sites. He said it sounded like a difficult task but it should be possible. Then the sites wouldn’t display.
I emailed him and he said he was on it.
A few days went by and no change.
I emailed him again, no reply
Another day, another email – no reply.
I did some investigating as to who he was and it seems he had white labeled the warrior forum hosting service. I’m not sure if they still do this but it seemed you could buy their service and offer it as your own. You could become a hosting service even though you didn’t have a clue (well at least in this guys case) what you were doing.
And he never did get back to me. The service seemed to just fold.
I lost the domain name and had to get a new hosting account and repopulate it with the add on domain names from the old hosting.
Out of laziness or inexperience I had created more expense and more work for myself.
I went on to Hostgator who have excellent support and and very transparent about their service.
Important Lessons About Hosting
So what I learned from the experience is that you get what you pay for. I tend to go for a middle service these days. Something not the cheapest or most expensive. I also look at reviews before I buy some thing rather than just taking the word of one or two people.
Another thing that I never do now is buy domain names from the same people that sell me hosting. This ties up you domain if you have a problem with the hosting company.
If you buy the domain name with a different company, you can easily get new hosting and swop the nameservers. Provided you have a backup of your website or blog, you can have the website back up and running in 24 hours.
You can get some pretty cheap hosting packages these days but like most things, you get what you pay for. With regards to hosting I would say support is a vital part of the package. You want help if your site is down, not only because you will lose revenue when the site is down but you could also lose your ranking in the search engines if the site is down for any length of time.
Other Things To Consider
If you can afford to pay annually then you can get a much cheaper rate than month to month. As much as 50% off in some cases. Hosting companies often have special sales where you can get two years hosting for the price of one.
Make sure that the hosting account does what you need.
I once had a hosting account that didn’t like WordPress. So they made it really harder to install WordPress – no Fantastico. Also, all the WordPress sites I hosted on the account got hacked and had significant downtime whilst the problems were being fixed. So ask if the hosting can do what you want before signing up.