Yesterday, was a nightmare for customers of BlueHost, HostGator, HostMonster, and JustHost! Countless customers affected – hosting down at the Utah data center.
Early this year, HostGator sold out to a company called EIG (Endurance International Group). And they're not alone, EIG has purchased many other hosting companies, such as BlueHost, HostMonster, JustHost, just to name a few.
Warning: This is a rant and my own opinion! You may love your hosting company and my intention is not to offend you.
I've been hosting with HostGator for years and over the past several months I have seen a decline in their customer service and server reliability.
- Calling tech support takes forever to get someone to answer.
- Support tickets related to anything WordPress all have the same answer, “You need to install a caching plugin.”
- Support ticket response can take over a week (and need to call them to get them to “bump” it).
- I've helped several clients purchase new VPS hosting with them and each time the server was not setup correctly (oops…forgot to install cPanel, oops…mysql was not installed, oops…I need you to cancel that account and create another one).
- Received emails that my hosting has been migrated to a new server and now I have new IPs (hence the Utah data center).
- Received emails from others asking me what the heck does this mean? They migrated my site to another server and I don't have to do anything, only to have a DNS issue later.
- Had my dedicated IPs changed two times this year, sucks when you are using a custom nameserver and have to once again change it within the registrar.
- Sites are running slower.
- Server repeatedly goes down. What, why is MySQL or PHP down? Wonder if I killed the data center by pushing the restart button so many times 🙁
- The entire data center had an outage from 2:44am to 8pm CST.
What's my biggest concern? How does an entire data center go down? What? Are you kidding me? I don't want to hear about core switches that need to be replaced. Why the heck don't they have backup core switches? Was that really all it was? And no tech support available? Phone lines are down? Support Forum offline? Live Chat broken? And Hostgator tweeting to visit their “parent company” for updates.
What does HostGator not have? A fail-safe backup plan! I need a reliable host that has another place to route my website too so I don't go down for an entire day.
Yes, I am ranting and I know many of you have been as well.
WordPress Migration Plan
Rather than go on and on about how this outage has affected me and so many others, here's what action I have taken:
- It was time to take my site to the next level, so I contacted Gary Cornelisse, my server security expert go-to guy. He understands how servers work and how to set them up correctly. He explained how HostGator failed in launching my site on another server (they don't offer it) and the only way to stop the “outages” it is to have cloud VPS. Without sounding too techy, that means if the server goes down, my site will load on another server. It was just the “magic switch” that I needed to eliminate this problem. I told him, “Bingo, sign me up! I refuse to give HostGator another chance when having my sites up and emails working is most important to me and my customers.”
- With Gary's high recommendation, I purchased Liquid Web (aff link) Storm VPS. It is only going to cost me $60/month. (That's only $10 more than what I was paying HostGator and I get more storage, more bandwidth, more security, and reliability.) Oh, and I called Liquid Web to ask a question after I purchased my new hosting plan and they answered on the first ring. Amazing!
- Gave Gary my login details so he can work his magic. I had him migrate my sites (set up my server, backups, move my sites, databases, emails, cron jobs, etc.) and give the server a dose of extra security too 😉 — Check out our WordPress Migration Package. Got questions? Sign-up for a consultation with Gary, it's worth every penny!!!
- Contacted Kristen Eckstein, one of my clients and dear friend, and told her my action plan. She said, “Ditto” and immediately contacted Gary and he is setting up her server and moving her sites too.
- Emailed a whole bunch of people in my personal list and let them know why their websites were down.
- Contacted tons of friends on Skype and let them know what was up (my Skype was on fire when I got up yesterday morning)
- Notified my Facebook friends about the issue and posted regular updates – Gee it would have been nice if HostGator sent out an email to their customers making them aware of the situation, but wait… they couldn't, emails were down.
- Removed my HostGator affiliate banner off my sidebar and replaced it with a link to *LiquidWeb. (I just can't recommend HostGator with the way their service has become.)
- Sent out a newsletter blast to all my subscribers letting them know about the hosting outage and what my plan of action was.
- Now I am writing this post to share on my blog with the rest of the world.
Leave Your Feedback
It's time for you to rant too. Let me know how the server outage has affected you and your business? What plan of action did you take? Are you staying with your host? I would love to read your comments.
Your website is your business and a valuable asset! Do you need help with WordPress Migration from one host to another? Let us know how we can help!
David Perdew says
Next – I began the move and the search months ago trying to balance security and performance concerns for my massive membership site. Gary moved me from a dedicated server on Hostgator to Rackspace. Good service and performance after Gary tweaked it. But it was very expensive. So he searched for comparable service and security and came up with LiquidWeb. He moved us with down time of 5 minutes.
And a $450 savings per month!
MaryJo Wagner says
Love your rant. HG moved my email, didn’t tell me, didn’t do it correctly, and my email was down. Thanks to Regina and SEVERAL phone calls, they finally fixed it. Said I’d probably lose my old emails. WHAT? I didn’t, thank heavens, but that’s what I was told.
It was a nightmare experience during 1st and 2nd of August when Hostgator were down. My 3 big sites with average traffic 40,000 daily were down and i looses big amount of $$. I have been with Hostgator from last 4 years but this was unacceptable. They should at-least inform their customer for any server maintenance or down issue so that we can take necessary action.
Even my client sites were down for approx 2 days (going up and down regularly) which was hosted on Bluehost and Justhost.
Then I realize that Hostgator, Bluehost, Justhost etc are actually belong to EIG and without loosing any further time i instantly shifted my sites to Godaddy VPS. Thanks to Godaddy superb fast server.
Also thanks to you Regina for putting more detailed update on EIG over facebook 🙂
One thing for every entrepreneur – never keep your all eggs on one basket.
Adam Yamada says
HostGator used to be a good host before the EIG buyout. You would email tech support about a question or issue and they would take care of it without you even asking.
Now… they are pretty terrible. I removed all affiliate links to HG on my sites they will not be on my list of good hosts. Seesm that Twitter banter reflects that same sentiment.
After this move to the new datacenter I have had nothing but slow loading sites and frequent downtime. Even before yesterday’s outages! :/ Back to Site5, which I have not had an issue with.
I’ve been concerned about Hostgator for the last year. Knock on wood, so far I haven’t had problems (even yesterday) but it seems that now that they are owned by EIG things are not as good as they used to be for the last several years and once again, I’ll be migrating large numbers of sites off of their hosts. I think I’ve had someone else recommend Liquid Web too-
Paul B. Taubman, II says
Yup! Time to make the switch.
It is sad when service tumbles so quickly.
Robert Nelson says
I also was moved, took several contacfs to get it resolved due to using Incapsula. Lasst time I tried my sites where up, but who knows? I find it amazing that a company can be sold and the customers aren’t even informed. EIG must nickel and dime the companies that they control, which probably explains the recent moves and other HG problems. Probably time to find a new Web Host.
Yes our company has the same story. Within one month we had 2 outages, moved us to a new server and in the email it clearly said “there is nothing you have do” the next site was down because they forgot to tell us we have new name servers. How can you forget to tell someone that!!! We called support and all they could say was they were sorry and all the emails used the same template. Goodbye Hostgator!
All this time I thought I was the only one having problems. Over the 4th of July weekend HostGator changed the IP address on one of my VPSs. I got 7 days advance notice and not drop-dead date. If you’re hosting sites for others, you know that getting people make DNS changes takes time. Try that the week of the 4th and you’re lucky to get any response at all. After that I had more issues with PHP and MySQL as well.
I noticed the most recent outage mentioned in this post and submitted a support ticket as well. All things considered, I’m going to waste a ton of time and energy moving to a new provider, but I’ll lose more if I stay with HG. Since the July 4th incident and nearly losing my most valuable customer I’ve been researching alternatives. I’ve already moved my dev VPS to DigitalOcean.com. Everything else is going to MediaTemple.com.
I’m also researching failover options. I imagine others are doing or have done the same, so if anyone has any suggestions or insight, please share.
My site is hosted with Blue Host and I encountered the same issues as you. I’m very appreciate you’ve taken the time to alert all of those who have their sites hosted with the companies in question.
Since being with Blue Host I can honestly say there haven’t been any major issues with them, other than the problems they had last week. Their response time has generally been expeditious and the support techs have been helpful.
I agree though that a site shouldn’t go down as a result of a core switch and their obvious lack of a contingency plan is unacceptable. I’m definitely going to bookmark this page because that time may come when I want to move my site. The solutions you’ve documented are clearly something I may need in the future.
Anyone who has not seen a serious decline in their service or was not affected by this weekend’s disaster, is most likely still on Hostgators Texas Data Center. Clients I have referred to HG were calling me fast and furious this weekend, but I had also been getting lots of complaints for the last year and found it really strange. I have been such a happy loyal customer and what people were saying just did not sound like HG.
Well now I know. I was with a company 7 years ago bought by EIG and it was a nightmare and that is actually how I came to HG in the first place. As soon as I found out EIG bought HG, I want outta there.
I have over 100 clients with me on my reseller accounts and I am looking for a new company to move too before they move me to Provo. Hostgator is shutting down their Texas HG and datacenter and 800 people are out of work as soon as EIG finishes this migration. Thanks Brent. Thanks for telling all your customers and giving us a change to leave. I think that was so low of him to not give anyone a heads up. Well he got his 225 million.
Thanks for the post, fortunately, I was not hit by the down time, I guess my account is on the Texas Datacenter. I have been with HG for several years and boast to people about their service until I read this now. I don’t really know if I should start planning to move my account asap because I run a reseller account and I have tons of customers on my account, that means a single down-time, will get my phone ringing all day and my support mail clogged.
But my challenge is, how good is LW and how long have they kept up their reputation. What is the assurance that they too are not close to buyout because no company will easily disclose to you that they are near sell out. Please I need to be sure about this before I start planning it.
But it still baffles me, how can a whole datacenter go down, what happened to failover clustering of their entire datacenters?
I need serious help here!
Gary Cornelisse says
Larry, unfortunately there is no way to predict the future of any hosting company. I think Hostgator is a good example of that. So good for a long time and then all downhill. However, I think the types of clients LW serves speaks volumes about their stability and level of service. If you browse around their site you will see a box of logos for their “Featured Clients”. Motorola, FedEx, and Hitachi are among them. Imagine the conversation between an high-up executive at Motorola and LW if the service goes down as long as it has at Hostgator.
I’m happy to chat for 5-10 minutes if you think you’d like to explore moving away from Hostgator. http://wpnextlevel.com (Use the Contact box that hovers near the top right of the page)
Suzy Massey says
I’m getting ready to move from HG. Last week without any warning, they shut my site down claiming there was something funky about my database and refused to help me with it. Not being a programmer, I had to hire a programmer I know to figure out what was going on and fix it. I am furious about this! Talk about terrible customer service!
Richard Robbins says
After reading your post, I wish I would have switched to Liquid Web after the last outage. My HostGator dedicated server (along with countless others) has been down all day today.
Tomorrow I begin working on the switch to Liquid Web. Thanks for the review.