Hosting has always been something that has never gone all that smoothly for me—first I was with Godaddy and struggled to get used to their coupon services that offer half decent prices, and the price I was paying for hosting was too steep considering my lack of traffic when initially started out as a rookie blogger.
I then went in search for a cheaper web host and my friend guided me to a company that is no longer in existence. Technically THAT company was my worst hosting experience due to my server going down probably a few times a month and they were so shady that they didn’t even pay their cPanel renewal and if I hadn’t of backed up my data two days before sending they might be going out of business I would have lost everything. I’m certain that many sites didn’t backup and manage to escape with their data like I did. But with all things considered, my StableHost experience was worse. The site I talked about above never presented to be anything special. They clearly weren’t. StableHost is different. Here is a company that offers to be legit; you find many positive “reviews” (those are scare quotes for a reason—you’ll find out soon), and they leave you totally hosed.
The lesson learned was not to go for really cheap hosting ever again because it just isn’t worth it. I then moved to a dedicated server which shared with my friend, but that hosting provider was also not very good, and I decided to head out on my own and check what I could find.
Over the next few days I learned a lot about hosting and how stupid I was to rely on small companies because the chances are they wouldn’t have the top of the range up to date top of the line server that you need to get a fast page load time and reliable website that loads minute in and minute out. Once you start getting good traffic, it just isn’t worth the downtime to be with a host that can not give you excellent uptime. You might as well pay the extra money that you have been hunting around the web trying to avoid if that hosting provider is going to give excellent uptime because your site is earning revenue every minute that it is up and running if you are getting enough traffic like me.
I found out about a company called SingleHop and thought they looked kind of cool. The only thing is that they specialize in dedicated servers more so than anything else, and I didn’t have enough traffic to have a reason to be running on the dedicated server. I was a tweener at this stage—too big for shared hosting and too small for dedicated servers.
I stumbled across a website that was ranking in Google fairly well called StableHost. I Googled the company and saw a great big shiny building and that they were based in the US and thought I had struck gold because I also found out that what they do is essentially reselling SingleHop servers and divide them up for shared or enterprise hosting. That means the servers my site would be using would be the SingleHop servers, and I only have to pay a slight amount of money in comparison to what it usually cost to be running on such a great server. I also made sure to read reviews online about the hosting companies I was considering and many reviews were convincing to telling a story that StableHost was a great host with excellent reliability.
StableHost also shows ünlimutred bandwidth and unlimited space in an appealing front page self-advertisement on the website.
I decided I would sign up to StableHost—boy was that a mistake. From the beginning, the lady who replied to emails clearly had very little understanding of what she was doing in a web hosting company. My friend who does my hosting transfers so I don’t have to learn also said that she has no idea what she is talking about.
Only a day or two later I found out that the building thy display as their in Google isn’t really theirs at all (I’m not sure they have any building at all).
And then it all started unraveling into the nightmare I tried so desperately to avoid…
Once we got past the front desk technical support, I had realized that there is another page they have with fine print saying suitable for 215,000 monthly views. I sent another message: excuse me. When I signed up, I was shown a sign that said unlimited, and now this is telling me 215,000 views maximum. What is the deal? “Oh, that. Well, when hosting providers say maximum they don’t really mean maximum. It’s just sort of a term we use” she says.
As it turns out, that is a common thing to do among web hosting companies, so I can’t hold too much against them for it apart from them being as deceitful as the rest (be very careful of this). But it still fits into my StableHost experience, and I hadn’t found it an issue until using them, so it goes into my story.
It turns out that I needed to upgrade my hosting plan to the more expensive Enterprise hosting that is also no cheaper than any of, the larger and expensive websites. Still, I was happy to support the smaller company in StableHost even though they had been deceitful.
So to swap from the current hosting plan to the Enterprise plan the needed to change my server. They did (try to) and it (the server that is) went down. I had to send a support message letting them know that my site was down. They (who were working on the servicer migration) thought that everything went smoothly. They were not aware of my site being currently completely down. That’s interesting. I got a reply that suggested there were no issues with my website (very amateur response and tech help). Eventually, we got the site back up and ran, and everything was fine.
At this point I’ve already established the tech support is horrible, the low initial price offered on the front page is a scam, the more expensive hosting options aren’t any cheaper than other hosting websites, the reviews online are most likely paid reviews and fake and sponsored by StableHost going around to write reviews for them. And I just knew that this likely was not going to work out, but I convinced myself that everything would be okay.
Give it a few more days and there are always a couple of things that you need to fix or inquire about using a new host. I submitted my support tickets and the questions were too technical for the basic tech help woman (who we already knew was useless), and it was then transferred to higher tech support. That man does know what he is doing, but he has no custom service skills at all, is completely rude and acts like you are a terrible burden when you bother him with a message. The second and third times I sent messages in the following weeks he not only lacked the necessary and essential basic customer service skills, but he was even a jackass and would reply with smart alec remarks when you asked something that he thought you should already know.
Now to be clear, you should definitely limit the amount you do send messages to web hosts because they have to deal with problems all day long, but the messages I were sending were entirely necessary, and I had already tried to solve the problems myself, but I couldn’t adapt to the new UI, and there’s information that you need from a new web host that you just don’t always have.
Throughout the weeks of terrible custom service, I had also caught my website going down three times. Remember that I was on the Enterprise plan that according to them is only suppose to experience minuscule downtime per month, it was becoming apparent that this host wasn’t anywhere near as reliable as the reviews I was reading online. My website then went down a fourth time (this is just four times that I had personally witnessed with my own eyes let alone the times that it likely went down when I wasn’t watching).
At this point, I had enough bad blood with the tech support, and they had firmly established an IDGAF relationship with myself that when I submitted a ticket, I didn’t bother being polite myself—I just alerted them to the issue I was facing.
Earlier today I jumped on the computer to start my blogging for the day and my website was down. This time, it wasn’t just down, but it was showing an error establishing a connection to the database. I have seen this issue several times before with previous bad hosting experiences, and I know that a host can fix it or that it is likely a hosting issue and not one of my own.
I submitted a ticket, and I’m going to directly share the conversation so you can see how pathetically dismal the support is from StableHost staff:
(Note that all messages are displayed in inverse order(upside down)).
When I tried to access your database, I was getting the error mentioned below. There were too many queries from your database “techchom_wp65”.
ERROR 1203 (42000): User techchom_wp65 already has more than ‘max_user_connections’ active connections
Please consult a DB administrator and optimize this specific database to resolve this problem.
See screenshot attached.
Big issue with my hosting.
Just in case you missed it: Please consult a DB administrator and optimize this specific database to resolve this problem.
Here is my reply:
I’m fairly sure resolving a problem due to my database falls under the category of my web host, Did you have a number on you for a “database administrator”?
Is that a joke Deol?
The tech support had fluffed me off and told me to contact my database administrator. Just out of curiosity Deol, how many clients do you have on shared hosting with their own personal “database administrators”?. I would assume zero. A database administrator is essentially a web host who actually does their job.
There was silence for a few HOURS after this point. I was then sent a message by higher technical support staff who were able to run through in more detail the potential problem, and I then managed to solve the issue myself.
By that stage, it was already too late, and I had left for a new hosting company. I also likely would have left anyway because they are telling me that I am already using too many MySQL queries for their Enterprise (expensive plan) hosting. My website is about as basic as it gets (literally borderline words on a page), so if that’s the maximum queries, then it’s always going to be a problem.
The Search For A New Webhost
During the downtime period and before the senior technical support had responded with an apology for the terrible service and a proper answer for me of roughly fives hours all up I went looking for a new web host.
I came across many names and some that my friends/colleagues had recommended to me already. I went around to BlueHost, SiteGround, DreamHost, InMotionHosting, A2Hosting and WiredTree.
At this point, I had assumed that I had outgrown my hosting, and I needed to upgrade so I went asking for help support. DreamHost is awful in this area. I know people using DreamHost and their sites load quick, but I was incredibly disappointed by the lack of effort to reel in a new customer. There is no way to contact support promptly before handing over the money for the hosting that you don’t even know what you want to buy because you haven’t been able to talk to tech support. Useless!
SiteGround were very good in this area of support. Not only did they have a person able to assist me but they answered my query very fast because they saw “emergency” in my message. That was really impressive. My questions were too difficult for the front help to support and I was handed over to senior support who then talked it over with me for nearly 30 minutes (I told them I was looking and communicating with other hosts and that I should email later, and they were more than happy to remain there with me). Incredible! But I could also see why: their prices are very high, and their dedicated servers (should you grow that larger) are also very expensive. I just couldn’t hand over that much money without doing further investigating so I kept looking and said thanks anyway I’ll email you again later if I choose SiteGround.
I then inquired at BlueHost, and they too were pretty good with the support. They have a chat box available, and it is answered within 10 minutes (they give a five-minute countdown and then keep you there for another five as if you aren’t going to notice). They were a great help but weren’t willing to help me migrate my website without a $149 fee (That’s US currency!). I clicked the close window button without saying bye. I don’t know much about this sort of thing, but my friend does and although he doesn’t bother to teach me technical stuff, he gives me enough knowledge to know that it is not a difficult process, and a professional could do it without much trouble. To pay $149 to an already giant corporation to shift a basic WordPress site is plain rude.
I then went to a hosting review/information website and a chat box automatically opened, and a woman asked if I needed any help. I thought what the hey! Sure. I told her my story about my site being down and that I was frantically looking for who the best hosting provider would be for my circumstances (traffic requirements and not wanting to spend more than I have to). She recommended A2 hosting for me and said they offer similar to SiteGround but much cheaper. I clicked on the link, and it looked good.
I chatted with the A2 support, and they were also good (or so they first seemed). Things went so well that I had said “it looks like you are the one for me. Let’s do it”. I then proceeded to ask a few more questions that were necessary to know what to do, and the replies were that slow that it was evident that he wasn’t just talking to me. The signs of the amateur hosting company first started to seep through the cracks. We then went around in circles, his stores changed and after offering free migration initially he then said pay and then submit a ticket. I said, “pay first?”. Are you sure that they will migrate free? He said no. I said “no?. We just spent the last 20 minutes talking because you said they would do it free, and now you are saying no?”. He said, “well I don’t actually know so I’m not going to promise that they will, but they should have no problem with it.” Things all of a sudden got very weird, and I thought to myself that if this guy doesn’t know that much about the company he works for, then I know that this isn’t going to be a very good experience, so I left.
I then went looked for managed dedicated server just to try my luck and I came across a site called WiredTree which is also a site that I know someone was using up until recently (or still might be but my source of revealing who is hosting it was not working). WiredTree also offered the VPS hosting (managed) and at a competitive price. They had a chat box, and the support went smoothly enough. He were very helpful, friendly, not in a hurry, not chatting to anyone else and they had a good head on their shoulders. He also managed to answer every question I threw at them. I decided to sign up to WiredTree and put my faith in them for running my website for hopefully many years to come. So far so good!