Hostgator Exit Review
When I started my hosting research back in 2004, I noticed HostGator was one of the biggest small business hosting company in the industry. I was coming from working in data centers and thought bigger was better. I decided to pull the trigger on Hostgator after reading enough reviews by other users. Most were positive at the time.
My Quick Hostgator Story
Terms like static IP and reseller hosting accounts kept showing up in my research as well. People were talking about managing multiple sites from one location/host. For some reason at the time, I thought it was a good idea to get a reseller account because I planned to host a lot of sites.
This reseller account allowed me to create as many accounts as I wanted with some limitations. Little did I know, I could have done the same thing for much less on a shared hosting account. I would have had a little less control on a shared hosting account but overall, I would have been able to do similar things.
For 15 years I kept this reseller hosting account at Hostgator. It was my first experience with a web hosting provider. I created well over 50 websites on this account. I was able to pay for this service over the years with my earnings. With a couple of increases in price, I averaged around $25 a month. “You Don’t Have to Spend this Much”
Let’s do some Math – I spent around $4500 in hosting with one company. I think they made out pretty well on my behalf. Looking back, I paid way more than I needed to. I’m hoping you guys avoid this type of error.
Although Hostgator allowed me to get where I needed to go over time I started to really not like what was happening with their service.
What Do You Need in a Hosting Provider?
It comes down to what you need. Are you just running a blog, maybe you want a video-driven site, or even looking to run an e-commerce site. Before you sign-up with a particular host or better yet the service level you get, contact me first. I will help you figure it out.
Each host offers a break down of their services. It is pretty self-explanatory once you read a few of the pricing tables. If you have no clue what you are looking at, don’t be afraid to ask questions to the hosting provider.
More than likely they have live chat sales representatives just waiting for you to click. – Sell Sell Sell
Just remember, there are billions of websites out there right now. Each one needs some kind of host. You can imagine a company with a strong infrastructure, good pricing and amazing customer service would be making a ton of money.
This is where HostGator fell off for me. They became so big, their infrastructure started to dwindle which also meant their customer service faded as well. I’m all for growing your business, I just felt they are missing on what’s important. I would like to share one instance I had with Hostgator a long time ago and my final reason on why I decided to leave.
Customer Service Headaches Part One
Customer service is very important to me, especially when you are dealing with websites.
I had a site that ran an iframe chat application that was taking up a lot of resources on the shared server. I didn’t know this was happening. On a Friday, just after I went away for the weekend, they decided to suspend my account. You can imagine my anger.
My business partner at the time was frantic since our site was offline. He was calling me nonstop. It was almost like I was having PTSD from when I was stuck in server rooms with bosses yelling at me to fix the issue.
Things didn’t get much better. I didn’t have my laptop with me. I had to borrow my friend’s wives little Sony laptop. the screen was about 13 inches big. It was a tablet before there were tablets.
I contacted HostGator support and they told me the problem. They said my only solution was to move this one site to a Dedicated server. I was literally only getting about 300 visitors a day. They gave me no option. So, after talking to them for about 4 hours and working things out they made me move. I was now paying $80 a month for a service I didn’t need. Thankfully we only kept this chat service for a few months. They pretty much forced my hand for several reasons. Unless we wanted to have a weeks worth of downtime we decided that we had to proceed. Looking back, I’m not sure what I would have done.
After the shut down of the chat service, we were able to close the dedicated server. We then moved the site back on the reseller account and everything went back to normal for the next few years. I had a couple of hiccups and outages, but nothing that got me too upset. Then the Hostgator exponential growth happened.
Customer Service Headaches Part Two
In 2016, I noticed more and more latency on the server. It wasn’t that the sites were offline, they were just loading slow. First thing I did was contact support. They had live online chat support. This was a nice feature for quick fixes. However, the people on the other side were pretty much bots responding with automated messages. I would ask a question and they would respond, I’m sorry for the inconvenience. We would chat for an hour and go nowhere. It became apparent they weren’t putting the active customers first.
This is where everything stopped. I went to create a Support Ticket only to realize they removed this feature. WHAT? This was the way you can get things resolved with tier 2 or higher support member. I was stuck only being able to talk to these tier one bots. It was truly the most frustrating thing. I guess they decided saving money and angering customers was a good business model.
After a year or so I decided I had enough with paying this lofty price each month and decided to move all of my sites. One at a time I would move them to all my other hosting providers. For the most part, they were simple sites and didn’t need much.
When I wrote the final message, can you cancel my Reseller Account to one of the bots, it was like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. It felt empowering. For all of those years and $4500 later it was time to say goodbye to Hostgator. The icing on the cake, they did everything they could so I wouldn’t cancel. I just kept saying Nope, cancel, nope, cancel. Finally, the Reseller account was shut down.
Billing Backend Issues
You would think after so many years in business they would make a trusted and clean backend for billing. I would go days where I couldn’t even access the billing page to pay my bill. When I was trying to cancel it just so happened I was getting errors. Even when I got in the billing area, I had a hard time navigating around. I still have no idea why they made this piece so confusing.
Sales Tactics to Look Out For – *
The good ole * you’ll see on most of the big hosting sites will catch you by surprise. It’s been a great marketing method for many years and it does provide a nice first-year discount. However, unless you are extremely satisfied be ready for a huge jump in price going forward after that first year. Granted, many web hosts do this to get you on board with their services. Once they have you it’s never easy to leave since it can be a pain in the butt to transfer your website.
For the mid-level shared hosting plan they are touting $3.95 a month. This price is only if you pay THREE years up front. Now, I’m all about deals and saving money especially when it comes to hosting. They know most people want that $3.95 pricing option. However, what if you are just starting out and you are unable to continue after a certain amount of time. Although $3.95 looked good, you now paid for years of service you may not need. Even if you get the year, 2 years or 3-year discount, look what you get to pay after that. More than likely you will be paying $11.95 a month. That is $143 a year. You are also pretty limited on what you get. With Hostgator, if your business is growing, you really want the business plan. This gives you some of the features other hosts give you for free.
Note – I usually pay my hosts on an annual or biennial period. This does save money and I don’t need to worry about monthly payments.
To wrap things up, you have to do your web hosting research. I wanted to share my personal hosting story with you about Hostgator. I feel like they did a good job on certain things and didn’t on others. I know there are dozens of hosts out there to choose from. Knowing this I probably won’t go back to Hostgator. Maybe your experience will be better if you choose to run with them. If you see a lot of reviews about them make sure they are real. There are tons of fake Hostgator reviews out there. Comparison sites will place them at the top of their list due to their name recognition.
Do your due diligence when seeking the best web host.
Keep an eye out for my honest review page of over 30 web hosts. That’s right, I’ve used well over 30 hosts since my start.
Please feel free to reach out with Any Questions.