David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

Web Hosting Companies That Suck

Web hosting companies have a reputation for service that ranks right up there with the cable and phone companies. In other words, execrable.

This is one case where the reputation is in line with reality. Web hosting companies, on the whole, suck.

One can feel some sympathy for the people running a web hosting business; it’s not an easy thing to do. You’ve got to keep web servers up and running over 99% of the time, even during a storm or a power fluctuation. You’ve got to have adequate security to keep out denial-of-service attacks and data thieves. And you’ve got to have the patience to deal with customers who simply don’t know what the hell they’re doing.

Granted that it’s not an easy business, but one must still expect a minimum level of competence. Nobody forced these people to get into web hosting. You don’t pop the key into the ignition of your Toyota and, when the damn thing doesn’t start, tell yourself that it’s okay because building a good car is hard.

I’m not sure what the margins are like on web hosting. But I can’t imagine they’re all that impressive — who can make money running a technical service on $5.99 a month? Big corporations like Dell and Yahoo! just throw up their hands at the whole thing, or they change their business strategy every two months, presumably because the service still blows.

So here I am, with twelve years of web design and programming experience under my belt, and I still can’t find a reliable web host.

This post was spurred by a bad experience I had recently with GoDaddy, which is more well-known as a domain registrar. I spent close to two hours on the phone (long distance) with GoDaddy technical support trying to figure out why the server wouldn’t create a ColdFusion search collection on one of my clients’ websites. (This isn’t a particularly arduous task; it’s literally one line of code.) GoDaddy’s first conclusion: your one line of basic code must be wrong. Their second conclusion: we can’t answer this question until you pay an upfront fee of $300 for our “advanced” technical support. Their final conclusion: sorry, GoDaddy doesn’t support basic ColdFusion searching.

Some other companies that have raised my ire over the past few years:

  • Interland. Interland is simply a disaster of a company — or at least it was a few years ago when I was dealing with them. Horrible customer service, unparalleled downtime, and simply the… slowest… Internet… connection… in… existence.
  • WebCore. The field is full of little guys masquerading as larger companies, and WebCore is one of them. As far as I can tell, this company consists of a few guys renting space in someone else’s server room. It’s a little unnerving when you call the main line and hear the company’s lone salesman on his cell phone saying “Hello?”
  • Flare Networks. I probably shouldn’t complain about Flare Networks, which mysteriously stopped billing me for no apparent reason. I never really had any serious technical problems there — but would you stick your neck out by sending an e-mail to tech support when you’re afraid of suddenly getting a $700 backdated bill?
  • CFXHosting. CFXHosting might not only be the worst web host I’ve ever dealt with, but the worst company I’ve ever dealt with, period. I came to them in a bind, with three separate clients under tight deadlines, and no reliable web host to use. Based on the high ratings on ColdFusion guru Ben Forta’s website, I went with CFXHosting for all three.Big mistake. In the two years or so I’ve had to deal with CFXHosting, they have literally not done a single thing right. Let me repeat that: not one single thing right. Their technical support has fucked up every issue I’ve brought to their attention. For instance, setting up my account. They messed up the credit card billing and then put my client’s ColdFusion website on a server that either didn’t support ColdFusion or didn’t have the damn thing turned on. After numerous phone calls and e-mails, they fixed the problem — and then turned around the next day and did the exact same thing to my next client.

Right now, my web host du jour is a company called CrystalTech. As of this date — maybe six months after signing up — it’s been smooth sailing. The online control panel is pretty complete, the technical support has been prompt, and the price is definitely right.

How long until they fuck something up and I have to go looking again? It’s anybody’s guess.

Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ben Forta on June 1, 2006 at 3:32 pm  Chain link

    I don’t rate ISPs, customers and end users do, and if you have issues you should hare those. I hope that you add your comments to the CF ISP List.

    — Ben

  2. David Louis Edelman on June 1, 2006 at 4:15 pm  Chain link

    Sorry, Ben, I should have pointed that out! Didn’t mean to cast aspersions on your (excellent) CF website. (Anyone who does ColdFusion should check it out for Ben’s blog, if nothing else.)

    I’ve also since found a good forum called WebHostingTalk.com that has good discussions about these issues.

  3. Xavier on June 4, 2006 at 7:21 pm  Chain link

    Personally, the worst big-name webhost to me was Godaddy. Good domain registration but horrible webhosting support.

    I moved to IPower now, they have great domain registration prices ($2.95 per domain) and pretty good hosting.

    Also, Godaddy charging for information/advice is just horrible in a customer’s eyes. 😡

  4. Paul Leamon on August 27, 2006 at 11:19 pm  Chain link

    David,

    Very insightful comments. We have started a website that seeks to have very honest reviews and ratings about web hosting companies, both the good and they bad. We would appreciate you submitting your ratings. If a particular web host that you have used is not in our directory, please send me an email and I will have it added right away.

    THX,
    Paul Leamon

  5. Devon Wyatt on December 7, 2006 at 11:38 pm  Chain link

    You need to add NETFIRMS to this list of sh*t eaters! 24/7, my arse!! Enough said.

  6. Chris R on December 18, 2006 at 11:16 am  Chain link

    Include 1&1, 1and1, 1 and 1, one and one, whatever on this list of rotten providers.

    48 hours down with the Filipino tech support only able to tell me “we’re working on it.”

  7. John Gikonyo on March 5, 2007 at 7:33 pm  Chain link

    Without using foul language, I would like to point out to all looking for hosting service to stay clear of Netfirms. I believe that it would be VERY DIFFICULT to get any worse service. They wouldn’t fit on any rating scale unless it allowed for award of negative ratings (literally). If you want to hosting service and would like to remain sane, please look elsewhere.

  8. Sam on March 22, 2007 at 10:13 am  Chain link

    DLE,

    I totally agree! CFXHosting is horrible. I used to use CFXhosting for my clients. It’s taken a while but I’ve finally moved my last client off of CFX hosting a couple of months ago.

    I’m in New Jersey but for the last 5 years or so I’ve been using a company based in Canada called LFC Hosting. So far they’ve done everything right! (Even credited me a month for pointing out a typo in one of their scheduled maintenance email alerts.)

  9. Rob on October 29, 2007 at 9:00 am  Chain link

    IX Web Hosting. I use them now, only about three months. They blow. Slow, slow servers. Too much downtime. Nice people and they do say “Sorry” quite a bit sometimes I want to throw my keyboard out the windows.

    Good article.

  10. Eva Vesper on October 9, 2008 at 7:08 am  Chain link

    So I decided to search web hosting sucks and the like. Not surprisingly, there were thousands of results, along with plenty of ‘go daddy’ sucks and NS sucks, etc.

    I’m going to get a tomato thrown at me, but I work for one of the hosting review sites, Web Hosting Search, and yah it sucks for us because we’re trying to work with companies that don’t completely suck. There are always a small portion of people who will have problems with any given company, it’s natural. But why more problems in the hosting industry? I don’t know.

    So backup your files and be vigilant; the hosting world is crazy.

  11. Justin Miles on January 22, 2010 at 2:40 am  Chain link

    I have worked as a level 1 technical support rep for a fairly large web hosting company for the passed three years. It is not a mystery to me why people think web hosting sucks. Simply put, people’s expectations are way above the price they are paying for the service. You can’t expect to get a good service for a rock bottom price. If you are paying under $20/mo for webhosting the company is basically not making any money off you, so they really have no incentive to care about you. In fact, the more they support you, the more money they will lose because it will cost them much more to provide you the service than they are received in service charges.

    If you want to get really good web hosting with top notch tech support then you will need to pay for it. That’s the bottom line. And I don’t mean $15/month instead of $10/month for shared hosting. I mean upwards of $85 to $150 a month. That is the only way you’re going to get a company to give a crap about you enough to provide you with really good service. And that is the only way a web hosting company will every be able to afford to hire really experienced and knowledge employees to provide such service.

    I have had countless calls with customers paying under $20/month that think they are God’s gift to the company, when in realty, the company is probably losing money supporting them.

  12. David Louis Edelman on January 22, 2010 at 11:13 am  Chain link

    Justin: Very good point. If I’m paying for a Yugo, I shouldn’t expect a Mercedes. Then again — I can’t really be blamed for pointing out that the Yugo still sucks. You expect to be able to put the key in the ignition and drive it, even if you get some bumps in the road.

    That said, the design company I work for does pay those kinds of prices for a dedicated account at Media Temple. The service isn’t a hell of a lot better.

  13. Tony Lee on March 16, 2010 at 9:08 pm  Chain link

    I personally believe that host gator serves as the best web host!
    Compare all the features the have CGI, PHP, CSS, add unlimited domains and sub-domains! They’re awesome and with cheap rates click http://1url.com/c2s and check them out.

  14. Daddy on April 8, 2010 at 11:51 pm  Chain link

    Dont make your site a PR1 and host with http://www.247-host.com

    They shut down your site, and force you to buy their top server.. it has happen to me… :(

  15. Dan on October 28, 2010 at 5:31 pm  Chain link

    We-Host.com is the worst COMPANY I have ever dealt with. I have had several problems with them over the years. They hijacked my domain name (they are the Register and I can’t switch it to another company). They don’t respond to emails on a timely basis and sometimes not at all. Right now my email server has been down for 3 days and they won’t respond. I will have to abandon my domain.

    There is no phone number to call them. I hate them. I am not the only one who hates them. I read 8 reviews on them and they were all the same as what I am describing.

  16. Devo on August 25, 2011 at 11:04 pm  Chain link

    AIT – I worked for these idiots once as a “programmer” and it was the first hosting company I’ve worked for and as I found out later one of the worst. They had a host of lawyers on staff to fight off the constant lawsuits that were directed at them constantly. This tells you something doesn’t it? Once an AIT customer always an AIT customer unless you changed your bank account and stopped payment on anything going out to them, because once they started pulling money out of your account even if it was a one time payment, they would not stop pulling money from you. The owner once asked the IT department to “screen scrap” the real estate sites and re-post the postings on their own real estate site. Nice eh?

  17. Tommy Thomas on January 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm  Chain link

    Use LiquidWeb for their VPS Servers, awesome. Stay away from WebHostingPad.com for sure… I took over a client’s website that had been hacked and had issues. Once I got the new site up and running on my vps server at liquidweb.com, I cancelled their account at WebHostingPad. I was told that I need to have an active credit card on the account before changes could be made. So I put my business card in and proceeded with cancelling the account. The very day I cancelled the account 11/12/2013, they charged my card for upcoming year of hosting for $71.88. I emailed the billing department back and I got an automated response. I called them and they assured me that it would be taken care of in the coming billing cycle. Two months later, several email and phone calls, still no credit back. I called them again today, 1/6/2014 and the support department picks up the billing departments phone call and tells me that the billing department can only handle that through email. I asked to speak to a manager immediately as I called the billing department and also emailed them and noone is responding to my emails. The guy was extremely rude and kept repeating you have to email billing or the managers and that no one was able to handle it over the phone. The way he spoke, as well as when I re-dialed the phone it immediately got disconnected, made me think that this company is nothing more than a one man show that has a licensed copy of WHMCS on cheap vps servers somewhere and is just over their head and probably will never return anybodies money. STAY FAR AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY. WebHostingPad.com SUCKS. Read the WebHostingPad reviews. Sincerely, Ocala Website Designs LLC (We use LiquidWeb.com, an extremely reliable company for your VPS or website hosting.)

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