Server Outages for Hostmonster, Hostgator and BlueHost Customers

December 31, 2013 by Roger Smith

At 10:30a on New Years Eve, I became aware that my, and other client websites were down. This is the third time this year that these vendor servers crashed. Without question, these outages greatly affected daily business flow at an in-opportune time…the Christmas holiday week.

The cause of the outage is unknown in all three instances over this past year however they all occurred at a the same Provo Utah Data Center owned by Endurance International Group , one of the world’s largest hosting provider conglomerates…Endurance owns 50+ hosting companies world-wide. Here is what we can learn from Wikipedia about EIG.

I have been following this outage on Twitter and posting relevant information to my Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus pages for my clients. Hostmonster has been very quiet in the blogosphere much to the frustration of 1000’s of their clients. I was fortunate to get an acknowledgement from Hostmonster in response to a rather frustrating Tweet I posted. Their response was canned but it is the first of its kind that I have seen.

The BackStory

I have been a Hostmonster customer for the past 7 years or so. During that time I was never made aware of unplanned server downtime…up until this year.

As a web designer and developer I interface with dozens of hosting providers. After awhile the cream floats to the top and Hostmonter was (note the past-tense) at the top of my list for hosting providers…purely based on first-hand experience. HostGator and GoDaddy came in a tight second and third. Though I made a habit of not volunteering hosting provider recommendations, when asked, I would supply the aforementioned names.

Clients that signed up for Hostmonster or HostGator based on my recommendation over these past few months have seen their sites go down twice. This is unacceptable and reflects poorly my client’s businesses as-well-as on RAS Design Media.

Moving Forward into 2014

After the last outage with Hostmonster, I mentioned to a client that if the Hostmonster servers go down once more (total of three times) I would look for a new hosting provider…three strikes and y’er out!

In the coming months RAS Design Media will be evaluating new hosting providers and exploring the viability of becoming a web host provider itself…as a hosting reseller not only for RAS Design Media web properties but also for my clients should they choose to move their web properties to an RAS Design Media server.

What I believe is key, is to look for providers that offer the same level and quality of service as Hostmonter…just more reliable AND to avoid the hosting providers that are owned by Endurance International Group. Finding a stateside provider that offers the quality I have experienced with Hostmonster but with improved reliability could prove challenging.

Evaluating New Hosting Providers

I take a simpleton approach to evaluating hosting providers. The first thing I do is call them and see how quickly I can talk to someone with excellent english speaking skills and whether they are engaged in the conversation or distracted. I determine where their offices are located in the U.S. and how complex and transparent their hosting packages are.

For most small-business websites, a Linux server running the latest versions of PHP and MySQL, cPanel access and WordPress compatible is sufficient. Sub-domains, multiple email accounts, Shell access and unlimited storage are also attributes of a competent hosting provider and package. Shared server hosting is common, a dedicated IP address would be better but not a requirement for non-ecommerce websites.

Hostmonster and HostGator met all the qualification mentioned above. GoDaddy, possibly the largest single hosting provider in the world, comes close but I have always found their interface to be very confusing and, what you get for the price is never completely obvious to me or my clients…there always seems to be something else that needs to be purchased.

Finally, most, if not all hosting providers will offer a very sexy deal that may last the first year. By year two, you are up to cruising altitude and your rates should level off at approximately $100 annually…give or take. You will also find many “rock-bottom” offers from both large and small hosting providers. I recommend steering clear from these as they often can be a security risks to your web property. You get what you pay for so choose wisely.

If you have questions, comments or concerns regarding this issue please contact my office at [phone text only] or email me at [email address].

If you would like to be in the loop for web strategies and relevant web information you can follow me,  TwitterFacebook, and Google Plus.

I wish all a healthy, happy and prosperous 2014!

Now let’s get to work!

 

About the Author

Portrait of Roger Smith, owner of RAS Design Media

Roger Smith is the owner of RAS Design Media, a web design studio in Monterey, California and has been building websites since 2006. He focuses on enabling business growth via modern web technologies and successful web strategies.

When not working Roger can be found kayaking along the magical central coast or photographing the beauty that surrounds us.

You can reach Roger at [phone text only] or [email address] and/or follow him on , Facebook or Twitter