Time for a change
I’ve been looking for a new hosting vendor. My account at GoDaddy.com is up for renewal and I think I can do better.
Also, there are rumors that GoDaddy is on the block and I’m concerned about long term changes in service and pricing should ownership change.
I’ve been using BlueHost.com for about six months to host blogs for several clients and have been very happy with their services, functionality, and superb tech support, but I’ve had ongoing problems with slow load time, page loading stalls, and using a site monitoring service find that site downtime was running between 4 and 6 hours/month for several accounts on different servers. [box size=small color=green type=tick align=left] It doesn’t matter how inexpensive the plan is or how many features the vendor offers — if the site is down, it’s just not worth it. [/box] It doesn’t matter how inexpensive it is or how many features the vendor offers, if the site doesn’t load, and I’m talking at all hours of the day, not just early morning times for scheduled maintenance, it’s not worth it.
Too good to be true
After reading the rave reviews at Web Hosting Geeks I decided to try Web Hosting Hub. The price looked good at $4.95/month for hosting unlimited domains, bandwidth, storage space, email, etc. Plus for each new account they offer a lifetime renewal for a single domain.
So I went for it. Got my account, cPanel and ftp access and started transferring files from my GoDaddy server to WebHostingHub. So far so good.
Then I initiated the domain name transfer. I unlock the domain at GoDaddy, get the EPP authorization code emailed to me, and send that on to WebHostingHub to make the transfer. In the mean time I change the nameservers at GoDaddy to point to the WebHostingHub nameservers.
I think I should also get started transferring my email accounts too. I primarily use Gmail for managing and reading all my email and therefore have my hartsook.com addresses forwarded on to Gmail. I have several email accounts at hartsook.com, each getting forwarded on to its own Gmail account, one for my daughter, one for my mom, a couple for some business accounts. But here’s the problem. I also use hartsook.com for ad hoc email addresses when I want to test web forms, account setups for clients, etc. I get the confirmation emails, make sure everything looks good, then update the email address to go to the client’s address.
The devil is in the detail
The problem is that while GoDaddy, Bluehost, and other vendors offer “catchall” mailboxes (an inbox that gets all email to a domain that doesn’t match a specific email account), WebHostingHub has decided that they will not offer this functionality. They will do a global forward of all email from a domain to a single address, but it’s either everything OR specified addresses – no catchall for those ad hoc emails that I create all the time.
There was no work around – it was a deal breaker. I’ve initiated a stop order on the domain transfer and will cancel my 2-year hosting contract.
What initially may seem to be a minor technical detail can grow to be a major problem. Often there are work-arounds, either using a different technology, or modifying your business process to accomodate the technical reality. But in some cases you just have to back up and start again with a new plan. You haven’t failed — you’ve learned something about technology, the market, and your own business practices that will inform better choices in the future.