Horrors of Web Hosting – Our True Story

Posted May 31, 2010
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It is not very difficult now to find a cheap webhost when you are just trying to start blogging or getting the hang of being present on the World Wide Web. It is however very difficult to find a host which is also reliable, have great customer support and does not delete your account without notifying you in the name of “over usage of resources”.

It happened to us, wccftech.com, approximately 2 weeks ago when our site went down and the only information we received from them, after we raised a trouble ticket, was “your site has been shut down as it was using too many resources”. Like tell me, running on a VPS with Xeon Processor and 1GB of dedicated memory and moderate traffic in a day, it was over utilizing the resources. Gimme a break here dude!! We were running on a 512MB dedicated memory VPS and there was no problem, so tell, how come all of a sudden, without any surge in traffic, our site started to over utilize resources. There was something fishy here…

Well, after running after them for a week and asking them to provide us the access to the site so that we can put up a sign of “Under Maintenance”, they gave us access (only for an hour or so) and that too was 3am in the morning, when there was no one to actually have a look at it from our side. We then asked them for a backup of the site (which was approximately 30GB of data) and they did not. Instead, they deleted our account. I called up the customer support and when inquired about the status, all the I got in response was “Sorry Sir, your site has been deleted by our Admin, there is nothing I can do.” This is the part where all hell broke loose and I was like “WTF!!! How can you delete my site without informing me?” and the rep responded, “Sir we do not wait for the customer.”

Nothing was working, I spoke softly, harshly, threatened a lawsuit… nothing. Upon researching on the web, I came to know that this was not the first time they did it to their customers. It was normal and had happened to a lot more people than I expected.

Fortunately, we had a month old backup, but still we lost the traffic, the data, visitors and most of all, our trust in the web host we had for almost three years.

A lesson to all, always have backups ready and never love your host as you never know when your web host stops loving you 🙂

Here’s my top list of things to look out for when selecting a webhost.

  • Research first, as just by someone telling you that a webhost is good does not mean that it is really good. There are webhosts which are excellent in smaller Web Hosting services but when it comes to VPS or Dedicated Servers, there are only few.
  • Cheap is not cheap. You read it, our webhost was cheaper than most in the market for VPS services but we paid a heavy price for it.
  • Service Level Agreement. Always read carefully what is written in SLA, sometimes things like taking periodic backup and human monitoring comes with a little elevated price but I suggest it is worth the money. Turnaround times should be in terms of normal days and not working days as if your site went down on Friday night, SLA for working days will only have it back on Monday when the technical staff returns after weekend.
  • Awards mean nothing. A webhost with extensive list of awards does not necessarily mean that it is excellent in all of its services. Research the web to know what “real customers” think of its services.

Now time to reveal which webhost I was talking about. It was Hostican, which has won the “Cnet Certified Store” award (like duh!) but if you research on the web about its services, you will find out what they actually do to their customers.

Last but not least… you’ve been warned!!

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