I think I’ve found the perfect hosting company and the name is SiteGround. If you don’t want to read my entire tale of woe, read this first paragraph and then skip down to the bottom of this post and read the last 5 paragraphs under the section: Tale of Woe Ends Here – Silver Lining Begins. Everything else in between isn’t really necessary, but since I haven’t written here in awhile, I decided to get a bit long winded.
Beginning of my Woeful Tale
Several months ago I realized I needed to switch from my current hosting company, HostGator. I was growing increasingly dissatisfied with their service. The biggest problem was their apparent inability to keep my sites up and viewable to the world. The reason for purchasing web hosting is to ensure your sites are up so that web surfers can find them. Failing to do that is a major problem.
Back when I first entertained the thought of leaving HostGator I went from annual billing to monthly. This gave me the freedom of searching and switching any month when I found the right hosting company. Unfortunately, that was the only change I made. The thought of researching and switching hosting companies wasn’t something I looked forward to so I let things drag on.
The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back
What finally lit the fire under my keister was the overwhelming number of notifications from Google informing me that they could not access my robots.txt file. I received notifications daily.
Each time I received a notice I checked to see if I could access the files and I could. However, at the time when the googlebot was roaming the Internet to index my sites it appears that my sites were down or things just weren’t accessible. That’s not good.
I found it odd receiving such notifications because my sites have been dormant for quite some time (my posting frequency here on NJFM should give you an indication of just how active I’ve been). Therefore, I knew it wasn’t anything that I had done; it had to be my hosting company.
On top of that I started getting an unbelievably high number “Page not Found” errors. I’m talking anywhere from 300 to 500 errors per site daily. When I went to investigate the issue, there seemed to be some kind of programming problem. I’m not a programmer and don’t fully understand the error message but I knew it wasn’t good and it wasn’t anything I had done. The Page not Found errors and “undefined/static” notifications were across all blogs.
Initially I thought my WordPress theme was at fault but quickly realized I use several different themes from different developers on my various blogs. All blogs were receiving the same undefined/static message so my themes were ruled out. I also ruled out the WordPress platform as the cause because if that were the case, the Internet would light up with folks chattering about it. I couldn’t find a single forum or conversation on the topic. The only other thing my blogs had in common was their hosting company.
Going to the Source of the Problem
Instead of allowing theories to roll around in my head, I attempted to contact HostGator. Since the problem had been going on for several days/weeks, I didn’t think it was an emergency so I chose not to call them. Instead I opted to use their chat feature. I quickly changed my mind when I was informed that due to “unusually high” volume, it would take a while before someone would help using HostGator’s chat feature. They recommended submitting a ticket.
Submitting a ticket was a joke. I spent time properly explaining the issue (you know how we writers are, we have to make sure the reader understands exactly what we’re trying to say). I completed my explanation and attempted to hit “Submit.” Here’s the punch line to the joke: HostGator deactivated the “Submit” button so it was impossible to submit a ticket. Nice going HostGator!
The Search for the Next Hosting Company
I started wading through the plethora reviews for hosting companies. I don’t trust all the online reviews because so many of them are written by folks who stand to gain financially from the review. Eventually I came across a company called InMotion, another large hosting company like HostGator. I fell for the hype. They offered up to 55% off the first year of hosting and had a 30 or 90 day money back guarantee. They also boasted of a 99.9% uptime so I signed up.
In accordance with their instructions, I backed up my HostGator files, uploaded the backup to InMotion and requested InMotion to restore them. That sounded so simple that I expected to be up and running in no time.
What a major disaster. When I attempted to log into my account (using the URL provided by InMotion), I ended up being directed to a URL for a website that I had long since removed from my HostGator account. Not only had I removed the files, but I accessed the SQL database and deleted the associated databases too. Having done so I don’t know how it could have been included in my HostGator backup. I don’t blame InMotion for this, but my backup included files for several websites. They picked one (of their own choosing) and restored it.
That wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was I was unable to access the site that they did restore. When I navigated to the link I got a blank page. Knowing a little bit about file manager and word press I went in to see if I could correct the problem. No can do. The next step was to open a ticket.
I tried using their chat system but that proved ineffective. I then opened a ticket, which gave me a turnaround time of way too many hours. Being a brand new customer I thought InMotion would try to provide excellent service. That wasn’t the case. Bottom line it took over 24 hours for me to get any “useful” response for getting my sites up and running. As a matter of fact, the sites never did get up and running. Instead, I requested a refund and started my search for another hosting company.
Tale of Woe Ends Here – Silver Lining Begins
I don’t know how I came upon SiteGround hosting company, but I’m glad I did. What caught my attention was their expertise in WordPress and their excellent customer service. Since all my sites run on Word Press and I was still hurting a little from the InMotion customer service debacle, I decided to give SiteGround a try. This time, however, after learning my lesson with InMotion, I decided to transfer the sites myself. No backup and restore for this gal. It does take longer for me to go through the process of transferring each site but this way I know it will be done the way I want it to be done.
Running into A Glitch
Things were going along smoothly then I ran into a problem with one of my sites. I tried everything I knew, researched the net for an answer, but came up empty. As a last resort I contacted SiteGround. Thinking it would take forever to get a response, my husband and I decided to go out for a nice leisurely lunch. Imagine my surprise when within 10 minutes or less I got a response. I provided the requested additional information and in less than an hour they solved the problem. They explained what caused the problem so I’ll know how to handle it if I come across the same problem in the future.
Wait, it gets better. Later that evening as I was still working on my transfers, I received a phone call from SiteGround. They wanted to welcome me and make sure everything was going smoothly. I think I’m in love!
I still have a lot of work ahead of me but I’m happy to know that I’ve got the support of SiteGround behind me in case I run into something a little over my head (and yes, I did run into something a little over my head and like before SiteGround came to the prompt and thorough rescue).
By the way, SiteGround has expertise in more than just WordPress. They have expertise in the most commonly used web applications. If you’re in the market for a new web host, I strongly suggest you take a look at SiteGround. I’ve been through several web-hosting companies in my years of owning websites. I’ve never had this level of customer service from any of them.
(Yes, those are affiliate links in this post)