The Downfall Of HostGator
A couple of years ago (2012) i was searching for a linux/php hosting plan that i could afford, to host some “new ideas” of mine. I got a lot of suggestions for HostGator. The plan was cheap (10 $ per month for the baby croc plan) and included unlimited everything (well not actually unlimited but that was not the problem for me).
Everything worked well, i never needed any support and i was very happy. The websites were also reasonably fast and the downtime very little and expected in all hosting companies. Then in June or July of 2012 HostGator was sold to EIG. Nothing changed for me and the rest of the customers but we all knew what EIG was actually about, blog posts about it were all over the Internet. Since EIG had also bought Bluehost in 2010, there was a lot of information of what changed and what we should expect.
A whole year passed with no problems. In July of 2013, out of the blue, i was informed that my plan will be upgraded to a new server and moved to Provo, UT Datacenter. I was very happy to get a free upgrade but that was not the case. As soon as we were moved to Provo Datacenter and the “new” server, the problems started. My websites were down for 5 days and my tickets were answered. I could say that the support was non-existent, it was like exchanging support tickets with an alien. Impossible to communicate. Reading the HostGator Forums i realized that i was not the only one having problems. All customers, shared, vps, dedicated, windows plans, all had the very same problems. EXTREME downtime, Datacenter outages, slow websites and very bad support. HostGator had to SHUT down (make private) their Review forum because of the huge amount of complaints. Go figure. Also a huge amount of negative reviews and posts for HostGator appeared on webhosting sites and forums.
But i guess we all hoped that the problems were due to the recent move and withing 1-2 months everything will be working well as before. Or even better than before. But things were becoming worst and worst and customers started to leave Hostgator. At some point i found myself spending a lot of time time with useless support tickets, instead of adding things to my website. I left HostGator at the end January 2014.
After the move to a new hosting company, i can see the difference in Pingdom statistics. In the following screen capture you can clearly see what happened (you can click on the image for a bigger size).
As you can easily see in the capture, until July 2013 everything was normal. The major problems with HostGator started in mid July 2013 (when moved to Provo, UT Datacenter) and never actually ended, until i left in February 2014.
The economics of it are easy to understand, though they’re depressing. Customers who need a lot of support eat into the profit margins. So, providing lousy support is a simple way of weeding out the “high maintenance” people.
Overloading servers has the same function – people with heavy-traffic CMS sites take more resources than others, so cramming a lot of users onto a server has the effect of driving away the more demanding sites.
If the top 5% of your customers are taking 50% of your resources (support, server capacity, etc.), the smart move is to drive them away, and attract more of the “easy” customers.
For a high-volume bargain host, they want people who keep static sites that get only modest traffic, and who virtually never need any support.
I have used the services of a lot of hosting companies in Europe and in USA. HostGator (after sold to EIG and after moved to Provo Datacenter) is the WORST hosting service i have ever used. Slow and unstable servers, highly problematic Datacenter and extremely bad support.
So Vote with your Wallet, AVOID every hosting company that belongs to EIG.