Most people think of hosting as some necessity for running a website that costs $0.99 a month, or at most a few bucks.
Would you believe me if I told you a rouge hosting company cost me thousands of dollars due to a loss of potential income?
That’s right, something as simple as a hosting account for your website can be the difference between a highly profitable month and utter financial disaster. Here’s what happened to me and how you can avoid it.
How It Went Down
A few months ago I was using a dedicated server to host a bunch of my domains and email accounts. (I’m not going to name the company because the point of this post is not to attack them, just to offer some advice to my readers). I wasn’t doing anything too intensive, in fact I had purchased ~28 IP’s so that all of my domains would be hosted through a unique IP.
- Since I had tons of room on my server (which costed me over $120 per month) I decided to share it with one of my internet marketing buddies that I knew could benefit from the extra server for his emailing.
- My buddy does direct emailing (100% can-spamm compliant <– that’s the official spam laws set by the government), and makes a full-time living from it. Basically he does affiliate marketing and CPA (cost per action, an example would be those landing pages that offer you a free iPhone if you complete a survey).
- He does recieve a fair amount of spam complaints from people clicking the spam button on their email accounts rather than just unsubscribing from his newsletter/mailing list.
- Anyway, my hosting provider doesn’t love the fact that a bunch of people classified email going through the dedicated server as spam, so they started harassing me each and every day.
Fast forward to a month or two into my use of the server, I start getting threatening emails from my hosting company. “You received a spam complaint and have to respond to it in under 24 hours or we will suspend your account.”
Every single time I would spend 20-30 minutes filling out a form, sending them an email through their customer service application, just to have it OK’d by their team.
It got to the point where I was spending more time filling out spam reports for my buddy than I was on my own websites.
Then It Got Worse… So Much Worse
After just two months of service my server was suspended, which means they basically shut it off, randomly one day because I didn’t respond to one of their emails quick enough. (I was in St. Martin at the time on a family vacation, and didn’t have internet/my laptop with me).
That was the final straw… I decided that I had enough with the bad service from this fairly well-known hosting company. I was now losing money because all of my websites went offline, my buddy couldn’t email, and I had to now go find, test, and set-up a new dedicated server.
So what would you have done in this circumstance?
I chose to cancel my account. I decided to cut my losses and just move on.
After going through their canceling process I got an email maybe two days later saying that I couldn’t close my account because they issued a $200 fee for closing my account early. Yup… hidden charges.
On top of that, another hidden charge that was in their “fine print” was that if I didn’t cancel my account BEFORE 3 days prior to the end of my last month, I would be charged for another month.
It was basically a catch-22, I couldn’t cancel my account because they wanted me to pay a ridiculous fee, and I would be charged another $100+ for now canceling quick enough.
You might think they only cost me $500 in those crazy fees… but you need to take into account the time lost, potential earnings from my websites being offline for a week, and then the overall amount they cost me was well into the thousands. :(
Suffice To Say I Don’t Use Them Anymore For Hosting
I paid their crazy fees and moved on. Then I spent another 2 months looking for the best web hosting providers, and that’s my gift to you today.
The Most Reputable Hosting Companies (In my experience)
(Disclosure: The links below are affiliate links that will earn me a commission if you purchase through them. If you do, I incredibly appreciate it and if you have any questions about these services feel free to contact me. I will never compromise the integrity of my reviews/recommendations for a commission.)
Hostgator – These guys are cheap and effective. They are perfect for small websites that are trying to minimize their costs. I recommend using a shared hosting plan from them for the first months or years that your website is still in the “early” or “launch” phase. They also have dedicated servers, VPS, etc.
WPEngine - These guys are the big leagues of hosting. I’m pretty sure they only offer hosting for wordpress sites… but they do that better than anyone in the industry. Their shared hosting is better than 99% of the competing companies. The downside is that these guys are expensive (for a small website that’s not bringing in revenue).
So honestly I would stick to these guys for any type of hosting. The one choice you have to make is whether or not you need high-end hosting. For 90% of the online world, Hostgator will provide more than enough bandwidth, speed, and overall efficiency.
If you are planning on starting a professional website based on WordPress, or a blog that has hundreds of posts, then you would probably need the added power, security and stability that WPEngine provides.
There’s no obligation to purchase from those companies, they are just the ones I personally love, but I do require one thing: promise me you won’t use any shady hosting companies.
So now its your turn: have you had any incredibly terrible/amazing experiences with web hosting companies?