Christmas Tale of Five Web Hosters
Home | Up


Over the last three weeks, I have needed to change web host providers four times. For a 24 hour period, earthrenewal.org was unavailable across the Internet as a result of one provider's incompetence. The situation was as follows:
 
bulletIn mid November 2007, Yahoo Small Business decided to change the shared web server my site was hosted on. They provided email notification in mid-November that they would be making changes over the next two months (through January 2007). Prior to this their email reliability had rapidly declined, making my domain email useless.
 
bulletUpon transferring my site via FTP to the new hosting server in early December, Yahoo broke the site's FrontPage extensions, preventing me from publishing site changes. Though probably unrelated, Microsoft is moving away from FrontPage server extensions and has already introduced a new web authoring tool called Expression Web.
 
bulletThen, to address the issue, Yahoo technical support asked me to delete all of the pages from my site via FTP and republish the site with FrontPage server extensions loaded. Given the reckless way they had transferred the site and their atrocious email performance over the past six months, I decided to change web host providers. Fortunately I had a recent local backup copy of the site. I had been with Yahoo for almost ten years.
 
bulletThe first provider I tried was Netfirms. Their technical support team was consistently rude on four occasions and they lacked FrontPage expertise. I was unable to successfully publish my FrontPage site to their servers.
 
bulletNext I tried to publish my site to FrontPages Web Hosting Network. While I successfully published my site to their servers, they failed to enter my site IP address on their namesevers- causing a condition known as "lame nameservers." As a result, the site was totally unavailable for over 24 hours. While promising 24/7 email support, when the nameserver issue was brought to their attention over the weekend with three high priority email service requests- they failed to respond. On Monday, their tech support then emailed back that my site was working. This was correct, because over the weekend I changed web host providers again (see below). Their company seemed uninterested in keeping my account and clearly lacked a strong customer service focus for their smaller business/personal accounts.
 
bulletI then more carefully selected a web hosting provider- looking for a stable provider, with Windows server and FrontPage expertise who offered true 24/7 phone support. I found this in CrystalTech. Their technical support was excellent. Site performance and reliability is superb and tech support is knowledgeable and available by phone 24/7. After changing DNS name servers again, the site was available across the Internet in less than 24 hours. On Monday, a CrystalTech customer service representative called me to verify that the web site upload was successful and that I was a happy customer.

Lesson Learned:
Yahoo Small Business and Netfirms are both large providers that treat their smaller customers like commodities. In the case of Yahoo, I believe they knowingly broke my site to expedite a server transition (while still technically in conformance with their terms of service agreement). FrontPage Web Hosting Network, perhaps more caring than Yahoo and Netfirms, is not highly customer focused and did not deliver on their promise of 24/7 email support. CrystalTech is an example of a company that appears to care and this caring permeates their organization. They have been in business for almost ten years and they should continue to prosper.
 
bulletMy site is currently hosted at HostMySite.com. Like CrystalTech they offer excellent service and very competitive offerings. I switched to them because of pricing/plan differences, however both companies are superb and deserve equal consideration.
 
bulletOne further note- there are many Internet web hosting review sites. Most of them are run by companies that derive revenue when a user clicks from their site to a web host provider site they have an affiliate relationship with. It is very difficult to assess which providers offer quality service and support using these sites since they lack objectivity. However, one publication worth consulting is Webhost Magazine and Buyers Guide.

Note: There is no affiliate relationship between earthrenewal.org and CrystalTech or HostMySite.com.

 

 

Home • Up • Internet Development • Christmas Tale of Five Web Hosters • Performing Windows Vista Edition Upgrade • Virtual Evolution • Software • Computer Pubs