We have three domains all hosted on different web hosts and not a one of those hosts is worth a damn. Problem after problem and we pay a lot of money for the three combined.
We want to move all three domains to one web hosting service, a risky practice in of its self, andd the service has to be reliable, offer lotsa space and be very ecommerce friendly. Our main site doesn’t do much other than act as our home base for a small group of employees and run our daily company (Goggle supplied and piped in) blog. Our second site is the workhorse and includes a WordPress blog, OSCommerce store selling digital media, classified ads and an online subscription service to read and write novels. The third site was created because the second site’s host refused to provide us wiith ioncube. We had to go to a new host who offered the feature, obtain a new domain and pipe the feature (classified ads) via link to the second site. This was easier then moving the entire website to a new host.
Here are my concerns. We dislike having to enter into long term contracts primarily because it is the easiest way for a poor web hosting service to suck you dry and hold you hostae. We’ve been doing web business for more years then I care to count and here are just a few of the problems we’ve run into with long term contracts:
1st thirty days are great then the site fails to display, ftp access denied, cpanel goes funk. Calls and email to support are ignored or take days even weeks to resolve simplest issues. One web host literally tried to steal our domain out from underneath us because the name is a real commodity in of itself. Took us two months and legal assistance through InterNIC to get it back. Host promises full ecommerce support then balks when asked to accommodate standard ecommerce needs (ioncube is example). Host offers new customers ample disk space at half your cost but refuses to make equal disk space upgrade to old long-term customers which means we subsidize new customers. Host gives you modest 3gig disk space and cpanel says you’ve reached 1.9gig and further uploads are denied because host says you’ve reached limit due to host’s required hidden files. You suddenly find someone from host company has purloined your credit card numbers and your bank calls to say you’ve been compromised. Host has you strangled by long term contract, you need additional disk space, price is prohibitive, customer forced to establish new domain, sign with new host and move feature to new host and pipe back to commercial website.
For us the problems never seem to cease. Take three days ago. Suddenly ftp access gave us a “530 error, unable to provide guest access”. We call and sit on hold for 20min before being forced to leave voicemail and plea for callback. 5:30m this morning we call again and tech support can’t figure out what problem is. We ask for a reset of password. Forty minutes later we call again and they say the problem is fixed we should try logging in. Using what login information? They will send it via email. Meanwhile customer is fuming at us because his paid download hasn’t materialized. Suddenly forums are filled with complaints of our thievery… We dislike very much the inability to speak with someone and to do it now. We hate having to ‘take a ticket’ and ‘wait in line’ on our own dime only to be rebuffed with the attitude that the problem is ours and not theirs. Emails and tickets are a convenient way to avoid hiring staff to deal directly with customers. It can take weeks to resolve a simple solution as resetting a password and when your site is your income you can go bankrupt very quickly by an errant or pompous set of tech people who refuse to respond because (1) they aren’t knowledgeable enough to answer in the first place and you generally figure it out for them, or (2) they take on an attitude of superiority and you are beneath their time/effort.
Today my biggest concern is our online digital download store which has run out of disk space to house our products. It is nothing more than an online vending machine fully automated and requires an ability to run an OSC script and process PayPal payments. We don’t need a dedicated server (hosts always push that because that makes them big money) because our business does not require that kind of hands on manual labor. We simply need lotsa space to house the product which is disbursed automatically with each approved purchase.
We need php, MySql, ioncube, cgi, perl and that’s about it.
Is DreamHost the dream for us? Comments please.