Sunday, January 30, 2011

Aren't all hosting providers the same? -- Pt 5

Today I'm going to wrap up our experiences with the last 2 providers that we encountered.

After the last provider, we decided that we wanted to provide our clients with Green hosting services, providing services that were more friendly to our environment. We went with a provider that was highly rated in webhosting reviews, and were green. Initially, this provider had decent services, but over time we started noticing emails bouncing back with responses that the IP address was blacklisted. We did some research, and found that the IP range has recently been blacklisted. We contacted the support department, were told this was resolved, but there was never any change to the blacklists. Then, little by little features were disappearing from the hosting control panels. The attitude of support was take it or leave it, but with a feature such as backups being removed, this caused great concern.

So, we switched to another provider, which was an even worse experience. In short, in the 1 month that we were with them, our uptime statistics went from 100% to 95%. Of course, this was unacceptible, and that is when we decided to invest in our own architecture, and handle and maintain our own hosting services, with the intent to NOT do what these other providers were doing.

Tomorrow we'll talk about some of the features that we offer, and have enabled, that none of these other providers offer.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Aren't all hosting providers the same? -- Pt 4

OK, I'm fighting the onset of a cold right now, but want to get today's blog in.

The second company that we worked with was great, to begin with. For the hosting space for my clients I was able to choose Windows or Linux. I could create different sized packages, what features, and quanity, etc, but the first issue arose when a client wanted to upgrade their account. There was no easy way to allocate additional resources for the client besides creating a whole new account and moving everything. The second issue arose when technical support told me that a particular function that I was trying to use was available, then another rep telling me something to the contrary.

Once again, our clients deserved better. Plus, this company's proprietary system was difficult for some people to understand. Ease of use, and easy to understand are very important. Accurate information is of utmost importance as well.

So, once again we were off to find another provider. How was this one, compared to the others? Find out tomorrow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aren't all hosting providers the same? -- Pt 3

Whoops, it's after midnight. I was busy working, but even though it's 12:20am, I wanted to take a couple minutes to write the short blog for Wednesday (even though it's Thursday now).

As stated I was going to talk about some of the experiences that we went through with other companies, which resulted in our starting the web hosting division of Obsidian Moon Creations. Also as stated, no names will be mentioned, for obvious reasons.

The first web hosting reseller that we started with, to offer hosting for all of our clients, was one of the companies that, for their regular clients, offer unlimited everything in their hosting package, and offer a free domain name with the hosting package. It had sounded like a pretty good deal at the time, but in hindsight we should have seen all of the stuff they were throwing in the package for free; it should have rang the "gimmack" alarm.

This company's servers were overloaded. In cPanel, I was able to get in and see that the RAM was at almost always at 98% (or higher), Server Load was excessively high, and many times my site, and my clients sites, loaded so slow I was wondering if I was on dialup, rather than a broadband connection. When I asked technical support about this issue, they stated this was "normal". Um, excuse me, but if your computer that you use at home is running at 98% RAM used, isn't that a sign that something is using a lot of memory, and it should be looked at? Also, if you CPU is showing high usage, isn't that a warning sign that something is utilizing a lot of the system resources?

After a couple of months of this headache, we decided that we, and our clients, deserved better, which prompted us to move our services to another provider, and cancel our services at this company. Low and behold, they took it seriously and canceled EVERYTHING, including the "free" domain that they offered. When it came time to renew that domain, it was like pulling teeth, with 4 different "customer service" reps all giving me different responses, including one that told me I had to pay close to $400 BEFORE they would talk to me about that domain. This $400 wasn't for any services that I had with them, but some numbers that this one rep threw out. I don't know about you, but that really screams "scam" to me. It took threats of contacting the Better Business Bureau, their local Attorney General's office, and contacting my attorneys before they decided to work with me.

Is this the norm for everyone? That I can't say, but this was a personal experience that we had, which was a serious learning experience is how NOT to do business.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Aren't all hosting providers the same? -- Pt 2

As stated yesterday, I'm going to continue my blog "Aren't all hosting providers the same?".

A slight change in plans, though. Rather than going into some of the experience we had today, I'm going to explain (in a nutshell) what hosting is. I'm going to use an explanation that I used in my Business Network International (BNI) chapter today.

In the early days of the internet, there weren't hosting providers like are so prevalent today. In those early days, if a company wanted to have a website, they had to purchase the server, the connection to the backend of the internet, obtain IP addresses, and many times have a server administrator on staff. For many companies this was cost prohibitive. However, as the internet matured, some companies realized that they didn't need all of the disk space, or resources, on their server, so they were able to section off the server, and host other websites on the same server. As time went on, we now have the large data centers that are prevalent today, which are typically 40,000-60,000 square foot buildings with rows upon rows of servers all connected to the internet.

Hosting is the providing of the web space, emails, and databases, on a server that is connected to the backend of the internet. These servers are generally connected to a high speed network, which has a multi-gigabit connection to the backend of the internet. All hosting providers offer the above, but what features, reliability, and speed can vary significantly.

More tomorrow.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Aren't all hosting providers the same?

If someone does a Google search for web hosting provider, the list is extensive. The question many times is: Who should we host with? I've seen advertisements for GoDaddy, Host Gator, BlueHost, and some of these others, aren't they the same?

Not quite. Many of these companies are big, because they started their businesses in the early days of the internet, and/or spend thousands upon thousands in advertising. But the question still remains: wouldn't it be better to hosting my website is a big company, rather than a smaller company like Obsidian Moon Creations? I'm not going to tell you either way, but will instead tell you about some of the nightmares I encountered with some of the bigger hosting providers.
For obvious reasons, we're not going to mention the names of the companies, but will outline our experiences. All of these providers advertise that they offer a 99.9% uptime, and have "top notch" customer service. At Obsidian Moon Creations, we don't just SAY that we offer a 99.9% uptime, but we actually show realtime numbers right on our website from a 3rd party monitoring service:, which is seen below.

website uptime

Tomorrow we'll go into our experiences, and what sets Obsidian Moon Creations apart from the other guys.