Hostgator: A Great Hosting Site, When They're Not Taking Your Site Offline

Since HostGator pulled my site down, I've had time to ponder, write and ponder more.  This is my most recent experience with what happens when something goes afoul with a shared hosted website!  For most folk, this is probably going to be a boring read.  For others, like beginning webmasters or bloggers, it could at least be a unique read of one fellow blogger's experience.

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Today (5-22-13) I had my primary blog shut down by HostGator. (Again).  Yep, this isn't my first experience getting my site shut down by HostGator.

Disclaimer: As a shared hosting provider, the customer service for most inquiries from HG has been quick and efficient.  Over the last few years, since early 2010, I knew that when I submitted an eticket, I'd get a fairly quick reply.  The HostGator team has been quick , efficient and friendly.

On the down side, I've also submitted etickets 14 times for my website being offline intermittently.  In almost all of those cases, the site was down for mid-day maintenance and usually returned to life within minutes of my discovering it was down.

Yet since December of 2012, my site has been the target of overloaded processes or issues three different times.  In each instance, well, it's been pretty exciting tackling these issues.

And since the beginning of 2013, I get a different vibe from the customer support of this very popular hosting company, which is giving me second thoughts about what I'm doing here, when they keep me waiting from 1.5 to 3 or 4+ hours with replies?

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HostGator was recommended to me by a friend I trust.  And when you look around at reviews of different hosting providers, the organization is usually at the top of the different lists. (Lists compiled pre-2013)  But I'm not sure or recall if those lists are focused on shared hosting.  And one other thing that came to mind today, was another trusted peer who suggested that shared hosting companies tend to have issues develop or make statements that promote their more expensive hosting opportunities.

That came to mind because today while my system warning email was telling me about my issue, one of the potential fixes was to upgrade to a dedicated server.  Can't afford that, but thanks!  (How odd, I thought.)

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Today's issue was:

"This message is to advise you of a temporary block placed on your database. The database associated with the script in "<my database>" was found to be consuming an inordinate amount of mysql connections, to the point of degrading overall system performance."

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Other or past issues:

On 4-21-13 my account was not getting backed up because I had too many inodes (files).  Yes, you do have unlimited bandwidth and disc space.  But you have limits on the number of files you're allowed to have.  I found that to be interesting.

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On 3-12-13:  "I apologize, but I was forced to suspend the directory {***} as multiple scripts inside were causing high loading issues on the server."

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12-18-12:  It appears that a crawler robot (or robots) was causing a high load on the server, and due to this affecting all of the other accounts on the system, we were forced to take immediate action for the health of the server.

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At the time of writing this paragraph, I've been locked out of my site's database for 13 hours.  3 hours ago I submitted my IP address to have access to my database so I can apply one of their recommended fixes.

(I was killing time waiting for a reply by looking around at other shared hosting options.  It looks like I have competitive options out there like InMotion, BlueHost, Hub, and a whole bunch more.  I hate the idea of leaving HG, but my LOW TRAFFIC site that's impacting their server seems to keep having issues over there of late.

{ Here are some of the other options I happened to see recommended out there while tooling around and waiting for responses (UPDATE 6/13: I just learned that bluehost is owned by the same company that took over HostGator!):
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My latest observations, as of when I wrote this section, is that my access to my site has been restricted to me for 24 hours.  And now, rather than at least having a stagnate site up and my not posting to it, the entire site has been taken offline. 

THIS IS NOT the HostGator I first signed up with.  Prior to 2013, if you had an emergency, they seemed to be right on it and rarely kept you waiting.

This year, it feels like a completely different experience.  As if they've changed hands or management.  This could be the cost of company growth.

I looked at my tickets I logged with HG and it seemed that 1 to 2 hour gaps between communications (not something I'm used to):

HostGator Notice:  01:54:27 PM | Mar 12th, 2013
             my reply: 02:01:18 PM | Mar 12th, 2013
HostGator reply:    04:03:45 PM | Mar 12th, 2013
Me:                      04:34:45 PM | Mar 12th, 2013
HostGator Final reply: 05:37:29 PM | Mar 12th, 2013

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Todays fun:

HostGator Notice: 10:28:32 AM | May 22nd, 2013
My reply:              03:04:45 PM | May 22nd, 2013 (Weird time stamp... I contacted them around 7ish my time.)
After using Live Chat to EXPIDITE the process:
HostGator:            11:44:07 PM | May 22nd, 2013
My reply:              12:38:43 AM | May 23rd, 2013
HostGator reply     01:25:54 AM | May 23rd, 2013
My A.M. reply:      08:17:56 AM | May 23rd, 2013
HostGator             11:21 AM | May 23rd, 2013

It feels obvious my emergency is not their urgency or even, seemingly on their radar.  But that's my emotional opinion on an alleged presumed situation on their end.  I'm sure they are working very hard on various issues, and mine only being one of them.

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I did notice an interesting tidbit in their latest reply from 9+ hours ago... in that they told me I have too many posts, comments and plugins and that's why my site was causing server issues.

(So first it was a script, and now it's too many posts.)

Yet a few weeks ago I had ripped out a few hundred older posts and was running quite fine until yesterday.  And I never came close to those original post numbers from a few weeks back.

And now that my functionality has returned, they apologized for the wait because they have a high number of tickets today (eh?) and it seems that now, I've been informed that search engine robots were the cause for my issue.  So this malarkey about my database and other things seemed a bit off.  They suggested that I control the robot crawl rates.  Which I did the last time this happened.  And high number of tickets?  Was that the issue for my waiting around last time also?

All just valid questions rumbling around in my mind.

But so be it, I did my best to comply with their issues.

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Days like this really make you think, that's for sure!

Comments

  1. I have been put down by hostgator three times after they migrate their service in 2013, never had I once complained and today they took my site down because of loading issues - very scary, no warning, nothing just taking your site down and now I applied for a ticket to activate my site - up until now NOTHING, no reply. I have lost more money than I pay for the hosting. Three times is strike, perhaps Hostgator doesn't want you do business with them or perhaps they are the customer and I should provide them service. Hostgator is giving me headache, time to move on to other hosting companies

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