Finding a reliable web host can be more challenging than wrestling a penguin in a tub full of apricot jelly. I know this all too well after going through a few web hosting horror stories of my own. Having a reliable web host is vitally important for business owners and entrepreneurs whose uptime can make or break their business.

A reliable web host can mean the difference between paying your rent or standing out on the corner with a tea cup in your hand.

Since finding the right web host is such an important task, here are ten ways to tell if your current web host sucks –

    1. Their support staff thinks a Class C IP is a type of driver’s license.
    2. You have Super Cache installed on your WordPress blog, but their shared servers still crash when one of your posts hits the Digg homepage.
    3. When you contact their support staff, you are greeted by “Thank you kind Sir, how may I help you kind Sir?”
    4. You have to prepay for 100 years, as well as sell your soul, to get their advertised price.


Pulling Out Hair


    1. Trying to complete the sign-up form is like walking through a mine field.
    2. They delete your blog due to an error in their billing system.
    3. They cancel your hosting account out of the blue, and then have the audacity to tell you that you’re wrong when you call and tell them that you DID NOT cancel your account.

This actually happened to me, and although I’m not going to mention any names, <subliminal message>Startlogic</subliminal message> I would never consider using their hosting services again!


  1. Their staff thinks private name servers are individuals who work in the food industry and keep their name a secret.
  2. Their servers crash more than a drunk driver on new years eve.
  3. Their support staff thinks weekly backups are something that you need in a bar fight.

You heard one of my hosting horror story in #7, so now it’s time for you to share yours! Leave a comment below with your worst hosting horror story.


Gerald Weber is the founder of in Houston Texas and co-founder of which is the free platform that helps bloggers generate REAL “social buzz” on quality content. Follow Gerald on Google+ to learn more.

51 thoughts on “10 Ways to Tell If Your Web Host Sucks

  1. Nice one Gerald.. One more thing if your hosting says we are the best wordpress hosting but we do not support all in one seo plugin :P
    It happened to me but I wont take name :D

  2. So many of these web hosts have people manning their customer support that don’t know a thing about the internet or are poorly prepared/trained to handle the evolutions of a constantly evolving website models.

  3. My Streamline.Net horror story: 27 days with no website, with e-mail bouncing and absolutely nothing I could do about it.

    5 Jan 2010 – I discover that I am unable to login to my FTP server and I open a support ticket. Streamline decide re-set my domain – cutting off my website and my primary e-mail account, which is fine because I’m all backed up and ready to start again. The trouble is I still can’t access my FTP server, nor my e-mail. E-mail is now bouncing.

    Can they fix it? No they can’t (or won’t). The problem appears to be that they registered the domain under their old system and because of this they have no way to re-set it.

    A long dialogue ensues over the following WEEKS via support ticket and phone. The polite malice exuding from Streamline and the absurdity of the dialogue makes the experience Kafkaesque. (I have never felt so disempowered.) I am unable to move my domain because they are unable to unlock it. I’ll cut to the chase (because the details are rather tedious):

    12 Jan 2010 – a week later: instead of unlocking my domain, they re-register it, which locks it for a further 60 days. Here’s the thing: it STILL doesn’t work. Kafkaesque dialogue continues.

    1 Feb 2010 – Finally, 27 DAYS LATER I regain control of my FTP server and my e-mail. I now just have to wait until the domain is unlocked before moving it to a new registrar and host.

    Lessons and consequences: 1) My name will be on the whois from now on. 2) My hosting and domain registration will be separate from now on. 3) I don’t trust webhosts, not even HostGator who have been absolutely great so far. My experience with Streamline.Net has tarnished the whole industry for me – robbed me of my innocence.

  4. *cough*Yahoo*cough*

    Going into details would just be painful. I’ve been with Host Gator now for the last three years and I love them.

  5. Adam,

    Wow that certainly does sound like a fiasco. Good to hear that you finally got it all worked out. :-)

  6. “Thank you kind Sir, how may I help you kind Sir?”…this reminds me when I’m on gtalk and I get bombarded by fake SEO specialists.

  7. Here’s a horror story on hackers:

    My site was hacked by some kid in the Russia. My host at the time was a 1 man operation and he was on vacation.

    The hacker deleted user and admin accounts, fan-fiction story-posts, and added political jargon that was anti-US.

    Webhost reacted like he didn’t care, when asked for back-ups, as per the contract, was told there were none. The RPG Organization lost several members because of this attack. Michael Frisbee lost my account on host servicing because of this attack and resulting events.

    I switched to Host Gator- it took Mr Frisbee more than a month to realize he was not seeing activity on my sites. He finally discovered it when he sent me a bill. I thought he had figured it out- all I told him was that I switched hosts.

    He said that I would be spending more with HG than with him. I did the math and he is wrong.

    The break down with this man- PER SITE:

    $ 20 a year / 5 domains= $ 100 a year
    250megs of space per domain
    10 SQL databases per domain

    No back ups- little to no support- basically it was only guarenteed when he was around.

    With Host Gator:

    $ 9.95 a month
    unlimited domains
    unlimited SQL databases
    unlimited Email Accounts
    unlimited Disk Space

    Yes, I am spending more annually, however, considering the ulimited features that I get- plus support, I think that the extra $ 20 per year is worth it.

  8. Thankfully, I’ve been with HostGator long enough to have forgotten that my previous host didn’t have anyone that spoke English as a first or second language, never actually read any of my support tickets, and generally took so long to respond that I figured out how to solve my own problem.

    With HostGator, the reply to my support tickets is usually “Try it now.” I love that!

  9. mmmh… let me see, I’ve been with HostGator since the start so I’ve never had any of these issues. Just great service.

  10. Allow me to add a few from gruesome personal experience:
    (1) You have to have a frickin computer science degree to read the help response from the technicians.

    (2) The hosting company has a plethora of servers, and the USER has to become familiar with the servers by name and choose the server that provides the best performance.

    (3) Two or more technicians provide conflicting answers to technical questions.

    (4) The hosting company absolutely refuses to acknowledge billing errors.

    (5) Upon account termination, the hosting company continues to bill the customer, even though the hosting company has acknowledged account termination via both email and receipt of registered “snail mail”.

  11. I prefer cheap indian hosting, lol. Host Gator is as good as any other and Gerald is the man with the horse d****!

  12. Actually “You have to prepay for 100 years, as well as sell your soul, to get their advertised price.” case, reminds me a little bit of HostGator.

  13. Having just received the latest HostGator Newsletter I’d like to congratulate HostGator on being recognized by’s 2010 Reader’s Choice Awards. It did make me cringe however.

    As a web designer myself I have searched for, found, and worked with many hosting companies that had excellent service and hosting options. But then when they were recognized with similar awards their popularity skyrocketed and their service did not keep up. The reason I have more than 50% of my clients on HostGator is directly due to the excellent service I have experienced from HostGator. However, and this is a warning to management and staff at Hostgator, I will not hesitate to move every one of them if the excellent service I have from HostGator falls off.

    One of the last hosting companies I had over half my clients at one time out-sourced their first tear support staff to India. I don’t know if they just tried to keep cost down or could simply not train folks fast enough to keep up with their growth, but in the end, I was waiting on hold listening to the same muzac for hours regarding simple support issues that kept my clients project from moving forward. My time and my clients money is more valuable than that.

    Another company had a cyber attack on their servers and instead of fixing their security issues the correct way put security measures in place that resulted in our firm as well as many of our clients being block by IP because of three failed login attempts per month. Yes, per month. And they did not have to be for the same domain. So out of the seven people working in this office if we accumulated three failed logins in a month, which usually happened in the first week due to keyboard error, our static IP was blocked. The refusal of unblocking our IP or lessening the time period for failed logins resulted in us moving all clients from that hosting company.

    The purpose of this rant? PLEASE, make every effort to keep your excellent customer service and keep me your client. I am a forgiving person, but keep me happy.

  14. Had a dedicated server that had been active for at least 6 months, then started to get a bad feeling right before the data center reclaimed our paid server.

    It turns out an employee forgot to mark the server as deployed, resulting in our drives with active clients and hundreds of live sites on it going down and due to an issue with the backup system that we were in the process of working out, we lost 6 months of our data. Our hard drives were reformatted, and the server was re-issued to another client.

    They tried to make it up by giving us two months free, but as we all know you can’t put a price tag on the kind of damage that incident causes, I would be fine if we were in default that’s the way things go. But the server was paid and everything, seems there should be a double verification process when pulling from a live environment in my opinion.

    So we have since returned to and plan to stay. Best of all we are saving a lot of money in fringe benefits and extra features. Hostgator rocks!

  15. I was with Stargate for about 10 years and had absolutely no issues, their service was excellent! Barely ever any downtime, reasonably priced, if i ever had any issues they responded in a reasonable period of time. I always recommended them to friends.

    However, after 10 years all of a sudden they decided they didn’t want to do personal web hosting anymore and sold me to US2 (Midphase).

    About a year later with a million stuff ups everything was working again. Their support are complete morons who have no idea what you are talking about (I’m a sys admin), it takes them ages to respond with a response that is useless. My site, mail, etc was up and down the whole time.

    After another 6 or so months my CC expired and went to enter the new one. I only had the option of ‘Visa’ not ‘Mastercard’. I don’t have a ‘Visa’ only a ‘Mastercard’. I sent them several emails stating i’m happy to pay i just need a way to input my CC details securely. After several e-mails i was told they are going to cancel my account.

    Now 2 years later my domain is offline (yes it took them 2 years of me not paying to take it offline! lol), FTP and mail however are still available (wonder how long it’ll take them to realise ?). Only downside to getting 2 free years of hosting was no support (that was of no help ever anyway) and no access to cpanel (kind of annoying).

    I would not EVER recommend them to anyone! I am now in the process of transferring to Host Gator, hopefully everything goes smoothly (so far so good!).

  16. I’ve been with Hostgator for 11 months now.

    I think Hostgator is a brilliant company.

    No complaints.

  17. HostGator have beter sevice and suport…. BEST
    If You dont have “Horror History”, maybe need to use WebHostingpad for Your domain service ……
    it’s a Joke… dont Use webhostingpad never, never never..
    Thank You HostGator we are N1

  18. I have been with HostGator for a while – the service and is better than I experienced anywhere else.

    My worst experience is dealing with easyhosting. I have a client who was moving hosts because of slow service.

    Backup tools – absolutely none. I didn’t want to do a file by file download since their server disconnected me every few files.

    SSH access … I was blocked (used previously though). So I tried their support. 4 hours later, they couldn’t provide a backup, shell access, or allow me uninterrupted downloads and created a “tier 3” support ticket.

    Still waiting to hear from …

    The client is already moved, it was a long night downloading 2 applications, file by file. Wasn’t holding my breath for their support 3 to get back to me.

  19. Best service (love that Chat window) and prices, not 1 problem in over 5 years with multiple accounts. All my stuff is at HostGator now – you Rock!
    Thank you HostGator!

  20. I have been web designing and developing sites since the mid 90’s. I cannot count how many horror stories I have had with the 4 different hosts before I switched to Hostgator 7 years ago.

    The worst one had to be Apollo Hosting, allegedly we had X amount of gigs of space but before I even loaded half a gig of HTML I got the dreaded out of space errors. I went round after round after round with these idiots hearing every excuse from another customer over loaded their share of the server to my math must be wrong and I am over my quota (mind you it says right in CPanel how much space you have used, DUH!)

    I found Hostgator by a tiny text ad in an email someone sent me. I switched and have never looked back. I have had 5 different full websites all hosted here on HG with very few problems. And the few times I did have problems, they were taken care of within an hour, not days, or weeks, one hour!

    I will never look for another host ever again. I suggest HG to anyone looking for a host, they are awesome and very friendly, even at 3 A.M. to answer any question you have be it billing, tech or security.

  21. @HappyHGCustomer,

    My experience was similar to yours. I had been with a few different hosting companies and I mean through the ringer!

    Since switching to Hostgator a couple of years ago everything has been just lovely. Like you said their support is totally on top of their game.

  22. Bluehost – Significant downtime. It was down for 3 full days, then one day a week for a couple weeks, and was then hacked. I asked for a refund and they basically told me to screw myself, including their ceo. Saying their uptime was guaranteed for the whole server and not individual sites.
    Lunarpages – they’re just never around, everytime something goes wrong, downtime, whatever it’s either before 8am, after 5pm, or on the weekends! No online chat either. Yeah they fix it right away when they’re actually working but as webmasters you all know how you get pished if you have to wait all weekend.

  23. For a period of about two weeks, we transitioned to a company called Host-o-Rama (should’ve been a clue right there!). Couldn’t help but notice that their mail server wouldn’t send mail, so we asked if maybe they had a separate server dedicated to outbound e-mail. Their response, “No – you need to use your own ISP’s e-mail server to send e-mail; we do incoming only.”

    As it turned out, their justification was that they didn’t want to be held liable for sending out SPAM, so their solution was to only offer half of an e-mail service! They were a VERY small operation at the time (two people – sales and technical, I think) and we fought over this and a couple of other bizarre details for nearly two weeks before just bailing and exploring other options!

  24. My hosting company shut down my site and when potential customers clicked on my link it came up that my account was suspended. No email, no phone call. no warning.
    I generally check my website daily but we were away on vacation.

  25. I’ve been using Hostgator for over 4 months now and have even started reselling Hostgator webspace at the cheapest rates anywhere, $1/month for unlimited space and bandwidth, so that people who can’t afford the $5+ rates of most top web hosts can get the best yet the cheapest web hosting.

  26. hosgator n other hosting company sucks because the does not provide free google adwords outsite ca n usa…i m for nepal

  27. Some funny stories—but also some horror stories. Losing control of your website and e-mail—major disaster. I have had great support from Hostgator—a great feeling!

  28. I feel sorry for Elizabeth’s customers if she’s referring them to Godaddy. I have had endless problems with them and their shared sql servers, not to mention they’ve recently changed the script on one of two of my pages to point back to their own statistics advertising.

    I’ve submitted ticket after ticket to no avail, and am now switching to another company. The issue is I’m simply not sure where to move to since this is not the first time I’ve had severe issues with a hosting company. (And no, it isn’t just the wordpress installation. It’s also the moodle, forum, and wordpress installation; anything really that needs database access.)

    From all my careful studies, Hostgator seems to be the one to migrate towards, but I’ll be leery of them for a while.

  29. “I agree that THIS company i, especially when it comes to quality. I have been using i have been using this site for the last 3 years it never dissapointed me.Does anybody know when the new version is coming out?”

  30. Those web host really sucks. I find this article very helpful because i found out that my web host really sucks. They just sip money from us yet not giving the service that should be give to us!

  31. getting a reliable web host is really a challenging task. Great start up blog for enterprenuers!

  32. Oh, and I almost forgot. Hostgator customer service is probably one of the best things about Hostgator. When I have a question or problem, I chat with someone live… I buy my domains from GoDaddy… Virtually no customer service set up at all. It’s even a task trying to navigate to the right place to get a damn phone number…

  33. I Would like to talk about my bad experience with Godaddy past days. It talk about dedicated server, Godaddy support, PhpMyAdmin and hours of work …

    1 year before :
    I buy a dedicated server on GoDaddy. When you “install” it, they give you a package with Phpmyadmin, Php5, an OS you choose, etc.
    That fine.

    15 days ago :
    GoDaddy send me a mail saying to me that my site was hacked because of a security hole in PhpMyAdmin.
    Hacker use PhpMyadmin to insert a script in you server for scaning or for other things …

    Here is the mail history with GoDaddy support :

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    Regarding your server ABCDEF:
    It has come to our attention that your server ABCDEF has been compromised via a phpMyAdmin vulnerability and malicious files were uploaded and used to scan external hosts. We have stopped the malicious processes, removed the malicious files and disabled the vulnerable phpMyAdmin script.
    We are writing you to let you know of this occurrence and ask that you review the security of your account to prevent something like this from occurring in the future. If you are unable to determine how the problem arose or how to prevent it, we recommend provisioning your server.
    You can re-provision your server using the Dedicated Hosting Manager.


    Regarding your server ABCDEF:

    I apologize if the previous email did not include the necessary information to support our claim.
    This email includes additional information that has led us to the conclusion that the compromise stemmed from an outdated version of PHPMyAdmin on or around November 2, 2010.
    What alerted us was this activity we noticed:

    Found malicious files in /tmp:-rw-r–r– 1 apache
    apache 872 2009-11-29 14:13 nc.jpg-rw-r–r– 1 apache
    apache 872 2009-11-29 14:13 nc.jpg.1-rw-r–r– 1 apache
    apache 872 2009-11-29 14:13 nc.jpg.2
    HTTP Logs of phpmyadmin compromise:IP – – [21/Nov/2010:18:29:36 -0600] “POST /phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php HTTP/1.1″ 200 78 ”
    http://IP/phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php” “Opera”IP – – [27/Oct/2010:13:54:46 -0400] “POST /phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php HTTP/1.1” 200 110 “IP” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.01 [en]”IP – – [02/Nov/2010:12:28:46 -0400] “POST /phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php HTTP/1.1” 200 456678 “http://IP/phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php” “Opera”IP – – [02/Nov/2010:12:28:46 -0400] “POST /phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php HTTP/1.1” 200 179 “http://IP/phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php” “Opera”IP – – [11/Nov/2010:00:57:51 -0400] “POST /phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php HTTP/1.1” 200 133993 “http://IP/phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php” “Opera”IP – – [13/Nov/2010:15:47:24 -0400] “POST /phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php HTTP/1.1” 200 78 “http://IP/phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php” “Opera”IP – – [16/Nov/2010:16:04:10 -0400] “POST /phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php HTTP/1.1” 200 78 “http://IP/phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php” “Opera”IP – – [19/Nov/2010:03:12:55 -0600] “POST /phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php HTTP/1.1” 200 456546 “http://IP/phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php” “Opera”IP – – [21/Nov/2010:03:57:53 -0600] “POST /phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php HTTP/1.1” 200 110 “IP” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.01 [en]”

    We understand that readying a server is a lot of work and implore that you go forward with the re-provisioning of the server as requested in our previous email and use the most up to date software and security patches when deploying to avert future compromises.


    Additionally, it is important to note that the compromise was not due to a security hole in our configuration but due to a vulnerability in the version of phpMyAdmin you had implemented on the server. As such, we respectfully request that you take action to resolve this within 48 hours. Unfortunately, we will not be able to re-enable the vulnerable script until action has been taken. We appreciate your patience and cooperation in this matter.


    Unfortunately, when it comes to the security of your server, it is the responsibility of the client to maintain a high level of security on their server. We provide the initial tools to get started. If you have any questions regarding the vulnerability of the phpmyadmin, we respectfully request that you speak with them as they are a 3rd party.

    Because of this situation, it is important that you take action to resolve this within 48 hours.

    ****** The end.

    At the beginning, they propose me to buy a package …
    Finally there was a security hole in it …
    Finally it is not their responsability …
    Finally they propose me to reinstall all the package, now I understand …

    My site is off today.

    I recommend and prevent you to upgrade your PhpMyAdmin ASAP in order to have not the same GoDaddy surprise as me. Only the latest version is fine.

  34. really its an incredible information.thanks a lot sure Hostgator means the most reliable web webhost really sucks…

  35. amazing website that tells us about hostgear, customers comments on their view about hostgear even i want to be a customer in future, this site gives lots of information needed for a person who is planning to host their site in a better price

  36. Save some money and go with Pingdom. Downside, one site only per free account. Once I started tracking my HG hosted site with Pingdom, I was not pleased. Mid-90% uptime? Unacceptable. Even when the website is up, it often loads forever.

  37. Unfortunately the listed risks are reality especially with low cost hosting companies.
    Price is certainly an issue, but e.g. if the hosting server is down for several hours during prime time then the damages in non-sales could be x-times higher. Host Gator certainly enjoys a very high service quality at a reasonable price.

    Colleges Gold Coast

  38. I am confused using of hostgator when I set up a wordpress sites it says it is wrong park domain. what does it mean?

  39. I would say, before getting the web hosting services you wanted, you really need to do a lot of researching! Go into forums or just read articles regarding the different companies that offered web hosting services so you will be satisfied later on with the services your getting!

  40. Hostgator has definitly become too big to satisfy their customers. Hostgator customer service-chat sucks and has become as “short” and rude as the rest.
    Their advertised: “Unlimited” term is quite untrue in reality. And as much as I loathe Godaddy, I am considering going back.

  41. I’m trying Hostgator after being at another company and so far (two months into it) the performance really sucks for running Moodle.

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