Why Hostgator and Sitesell Are My Favorite Hosting Companies and Why 1and 1 Sucks…
Hosting 12 years Ago…
Back in the late 90′s, we used a number of web hosting companies. Most of our early vendors pitched us newbie’s with online packages that included server side website building programs of limited capacity and usually very cumbersome, but functional.
I remember subscribing to a hosting service at a seminar for about $295 set up fee plus $450 annually. There were a myriad of subsequent technical and customer service issues and we ended up canceling. I think all told there were three experiences like this – some were even multi-level programs that made immense sense at the presentation – but seemed to morph into something entirely different by the time you got home. Cancellation was significantly more difficult than signing up. At least two of these programs were based out of Utah, as I remember.
Looking back, if I had had any inkling of search engine optimization back then, it would have been so easy to succeed online because nobody had a clue what to do online and there was virtually no competition. But I didn’t. There were exceptions like Cory Rudl, Declan Dunn, Marlon Saunders, Jonathan Mizel and Ken Evoy.
I remember when Ken Evoy started promoting sitesell.com and what a great job he did building that system and really giving new customers real and valid information. He created the original Site Build It – a far cry above the competition at the time and updated it completely about three years ago. The system has lots of instruction and a number of behind the scenes benefits that the tech guys handle automatically for clients.
I got my first Sitesell.com site in 2001 (?) and following Ken Evoy’s instructions diligently built a ~100 page website in about a year and got the traffic to ~2500 unique visitors a month, and at one point, to a PR4. I’m no longer in that business.
The graph image file on the left is based on historical data (I borrowed from the SBI wesbite) accumulated since 2001.
Based on my experience, I strongly recommend Site Build It.
Ken’s mantra was always “Content is King.” Still is.
Coupled with a built in on-page, ”block by block” , SEO system that you had to follow, tweak and evaluate – before publishing the page, I was very happy with the program and Ken Evoy’s dedication to customer satisfaction. Every single personal experience with customer service was positive. Great people, great mission and a great product.
There is an annual $299 fee which includes all of the above and a built in domain hosting fee (or you can break that up into $29.99 monthly payments). You can find out more at Site Build It (and yes this my affiliate link). All things considered, you get a lot for the money and there is a ton of information available to succeed if you are willing to work.
It is a solid, well managed little company and Ken Evoy is good people.
Other Hosting Experiences…
Since 2000, I’ve patronized half a dozen hosting companies. Most of them were technically adequate and friendly until you tried to leave the system and they suddenly grew customer service fangs; similar in nature to trying to collect on an insurance claim versus paying the premiums.
The last two “prior” hosting company experiences ended in high levels of dissatisfaction, angry phone calls, endless cycles of digital communication, written complaints with formal bank account disputes, interrupted service and a generally bad experience. I really don’t even remember the names of the companies at this time – partially because I have purged the majority of negative information from my mental “hard drives” and also because the data is on an old computer that has been out of service for quite a while.
1and1 Hosting Sucks…
When I first switched over to 1and1 ~5 years ago, it was such an improvement over the hosting company I had been with, that it was like a breath of fresh air. It did not take me long to find out that they did not support the WordPress platform and frequently do not keep the PHP current on their servers. It is not possible to interface with automation software remotely to your account on their servers and their email servers are located somewhere in outer space, or at a minimum are powered by alien software, from some ancient technology. The 1and1 control panel does not communicate well with cpanel applications and they are still trying to sell their own version of a “blogging” interface versus the open platform WordPress. A few months ago, their servers were dysfunctional for several days at a time. They are down – lately – from time to time and I’m not talking about scheduled server upgrades or maintenance at 4 in the morning either.
I don’t mind aliens as long as they’re friendly. But these guys make me want to get a handful of wooden stakes, stock on up silver bullets and hang lots of garlic knobs all around my office.
All in all, the tech is not bad, particularly if you like Philippino techs, and I do actually. If you are patient, they will usually always figure out the problem. I rarely had to call more than once on a specific tech glitch to resolve it. Not bad in ~5 years…
And the tech people are very polite.
Customer service around billing issues is another thing altogether. They are from a parallel universe that is completely different from the one they attempt to create on their television ads.
Billing can be a nightmare. And they treat you as if you are a deaf mute or a foreigner who needs to learn how to speak their language - before they want to talk to you. You can not pay ahead for hosting or domain fees.
It is not possible.
You can not pay with a check, a bank check, a money order or a bank transfer – in the event there is a problem with your debit card – like a new bank taking over your old bank while you are out of the country for three months.
One time I did interact with a very nice customer service person – who solved my problem temporarily. However, the very next day our agreement was reversed without notice and in direct contrast to the conclusion of our discussion the day before.
The worst part is their attitude – about as pleasant (and effective) as scratching your itchy tongue with a red hot poker.
I gave these guys the benefit of the doubt many times. My last time on the phone with 1and1 customer service was the LAST TIME.
WordPress Hosting, Offline and Local Marketing for Business
Over the last year and a half, we have shifted out focus from SEO and Google placement to offline marketing using the internet. We build sites almost exclusively using the WordPress platform because of the flexibility and the rapidly expanding capability of the platform.
Years of practice are serving us and our clients well. We offer local, mobile, offline marketing services and web design for local brick and mortar and service businesses. As a result we are using more and more WordPress installations and we’re getting really good at it.
Looking for an alternative to 1and1 is what led me to Hostgator that and the fact that Ed Dale recommended it in his 30 Day Challenge training.
And Hostgator Rocks…
On the far end of the other side of the customer service and digital universe from 1and1.com is hostgator.com.
These guys are awesome. They are technically competent, courteous, patient and willing to help you solve your problem. The staff acts as if they really want your business and that they appreciate you being a customer and providing revenue for the company.
What a concept.
Their servers are fast, always current and updated. You can manage your own payments online and if you have a problem – call them up (or connect with live support via an instant messaging interface) and they’ll help you fix it fast.
They have all types of goodies on the cpanel including a push button install for a new wordpress account. This includes an awesome SQL database interface, flexible and fast email account management, and a wide selection of options and tools to your support and expand your online experience. As an example, they have a function in the file manager, through the cpanel, where you can actually right click the file you want to look at and choose “file edit in text format”.
How cool is that. You don’t have to download the file via ftp, modify the file and then upload back to the server via ftp. One right click – file edit and save. Done. That feature alone has saved me a ton of time. Managing wordpress on Hostgator is a dream if you know what you are doing – particularly if you manage multiple domains like I do.
I have been using them about a year and it’s the best company I have used for hosting to date. It’s really a good value for the money. You can upgrade and scale it to your needs as necessary. They are flexible and helpful. They actually want you to grow your business and they assume the best.
My service is a real bargain as far as I am concerned. I’m glad hostgator exists and I plan to be a customer for a long time. I have a number of domains with them right now and I’m moving the remainder of them over to their servers within the next 2 months.
I might give Bluehost a try, as well, as I take on more clients, just to see what I think in comparison.
Hostgator is awesome for wordpress hosting. If you’ve been thinking about trying a new hosting company give hostgator a try using my link or click on the hostgator graphic in this post.
Feel free to contact me or leave a comment below if you need some help, have questions or would like some assistance setting up your own WP site. Be happy to help.
Start enjoying your hosting service and your whole internet experience. I do.
Michael Barrett is a certified trainer and workshop facilitator, a blogger and local marketing expert. He has many years of personal hands on small business experience in multiple industries, aside from internet and website knowledge, and specializes in teaching clients how to get new customers for their businesses.