Update 08-07-13: The A2 Migration Guide is ready for download. It will help you smoothly make the transition to new hosting.
On August 2, 2013 Endurance International Group’s (EIG) data center in Provo, UT experienced a blackout that impacted sites on Bluehost, HostGator, HostMonster and JustHost. Even EIG’s own company websites and phone services were down, making it difficult for them to distribute information. The phone outage extended to Bluehost’s datacenter as well. Here’s what else you need to know about this situation and why I’m taking down my affiliate links and moving elsewhere.
Who is EIG?
First, let’s get some background. EIG is one of the biggest hosting companies in the world. They have been buying up the competition like crazy and now own JustHost, HostMonster, BlueHost, and their latest acquisition, HostGator. According to their listing on Wikipedia, they own about 50 more hosting companies too.
One of the things that EIG insisted on as they purchased companies, was for the datacenters to be consolidated to their server farm in Utah. They have also consolidated some of their personnel and infrastructure.
What Happened to Me
My sites have been on HostGator for about six years. A couple of months ago I got a notice from them that my sites were being moved to a new server with a new DNS, like it or not. Didn’t matter how inconvenient it was, and wouldn’t know exactly when it would happen. The email just said they would send another email when it was finished.
About an hour later I got another email saying the move was complete and that I wouldn’t have to do anything.
What Happened Next
The next day I noticed how slow my sites were running and it has been one tech support call after another since then. Servers are slow, site has been down, glitches, quirks, and more.
That not only involved BlogAid and associated domains, it also involved all of the training and development sandbox sites I create temporarily for clients. And they started calling. Or I started to have to send emails to them begging their forgiveness for all the glitches.
What Else Happened
HostGator and BlueHost have been my two preferred vendors for about three years. I’ve got lots of clients on both. In the last six months I’ve noticed a trend in the responses given from tech support when I call for myself or on behalf of my clients. BlueHost’s response to slow site speed is to tell the client to purchase a bigger package or go with either dedicated or VPS packages, all of which cost more. Not good.
HostGator’s recent responses have been to try a caching plugin or different settings on same. That’s their first response to almost any site issue now. Not good.
A few weeks ago my sites were completely down. I was told it was a server-wide error. At the end of the day I called to get an update. They told me there was no server error reported and that the connection to my database had simply been lost. They reset the connection. When I asked about the new username and password, they had been set to something that any hacker could break in less than two seconds!!!!!!
That was my personal last straw.
In the Hunt
My business runs on my reputation as a trusted source. And I have to go where I can trust the hosting service is top notch. So, I started checking around. I have a wide spread of needs, not only for myself, but for my clients. I’m not a reseller and all of my clients have their own accounts (which I highly recommend). But, I need a reseller account for myself so that I can isolate all of the sandbox sites from one another.
What I Found
After checking with my other online business friends, resellers, developers, and yes, even a hacker buddy or two, I decided that A2 Hosting was a good fit for me.
Best Laid Plans
I planned to move my sites to A2 for a few months to check them out first hand, and then start recommending that my clients go there too, if all was okay.
Well, this latest fiasco has required me to make moving a priority.
On top of that, I’ve already had to turn down two clients who wanted to use my affiliate hosting links to receive the free, fully secure site setup offer I run.
I have just told them the truth about what’s happening. And now I’m telling you.
Most of my clients can afford shared hosting prices. Managed hosting on something like WPEngine is out of the question.
I’ve told you in several blog posts over the past couple of months that I’ve been maneuvering BlogAid to be where the future business will be. Moving to A2 Hosting, with solid state drives, is one of those changes. I’ll soon be offering site management packages that are less expensive than managed hosting. And, I’m already quietly offering full site management services to busy professionals. You’ll be hearing more about all of this in the coming months.
For now, I’ve already removed my HostGator and BlueHost affiliate links and site setup offer. I’ll be posting new offers soon.
I’m moving to A2 as soon as I can, which will be early next week. (It’s not just me, it’s all the client sandbox sites too, so have to time it just right.)
What You Can Do
Hold tight if you are on any of EIG’s servers. It’s not a good idea to migrate elsewhere until the servers are stabilized. Please realize that even if your site is up and running now, they could still be jumping it from server to server as they continue to clean up the cause and the fallout from this blackout.
Backup, backup, backup. This is not a place to scrimp. Get a real backup solution in place. Forget the cost. What does it cost to lose your entire site and have to rebuild from scratch? I use and recommend BackupBuddy (aff link) and to store the files off site to Amazon S3.
A backup is your only real security blanket these days.
Download my free report with 14 rated backup solutions and details on setting your backup intervals and overwrites.
You can bet that I’ll be posting more on this in the coming days and will tell you the truth about what’s happening and give you my best recommendations for your site. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. You need to get what works best for your situation.
I’ll be trying to work a deal with A2 for discounts, especially considering how many clients I’ll be bringing them. So, watch for a post on that and the reinstatement of my site setup offer.