As a web designer, who’s been in business over 14 years, I’ve worked with a lot of hosting companies including 1and1, GoDaddy, BlueHost, InMotionHosting, HostGator, Dreamhost, iPage and I’m usually asked which ones I recommend – Dreamhost and GoDaddy were at the top of my list –  but here’s why I’m no longer endorsing them.

GoDaddy oversells:

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with GoDaddy for years. I’ve called GoDaddy quite often on behalf of my clients and sometimes the help is fantastic… and other times I want to reach through the phone and strangle whomever I’m speaking with.

While I’ve gotten used to dealing with their technical support – they now seem to be pushing products that many of my clients just don’t need.

Case #1: I recently did a very simple, small website (4-5 pages) for an elderly client and when he called GoDaddy to confirm his hosting, they sold him over $450 worth of add-ons he did not need. Luckily, I was able to call GoDaddy and get my client a full refund.

Case #2: Another client called about their Deluxe WordPress Hosting (on sale right now for $4.99/month) but GoDaddy wanted my client to also purchase their WP Premium Support which is an additional $49.00 – $149.99 a month!

Dreamhost dropped the tech support ball:

I love Dreamhost – at least I used to. I actually use Dreamhost VPS Hosting for all of my own websites but my last two experiences with their technical support has made me rethink recommending them.

Case #1: When I noticed that a client’s new WordPress website (on one of their shared hosting plans) seemed especially slow – I contacted tech support:

Their first suggestion, which would be certainly outside of most client’s skills, was to increase the PHP variables via a phprc file – which I did but, unfortunately, it didn’t help. In the same chat – it was suggested that the plugins I was using may be causing the slowdown – but since there were only 3 plugins activated at the time, that didn’t make any sense.

A second inquiry got me this response: “Your WordPress theme may be too “heavy” for shared hosting.” … Now… I’ve been using themes like the one that was installed for years, across many different hosting companies and that answer just made me furious.  Needless to say, I recommended that my client move her website to a different hosting company – immediately. It’s now super fast and happy on SiteGround.com’s shared hosting server – which, incidentally, is a lot cheaper.

I did get a message from Dreamhost, after the account was closed, which helped mollify me a bit. Here’s the first part of that message:

“I apologize for my late reply. My name is *** and I’m a Quality Assurance Supervisor at DreamHost. Your case was passed to me for review and we’ve been investigating the matter internally. I can’t share the exact results of that investigation with you but I want to say that I do agree we could have done more to assist you with finding what was causing the slow site on a shared environment.”

Case #2: The problem? People in different parts of the country kept getting “Site not Found” errors.

Initially, when the tech support guy couldn’t replicate the problem, he said, “Yeah, there’s not much we can do for troubleshooting why someone in another state can’t view it.”  and went so far as to say “It appears you may have some old site data stuck in your browser’s cache. I recommend you clear your browser’s cache via this method” – even tho I explained to him that I’d asked people across the country to see if they could view the website –  who’d NEVER visited the site before.

The funny thing was that tech support actually supplied the answer and proved MY point when he sent me a link to prove HIS point (www.whatsmydns.net). I had set up a unique IP address for the site but it was showing other IP addresses as well. His answer? “Yeah that’s really odd”. Luckily, I was able to troubleshoot the issue myself.

Unfortunately for Dreamhost, those 2 cases occurred within days of each other so my patience remains pretty thin.

What is the moral of this story?

Some (most) hosting companies are just going to tick me off at one point or another. *laughs

The wonderful thing is that there’s a lot of competition out there, and in most cases, it’s really easy to change from one hosting company to another. Don’t feel that you have to be “stuck” with a company if you’re not happy with them. If you have questions about which hosting company you should use, I’ll be happy to answer them – simply contact me.