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HostGator vs. A2 Hosting

February 24, 2014
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By JFL

Hosting is one of those things. A good host rarely gets credit when things are good, and really only gets paid attention to when things go bad. And it takes some bad experiences - consistently - to ever force you to go through the hassle of switching.

Over the past dozen or so years, I've done some web work. I've maintained my own sites, maintained sites for other people/companies, and if someone already has hosting set up and wants me to make some changes to their site, no problem - things are generally the same from these cheap web hosts. WHM, cPanel, blah blah.

HostGator had a reputation a few years ago of being among the best. Their sites were fast, they had responsive LiveChat support, they were cheap, they had a cool logo (who doesn't love a big friendly cartoonish gator?), and their marketing was colorful.

So a few weeks ago when someone wanted me to build them a website, basically a super-customized Wordpress site, and they already had hosting on HostGator, I said, "Sure! I won't even have to switch anything, your hosting is already all set." HostGator must still be the same top-notch host they were a few years ago, right?

WRONG.

The site was slow. Sloooowwwww. LiveChat took 15+ minutes to get someone. And I don't even think people were busy. In the evenings, it seemed to just "start" at a 30 minute wait time, just to discourage you from waiting. And if you happened to wait 30 minutes, your prize was sub-par customer support. The type of customer support that would just say, "You need to disable all of your plugins." Who can really disable ALL of their plugins?

I knew Wordpress wasn't the issue because the FTP was slow. So slow I knew I couldn't develop on this.

But what happened with HostGator? They were always top notch. Even if support sucks, I can live with them being FAST. And they always were.

What happened is they got bought out. By a big company called EIG that's overselling their capabilities. The dollars add up, but they could give a shit about what they're selling http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1290923. Google and you'll find more articles.

The site I was working on? I had to go through the hassle of switching them over to my own server at a2hosting (www.a2hosting.com). A2 Hosting has been my hosting provider for probably close to 10 years. There were a few years where I had maybe 5-10 outages lasting from 1-2 hours. But I run some cronjobs to update real estate listings EVERY DAY at 4am. I host about 25 sites that get some huge traffic spikes. My sites are fast, I have experienced zero outages over the past two years (that I know of), and the FTP is hyper-fast. You click on a folder in FileZilla and BAM! there's the contents.

Their service is good, with LiveChat and their ticket system. And one of their techs - Patrick - is on point and super responsive.

The sad truth is, any company can go from great to sub-par in time, but whatever you've got - good or bad - trumpet it and let other people know, so they can do some Googling of their own and see what others are saying.

Bottom line: Stay away from HostGator!! And look into companies like A2 (http://www.a2hosting.com). Learn from my experience. Good luck!

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Tech Summary:

  • "Full Stack"
  • Backend: PHP, SQL (MySQL, MSSQL)
  • Frontend: HTML, CSS & Javascript (jQuery framework)
  • Creation and use of REST APIs

Additional:

  • RETS for Realtors
  • Wordpress Development
  • XML Parsing, JSON Parsing, RSS Feed Display
  • Responsive Design
  • Full Google Docs integration, store form submissions in Google Spreadsheets
  • Integration of Facebook API, Twitter API, Salesforce.com API, Flickr API, Instagram API, eBay, PayPal, and Google Maps API

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Josh Lipinski has been designing and updating our website from the day our company began. He is courteous, prompt and professional...Read More 
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