HostGator Parks Domain Names to Make Money off Your Websites

I discovered something pretty sneaky about HostGator web hosting.  Hostgator parks domain names which are using their DNS (domain name system) if you are not using your domains.

What happened the other day was I was trying to create a subdomain for this blog and Singing Dogs to use on Tumblr.  I recently deleted my Facebook account since I want to focus on other social networks, like Tumblr.  The nice thing about Tumblr is that sharing is very quick, fluid, and part of the ecosystem and links are DoFollow.  (Unlike Facecrook run by Mark Fuckerberg.)  To get the maximum SEO (search engine optimization) benefit out of using a Tumblr blog it's best to setup a subdomain.  Lots of startups nowadays host company blogs on subdomains on Tumblr for the SEO benefits and due to the fact content is much more likely to get shared readily.

As I was trying to add a CNAME record to create the subdomain at my domain name registrar, something must have went wrong.  I checked the main domain, AdamYamada.com, and saw this website was being parked.

adam yamada hanff“WTF? HostGator!” is all I could think to myself.  I then thought, “Well, maybe this is just a fluke or something.” Then I checked Singing Dogs and HostGator was parking that domain too!

singing dogs adam yamada hanff

For those that don't know what domain parking is, it is essentially displaying ads on a domain name instead of putting up a blog, forum, or website with content.  The domain owner hopes visitors will click on displayed ads, earning them revenue.  Domain parking is a big industry and something that earns a lot of people good money, but a hosting company shouldn't be doing this in my opinion.  If you are going to route DNS anywhere it should be to at least advertise your web hosting offerings.   Even if you have domain names you are not doing anything with I think domain parking sucks.

If you land on a subdomain that doesn't exsist or you haven't setup, HostGator will display a 404 error page advertising their hosting.  It's just weird they do it on a main domain name since most other hosting companies would at least display an error page to let you know something went wrong, instead of trying to earn money. hostgator park domainsWhat's fucked up about this is the fact that HostGator shouldn't be making money off customer's domains parking them.  When I got on the phone with HostGator support today I was going to tell the service representative off, but it wasn't worth my time.

I am seriously inclined to move backed to Site5 after this domain parking incident.  I've also been having error issues which HostGator blamed on caching but I know that isn't the issue.

Let's not forget the major outage at the Provo, Utah datacenter which took out customer's websites with BlueHost, JustHost, HostMonster, and HostGator.  All companies are owned by Endurance International Group (EIG) which is sort of infamous for buying hosting companies… and then ruining them.  HostGator is starting to become like the all other EIG web hosts, crap!

HostGator Down along with other EIG Hosts causes Web Hysteria

hostgator downHostGator Down! Noooo, my websites are not up!

This sentiment was shared on Friday as most of HostGator's sites along with JustHost, BlueHost, and HostMonster‘s customers sites went offline for many hours and experienced intermittent downtime, slow loading websites, and generally poor site performance.

With a lot of frustration and no clear answers from HostGator I sent out this Tweet on Friday.  This got shared on YFS Magazine Facebook page, a magazine for young entrepreneur's, and got a healthy number of ReTweets and favorites since others felt the same way.

You might want to check out some other Tweets regarding the outages as there a lot of other funny, rude, and crazy ones.  When people can't access or work on their websites the niceties go out the window and web hysteria kicks in.

It should be noted that HostGator, JustHost, BlueHost, and HostMonster are all owned by the same company Endurance International Group (EIG).  EIG web hosts are notorious for overselling and packing servers with tons of websites leading to poor and slow site performance.

Until recently HostGator was considered one of the best web hosting companies to work with.  I actually moved from Site5 to HostGator since I have hosted with HostGator before and found they were a good web hosting company.

That was until they moved their datacenter from SoftLayer's facilities in Dallas, Texas to the Provo, Utah facility about 3-4 weeks ago.  Every since the datacenter move happened the websites I have hosted with HostGator (including this blog currently, but that will likely change) ALL my sites have had issues loading slow and I have had quite a lot of downtime even before the EIG datacenter fiasco on Friday.  I've tried to work with HostGator support about these issues but they didn't seem to care or think there was a problem.  They essentially were like, “Yeah, F$%# you we know the servers are overpacked.”

I assume the reason all the Provo, Utah datacenter has been having issues is that HostGator manages 1% of the world's websites.   When you move that much data into an already packed datacenter, well you are going to have problems.  Probably not something that EIG executives want to hear about since they want to have an Initial Public Offering (IPO) soon.  Therefore you better cut costs and make the company look like a better investment.  Am I right?

Initially HostGator blamed the problem on a “network issue” and it was not clear whether it was a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack on the Provo datacenter or something that was caused by EIG.  Because of the wide anger and hysteria EIG setup a simple WordPress website called Endurance Response and posted this;

During the morning of August 2, 2013, Endurance International Group’s data center in Provo, UT experienced unexpected issues that impacted customers of Bluehost, HostGator, HostMonster and JustHost. Company websites and some phone services were affected as well.

Many of our customers’ sites are back online. Some customers may continue to experience intermittent access and slowness until services are fully restored. Customer should not experience any loss of data.

The resources of our entire company are focused on the recovery, including our executive team, which is leading these efforts from our command center in Burlington, MA. The team will issue updates at enduranceresponse.com every 30  minutes until all customer services are restored. Following the restoration of services, Endurance will conduct a thorough review of this incident.

Ron LaSalvia, Chief Operating Officer, has expressed his message to customers, “We understand that your sites are your lifeblood, as well as the engine to our economy, and we have committed all company resources, nationwide to a swift resolution and full restoration.”

When I emailed HostGator they said again it was a network issue and then said it was DDOS.  Apparently EIG can't keep their story straight as I did not see anywhere on Endurance Response that it said they had a DDOS.

What is annoying is that having lots of website down-time can affect search engine rankings.  (Of course this depends on how much traffic your blog gets and how often the Googlebot crawls your site.)

I want to make it clear to everyone that I understand when web hosting companies have downtime.  This it to be expected if you are using a shared hosting honestly.  It just is not possible since  you are sharing the server resources with other people.  However… HostGator still has yet to provide me with clear answers about the outages and bad performance before this major HostGator down-time, along with the other EIG web hosts, and make it clear what the exactly the problem was.

Endurance International Group now has taken HostGator from being a great host with great support to a host that people are fleeing from.  (According to Twitter and other social media channels at least.)  Even though I wrote about HostGator deals before on this blog and have recommended them, I have removed all affiliate links from this blog and all of my websites.  I can't in good faith recommend HostGator anymore to my friends or followers and I hope you appreciate my honesty, even it will cost me a few affiliate commissions.   For your information, I won't be giving any business to Endurance International Group hosting companies in the future either.

Personally I am probably going to be moving back to Site5 because of the HostGator down-time and lack of support.  Site5 provides good and knowledgeable support, but can be too technical at times, and don't overpack servers.  You can read my Site5 Review to get a better idea about their web hosting services.

If you are a customer with HostGator, BlueHost, JustHost, or HostMonster I would recommend using a website monitoring service.  (You should for all of your websites no matter what the host is.)  I like Uptime Robot and it is completely free website monitoring service and allows up to 50 monitors.  Downtime alerts can be sent via email, text message, or RSS feed notifications.

If you are currently with an EIG host has the recent datacenter outage made you think about moving to another web hosting company?  Where are going to move and how do you determine a good host?  How does it make you feel when you can't access or your website is down and there is no clear explanation?

HostGator offering 51% off ALL Hosting plans Today!

UPDATE: I no longer recommend HostGator for web hosting due to slow sites and bad customer service.

I thought I would let people know about this amazing deal that HostGator is offering today only.  You can get any HostGator hosting plans for 51% off which includes shared, VPS (Virtual Private Server), and dedicated server plans.

hostgator

If you have considered buying hosting to start a website or already have a HostGator plan but think you need another for running clients websites or just want another account, then today is when you should purchase another HostGator plan.  People who already have a hosting plan with HostGator are eligible but there are a few catches, like always.

Please note that current clients are eligible to take advantage of this offer on additional hosting accounts only. In order to receive the discount on an additional account, current clients must keep their original, existing account open and in good standing in order to continue receiving the discounted rate on their new account.

What's surprising about this deal is that HostGator is offering dedicated servers as part of the deal as well.  Usually these 1-day hosting deals are only valid on shared and VPS hosting plans.  Since dedicated servers plans are quite costly I am pretty surprised HostGator is offering the 51% off deal on dedicated servers too.  I guess they figure most people will not want or need a dedicated server, which is accurate.

I have hosted with HostGator  in the past and they are a great hosting company with excellent support.  I am not hosting with HostGator currently, although this deal will probably tempt me back, I do recommend them for people getting started online.  However, I do have 2 main complaints with HostGator;

  • Ads in cPanel: If you buy a shared hosting plan HostGator runs ads in the cpanel, which is backend interface where you manage sites.  This really annoys me as I already gave them money for services, I mean you don't need to advertise in the backend. 
  • Chat/Email Support can Be Slow: When I was hosting with them HostGator support was great.  People on the phone were always helpful and able to answers my questions.  I found email support took awhile to get back to me though and chat support was sometimes backlogged for 25+ minutes.

Something you might see people complain about on hosting forums is that HostGator is now owned by Endurance International Group (EIG).  This bothers a lot of people within the hosting industry as a majority of EIG companies have sub-par hosting and support.  Also most of the supposedly “Unlimited” hosting promised by EIG isn't really unlimited.

While you should realize “Unlimited” hosting doesn't ever mean truly unlimited, HostGator is the only EIG company where unlimited isn't something they just say.  Someone I know who runs a WordPress Multisite group of sites that gets 250,000 plus hits a month on HostGator isn't anywhere near the limits of his plan.  Few shared hosting plans, even EIG companies, will allow that sort of traffic.

Even though HostGator is not perfect my friend Aaron likes to say, “For $10 bucks a month, you can't beat them!”  It is honestly hard to disagree with that.  (It's $10 a month after the discounted rate if you choose to stick with them, which a lot of people do.)

This HostGator deal is valid today, May 29th 2013, until midnight Central Daylight Time (CDT) I believe.  The coupon code for the hosting promo is OHSNAPPY.   You should not have to paste the coupon code to receive the 51% discount though.  The correct coupon code will automatically be inserted on all orders that are placed today when signing up for a new account.  If you have an existing account it seems like you might want to contact HostGator billing to take advantage of the deal.