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?

Site5 Review

site5 web hosting

Since I have been hosting with Site5 for awhile I decided I would write a Site5 Review.  Overall Site5 provides robust and fast servers, good support, and a nice backend you wont' find anywhere else.

Anyway here is my Site5 review for those that are considering hosting websites with Site5.

Site5 Review

site5 custom cpanel

Custom Cpnel and User Interface

Site5's custom cPanel and backend user interface deserve a big nod of approval.  It's clean, simple, and easy to navigate which can't be said about most hosting interfaces.

What I really like about Site5's custom cPanel is that you don't have to visit your own cPanel URL.  You can login into your cPanel directly from Site5.com by clicking “Client Login” in the top right.  You can also manage your billing and affiliate payouts from the same backend as well.  It's convenient and a well thought out user interface and system.  I don't understand why more hosting companies don't utilize or have a similar custom cPanel.  This is how other web hosting companies backends should look like and work in my opinion.

Keep in mind this is 2013 and most web users expect ease-of-use and clean interfaces.  Site5 has brought cPanel into the modern age whereas everyone else (including cPanel) is stuck in the year 2000.  If you are a Site5 competitor I ‘d recommend signing up for a free trial account with Site5 just to get an idea of what their setup is like.

Support

Site5‘s support team is top notch.  They will take the time to explain any problems or issues instead of getting an answer that was read from a script.  It is clear support representatives take time to read and review your issue before replying and know what the issue is.

Generally response times on most tickets will get a reply within 30 minutes.  If you have a complex question or issue you will be notified that the ticket has been kicked up to a higher level support representative or system administrator for review.  Tickets that get kicked-up to a 2nd level support member tends to get a reply in about 1 hour.

I've also used Site5's chat service and wait times for an available representative to help you with an issue is usually 10 minutes or less.  The same can't be said for other hosting companies chat support.

What is nice about Site5's email and chat support is they display a picture of the support representative who you are working with.  Under the picture you can click a link that takes you to a short Bio page about that Site5 support team member.  This gives Site5 support a more personal touch and makes you feel like you know the support team better than just being some faceless entity.  One of Site5's support team members includes Mitch Keeler, who is well known in web hosting circles since he runs the Web Hosting Show Podcast.  Ben Welch-Boen, the CEO of Site5, has even replied to one of my tickets and gave a lengthy response to my questions and was quite helpful.  I probably would not have noticed who they were unless they included those pictures.

site5 support

Site5 phone support is only offered between 10am – 6pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) on weekdays.  If you are someone who prefers phone support for working through problems than you won't appreciate that timeframe.  (I personally prefer using email and chat support to resolve most issues.)  I've used phone support in the past and found that the call quality wasn't that good since to my understanding Site5 support uses Skype.  Most hosting companies use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone systems now since it is huge cost saver but each time I called I was disappointed with the call quality.   I've only called Site5 phone support twice though.

UPDATE: Site5 is in the process of updating their phone system to a new provider to improve the call quality.  

Another complaint I have with Site5 support is that if you are not that knowledgeable about hosting or web savvy you might not always find Site5 support helpful. Site5 is sort of a hosting company aimed at geeks and you should have a general idea of what you are doing before hosting with them.  Their support is extremely helpful but they won't hold your hand.

Something you should be aware of about Site5 support agents is that they all work from home.  Personally I think that is nice for employees but others might disagree and not like that for some reason.  Since this is a review and I am trying to provide as much information as possible I thought I would just let people know that.

Uptime and Downtime

Site5 Uptime is pretty decent and is as advertised.  I monitor all of my websites using Uptime Robot and while there is occasional downtime here and there I've never experienced any downtime lasting for too long.  The longest downtime I have on record is 30 minutes according to my Uptime Robot alert notifications.  You can check all of Site5's server uptime stats here.  I've checked the time claimed on my server against what Site5 claims and they are accurate.

One thing I like about Site5 is they are good about sending you notices of when they will be doing scheduled maintenance on your server and when you might experience downtime or issues with accessing your websites.  I appreciate that they keep customers updated about maintenance since you are not caught off guard if your website is down.  Most of the time the maintenance is done early in the morning and should not affect your websites for too long.  I actually don't get Uptime Robot notifications when they say they are doing maintenance.  So most of the time I don't even worry about those scheduled maintenance emails.  Something to keep in mind is a lot of web hosts won't inform you when they do server maintenance.  I really appreciate Site5 does though.

site5 resource points

Server Resources

Site5 does offers “Unlimited Bandwidth and Storage.”   People should know that “Unlimited” for shared hosting plans is never truly unlimited.  While Site5 claims to be unlimited they are actually pretty restrictive it seems with their server resources.

Site5 uses an in house metric known as “Resource Points” to determine if your account is using to much of your shared server's resources.  Site5 says it is easy to understand what Resource Points means but I really have no idea and it seems to be vague.  They calculate it based on CPU, inodes, and some other factors which I don't really understand.  (It does state in their Terms of Service that you can't go above 75,000 inodes on any shared account.)  The server operating system (OS) Site5 uses is Apache, which is the industry standard, but to what I've read is not quite as good at handling server resources as other server OS available.

Adam's Auto Advice was shutdown once for using excessive bandwidth which I believe was only 40 gigabytes.  Honestly that is not that much bandwidth usage.  On the flipside in the span of 2 days the Singing Dogs were mentioned on MSN and the Huffington Post.  The traffic for those 2 days spiked A LOT but really only for a limited time during both days.  I thought Site5 would shutdown the Singing Dogs blog for excessive server resource usage.  Most of the time if you have a traffic spike that much within a few hours your web hosting company will deactivate your account.  I was impressed they did not shutdown the Singing Dogs blog considering the huge traffic spike.

I should also mention that I am consistently over Site5's Resource Points soft limits (check the image above) and they haven't said anything about it.  So… I guess it is kind of hard for me to complain.  I appreciate the “soft limits” but it does concern me since I don't understand what my sites are doing that could take up that much Site5 Resource Points.  I wish my websites got tons of traffic but they don't.

People should understand that no Unlimited host can truly offer “Unlimited Hosting” and shouldn't expect that.  The majority of hosting companies, like Site5, that offering shared unlimited plans have limits and will be kind of vague about it.

Speed

It should be noted that most of my websites are WordPress blogs (including this one).  I have 1 MyBB forum which is moderately active that I host with Site5.  The WordPress Multisite installation I have seems to be a bit slow but I haven't not done much work to speed it up.  (Ok, I don't really know how.)  Wordpress Multisite networks are a bit resource intensive and tend to be slower.  The 1 MyBB forum I have is fast and I haven't had issues with that site being slow.

site5 review

 

Site5 Hosting Plan Prices

I've seen some people on hosting and admin forums complain that Site5 is a bit expensive.  For the level of service and support Site5 provides their hosting plan prices are reasonable and inline with the rest of the hosting industry.

Sure you can probably find a great deal from a Endurance International Group (EIG) hosting company but they won't provide support that knows that they are talking about.  In addition their servers will most likely be overcrowded, have a lot of downtime, and be slower than your grandma driving to church.

HostGator's Baby Plan (an EIG company) is $10 a month after coupons and discounts run out.  Site5's HostPro plan, which is what I use, is $10 a month if you prepay 1 year in advance and $9 if you pay 2 years in advance.  Since Site5 doesn't run coupons specials and promotions that often I think it only seems like their pricing is more expensive.  If you check around a lot of companies offer Unlimited Linux server hosting for $10 a month.

Site5's Additional Features

Some notable additional features Site5 offers is daily backups of all accounts.  So if your site was hacked or you for some reason deleted all your files and don't keep backups, which you should, you can request Site5 to restore your website(s) from the day before or up to a week.  Some hosting companies backup data but few do it everyday.

Site5 also offers MultiAdmin which allows you to easily control different cPanl accounts from the SiteAdmin interface.  This is useful if you have several sites you run for clients or yourself and want to make sure you have best best security.  Running each site in it's own cPanel ensures that if 1 site gets hacked, the others will not.

Site5 also offers you the ability to choose where you want your server to be located for shared, reseller, and VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting accounts.  This is useful if you have customers in Brazil and need to setup a website close to those customers for the best service and speed.  Since Site5 has an available server in Joao Pessoa Brazil you can do this easily.  It will just cost a little extra every month.  Site5 also offers many different cities around the world and throughout the United States.

Site5 Themes is another nice extra that Site5 offers.  These are custom designed WordPress themes which are nice layouts and are responsive (meaning they will work on mobiles devices and touchscreens.)  Check them out and see if they would work for you.

Conclusion

site5 web hosting

Overall I have been happy with Site5's service and support but like most hosting companies they still have some room for improvement.  I'd like it if their support was more friendly to people who are not quite as knowledgeable about hosting.  This would not only make some current customers more happy (me) but I assume bring in new customers to Site5.  Also I wish Resource Points was a bit easier to understand.

The person who originally recommended Site5 to me was my brother.  He runs custom scripts and programs via a private website for his Neuroscience studies at Harvard.   (Yeah, he might sound smart but I am actually the smart brother.)  Site5′ customer base seems to cater to those who want to build and run customized scripts and programs on their servers.  So if you have highly specialized needs Site5 would be a good choice.

My brother has been hosting with Site5 for about 7-8 years I believe.  In that time he has not had any issues or complaints that I am aware of.  So that's good for Site5 and shows the type of service they offer in my opinion.

At the time of this review this blog, Singing Dogs, and Adam's Auto Advice is hosted with Site5.  In addition I have several other websites hosted them too.

Even though I have had my own hosting account with Site5 for about 8 months, Adam's Auto Advice has been hosted with Site5 for several years on my brother's Site5 account.  So in essence I have been hosting with Site5 for quite awhile.

Site5 does bill itself as “Web Hosting for Designers” which I think is pretty accurate.  It is an excellent company for web designers and developers.  If you are just starting out with a new website and getting online though Site5 is a good option but not sure if they will be the best for all situations.

If you want to tryout Site5 they do offer a 30-day free trial which NO other web hosting company offers that I know of.  That seriously means you can tryout Site5's service free for 30-days without giving them your money.  Few web hosting companies offer a Free month of service.  So if you want to find out if Site5 meets your needs, you can see easily without hassle.  Site5 also has a 45-day money back guarantee if you want to give them your money.

There is not much else to say except that Site5 is a quality hosting company offering quality hosting service.  Since the company has been around since 1999 you can be assured if you host with them that they are not going anywhere.  There are around 140,000 websites hosted with Site5 and they have about 30,000 customers worldwide.

I hope you have found my Site5 Review helpful and informative.  If you have found this Site5 review useful I would appreciate it if you left a comment below since I like hearing when I help people.

Got an experience with Site5 you want to share?  Whether it is good or bad please leave a comment below to let myself and others know.

Disclaimer: I have included commissionable links in this review.  This means I get a commission when you buy a web hosting plan through Site5 using a link on this page. However nobody can influence my opinions on this site and this Site5 review reflects my honest opinions about Site5's web hosting services. Also the revenue generated from this links help keep this site and my other sites up and running. 🙂

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.