Bryan Paul Sullo

I’m Back

In Uncategorized on 15 November 2013 at 2:03 pm

I’m back to blogging at wordpress.com. “Why?” you may well ask. In fact, you did ask it well, so I’ll tell you:

In July of this year (2013), Carrie and I had twins. This, understandably, curtailed my blogging (and just about every other) activity for a few months. A couple of days ago, I decided to upload a new post to my blog at bryanpaulsullo.com. When I went there, however, I found the site was gone!

The site, hosted with HostMonster, was not just broken, it was gone. All the files were missing. It was as though the site had been wiped out and reset.  I know the site was there less than a month prior, as someone mentioned to me that they had seen it. I hadn’t touched it since. Whatever happened was a problem with HostMonster

I got on a chat session with HostMonster tech support and was told that there was nothing they could do. None of their backups contained my files. I demanded a full refund, to which I was told I’d have to speak with the billing department. Calling the billing department, I explained the situation. The lady there told me she didn’t have the authority to issue a full refund, and that I would have to speak with the cancellation department for that. The lady at the cancellation department (predictably) told me that she didn’t have the authority to issue a full refund, and that I would have to speak with the billing department for that.

HostMonster is owned by Endurance International Group, out of Provo, Utah. Along with HostMonster, EIG also does business as BlueHost, HostGator, FastDomain, and JustHost. (Edit: A more complete list of EIG brands can be found here.) Each of these “companies” provide the same services, using the same infrastructure, but are marketed as competitors. (Pretty shady, huh?) Additionally, EIG companies market their hosting plans as having a monthly cost. When you go to sign up, however, you’ll find there is no way to pay by the month. You have to pay for a full year, up front. (False advertising?) Finally, as I discovered, the customer service is structured in such a way that the customer cannot contact anyone who can make a decision outside the rigid rules that are set up to protect EIG. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

If this had been the first time, I might have chalked it up to a learning experience, but they have lost my data before, without a backup. It was a different site that I ran for a while, and when I called, asking for a restore, they said they had no working backup. “It’s a courtesy backup,” the tech said, as if that eliminated their responsibility. He didn’t seem to understand that a backup that doesn’t work isn’t particularly courteous. On a third site that I had for a few months, I had trouble with performance. They claimed it was the WordPress installation, and that this was my responsibility because, “you installed it.” I mentioned that they supplied WordPress with a one-click install, and that I did not, in my reckoning of the term, install it.

After getting the run-around from billing and cancellation this time, I decided to just go ahead and cancel, and eat the cost of the hosting that I’d already paid. Their policy is that cancellations are pro-rated based on how much time you have left in your contract. I had two months left, so I expected to receive somewhere around $12 as a refund. Well, to add insult to injury, I received 10¢. That’s right, a dime. I don’t know why, and I’m not asking. During my phone call, I promised to tell everyone I know about their poor service. This is part of that promise. I also promised to switch my business hosting account, and to recommend to my clients never to use any of EIG’s front-companies again.

It’s sad that I’m re-starting this blog on such a sour note. Eventually, I’ll find better hosting for bryanpaulsullo.com, but it’s not high on the priority list right now. At the moment, I’d rather concentrate on my new family.

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  1. I’ve used HostGator and FatCow and they were both terrible experiences. I had HostGator before they were purchased by EIG and their customer service was amazing and their servers were speedy. I came back to them several years later (2014) and I had the worst experience. A lot of downtime and it took 20-40 minutes to reach live chat and they were not able to help so I left.

    I used FatCow last year only because they were running a promotion of $1 for a year. The customer service was terrible and the server went down almost on a daily basis. I stopped the auto renew feature and switched hosts the month before the year subscription ended. Well, what do you know, they turned the auto renew themselves and I was hit with a $130 charge. I spent several days arguing with their customer service until they finally caved in and refunded it.

    Never again will I try an EIG host now that I know about them. Also, you should at the very least forward your domain to this host so that your domain isn’t sitting there with a “Not Found” page.

  2. I realize this is an old post, but you’re wrong about a couple of things.

    1. Hosts do not owe you a backup. That is your responsibility.

    2. You did install WordPress, even if it was just a matter of one click.

    You seem to suffer from an awul lot of entitlement, although I agree there is NO excuse for the site deletion and EIG hosts should be avoided like the plague. I’m American but host my site in Canada. It seems safer that way.

    Anywhoo. Probably best you stick with WordPress.com. Good luck.

    • Thanks for the reply, Jaiden. I will refute one of your opinions: Hosts do owe their customers a backup. I deal with cloud service providers professionally on a daily basis. If Dropbox, for example, were to loose your files and then say, “Sorry, it’s your responsibility to keep them backed up,” no one would accept that. If Microsoft Office 365 suddenly lost all of your email and told you it wasn’t their problem, there would be an uproar.
      It is implicit in the cloud-based service offering that they are able to restore data to some reasonable previous time. Why? Because the customer owns neither the hardware that the data is stored on, nor the software that is used to maintain and access that data. The customer can do nothing to affect its operation or suitability. Therefore, the onus is on the service provider to keep the service up and running. Part of that is maintaining access to customer data which is stored there. If that means they need to keep a redundant copy available, that’s their responsibility.
      In reality, this isn’t backup. This is just business continuity. Backup would entail having multiple, historical versions of data available, which I will agree is a separate service entirely.

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