Aug 8, 2013  •  In Blogging, Personal, Reviews, Web

Buh-Bye, HostGator! Hello, Hawk Host!

You may have noticed that this blog was down this past Friday. In fact, you may have noticed that a bunch of sites were down that day, and I’ll tell you why.

When I first switched to HostGator, everything was fine and dandy. HostGator is was known to be one of the very few RELIABLE web hosts with affordable “UNLIMITED!” shared hosting plans.

But in the past few months, I started noticing more lagging and time-outs. There were even a few downtimes, and then…

My entire site went kablooie for almost 12 freakin hours Friday.

As luck would have it, I happened to schedule my biggest giveaway of the year to be published this exact day. (Have you entered yet? The prize pack is worth $600!)

I immediately tried to submit a support ticket…and was met by a notice that the HostGator servers were experiencing issues. What sort of issues? How long would it last? To get some answers, I turned to HostGator’s Twitter feed, Facebook Page, and forums.

What I learned wasn’t pretty.

You see, HostGator was acquired by a large company called EIG last year. EIG owns and operates some of the biggest names in web hosting. (See here for a list.) And they do NOT have a good track record. What usually ends up happening is:

A fast, reliable web hosting company gets popular

EIG buys them

EIG oversells and overloads the servers, usually while switching to cheaper datacenters

Web hosting company gets crappy
(slow transfer speeds, downtimes, slow/lack of support)

Do you have a website on Bluehost, HostMonster, or JustHost? If so, your site was probably down Friday too, because EIG owns them all (Bluehost, probably the most popular of them all and used by many of my blogging friends, was acquired earlier this year) and they have their datacenters in Provo where the blowout occurred.

I was so glad the last contract I signed with HostGator was only for 3 months, because absorbing this new information made me want to get the hell outta dodge.

Finding a new webhost is no easy task, because there are about a gazillion websites out there that post fake or no-substance reviews in exchange for affiliate links. So as much as I hate the search function on most online forums, I decided to turn to the definitive source for web hosting discussions:

After hours of research (luckily, my mother was over to help with the girls), I narrowed down my choices to the following three:

Hawk Host



The above are all affiliate links, but you know my stance on those…I will never endorse anything I don’t believe to be great and beneficial to my readers.

My situation was a bit unique in that although I had tried a VPS in the past, I’m too lazy and time-strapped for the upkeep and maintenance (the high costs weren’t helping either). But at the same time, this blog has clearly outgrown typical shared hosting environments. So I decided to narrow my search to the best business/enterprise/semi-dedicated hosting services.

And during my extensive search, three names kept reappearing: Hawk Host, MDDHosting, and StableHost. Many people agree that you can’t really go wrong with them. (Do they have their detractors and negative reviews? Yes. But what company doesn’t?)

I shot all three of them messages with some preliminary questions. While MDDHosting was always the fastest (I always received a response within minutes), I loved the fact that the freakin’ CEO of Hawk Host took time to reply to one of my pre-sales related questions.

Also, it was the cheapest of the three. They’re running some crazy deals right now!

I know that most people won’t care about this post, but I wanted to write it for my fellow bloggers. Please check to see if your web host is on this list of EIG-owned companies. Even if it isn’t, I would advise you to Google “[your web host] and EIG” to see if its parent or sister company is owned by EIG.

(This happened to another host I had in mind when I first found out about HostGator. It’s not on the Wikipedia list, but its sister company is, and by association, it’s owned by EIG. Searching for it on confirmed that its service has really gone downhill in the past year.)

And if your web host is owned by EIG? I would highly recommend that you look for an alternate host. The three I mentioned above have great shared hosting plans too, and I know that StableHost in particular gets recommended regularly for shared hosting plans. (And just in case you’re wondering, i don’t get a higher commission for StableHost.)

As for me, I’m very satisfied with Hawk Host so far. It’s been less than 24 hours, but they helped me migrate everything to their servers and the only problems we encountered were on HostGator’s end. Their communication is superb, and, best of all, my site is so much faster!

ETA, a few hours later:
Okay, so it’s official…the difference in speed is phenomenal! At least, in the back end — each WordPress admin page used to take a few seconds to load, but now it’s a fraction of a second!

(I still need to configure caching and minify some files to speed up the user end.)

I used to think that it was just WordPress being slow to load, but now it’s clear that the problem stemmed from my host. It’s like my eyes have opened! Seriously, guys. Wow. Just wow.

ETA, a couple of weeks later:
Due to an unfortunate series of events, I have switched from Hawk Host to MDDHosting. I still recommend Hawk Host, but if you would like to see why I have decided to move on to MDDHosting, you can read my full review here.

ETA, March 2015:
I am now hosting this site with Squidix, and have been very happy with their service. You can read a full review here.

19 Responses to “Buh-Bye, HostGator! Hello, Hawk Host!”

  1. Interesting post! I am, sadly, with Bluehost, who I went with after they were very highly recommended by various people and online. Unfortunately their downtime is extremely bad, and yes they are owned by EIG :(

    • Bluehost was bought by EIG in February this year, and everything I heard about them before the buyout was great…now, not so much. I used to recommend HostGator to all my friends too, and it’s especially maddening to know that these buyouts happened very quietly, without informing their customers. And when HostGator moved my account from its reliable servers in Dallas to the cheaper, less reliable ones in Provo? They told me that they were “upgrading” my account! You would only know the truth if you pay attention to this stuff, or are a regular visitor to sites like Hopefully your contract with Bluehost is ending soon!

      (I canceled the remainder of my contract with HostGator and chalked it up as a loss. Granted, the last contract I signed with them was for only 3 months, but even if I had signed up for a 1-year pre-paid plan, I wouldn’t regret it…the difference in speed is that noticeable!)

  2. Hello there, just turned into aware of your weblog via Google, and found that it’s really informative. I’m going to be careful for brussels. I will be grateful in the event you proceed this in future. A lot of other people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  3. Seriously.. this is the best blog post I’ve ever read. Some fellow ‘bees pointed me to it after I was complaining about my Bluehost site being down for some period of time 9 OUT OF THE LAST 10 DAYS, with basically crappy customer service responses from my webchats, service tickets and tweets about it. I read your blog last night and was planning on changing hosts some time this week. I got up extra early this morning to start working, and wouldn’t you know it? Site down AGAIN!! Done. Hawk Host is working on transferring files for me right now! I’ve already prepaid for hosting through November 2014, but I don’t care one bit! I will PAY MONEY to not have to deal with the terrible customer service experience!!

  4. No wonder my WordPress is so slow. I thought it’s the connection and stuff. Oh gosh. I just renewed my Hostgator for another 2 years :'(

  5. Andrew:

    Hmmm.. I really liked your post, UNTIL I checked who you are using for hosting and it is MDD Hosting?? If you had to change from Hawk Host why didn’t you redo the blog? or were you never on Hawk host??

    Suddenly this website is starting to get a bit smelly….

  6. Thank you for that clarification and recommendation of other hosts. I was patient for so long with HG, but now all my sites are really lagging and it seems since you wrote this it’s only gotten worse. Hawk Host it is.

  7. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you
    are a great author. I will make sure to bookmark your blog
    and will eventually come back in the future. I want to encourage continue your great writing, have a nice evening!

  8. I’m curious if you are still happy with Hawk Host? I need to move a crapload of client websites away from HostGator and would love to know if Hawk Host has been able to keep you happy for half a year. Please post a response!

    • I am no longer with Hawk Host as stated in my last ETA in the post above. You can read the reason why here. I have been with MDDHosting for 7 months now and I couldn’t be happier with them — I have had a few issues pop up (not because of them), and they were always very quick to respond and very caring. Others who have signed up with StableHost based on my recommendation tell me they’re happy too.

  9. I’m with hostgator and netfirms more than 7 years now, it is very frustrated for me when this company take over by EIG and the service reliability is in doubt right now. Today it is very slow and I’m googling around what has happen. Before this I just heard a news that netfirm is acquired by a giant company and dont know about hostgator but when I read your post it’s tell me the truth. My hosting subscription is end next month or two, will consider migrate to the new provider.

  10. Thank you for writing this post.

  11. sean:

    i always suggest hostgator Hosting because i am using their service from 5 years i never had any problem with them use this coupon >> purehostgator << and get discount for hostgator hosting

  12. Hi, How to check the speed of our website from my place?

    I’m also using hostgator to several sites for about 5 years and never get any trouble. But the price they have make me want to move to other cheaper company.

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