Aug 18, 2013  •  In Blogging, Personal, Reviews, Web

An Unfortunate Series of Events [Hawk Host Review]

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.


Short version: my site was down for 45 hours this weekend due to Hawk Host’s abysmal support. Because I was well within their “30-day money back guarantee” period, I have changed hosts…again.

(I know there are those who don’t care about this topic, so please feel free stop reading at this point.)

Now, for the long version…

When researching web hosts, I read the following:

Most of the ‘good’ web hosting providers work fine & pretty much same. The quality of support is only tested in special circumstances. However, if you are just a regular user running a blog, everything should just go smoothly (provided there are no major network outages, DDoS attacks, frequent server changes etc.)

Now, this post isn’t meant to bash Hawk Host. Because before my “special circumstances” occurred, I was very happy with them.

It was only when shit happened, that it proceeded to hit the fan as well.

As noted in my earlier post, I was on one of Hawk Host’s semi-dedicated plans. Which means better performance as long as I stay within my plan’s limit.

Well, this blog received some unexpected traffic last week. And by “some” I mean “holy crap can my server handle this?” kind of traffic.

I soon began to receive notifications that I was about to hit my bandwidth limit. Since I didn’t want my site to go down, I upgraded to a higher plan. Here is a timeline of events that transpired afterwards (and I have the emails to prove it):

Thursday, 8/15/2013

10:07 AM:
I upgrade my plan.

12:58 PM:
I see, via cPanel, that the upgrade still hadn’t been applied to my account. I send an email to support asking why, but I never receive a response.

Friday, 8/16/2013

6:12 PM:
I receive another notification that I am dangerously close to hitting my bandwidth limit, so I email support once again, asking for an update. I receive no response.

10:03 PM:
My bandwidth limit has been reached. My site goes down.

10:58 PM:
I open a new ticket with the above information.

11:10 PM:
I receive an email that says they are moving the ticket to the billing department. (Huh? This is not a billing issue!)

11:14 PM:
I receive the following canned response: “This ticket has been flagged for review. We’ll get back to you with an update as soon as possible.”

Saturday, 8/17/2013

3:46 PM:
I email them again (notice the time…this is 14 hours later!) and ask for an update.

8:46 PM:
I send them the following: “My site has been down for almost 24 hours now and I still have not received any updates or responses. I am also confused as to why this was relegated to the billing department when it is clearly a technical issue? Needless to say, I am VERY disappointed with Hawk Host and I have decided to take my business elsewhere once the data transfer is complete.”

Sunday, 8/18/2013

1:54 AM:
I receive the same canned response: “This ticket has been flagged for review. We’ll get back to you with an update as soon as possible.”

And that was the last time I heard back from them. As of this writing (8:54pm on Sunday night), I still have not heard back.

So what are the special circumstances surrounding this case? Well, for one, this all happened over a weekend, when support times are bound to be slow. There’s also the fact that my tickets got transferred between technical support and billing, so some confusion may have occurred.

I should also mention that when I was upgrading my plan, I mistakenly created two invoices for the upgrade, so my account still shows that I have one unpaid invoice. (But then again, I did ask to have it removed as soon as I created the duplicate invoice.) Perhaps they think that I’m just a disgruntled, unpaying customer?

Maybe they’re swamped with new customers. I know that a lot of people have left HostGator and Bluehost over the past few months, and I’m sure that Hawk Host is a popular choice.

bad_customer_service
This viral image seems appropriate, given my situation.

Despite these concessions, I was still displeased enough with Hawk Host’s support to jump ship. Luckily, I had already done the bulk of my research, so I only had to decide between MDDHosting and Stable Host. I was leaning toward Stable Host at first because they’re cheaper, but I ultimately went with MDDHosting for their superb customer support. They’re very active within their own support forums, social media sites, and the Web Hosting Talk community. I mean, just look at this post! What other hosting company would create a new WordPress blog in order to try to reproduce one customer’s issues? I also remembered how, when I was first researching new web hosts, MDDHosting was always the first to answer my pre-sales questions.

And so far, I’m very happy with MDDHosting. :-)

Again, this post is not meant to bash Hawk Host. Would I recommend their services to others? Probably. After all, most people won’t run into the types of issues I encountered (where a bunch of things just happened to occur at the same time to make matters more difficult and complex), and I know for a fact that Hawk Host still remains in good standing with the great majority of its customers and the Web Hosting Talk community.

If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking by. I know that the majority of my readers won’t really care, but if even one person finds this review helpful, I think my taking the time out to write this all out would have been worth it.

I’m just happy that my site is back up again. (For most people; my nameservers haven’t propagated worldwide yet.)

28 Responses to “An Unfortunate Series of Events [Hawk Host Review]”

  1. Chris:

    Hi, I have been reading your blog posts about the hosting service your using. Have you considered using a free blog hosting service like Blogger or WordPress. I heard that webs.com (this site isn’t free) is good as well. I am a blogger as well but I had to rely on free blog hosting because paid web hosting can be pricey.

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your input. The reason I use paid services is because there are limitations with free services. For example, although this blog is run on the WordPress platform, my theme wouldn’t work on WordPress.com and I wouldn’t be able to use plugins. I have used Blogger in the past, but I know that if I were to move there now, I would have to re-do practically my entire site. I’ve also heard that Blogger support has been terrible ever since Google bought it.

      I haven’t heard of Webs.com, but from a quick glance it doesn’t look much different from any other hosting company. The reason I want to pay (and am willing to pay the high prices) for a good, reliable web host is because my traffic (over 3,000 visitors a day) requires it.

  2. I’m glad everything is up and running again! :) welcome back!!

  3. Thank you very much for this post! I’ve actually been looking around for a good hosting service LONG time now, and your post’s helped me make up my mind in favor of MDDHosting. :)

  4. RW:

    Thanks for this post. I was considering HawkHost because of such glowing reviews around. I’m with a different reseller now who has recently jumped into the garbage heap. The servers are ridiculously slow all of a sudden. I’ll look into your suggestions.

    Thanks,
    Bob

  5. Sri2013:

    Thank you. Your review gives me additional confidence on going to MDDHosting.

  6. John Doe:

    Well, all was fine in your review till when I noticed that your links are referral links which means you will get some profit if we sign up on those two website for hosting. Nice try champ! Keep up the black magic and yellow blogging.

  7. Thank you for your posts ~ I’ve got the majority of my clients either on shared plans with HG or on my reseller account with them… Like you, I’ve had to move in the past & know the hours of research it takes to find someone new & trustworthy And, response rates are tanked enough that I can’t give my clients the support I promised… so I’m looking for a new virtual home.

    So, are you still happy with MDDHosting? Have you had tech issues & how was there response? Have you uncovered any other companies worth mention?

    ~Christy

  8. I search a review for hackhost and come to this blog, after i read this review i decided not to host with them because technical support is number 1 for my business >.<

  9. Thank you for the nice review of MDD!

    Currently my site is hosted on bluehost and will be expired next two months. I think I should move to MDD since it’s cheaper. Bad thing, they don’t have live chat.

  10. HawkHost seems to be going downhill. I’m with MDD too and I’m sure we can both agree that they’re far better than a lot of other hosts out there.

  11. FWood:

    Oh man am I glad you took the time with this. I am disgusted with HostGator (and I am a fellow geek in heels..lol). I have a reseller account with them, and I have bitten my tongue for the last time. I stayed, watching my sites get slower and when I finally complained they had the nerve to point out that I had some things that I could work on. Never mind the fact that I had ZERO issues before the famous buy out.

    It will be painful to move 30 plus sites but you gotta do whatever it takes.

    Thanks again.

  12. justin:

    4 Days waiting for a response from Hawk Host. Had a couple of replies… said they were bumping up to another level My question as a very simple pre-sale question nothing too technical. Basically anyone with basic training should have been able to answer instead of passing the buck.
    Tried presale with StableHost… quick to respond, but didn’t really read the question I asked. Only answered part of it.

    So there you go. Hopefully MDD will be better. I suppose you get what you pay for.

  13. RC:

    Just wanted to drop a note to say thanks for sharing your research. I was looking for a reliable web host that doesn’t oversell and had narrowed my search to StableHost, HawkHost, CrocWeb and GeekStorage.

  14. I have a few clients that I provide hosting for. One of my clients has 2 websites hosted with HawkHost. Another one has 1 site. I also have my own Hawkhost account that hosts my personal sites(5 sites). It has been great so far. None of my clients have complained about downtime. I did see some downtime once before but it was resolved within 30 minutes. I needed something affordable that let me do everything I needed to do on a Linux box. Hawkhost has been the perfect fit for clients and I. no BS. My projects work exactly like they should because I am not restricted from this or that.

    They are not as big as GoDaddy or HostGator so don’t expect exceptional customer service. You get what you pay for. I have read some of the negative comments on here and I have to say that some people here lack common sense. You can’t expect state of the art customer service when you are **not** paying for exceptional service. Be real! Go to Rackspace instead. They will charge you an arm and a leg.

    Also, you are paying for hosting ONLY. You are not paying for Hawkhost to develop or fix your website. Some of the stuff I have read on other sites are just laughable. LOL

    A small advice for HawkHost…your audience should not be the general public. You should only offer hosting to professionals. Not to the average Joe. I would leave that headache for GoDaddy or HostGator to deal with. There are millions of Web Developers that know what they are doing. Those are the people you need working with you not the general public.

    Thanks Hawkhost!

  15. Solomon Nadeeb:

    Hello,
    I’m in the same situation, having had enough of hostgator since the EIG acquisition. The service is horrible now, and previously capable support staff is likewise no longer. I wanted to ask, are you still with MDD Hosting and have you had any serious issues since joining?

  16. HawkHost Theives:

    HawkHost recently stole $67 from me.

    I signed up for a VPS using Bitcoin, and whilst they only took about 5 hours to respond to my ticket concerning the payment not being accepted, everything else has been abysmal. I thought I was safe using their service because of the reassuring “30 Day Guarantee” I see plastered all over the site. The neglect to tell you however, this doesn’t apply to VPS accounts. The only place this can be found is buried in the TOS, they don’t bother to mention this on the VPS sales page or the “Money Back Guarantee / Satisfaction Guaranteed” page.

    At some point in the signup process the system lost the domain name I was going to use, in the first reply Brian informed me of this and asked what name I was using. I replied and waited. A few hours went by and I was wondering why there was no reply, and why the chat support is constantly showing “offline.” I knew already that this company would not be a fit, and after reading a few reviews like the one on this page, I replied again and asked for a full refund. Keep in mind this is before any work had been done to setup the account.

    Instead of receiving a concerned reply back in response to my wish to cancel, I only received an update stating that my ticket was passed on to billing support level 2. I continued to ask for a refund for the next two days until finally someone replied explaining my account was now active … what?! I explained that I did not want the service and that they wasted their time creating the account because they already received multiple replies and tickets stating I wanted my money back. I was then told that I needed to use the account cancellation form if I wanted to cancel the account, so I went ahead and did this and again asked for my money back in the comments.

    Finally Brian replied again stating that they don’t offer refunds on Bitcoin payments but offered 50% off next months bill. By this point I was fuming because they made me jump through all sorts of hoops only to be told that they’re not going to refund me. I replied back and noted the satisfaction guarantee and that I would take a refund via PayPal… no response. This is when I discovered the TOS and how it states no refunds on VPS accounts… “how convenient” I thought. They purposely ignored my support tickets and setup the VPS because they thought I would have no recourse under the TOS.

    I wrote another email to them explaining that I found the TOS section but thought that it was very unfair, and asked them to consider what they were doing and if they would enjoy being treated the same. I also noted that there are likely provisions under the UCC which would allow me to recover the funds regardless of what they think the TOS allows them to do. Like typical scammers, they haven’t bothered to reply. I am now working with CoinBase to try and recover the funds since I paid through their interface and HawkHost also has a merchant account with them. They explained “We take reports of merchant fraud very seriously and we have made record of your notification,” and I will be submitting all details for review.

    A word of WARNING for anyone thinking about using HawkHost … DON’T … they really are HAWKERS, more like VULTURES! The support is beyond terrible, they will not act honorably and they will completely ignore your requests.

  17. Nick:

    Thats a bad treatment,are you happy with your new host?

    I thought Hawkhost was ok,i read many possitive reviews online and even my experience was possitive. Recently i made the following blog http://webhosting-monetizing.blogspot.com,so i can provide info about web hosting and ways to monetize and i made possitive review about Hawkhost. Now im worried that perhaps they changed over the last year.

    I have some other web hosts on my blog too and im saying which ones to avoid for sure. So it will be great if you can tell your me your MMD experience so far.

  18. Hi, I ready your review of MDDHosting a couple of months ago and I made the switch! You were absolutely right. MDD is awesome. I migrated six domaines to an MDD reseller account from godaddy and inmotion and I’m not looking back. Sure, I gave up live chat but MDD’s fast email support is nearly as quick.

    Thank you Thank you Thank you

    Larry

    • I’m so happy to hear that! I’m still with MDD Hosting, and they’re seriously the best hosts I’ve ever been with. Their response time and support (as well as the quality of their servers!) is unparalleled!

  19. Tay:

    I had this exact same problem with HawkHost 2 weeks ago. Everything happened on the weekend, as well.

    I actually read this blog post months ago, but I signed up with them anyway. I wish I took your advice then!

  20. Thank you for sharing, i am looking for a good hosting. this article really help. thanks!

  21. Hi, thank you for sharing your own review!
    I’m on my way to find another cheaper hosting.. MDD and stablehost are in my choice.
    What hosting package you are using?

    Thanks

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