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):
I upgrade my plan.
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.
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.
My bandwidth limit has been reached. My site goes down.
I open a new ticket with the above information.
I receive an email that says they are moving the ticket to the billing department. (Huh? This is not a billing issue!)
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.”
I email them again (notice the time…this is 14 hours later!) and ask for an update.
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.”
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.
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.)