My blogs were down for the past few days….
I was frustrated and I tried calling up my hosting service provider to check what the problem was. I realized that I had not direct customer service number to call them on. The only option was to write to them by creating a “support trouble ticket”. No chat, no phone lines.
I raised a trouble ticket which took about a day for them to respond. The response was heart-breaking. They wrote,
Our servers have been hacked and were brought down by some people who were intentionally trying to target us. We have cleaned our servers and will be unable to restore your database and files. You will have to do a clean upload of all your files and database.
After I read that mail, I was shattered. I did not know what to do. I had a few blogs and websites that were almost 3 years old. I had no backup for these blogs or, websites. I was back to where I was, when I started.
I repeatedly wrote to the hosting providers to at least give me a my database, so that I can restore my blogs. None of my mails were responded to and they eve suspended their support system.
That was a black Friday in my Internet Marketing journey. It is almost one week now and I have moved my websites and blogs to another hosting provider – Hostgator, with whom I had a few other blogs and websites. The hacked hosting provider in question here was one who had canvassed me into shifting a few of my websites to them saying they were a leading provider and that they were aiming to be the biggest service provider etc. All hollow promises and failed missions.
Lesson I learnt from this experience?
Yes, indeed there were a few lesson that I learnt from this experience -
- Never go by promises. Always believe in experiences. Read a few reviews and testimonials and ask a few questions to existing users and then decide.
- Vintage is assurance. Yes, that is right. The older and established a business, the better it will be. They have not been there for the past so many years just like that. They would have gone through a lot of troughs and crests and would be seen tough times and yet lived to see the day.
- Never fall for cheap deals. When all established sellers are selling it for $10.00, why would someone sell it for $1.00? The question answers itself. They are compromising on critical aspects of the product. Why fall for that?
- Always keep backups. Irrespective of how much reputed your server providers are, just ensure that you keep a backup of all your files and databases.
How do you select a hosting provider?
While selecting you hosting service provider, there are a few things that you should remember.
- Hosting charges – Hosting services will normally cost around $4.00 for a single domain hosting for Windows / Linux and about $7.00 for a multiple domain hosting plan. If a service provider is offering you a deal which is much lower than these rates then there is a need to further evaluate the security options that they provide. It is highly unlikely that they are quality service providers.
- Customer Service number – Only select a service provider who has a valid and working customer service number and a technical support number. If these numbers are toll-free numbers, the best. Don’t fall for support tickets. A working technical support and customer service chat system should also be fine. Don’t forget to check if they are working.
- Security – Check and double check the security that they offer. If required, speak to their sales department and ask them the kind of security that they offer. Confirm if they provide a regular backup of your websites including your databases and also confirm if they are maintaining these at the same servers or, at different servers.
- Bandwidth – You would not want to get cramped for bandwidth. Hence go for a plan that offers you enough bandwidth – preferably unlimited bandwidth.
- Vintage – Check and confirm the time duration that the service provider has been in business. About 3-4 years is a considerable good enough period. You might want to also confirm if the service provider is a reseller to bigger hosting service providers, in which case the duration that they have been in business should not be a problem as the parent company is what provides the service.
These are certain critical factors that you need to evaluate before buying a hosting service. The other basic factors that you should consider is available all over the internet.
The easiest way to check these critical aspects of a hosting provider is by reading customer reviews and testimonials. Just search Google with a keyword, “hosting provider reviews”, replacing the ‘hosting provider’ with the name of the hosting provider that you want to evaluate.
I would personally recommend two hosting service providers to you -
- Hostgator – They have been in business for long and is reliable.
- Stores4domains – I own this reseller business from Godaddy. You can evaluate the services. I have been in business for almost 4 years now.