Hosting changes

Posted on December 4, 2013

Just a week ago I made a hosting change, which had it’s own issues, but let’s talk about why I switched.

I was with Host Gator, a company that many people enjoy, but I found that they had many usability concerns. The fact of the matter was that in order to use their CPanel (menu) for anything you needed to go to their help section and do a search for what you wanted to do. Nothing in their menu system was easy to figure out. The terms for their sections were pretty meaningless for a novice, and even if I knew the name of what I wanted, it could exist in as many as three places on their website, including one of them being the main menu. And in order to make the change official you would have to change it in all three places.

For instance, I wanted to make my whois information private. After searching and searching I turned to their live chat help, because alas, I could not find it. Their live help pointed me to another login than the way I had gotten into the CPanel so I got to sign in again, and a whole other part of their website I still don’t know how to get to without a link. This site then told me that what I wanted to do would require a fee of $9.95 a year. Dream Host offers this service for free as a part of your hosting package. And finding it in Dream Host’s main menu is easy!

To switch my word press from one hosting site to the other, I exported the file from my old site and imported it to my new site, which apparently also means losing all of my pictures. (So, sorry for the mess.) I’m not entirely sure why a WordPress export does not include images, but it does not. This seems like something that would be an easy fix on WordPress’ side, but perhaps they’re thinking about conserving space? As a user, I would benefit from not having to go through all of my photos again to find those that need to be uploaded again.

Lastly, Host Gator’s cancellation policy. Apparently, even though I moved over my site registration and my hosting, Host Gator decided it needed to continue to charge me for their services. When I contacted them about how I no longer had anything on their site, they told me that the only way for me to cancel was through a form that I couldn’t find on the site at all. This might just be a dark pattern, we don’t want you to cancel so let us make it as difficult as possible to do so. But it might also be more of the same poor organizing that they have all over their site. Someone at Host Gator needs to hire an information architect and soon!

E-mailing them a few times finally got them to cancel it without me trying to find the form. They gave me the usual “Let us help you with your problems so you don’t leave us” but when I told them it was because I couldn’t find anything on their site and I shouldn’t need to contact customer service every time I need to find a button, they really didn’t know how to respond to that other than telling me that there were multiple ways for me to contact support.

Once I get my pictures in order, I’m sure I’ll be perfectly happy with my new hosting. But, unfortunately for Host Gator, they lost not only one customer but anyone else who asks me who they should host through.

Hey Host Gator! Hire me! Let me help you fix your service so you can stop getting your customers stolen by companies with a better user experience.