Around morning time on August 2, 2013 and sites across the world hosted on HostGator and BlueHost were down. In fact, some sites were having issues since August 1, 2013 as per HostGator’s forum update. This was a network wide downtime. A lot of the people affected were from HostGator and BlueHost. This is because many of both company’s servers for shared, VPS, reseller, and dedicated are located in their Provo Data Center.
For those who didn’t know, HostGator changed hands in late 2012 from Brent Oxley to EIG, a company that owns quite a few well known web hosts. Also, many of HostGators clients went through server migrations after being acquired by EIG. BlueHost had been acquired by EIG back in 2011. EIG, also known as Endurance International Group has many other web hosts that are under them.
The problem with this downtime is that it comes with a lot of backlash from the customers unhappy with what is constantly repeated as poor customer services and experiencing downtime more than usual. Of course, this is different from the fire that happened in summer of 2008, on the floors of HostGator containing dedicated servers that left those clients down for 3 days. As a side note, I can attest that at the time, Brent Oxley awarded a entire month of compensation to dedicated clients when asked as I was one of them.
While I did make my own response to one of HostGator’s threads on the August 2, 2013 downtime issue, and I could write a totally bias article, I’m going to share some of the reactions.
Here are some of the reactions to HostGator around the social network sites during this downtime.
(Image created and shared by Tim Patterson)
@hgsupport my site is down again! This is getting ridiculous
— Laura Agar Wilson (@lauraagarwilson) August 2, 2013
— Lazy Travelers (@lazytravelers) August 2, 2013
Here are some of the reactions to BlueHost around the social network sites during this downtime.
— Nicole Henderson (@NicoleHenderson) August 2, 2013
This is a huge hosting fail because it spans across several web hosts that have millions of websites hosted. In fact, in all the time I’ve been with HostGator, this is probably one of the worst network issues I have witnessed outside of the fire issue from years ago. And I’m not the only client who has noticed according to the reactions.
As for BlueHost, I am not sure how their history of downtime has been, but the responses in their social network handles are a little more positive than HostGator.
Most of the downtime I have known in the past from HostGator was due to using all data resources allotted, or minor server outages. Other than that, I’ve also been privy to hearing complaints about HostGator’s customer service.
As a side note, some clients that are hosted on managed WordPress solutions like WPEngine that have their nameservers (DNS) hosted with Dreamhost and BlueHost for their email may also be experiencing downtime.
The biggest takeaways from this ordeal are:
To the web host
- Try being more diligent with customer service and try to uphold your guarantees. If you say 99.9%, it better be really close.
- Frequent communication is key with customers, especially since many websites are in fact businesses.
- If you are noticing a frequent influx of negative feedback, then something is definitely wrong. Address the issue and find a solution immediately.
To the customer
- Don’t panic because your site will come back.
- You are entitled to answers, so if it takes writing a message on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, writing an official customer support ticket, writing in the web host’s forums… do it.
- Be patient for network wide issues as that may take up to 12 hours to get everything back in order.
- Don’t be afraid to give feedback, but be courteous about it.
Were you affected by this hosting #fail? What was your response? Did you wait? Did you move? How long did it take until your site was were back up and running?