This post was most recently updated on July 31st, 2022.6 min read.
This article is part 1 in my “One web developer’s story about the downfall of web hosting” series; a frustrating firsthand experience with a formerly-great web hosting provider taken over by EIG (Endurance International Group). You can find the second post here:
EIG / Site5 review – Part 2, the Aftermath
Okay, so this is going to be a bloggish rant about EIG – Endurance International – a web “hosting” company that’s ruining the web for everyone. If you hate salty rants, browse something else, please!
I’ve been an independent web developer since around 2004, and even though maintaining and hosting websites is currently more of a hobby than anything else, I still do have a few dozen customers with one or more websites or other systems hosted by me. For more than 10 years I’ve been hosting both my and my customers’ websites on a few different web hosting or cloud providers, and some services on servers I hosted myself.
I joined Site5’s customer base in 2013 after Clients From Hell endorsed them repeatedly (it was a paid promotion – but still, a good word from a trustworthy source). And back in the day, well warranted, I’m sure.
In case you don’t want to read a longer text, check this out.
EIG didn’t immediately destroy everything. But eventually, they did.
For a while, everything was pretty good with Site5. Especially their Customer support was fast, responsive, and knowledgeable, and all of their reseller hosting stuff was working fine.
In 2015 Endurance International Group bought Site5. They told nothing about this to customers – of course, that was a good idea because everyone hates EIG, and letting people know Site5 was acquired by such an awful company would’ve probably scared away even more customers than now. In 2016 something flipped in someone at EIG’s head, and they suddenly let all of the Site5’s customer service staff go, and even shut down the helpful old ticket robot that used to respond quickly to everyone wanting to open tickets – now you don’t get any responses to emails you send them, and hence don’t even get a ticket ID. You are only left with the emptiness in your soul for weeks until they finally maybe pick up the ticket.
EIG-Site5’s standard process for customer service includes sitting on the ticket until you complain about it on Twitter. This applies also to emergency issues, like total server outages, which they have every now and then. They usually don’t even update anything about these on their status page until afterward. The only way of getting some information about your service’s availability was using services like “Down for everyone or just me”, Jetpack monitoring, or similar.
During mid-2016, when I was bitching about another server outage, a customer service representative tried to comfort me by saying this:
The quality will probably improve once we finish transferring everything to our new servers from the old ones.
That was a bit surprising to me. I had not heard anything about the takeover, or any transfer processes being planned before this – and I really doubt, that changing the servers, that worked fine under Site5’s administration, to ones under the administration that can’t manage the old, well-working servers either, is going to do any good.
It may save them some money, but I doubt that’s going to benefit the customers at all. I think it just enables them to perhaps sack even more customer service representatives.
It only occurred to me later, that they are actually changing the servers from Amsterdam to the USA – which means that they were planning on moving all of my customer information to servers outside the EU, which is illegal, and not even informing me about that.
That’s not what a web hosting company should be doing. Their actions should NOT make their customers criminals – and especially not without first letting them know.
Uptime of ~80%
After yet another outage, I actually confronted Site5’s support staff about their 99.99% uptime stats shown on their website. I already knew they were total bullcrap, but wanted to hear their take on that as well.
The rep told me, that’s the percentage of time the server is turned on – it doesn’t mean it has network connectivity, or that any services are on – just that there’s power on the physical machine. “Well that doesn’t do customers much good, now, does it?” I asked. “No. But that’s how we measure it.” was the response.
Well, drat. To me, that’s not the uptime they are measuring, but rather the time the servers are theoretically turned on. I guess they are allowed to report whatever uptime they want, and whatever the stat was, there’s no way to verify it anyway because the hosting company can always just claim that whatever’s pinging them is using an unsupported method or whatever.
Even a company with great staff might suck
Now, my sympathies are with the former customer service staff, and I’m rather certain even the current staff are doing their best in horrible conditions. Site5 had staff all over the Globe, most working remotely, and I’d say they were well motivated (and well paid). EIG’s staff (the ones that they didn’t sack yet) are probably mostly located in Poland and India – poor folks – which inevitably cuts down their ability to service customers at any given time, well motivated and well fed. I mean, when you’re hungry and chained to your desk at some damp cave in Poland, it’s difficult to care much about a random customer’s website being down.
EIG now operates a lot of once respectable web hosting providers (see list below), that have generally gone to the absolute bottom-tier of web hosting providers. That’s a real shame since quite a few of them were quite reputable, to begin with.
Web hosting brands owned by EIG:
- A Small Orange
- Berry Information Systems
- Cloud by IX
- Constant Contact
- Escalate Internet
- Intuit Websites
- IX Web Hosting
- Networks Web Hosting
- SEO Hosting
- Southeast Web
- SuperGreen Hosting
- Webstrike Solutions
(This space reserved for more brands to be ravaged by EIG)
An up-to-date listing is available at http://www.linux-depot.com/non-endurance-international-group-eig-hosting/ – that’s where the list is from. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means but should contain all active brands owned by EIG.
Finally, I realized there was nothing a customer could do, but change providers. The only way to affect the company is to vote with your wallet and take your money to a company that’s not going to make you a criminal.
EIG, and all of their puppets like Site5, Arvixe, Bluehost, HostGator, etc are volatile and non-reliable hosting providers. Please pick someone else.
A short (and a bit out-of-date version of everything above):
I have since changed hosting providers. Here’s to hoping my next provider will NOT be acquired by EIG anytime soon.
After all, is said and done, I hope Ben Welch-Bolen – the founder and former CEO of Site5 – doesn’t get too sad about the trainwreck Site5 has become. The wish to make an eventual exit is understandable, but after all, is said and done, I’m wondering if there actually were no better options than EIG… Not only for the customers but also for the poor old support staff that was handed the pink slip. Most of their some 70 people were apparently let go after EIG transferred the support to their “support team”.
While I’m luckily not an EIG customer anymore, I still follow their uptime through the uptime robot. And it doesn’t look TOO bad – unlike when I was a customer (occasionally an uptime of <90%), they’re nowadays (March 2019) able to do well over 99%.
While the server seems to respond quickly (it’s a static HTML site, though), the uptime is quite a bit worse than with my current provider.
For the next post in the series, (and some interesting conversations about Site5) check out the link below:
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