Switching hosts - so far so good with Hostgator

Yes, I know it’s been way too long since I last posted. I do know. But things have been very busy lately; we were working on getting our retail site ready for the holidays, and holiday shopping is now in full swing.

Over Thanksgiving (and I mean all fricking day), we did testing on the speed of the retail site’s server and found it was performing at a level of ‘poor’ or ‘fair’ all the time. So I decided (maybe with not quite enough forethought) that a virtual private server (VPS) might be the answer. I thought we were bogging down due to the sum total of activity on the shared server and that switching to one where we’d have a guaranteed amount of space and bandwidth all the time might be better.

I’ve talked before about how happy I was with my current host. Their tech support was outstanding – until a few days before Thanksgiving when I opened up the VPS account.

No one could explain to me how to set up my database, or even how to change or set up my root password. It took one of their techs three days to get back to me. The one I spoke to on the phone treated me like I was an idiot. This was HIGHLY unusual, but because it went on for 3-4 days and even my account manager was unresponsive, I went looking elsewhere.

I didn’t understand that my host’s VPS was almost totally command-line driven. That is not the case with any of the VPS accounts I researched during this time… I’m not an IT person, I don’t call myself any kind of programmer and I am not interested in learning how to administer my own server using a SSH connection. For some things, I need some handholding.

I talked to tech support at a couple of other sites and they told me that because my bandwidth needs were not that intense, I should be okay with shared hosting, but really just needed a faster host.

I’d been looking at Hostgator for a while, because I have some colleagues who recommend them. We did some testing on their server speeds too and found that they were consistently much better than my current host.

So on Thanksgiving day, I moved the retail site and its 1,000+ item database over to a new account on Hostgator. Ran into just a few little snags, but their tech support was right on top of it. I really like that they have live support chat, that was very helpful and immediate. We’ve been quite pleased with the performance of the site so far and I am actually considering moving all of my accounts (clients too) over to Hostgator, because of the quality of the experience I’ve had with them and because they offer a much better reseller program than my current host. Plus the site packages are huge, the offerings in terms of software (PHP5, etc.) are better.

I’m planning on starting this move over Christmas or in early January for Parallax and then moving clients over as their hosting accounts expire as long as things continue to run smoothly. So far, so good…

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