Web Hosting Lessons Learned

Things have changed (A LOT) since 2002 when I started Rainmakerz Consulting. I was looking for a meaningful company identity and did a simple web hosting domain name search that turned up Network Solutions. They were a large, local (Washington DC based) company and seemed like the right choice at the time. Things went smoothly until 2009 when we completed a major website upgrade. It was then that we discovered the web design tools were difficult to use and customer support was lacking.

In May 2013, things took a significant turn for the worse. It all started with a SpamCop problem that shut down our email for a few days due to what Network Solutions called “suspicious IP addresses” and other technical issues too detailed to mention here. Since then, we have experienced recurring problems with email messages from customers that were being rejected due to high spam scores.

Did you know that using capital letters in the subject line, or the word “Urgent” is likely to inflate your spam score and potentially cause an IP address or domain name to be blacklisted?

While Network Solutions diligently prevented perfectly valid messages from reaching our email boxes, we continually received scores of SPAM messages a week. The Microsoft Outlook “Junk” option became the quick fix.

We have been continually frustrated with Network Solutions’ level of service, complicated website update procedures, high costs, and customer support. If it wasn’t for the complications and inevitable technical glitches that switching was likely to cause, we would have made the move years ago. Last year I vowed to make the switch to a new provider, but the expiration date came and went, and I reluctantly signed up for another year of service in June.

The spam problem resurfaced again recently. After hours on the phone, long wait times, too many unanswered questions, and complete lack of follow-up, enough was enough. I did some research and my suspicions were confirmed—Network Solutions was called out for being one of the WORST hosting providers in the market. Apparently, GoDaddy isn’t much better, although opinions are mixed.

During the discovery process, we uncovered a number of highly recommended hosting companies and quickly settled on BlueHost. We signed up for 36 months of service at a significantly lower cost than Network Solutions (36 months with BlueHost costs less than 24 months with Network Solutions!). A short break between consulting assignments over the past week has recently given me the opportunity to redesign our website. A major lesson for us was “why did we wait so long to make the change?” More on that and our new website in a month or so when we go live.

What’s your experience?

  • What are your (good/bad/indifferent) experiences with hosting companies?
  • Is your website out of date like ours?
  • What’s stopping you from taking the next steps?

Future topic to discuss?

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Chris Simmons is the founder and principal member of Rainmakerz Consulting—a business development solutions company specializing in all aspects of proposal development.