Feb 22
Shared Hosting Support Showdown
February 22, 2007
Posted in: Shared by CSS-Hoster




UPDATE: As was pointed out by commenters, I apparently missed the live chat on startlogic, onewebhosting, and netfirms. I have updated them in the table but wont be able to send in a new request to them until 2 PM next tuesday (to stay true to the test). Sorry!

Shared Hosting Support Sucks. And by “sucks”, I mean that it is roughly on par with the type of service you would expect at Guantanamo Bay. I take that back. Staying at Camp Gitmo is free. If you had to pay for the torture, then that would be like shared hosting support. From long phone call waiting times, constant server updates, and off-shore support staff that, despite their best efforts, cannot understand a word you are saying, getting good support seemed impossible.

So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I would call, email, and chat with as many different shared hosting companies as I could and put it on a stop watch. Every minute that ticked by without a response or an answer was a vote against my business. Of course, they didn’t know this was happening at all.

I looked at all the most common support options…

  1. Do they offer email support
  2. If so, how long till first response
  3. If so, how long till answer provided
  4. Do they offer phone support
  5. If so, how long till first response
  6. If so, how long till answer provided
  7. Do they offer chat support
  8. If so, how long till first response
  9. If so, how long till answer provided

What resulted was this. A complete list of the hosts I contacted and how long it took their lazy (or awesome, in some cases) support staff to pick up the damn phone (or answer a chat session or respond to an email).

The yellow highlighted spots are 1st place finishes (or ties). You can probably guess where my business ended up.

Hosting
Company
by
Email
by
Chat
by
Phone
Chat

Resp.
Time

Email
Resp.

Time

Phn.
Resp.

Time

Chat
Ans.
Time
Email
Ans. Time
Phn.

Ans.
Time

Burton Hosting Yes Yes Yes 0

min

1
min
1
min
1
min
2

min

2
min
Dot5 Hosting Yes Yes Yes 2
min
1
min
3
min
3
min
8
min
5
min
Host Gator Yes Yes Yes 2
min
1
min
15+
min
3
min
3
min
15+
min
HostICan Yes Yes Yes 2
min
1
min
4
min
4
min
25
min
5
min
Midphase Hosting Yes Yes Yes 1
min
20
min
8
min
2
min
20
min
9
min
OneWebHosting Yes X Mark Yes n/a 1

min

2
min
n/a 5
min
4
min
Your-Site Hosting Yes X Mark Yes n/a 3
min
2
min
n/a 13
min
3
min
WingSix Hosting Yes X Mark Yes n/a 1
min
3
min
n/a 25
min
4
min
AN Hosting Yes Yes Yes 2
min
1
min
2
min
5
min
2+
Hrs
3
min
Apollo Hosting Yes Yes Yes 2
min
1
min
3
min
4
min
Tkts.
Only
4
min
IPowerWeb Yes Yes Yes 5
min
10
min
5
min
7
min
2+
Hrs
6
min
HostMonster Yes Yes Yes 2
min
1
min
12
min
5
min
Tkts.
Only
13
min
HostRocket Yes Yes Yes 4
min
1
min
8
min
15+
min
Tkts.
Only
9
min
StartLogic Yes X Mark Yes n/a 1

min

2
min
n/a 2+
Hrs
3
min
BlueFish Yes X Mark Yes n/a 1
min
5
min
n/a 2+
Hrs
6
min
LunarPages Yes X Mark Yes n/a 1
min
8
min
n/a 2+
Hrs
9
min
1&1 Hosting Yes X Mark Yes n/a 1
min
12
min
n/a 2+
Hrs
13
min
ValueWeb Yes Yes Yes 1
min
2+
Hrs
3
min
2
min
2+
Hrs
4
min
PowWeb Yes Yes Yes 1
min
2+
Hrs
2
min
6
min
2+
Hrs
3
min
IX Web Hosting Yes Yes Yes 2
min
2+
Hrs
3
min
4
min
2+
Hrs
4
min
BlueHost Yes Yes Yes 1
min
2+
Hrs
12
min
2
min
2+
Hrs
14
min
WebSiteSource Yes Yes Yes 15+
min
2+
Hrs
4
min
15+
min
2+
Hrs
5
min
EasyCGI Yes X Mark Yes n/a 2+
Hrs
3
min
n/a 2+
Hrs
4
min
Gate Hosting Yes X Mark Yes n/a 2+
Hrs
3
min
n/a 2+
Hrs
4
min
NetFirms Yes X Mark Yes n/a 2+
Hrs
3
min
n/a 2+
Hrs
4
min
Aplus Hosting Yes Yes Yes Offline 2+
Hrs
3
min
Offline Offline 5
min
BackBone Hosting Yes X Mark Yes n/a 2+
Hrs
n/a n/a 2+
Hrs
n/a

Notes: These are not averages, these are based on the 1 or 2 times I tried with each company. I performed all of my studies between 2 and 3 pm eastern. It is possible that some of these hosts have better support at different times of the day than others, and it may vary based on location. Take everything with a grain of salt.

Please do not start calling, emailing, and chatting with all of these hosts all at once.

Hoisting Sails and how it relates to Boosting Sales with Superior Usability
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51 Comments »

  1. […] Shared Hosting Support Showdown A post at HostSeeq which compares the response time from the support of 27 large web hosting companies (Tags: website hosting, hosting support) […]

    Pingback by WebmasterFeed.org » 2007 » February » 23 — February 22, 2007 @ 4:54 pm


  2. no media temple?

    Comment by Nick — February 22, 2007 @ 9:25 pm


  3. I find HostRocket to be very helpful and quick. 1&1 does not offer 24/7 phone support, only on business days during business hours.

    Comment by KraigR — February 22, 2007 @ 9:32 pm


  4. How bout this chart is meaningless. if you knew anything about support you would know that at any given time a support service could be affected by any number of things. Taking a snapshot of this size (1 or 2 times) represents absolutely nothing. Thats like taking a picture (1 or 2) of a planet every planet in our solarsystem at any given time and representing the whole state of the planet throughout time as that exact image. Congrats on wasting not only my time (because you put the disclaimer at the bottom) but your own.

    Comment by Jeff — February 22, 2007 @ 9:40 pm


  5. Great list! Thanks for you work!

    Comment by bill — February 22, 2007 @ 9:51 pm


  6. You say “1 minute” for a lot of the e-mail responses.. but was that a real response answering the question, or just a “we’ve got your e-mail” type mail. If the latter, I think it should have been time till actual response.

    Comment by Peter Cooper — February 22, 2007 @ 9:57 pm


  7. Well it says 1&1 takes only 1 minute for email answer, but that is a automatic answer, the real answer never arrives until 2-3 days later.

    Comment by Brian — February 22, 2007 @ 10:00 pm


  8. Um, interesting, but without prices/plan information not terribly useful…

    Comment by Chak — February 22, 2007 @ 10:11 pm


  9. pft.. response time is not an indication of quality. look at burton hosting, “Due to high load on the website, this service is temporaly unavailable” on a few links on their main page..

    Comment by rob — February 22, 2007 @ 10:18 pm


  10. What? No Godaddy? Oh Wait… you’re still on hold and waiting.

    Comment by Dave — February 22, 2007 @ 10:27 pm


  11. […] put them on a stop watch so everyone would know just how bad (and how good) these hosts really are.read more | digg […]

    Pingback by TechTxt.Org » Blog Archive » Guy Fed UP! with bad support - takes matters into own hands… — February 22, 2007 @ 11:00 pm


  12. I agree completely with your remarks. I was Surfspeed customer for more than 2 years. They suck too and deserve go to that list. I left SS to move to Hostgator. Regarding to Hostgator, my exoerience is almost as bad as Surfspeedy. Guys are nazi and cut your head as soon as your site gives them some problem. For example: my site has a problem in one of its scripts and that were demanding too much CPU. Instead of warn me and give me some hours to fix or disabling ths script, they shutdown the site for 4 days.

    During that time, I begged for a chance to correct the problem but they took 4 days to restore my site and allow me to fix the problem. Countless damages and losses in sells on my online shop.

    I was lucky to have my site restored after 4 days. Normally they hijaack the site to force you to upgrade.

    Another point is the time you mention they take to answer a request thru mail. In all my requests Hostgator took at least 4 hours to answer and generally the first answer never solve the problem, as they always use the famous technique of stalling the user before acting.

    The times you put in that table are very optimistic. I would multiply it by 30 in my case.

    Comment by Mike — February 22, 2007 @ 11:00 pm


  13. Fix your bandwidth.

    Comment by dfjklds — February 22, 2007 @ 11:02 pm


  14. Thanks for doing this, it’s pretty neat that you went out of your way to let us know what to expect based on what you went through with each host.

    one question…did you “cold-call” each of these hosts as a new customer wanting to sign up, or did you pose as an existing customer with each of them? Which one is your webhost (if any)?

    Comment by Anon — February 22, 2007 @ 11:07 pm


  15. Unfortunately looks like the traffic that your site got from digg and del.icio.us caused Burton hosting front page to die.

    Comment by Sijin Joseph — February 22, 2007 @ 11:07 pm


  16. Ever try running a shared host? You want response time on a 5 buck account? To pay 1 support persons salery at $5 bucks a month thats 500 accounts just to pay for 1 tech. Most of the hosting companies I know cant afford to do that. Unless its no support colo or managed servers. Now if 10% of those 500 customers actually call you. You get 50 calls a month thats about 2 per day. But since you only have one tech its completely based on the timeframe that tech works ie nights or days and when they can get back with you. If you put 4 techs on to cover the work then you need to pay someone almost no money to work 24/7 in order to make anything with shared hosting server. The big players cant even afford to offer real support cause they have to lowball the hosting cause everyone in the industry has rock bottom prices. I ditched hosting completely and dicided to only do development and just let everyone else fight it out.

    THE SUPPORT COSTS MORE THAN THE HOSTING!!!!!!!

    If you want support get your own server or be willing to pay real rates. If you do happen to find a super fast company it is normally the owner doing the support and it only last until he gets too busy and they overnight the support is crap. When you have people lowballing each other there is no room for support.

    Learn to manage your own server and get a life.

    Comment by yourignorant — February 22, 2007 @ 11:23 pm


  17. What about the rack (aka rackspace)?

    Comment by Me — February 22, 2007 @ 11:24 pm


  18. Oh yeah this whole site is search engine optimized for webhosting thats pretty funny looks like your trying to snake people into using your fav host!

    People are not that dumb…
    you dont optimize a site for google if your writing a serious review of hosting companies

    Comment by yourignorant — February 22, 2007 @ 11:26 pm


  19. this should turn into a wiki.

    Comment by Matt — February 22, 2007 @ 11:27 pm


  20. Hrmm … looks like burtonhosting.com’s site is down due to high traffic … guess they’ll need to work on that. :D

    Overall, a great source for those shopping new hosts. Thanks!

    Comment by Chris — February 22, 2007 @ 11:27 pm


  21. I loved RSHosting.net, as the saying goes you get what you pay for. I’ve since moved on to dedicated hosting but when I needed a stable, reliable, responsive shared host RSHosting was there for me. (18 months)

    Comment by Greg — February 22, 2007 @ 11:42 pm


  22. I’ve had Valueweb: They offer no backend shell access and they are totally paranoid of hackers to the point of absurdity..

    I’ve had 1&1, they treat everyone like numbers (login/password) are numbers, they try to get you hooked on their special applications dope (vendor lock-in). They make it next to impossible to cancel..

    Burton Hosting is pretty good, but stear clear of their “uk” domains, they won’t let you keep the domain if you cancel..

    DH2.net (not listed) was pretty good, but I cancelled when my upload/download rate reduced to 8KB/sec (I think their FTP server is to blame)..

    I’m currently managing domains on godaddy.. I can get 250GB throughput with 5GB of space for about 44 dollars a year. This is the site currently running my YouTube Mashup: http://www.chann3lz.com/ .

    Comment by Kiernan — February 22, 2007 @ 11:42 pm


  23. BTW, godaddy offers hosting service, that’s what I bought in addition to domains.. The free hosting you get with them has ads.. The commercial hosting has MySQL, PHP and you can manage your own php.ini file.. I have mine enabled to make fopen() web calls.

    Comment by Kiernan — February 22, 2007 @ 11:45 pm


  24. you should check out Dreamhost.com … you will ask yourself why you haven’t been using them your whole life! $120.00 for a year (includes way too much to list), but you can get a year for $30 with coupon code ‘MDDR’. Check it out dude! Google it if you don’t believe me :-)

    Kristian Hermansen

    Comment by Kristian Hermansen — February 22, 2007 @ 11:48 pm


  25. Interesting, we repeat this process every week at realmetrics.com and publish the current results and even trend the results over time. Wanna job doing this every week? ;)

    Comment by Kent Johnson — February 23, 2007 @ 12:13 am


  26. […] read more | digg story […]

    Pingback by Guy Fed UP! with bad support - takes matters into own hands… « Digged Stories — February 23, 2007 @ 12:35 am


  27. Where’s good ol’ A Small Orange

    Comment by Bryce — February 23, 2007 @ 1:31 am


  28. host gator at 15+ minutes is absurd. ive been with them for many years and never experienced such hold times. now that i think of it, ive only had to call once or twice throughout the years.

    i do like your table and lack of affiliate links. refreshing.

    Comment by ryan — February 23, 2007 @ 1:47 am


  29. Hi,

    I thought I would send you this quick note. I noticed you had our site listed with no chat options. We actually do offer live chat from 7pm-7am
    and will be expanding that to 24 hours/day within 60 days. So, thought I would mention that to you.

    Thanks for providing this information to people looking for reliable hosting companies. I think you provide a great service.

    Best Regards,

    Tem Balanco
    President, OneWebHosting.com

    Comment by Tem Balanco — February 23, 2007 @ 2:18 am


  30. What? You forgot he.net (Hurricane Electric) and pair.com (Pair Networks), two of my favorites.

    They especially rank high on my list because of their shell/ssh feature on even the low priced accounts.

    But I’m on the lookout for other good shell/ssh hosting providers, because HE has low disk quotas and Pair has a policy of killing any process that takes more than 100 or so kilobytes (OK, maybe I exaggerate) of memory.

    Both of them have pretty quick support, though I haven’t done a scientific or semi-scientific measure like yours.

    But I’d be glad to hear from other commenters what low priced shell/ssh hosts have been working out well for them. The more unix command line toys (perl, ruby, python, FastCGI, etc.) the better, and the FEWER web dashboard GUI-type admin consoles, the better.

    FrontPage support in a hosting provider is a liability, not an asset.

    Comment by Mark — February 23, 2007 @ 3:27 am


  31. […] put them on a stop watch so everyone would know just how bad (and how good) these hosts really are.read more | digg […]

    Pingback by The Inveterate Observer » Blog Archive » Guy Fed UP! with bad support - takes matters into own hands… — February 23, 2007 @ 5:02 am


  32. Just so you know, I currently use startlogic and they do have live chat, with a near instant response time

    Comment by Nathaniel — February 23, 2007 @ 5:16 am


  33. One minute email response? I know for a couple of those hosts you have to be counting autoresponders.

    I would love to see a table of actual response times answering a question or fixing a problem.

    1and1, for example, sends an autoreply immediately (hence, 1 minute), but it takes them a couple hours or days to actually answer questions of resolve issues.

    Comment by doug — February 23, 2007 @ 6:23 am


  34. Doh. I’m illiterate and missed the other columns. Sorry.

    Feel free to delete the previous comment. :)

    Comment by doug — February 23, 2007 @ 6:26 am


  35. I can’t even figure out Burton Hosting’s webite. Supposedly they offer several versions of personal hosting, but I can only see how to buy one. The Windows hosting link still takes me to the Linux page…

    Also, one domain? That is it?

    There is a lunarpages banner in this site’s footer as I type this.

    Comment by Seth — February 23, 2007 @ 6:35 am


  36. You made a slight mistake… Netfirms DOES have live chat. They helped me very quickly and efficiently with my problems when I hosted my website under their free service.

    http://www.netfirms.com/web-hosting/

    See the link in the upper-right corner? “Have questions? Click to chat live”

    Comment by Andy — February 23, 2007 @ 6:47 am


  37. Ah, thanks a lot this list is really helpful and if I wasn’t stuck where I am, I’d use this list to change. I’m with Bluehost and the only way around their 2+ hour wait on an e-mail is go into their chat room and send them e-mail in there.

    You should also mark how easy it is to find the contact information.

    Comment by ZicklePop — February 23, 2007 @ 7:09 am


  38. I’m a customer of EasyCGI’s and while 2hrs for an email response is pretty typical, if I have a more critical issue then I’d just call.

    I’ve used a variety of hosts before settling on them and I can honestly say their level of service is fantastic, though their Tech Support Staff could use a little more training (a lot of the time I have to explain my problem as though to a non-techie).

    Uptime has been amazing considering they are one of the cheapest hosts and are only too happy to sort out my problems, help with my client site’s on-going growth and expansion, etc.

    I tried to FTP one day, but had my password rejected. A quick check of email showed that EasyCGI had spotted someone hammering the FTP account trying to guess the password, so they’d automatically switched it to a random string and emailed me.

    That level of protection and security sure helps one sleep at night.

    Comment by BrentP — February 23, 2007 @ 7:14 am


  39. Although Burton Hosting seems to have topped your list, I am curious to know why you didn’t notice the numerous typo errors in the website, the most obvious being the $5 Personal Hosting plan was in fact $6.95 after clicking on it.

    I’m also guessing that Buron Hosting is one of the smallest hosting companies in the list, which means that the amount of clients they have is much lesser compared to another company, say, lunarpages. Therefore, Burton Hosting could have responded much faster.

    Comment by Edwin — February 23, 2007 @ 7:44 am


  40. How did you choose these shared hosting providers? I like to use FindMyHosting.com because they have a rating system based on input from numerous customer experiences (not just one person’s).

    I had eDataRack (not on your list) and found them to be unresponsive and arrogant. They treated me like an ignorant noob. SiteFlip (not on your list) had good features, but I guess they got too big to offer support. They never answered my questions. I liked HostGator. They treated me well, but had to kick me out because of a DoS attack they said was targeted specifically at a customer’s domain that I hosted with them. Since they could not figure it out how to stop it, they had to shut the site down and block requests to that domain.

    Finally, as much as I think that the comments of “yourignorant” above are that of a flamer, he does make some valid points. Many of these web host providers are small-time and just can’t afford good support. I’ve never expected much and I’m pleasantly surprised when someone gets back to me within 24 hours. The bad ones are really the ones who treat you with no respect and mismanage your site.

    Thank you for your time.

    Comment by JustinCase — February 23, 2007 @ 8:36 am


  41. If you ever feel like going with gate.com as a host.. take a rusty fork, and gab it in your eye. Repeat if desired. I had a vps that was up more than it was down. It would ping, but nothing else, no RDP, no web pages, no admin pages. They would reboot the server, nothing else, no matter how many times it went down. I had them on speed dial, and there was nothing else i could do.

    Comment by michael — February 23, 2007 @ 8:53 am


  42. This is a complete BS list… ofcourse sales and support reponse time are different.
    Anyway this guy is prolly trying to make some bucks via banner ads here.. prolly working too for him..
    ah wait..Ill do the same!

    anyway ill make a worst host list for you.

    byohosting.com
    resellerguru.com
    datapacket.net
    acenet

    and whole lot of others.. dont wanna mention all of them cuz then due to this BS List they will get more hits and prolly more customers.

    For the guy who made the above table.
    Shame on you! not a good way to make money.
    take off all these ads and may be then some whacko will believe u.

    Regards
    Me

    Comment by akaaz — February 23, 2007 @ 9:39 am


  43. […] Shared Hosting Support Showdown - HostSeeq […]

    Pingback by Trip Hop Clan » Blog Archive » Shared hosting Comparison — February 23, 2007 @ 9:42 am


  44. I am with Midphase. Your estimates look pretty accurate. Although they don’t have the amazing speed of Burton, I have to say that overall they are a really good company for the price and what they offer.

    Great experiment :)

    Comment by SLEZE — February 23, 2007 @ 9:43 am


  45. Disagree with your opinion of Burtonhosting as well. Very well know spam support site using the datacenter of another spammer. (gnax) A simple Google search would have turned that up.

    You may have also wanted to report is your support questions were actually answered correctly as well and how many replies it took to get a proper response.

    Comment by drmike — February 23, 2007 @ 10:51 am


  46. I think Jeff hit the mark with his comment. The chart is misrepresenting unless all the calls were conducted in the same manner, ie: calls, emails, and chats were made during the same time of day and time of week.
    As far as prices: when I click on the Burton Hosting link, the header reads $5 for Home, $15 for Business and $99 for dedicated. If you click on each of those for more information, the prices are different; $7, $22, $160 respectively, a little misleading….

    Comment by tS — February 23, 2007 @ 11:35 am


  47. If you have a site that gets only a few thousand requests per day, you can host it yourself from a cable/dsl line. Figure out how many requests, with page size, your line can handle. Even with larger sites its not a problem, as long as you are not getting multiple concurrent connections.

    Take a look at the Web-Developer Server Suite.

    Comment by Local Apache — February 23, 2007 @ 11:51 am


  48. Why no mention of Hostway http://www.hostway.com in this list?

    Comment by Dan — February 27, 2007 @ 8:54 am


  49. I understand that goDaddy will be included when you recieve their email response.

    Ill check back in a week or so.

    Comment by Nielsen — February 27, 2007 @ 11:46 am


  50. Political Views and Technology Views Don’t Mix

    I was scrolling through the latest lists of crashed sites (aka Digg) and noticed a worthy article for me to read regarding shared hosting and their tech support.  I was stunned and pretty much decided not to read the rest of the article half way throu…

    Trackback by Lockergnome - Chris Short — March 3, 2007 @ 6:58 pm


  51. […] - takes matters into own hands… Filed under: Uncategorized — recar @ 3:20 am Guy Fed UP! with bad support - takes matters into own hands… Made fake support requests to a bunch of shared hosting sites and put them on a stop watch so […]

    Pingback by Guy Fed UP! with bad support - takes matters into own hands… « News Coctail — March 3, 2007 @ 9:27 pm


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