A new year, a new web host

Posted on January 11, 2006 at 01:25 AM

Loyal readers of this blog have probably have noticed my general lack of posting for the last month or so. I could make up some kind of outlandish excuse as to why but I won't. Though, I have been keeping busy with working on a new site design and switching to a new web hosting company. Excuses, excuses...

You see, just about a year ago I signed up with Fatcow to host this blog. I didn't do a lot of online research of web hosting companies, as I usually find that personal experiences are usually more informational than reading the typical marketing hoo-hah some company lists on their site. So I asked around, and based on the recommendation of a blogger who shall remain somewhat nameless, I decided that Fatcow would suit my needs. All I needed was a somewhat cheap web hosting company that would reliably host my site. I wasn't asking for much.

That was then, this is now.

After being with Fatcow for a full year I can report that their reliability as far as a web hosts go was so-so. Being a company that hosts thousands of sites, their number one measuring stick for customer satisfaction should be website availability, which is the total amount of time their client's websites are running sans any unscheduled downtime. And 2005, at least for Fatcow, was less than a banner year.

I can recall at least 3 occasions when I went to update this blog and found that it was unavailable. One time last April the outage was so bad I had to look at a cached copy of Fatcow's support site on Google just to get their phone number. It was as if the entire company was yanked off the interwebs. Not cool.

Another time I found that my site was down, yet again, along with a few other Fatcow hosted sites. So I called their tech support to report the outage and was met with the response, "Really? Hmm... yeah I guess it is down." Any web host company that brags that they have 99% uptime is really telling you that their your website will probably be down down approx. 3.65 days a year, which is really unacceptable in this day age.

To top that off I had to personally call Fatcow and confirm my wish to disband their service. Apparently numerous emails to their customer service department isn't enough for Fatcow. Though I saw this for what it really was, their last ditch effort to somehow persuade me to keep them as my host, even though I'd already signed with a new company weeks earlier and begun the process of transferring this site to my new host. Pretty sure I'm not changing my mind at this point.

So, during my last communicae with Fatcow I was asked why I was taking my site elsewhere. I thought I'd be nice and responded "Well, I found a better deal" and hoped to leave it at that. Though apparently this wasn't a good enough reason for the rep on the other end of the line as he started to break into some jedi mind trick sales pitch about how he could offer me a better deal. I politely cut him off, mid jedi mind trick speak, and promptly listed about half dozen reasons why I was leaving Fatcow. He quickly got the point and our conversation ended. All I thought was "You asked for it buddy".

So for the foreseeable future I've decided to go with MediaTemple. This time I did quite a few comparisons of web hosting companies, along with the usual personal experience factored in as well, and found that they had exactly what I was looking for. I decided to go with MediaTemple's 2GB Shared Server Professional Plan for $7.95/mo (2yr agreement required) which meets my needs perfectly. And with Urchin Stats included with my account, well, that was the icing on the cake.

With all that out of the way, I then had to go through the process of transferring this blog from Fatcow to MediaTemmple. That involved installing movabletype 3.2 on my server, exporting/importing all my posts into my new install of MT3.2, and finally copying the 200+ MBs of data that I've seemed to accumulate in the past year. Even though we're only a few weeks into 2006 my experience with MediaTemple has thus far been superb. Hopefully it stays that way.

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So, you switched to MediaTemple now, huh? Who is this nameless blogger who recommended Fatcow using as his or her hosting company now?

Posted by: kadavy | January 11, 2006 02:56 AM

We look forward to your new posts.
M & D

Posted by: Mom | January 12, 2006 07:11 PM

Hmmm, good question. For the life of me I can't remember that guy's name. I used to work with him before he moved to some place like Poughkeepsie, or was it Toledo? I do remember that he once ate a ginormous piece of fat for money. It was for quite a large sum of cash as I recall, something like $10. Maybe that's why he recommended Fatcow? I dunno.
I hope he and that large piece of fat still digesting in his stomach are doing well, wherever they are.

Posted by: Joe Schmidt | January 13, 2006 12:45 AM

You made the right choice, man. Fatcow is down again. I wonder for how long this time.

Spread the news. Tell the world. Fatcow sucks!

Posted by: Robert | January 16, 2006 11:49 AM

I can understand the frustration of a good host. I used a host a couple years ago that went out of business 4 weeks after I signed up for a 1 year account. They had been recommended as well. It only goes to prove that the longevity of a host and the positive comments go hand in hand. Glad to see you are happy with your new host, but as you say the year is young yet.

Posted by: Kevin | January 16, 2006 08:15 PM

Wow Kevin, your web host shut down after 4 weeks! Did you get any of your money back? I'm guessing not.

I've got a good feeling about my new web host. They don't have the words "fat" or "cow" anywhere in their name so they must be good.

Posted by: Joe Schmidt | January 18, 2006 09:25 PM

I had Fatcow for 6 months and I can tell you it was the biggest waste of money ever! The site goes down, email dies without notice, etc. I have it well documented on the site that will live where my original site was on Fatcow until my plan expires. My original site (for an online oldies radio station) got so much flack from the reliability of Fatcow that I had to spend more money and move my site - at least I can actually trust my new web host!

Posted by: Bill DeFelice | January 20, 2006 01:19 PM

Ah, FatCow!

Just did the ol' host switch myself: 1and1.com, $4.99/month, 6 month commitment. FC did offer a matching plan: their paltry offerings edged up a notch for Shockingly low $79/year.

As I explained to the billing lady the word "matching" connotes apple=apple not apple=beet.

A funny thing happened with my domain name. The wonks at FC didn't notify the left hand at Tucows to update the nameserver settings that I'd applied at FC's "Domain Central" panel.

Now what exactly am I paying Fat Cow for in regards to my domain name if they aren't forwarding updates to the proper party?

S., a technician at FC said, "Oh, I see what happened, you didn't go to https://manage.opensrs.net/index and update your nameservers THERE."


Nowhere on ultralean Fat Bovine's Domain Central pages does it mention this vital step. And you know why? Because it's THEIR job to make that entry, not mine or yours!

In fact, no other hosting company or domain seller ever points their customers to their originating reseller provider. Thank the Lord for S., who inadvertently provided me with the information to "fix" this nasty quirk.

So, Joe, thanks for the heads-up, and your blog. I found it through Google: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=fatcow+report and yours was #8, two links after the New Mexico BBB complaints about FC!



Posted by: Herb | February 10, 2006 10:21 AM

woh!! your host went down for 4 weeks,man thats totally un heard of i cant believe it,well its sad to see why their regarded as one of the best if they go down for 4 weeks a month! :(

Posted by: host | October 28, 2008 02:50 AM

FATCOW sucks !!!
And with Macmail it is absolutely USELESS.
Never hardly can send mail. Always have problems for over a year now!!!
THEY SUCK beleive me!
One pissed offf fatcow customer even in 2009
F^*K Fatcow!

Posted by: Eric | May 7, 2009 02:51 PM

I'm pasting my experience everywhere to warn potential Fatcow users.

I’m a web designer and a user of Fatcow for not a long period of time and I have been experiencing WAY TOO MANY PROBLEMS. I get all types of negative tech support such as rude employees, they rush you off the phone with no clear answer, and have “techies” that don’t even know THEIR OWN EQUIPMENT! They leave me thinking, maybe most of the “techies” are really just the receptionists? I must say I have had a couple of helpful people as well but for the majority, not so much. Which leads me to a great question… Why am I having so many problems in the first place? I completely understand that they need to run updates, but during the busiest part of the day? OK, even then that is just a small problem and may have it’s reasons, but that puts my work to a DEAD HALT. Email is constantly not working, and it’s not my settings because this happens on and off. Their reason/fix/responce: “I don’t know, we get calls for this issue sometimes”…THATS ALL!? REALLY? They flat our lie on their website saying that they offer SSL, they fail to mention that you cant purchase any third party certificates and that you have to use their (insecure) public cert. When we found this out they said that we were unable to use other certs because they didn’t know how to install it. Being in the IT field, my coworker then began to inquire as to why they were unable to install the cert and had to explain the purpose of 3rd party certs and how important they are for ECommerce pages. You would expect a “webhost” to understand the importance of an SSL certificate.

Basically, if you are trying to run a company and use them as a reseller bring your business elsewhere. My experience with Fatcow: Fatcow’s service is garbage, and they lie.

Posted by: Fatcow user | July 2, 2009 07:48 PM

For those who are trying to use fatcow, Here's the worst fatcow biggest problem:

1. Email sending/receiving absolutely 99.9% slow
2. don't plan to use MySQL. You'll get 'to many open connection' err so often.
3. No cronjobs
4. Apache access_log not accurate
5. use basicstate.com to monitor your web, you'll see that everyday your website will go down on its knees (4 - 9 hours) !!!

Posted by: Merl Grabowski | September 17, 2009 03:16 AM

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