Hostgator was once the best hosting for small medium business owners. But after EIG (Endurance International Group) took over Hostgator in June 2012 for $225 million, several things changed. EIG made several changes to Hostgator that resulted in degraded performance and poor technical support. After August 2013, Hostgator cared less about customers and has repeated downtimes. You can read the full story on EIG acquisition and Hostgator alternatives (non-EIG hosts) in this article.
My experience with Hostgator in July, 2015 is one of dismayedness. I bought “Baby Plan” in a discount offer of 60% in 2014. I was happy that I could afford such a good hosting within my budget. I had almost 14 WordPress websites installed on this account. No other cron jobs and not too much viewers than. I also did not have any security problems in the initial days.
My Troubles with HostGator in July, 2015
Lately in July, 2015 with the release of Windows 10, one of my sites picked up and reached the 100K page views per month milestone. I didn’t know much about “shared hosting” in the initial days. I thought that my “plan” was sufficient to handle “my kind of traffic”. The other websites did not have much visits and they were altogether generating less than 100 pageviews per day.
Then on July 29th, 2015 I received a mail from HostGator. The contents of the mail was something like this;
Your account has been abusing CPU resources for an extended period of time. As a result all of your sites have been cached in order to ensure continued performance stability of the server. While we do limit each account to no more than 25% of a system’s CPU in our terms of service, we do not actively take actions against accounts until they greatly exceed that number, which is what happened in this case.
Please take a moment to review this email in full as it contains important information and resources to assist you in resolving this issue. Please note that this permanent restriction requires you take further actions to gain access to and resolve the issues on your account.
This mail didn’t cause much clutter in my brains. I thought it was casual, that some script was making nuisance for short-period of time and it’ll take care of by itself. I also noticed a gain in traffic to one of my sites. But I thought HostGator can handle such traffic peaks, because my increase in traffic was not that much compared to other big sites. The site was producing like 7000 pageviews/day for the last 2 days.
In the mail, they also sent a log of my CPU resource usage, indicating what files were mostly using the CPU resources and what IPs were requesting my files. To be clear in fact, I didn’t much understand the log. I only understood that some CPU intensive tasks were being caused by my account.
A Day Later
Later on July 30th, 2015, I receive another mail. This time it was serious as they completely blocked my account. From that day onwards, my problems with HostGator started. All my sites were giving 503 errors and caused lot of frustration and discomfort to myself.
Your account has been abusing CPU resources for an extended period of time and has been disabled in order to ensure continued performance stability of the account and server. While we do limit each account to no more than 25% of a system’s CPU in our terms of service, we do not actively disable accounts until they greatly exceed that number, which is what happened in this case.
This time also they sent a log, indicating the resources that were taking too much CPU usage and also the IPs that were accessing some of the resources.
Later that day, I had a chat with their technical support. They were reluctant to give me a clear indication of what was the actual problem. They only directed me to include some caching mechanism for my websites through plugins or some other means. The more irritating thing was that they were forcing me to upgrade my account to a VPS hosting or dedicated server.
So I increased my tone with the technical staff member on chat. They then directed me towards the “Customer Loyalty Dept” and she assured me that my problem will be resolved. She then escalated the problem to the admins, but the reply to my ticket took like 3 days.
4 days Later
Meanwhile on Aug 3rd, 2015 I received a response to my ticket. The content was similar to this.
August 03, 2015 at 04:35 PM
Hello, and thank you for contacting Hostgator regarding your account restriction.
Thank you for your patience and I apologize for the delayed response to your ticket, our support department is extremely busy at the moment and the turn-around time on requests is higher than we’d like it to be.
The logs indicate that traffic to your WordPress installation at /hom**/engg**/public_html/win***port.com was the cause of the CPU usage spike; it looks like the site hosted here is http://www.windowstechit.com/
The logs for your site show some login attempts, but most of the traffic was to the page at http://www.windowstechit.com/3545/windows-10-benchmarks-performance/
By that time, I already logged into my cPanel and removed the restrictions on my account. But that didn’t work out. Still, the restriction was in place and I was still getting the 503 errors to all my sites. So than I had to take some drastic decision which cost me additional $40.
I then shifted to InmotionHosting which was well-renowned for WordPress Hosting (aff link). I joined their VPS hosting and their packages VPS-1000S. Their technical support was excellent and I could chat with them without much waiting. On the contrary, there was a delay like 15 to 30 minutes whenever I wished to chat with the Hostgator Technical support team.
It took me another two days to set things right, as there were certain technical difficulties in setting up my sites on InmotionHosting. Primarily this was due to DNS server errors which was caused by my earlier hosting account with them. I also had to change the MySQL DB passwords as part of the change and re-direct the nameservers to InmotionHosting IPs.
Meanwhile I found on another blog, that I was not the first person to face issues like this.
KONEN L Says
January 12, 2015 at 15:24
We need your help. We hosted our site on Godaddy but after facing many servers issues we thought of changing the hosting company. Then we came across this useful article. As you said ‘shoutmeloud’ is hosted on hostgator baby plan, we decided we will go for the same plan. Now, our site is hosted with HG.
Here is the problem after we shifted to HG. Yesterday, we received a suspension warning from Hostgator for exceeding their CPU usage due to high traffic. As suggested by them, we installed WP Super cache and now it is working fine with 1k real-time visitors.
HARSH AGRAWAL Says
January 12, 2015 at 15:57
ShoutMeLoud is now hosted on Cloudways and the issue which you mentioned about resource usage, a lot of users on Hostgator are getting it. My recommendation for you Konan is, also integrate Cloudflare on your blog (It’s free).
This will speed up your website and also take little load away from your Hostgator account. I still have few tech sites running on Hostgator and they are working fine with the setup I mentioned in the article (WordPress + SuperCache + Cloudflare) and traffic goes up to 16000 Pv/Day without any issue.
So the problem was not just traffic. There was some other issue which HostGator was not that much willing to investigate. Later I found out that, there was some kind of “brute force attack” going against my site. When I contacted HostGator about this, they just plainly replied that their servers were not that competent enough to take security vulnerabilities like these on WordPress sites. But InmotionHosting Technical staff were eligible enough to point me out in the right direction. They gave clear indications on how I can step-up the security of my WordPress sites and also prevent further attacks like that.
The Current Status with HostGator
Even after 1 week, HostGator didn’t lift the ban on my account. I was still having downtime with my sites and account. Even after that, they only partially lifted the ban on my main site. But by that time, I already moved to another host. I had successful bonding with HostGator for like 3 years, when this happened. Earlier whenever I contacted their support team, they were good enough to trouble-shoot my issues. But with EIG taking over and in 2015, I should say that HostGator is somewhat different.
If you are a WordPress user or beginner blogger trying to find a reliable hosting for your sites, then I don’t recommend HostGator. Even if your traffic is low, it’ll be very difficult to contact their technical support on chat. Also their answers take long time duration. But if you want to save some money initially, then you go for that. But whenever you cross the 100K pageviews per month limit, then I recommend you to choose some other hosting.
Also the security aspects as I mentioned are not clearly given by HostGator. So it’s better you find some good security mechanism for your WordPress sites if they are getting popular enough. In another post, I’ll detail these aspects of making your WordPress site fast and secure.
Are you a HostGator user? How is your experience with their technical support team? Did you face the same issues of high CPU usage like me? Do you recommend HostGator to your other friends? Which hosting is best for WordPress sites? Please give your suggestions in the comment section below.