Well, it seems recently that Endurance International Group (EIG), the owners of many popular hosting brands like iPage, BlueHost, JustHost, HostGator, and so on, plans to raise $400 million in an IPO. What does this mean for customers of the hosting brands that EIG owns and operates? In short, I fear that it means shareholder’s bank accounts will be more important than customer’s hosting accounts.
It’s no secret how I feel about EIG and the hosting companies they operate. Every single host they have purchased over the years has had a sharp, predictable decrease in reliability and customer support in an effort to maximize profitability. Now, with shareholders in play, that can only increase the problems that they already face. They will be under more pressure to maximize profitability at the expense of quality service. Let’s take a look at what issues will be compounded.
1. Overselling Servers
In an effort to save money on hardware, EIG hosting companies have to oversell and overfill their shared servers. Because they offer hosting at such a low initial rate, they have to fill their servers to capacity, leaving less resources to be shared across the hosting accounts.
2. Backfilling Old Servers
Customers cancel, there is no way for any company to avoid this. However, EIG hosting companies worry less about customer retention and more about the number of new sales they are getting in hopes of upselling them to a higher package. This high cancellation rate leaves open room on old servers with older, less powerful hardware. This increases your chance on being placed on an old, slow server, making your website suffer.
3. Forcing Migrations
I won’t get too specific here because it deserves its own post, but a client of mine who hosts with HostGator had her account migrated to a different server in a completely different state. Worst of all, HostGator didn’t even tell her that this would be happening. She didn’t have the option to stay in the Texas data center, and when she requested to be moved back she was told no.
4. Forcing Upgrades
With these overcrowded servers comes an increased chance of your website being suspended due to vague “server load” or “cpu usage” issues. When this is the case, the hosting company will tell you that your website is too resource intensive for shared hosting and will request for you to upgrade to a more expensive package.
The bottom line is that going public only stands to hurt customers of EIG web hosts. There are too many things that could go wrong, and too many things that are already going wrong. Unfortunately, this IPO only stands to make EIG more money that they can put toward marketing a sub-standard product, leaving you with an unreliable website.