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if it's too good to be true, it probably is

Alternative title for this entry: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

I recently entertained the idea of switching web host providers (my current host is ProNIC Solutions and has been for several years).

I will not be switching hosts. More on that in a moment.

Shopping for a web host just sucks because it's always a crap shoot. You never know how your hosting is going to perform until you actually use it.

Anyway, the reason I wanted to switch is because I see disk space being an issue in the future. Web pages and software do not take up that much space, but photos and MP3's do. The more I add, the closer I get to my space limit. Right now I am in no "danger" of tapping the limit; it's just a future consideration.

Dotster was offering what seemed like a really awesome hosting deal. It's here if you want to check it out - but before you do, read my tale of woe. 🙂

So I'm checking it out. Tons of space, MySQL databases, lots of other goodies and the best part of all - cheap. Almost half the price of what I pay now per month.

I signed up for an account using one of my other domains to test it first, and boy am I glad I did because this is what happened:

1) No .htaccess files allowed.

WHAT?! With the exception of a scant few, every web host I've ever used allows custom .htaccess files. Dotster does not.

2) MySQL databases did not work at all.

This was the exact same situation I encountered with Yahoo! Web Site Services years ago. The MySQL db's didn't work - period. You could set one up, but on attempt to connect would have errors all over the place. You couldn't even do something as simple as a phpBB installation. It failed miserably.

3) Tech support was pathetic.

I tried that "live chat" support. The idiot on the other end had no clue what he was doing, then proceeded to ignore me even though the chat session was still active.

In addition to that, I sent an e-mail to support in the attempt to get the MySQL db's working. NO RESPONSE IN TWO DAYS.

ProNIC always answers any tech support question I have in two hours or less - tops (and that's very, very good).

Needless to say I cancelled the account. Fortunately I got a refund, but just so you know, the way to cancel a Dotster hosting account is buried underneath many menus and there is NO DOCUMENTATION on how to cancel the account. I literally had to fish it out - but found it.

Dotster may be awesome at domain registration, but their hosting (and there's really no other way to put it) sucks.

My recommendation: Spend a little more and get something that actually works. I'm staying with ProNIC.

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