This morning a handful of unrelated sites and clients began to report that access to their EIG owned website hosting companies were not allowing them access and had shutdown their hosted services. As we began to probe we found that this is a much bigger issue that a simple forgotten password.

EIG (Endurance International Group) Background

EIG or the Endurance International Group is currently one of the worlds largest web hosting companies, it is owned by Accel-KKR and GS Capital Partners. EIG’s web hosting is compromised of a handful of smaller companies.

You may wonder why I am talking about EIG and not the single hosting company directly in this article. After talking to a couple others about my morning, I found that several people / companies had this same issue, an EIG owned host company emailed them saying they owed X in payment and in the meanwhile their site / service was shutdown. Mind, you not all the people I talked to that had this issue are US based companies. One of the guys I talked to said he got an email about 5 days ago over owing $3 – the total downtime this week has cost him thousands in revenue. All over a billing issue.

2slick.com
AccountSupport
A Small Orange
ApolloHosting
AptHost
Arvixe
Berry Information Systems
BigRock
BizLand
BlueDomino
Bluehost
BlueFur
BuyDomains
Cloud by IX
Constant Contact
Directi
Dollar2Host
Domain.com
DomainHost
Dot5Hosting
Dotster
easyCGI
eHost
Escalate Internet
EntryHost
FastDomain
FatCow
FreeYellow
[email protected]
Homestead
HostCentric
HostClear
HostExcellence
HostGator
HostMonster
HostNine
HostYourSite.com
HyperMart
IdeaHost
IMOutdoors
Intuit Websites
iPage
IPOWER/iPowerWeb
IX Web Hosting
JustCloud
JustHost
LogicBoxes
MojoMarketplace
MyDomain
MyResellerHome
NetFirms
Networks Web Hosting
Nexx
PowWeb
PureHost
ReadyHosting
ResellerClub
SEO Hosting
Site5
Southeast Web
Spry
StartLogic
SuperGreen Hosting
TypePad
USANetHosting
vDeck
Verio
VirtualAvenue
VPSLink
WebHost4Life
WebHosting.info
Webstrike Solutions
Webzai
Xeran
YourWebHosting

You may recognize some of the names on the list FatCow, HostGator, Site5, Bluehost – these were (keyword where) a cheap hosting platform that performed relatively good with decent support and uptime rates. But that was then…

The Trend

Some, in fact many of the companies listed above were good – I dare to say – some even great, way back when. But with all good things it must come to an end, and that end was the purchase of said (above listed) company. More often than not what occurs is that the newly owned company is reduced to its bare in order to improve and squeeze every ounce of revenue from that company. Usually the first item that takes a hit is customer service followed by a slow degradation of its actual service.

Yes, this does occur with other companies as they get bought and merged with larger parent companies, it’s inevitable. However Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

The Current Issue

Several clients (companies and people) use or had used a couple of the companies listed above. However, as years passed many if not all the clients began to have site stopping issues ranging from the host (Site5) changing the php version which broke legacy code to general server downtime (which can happen but if it does once a month, thats a bit much).

So this morning when a couple clients called to notify me that their email was out (multiple unrelated domains) I dove in. MX records looked fine. So I went to login to Site5’s backend console, but found my username simply generated a not found error.

I pushed forward and found that the client had received an email stating their account had been shut down for non-payment for an invoice on January in 2014. The clients have auto billing on, and I know their accounts are up to date. So I called Site5’s customer service.

After a bit of waiting (around 20 – 25 minutes) I spoke to a representative who confirmed that all login accounts sans the primary account holder had been deleted. Not disabled, deleted, which was why my login no longer worked.

We continued to be unable to login with the primary login credentials and on my end initiating a forgot password email was continuing to generate the same “email not found” error, that had presented earlier. The rep then tried to initiate a forgot password email to send to the client, but his system wouldn’t send it out. After a bit of work, he then manually changed it.

After a bit of back and forth (and confusion), I found that they had changed the login page. Finally, I was able to gain access to login and thats all that mattered, especially since now the clients emails were again working.

However, since we had manually set the password, the first item todo would be to update the password. It updated instantly and without any issue, however, upon trying to log back in I again was locked out with login errors.

Luckily, Site5 wasn’t hosting any of the website, just the email, so we didn’t experience any visitor downtime, which is always a good thing.

Here are some of the recent tweets to Site5 – and it looks like many are not happy.

The Take Away

Saving a couple dollars on a hosting company is great all to often I see hosting companies charging way to much especially weighed against what they offer.

But when the small savings equates to interruptions or potential interruptions in your service slowing you down its time to jump ship.

For hosting, while I wouldn’t use it, when in doubt just use a company like GoDaddy (just skip the upsell). Granted they could be the EIG of tomorrow. For instance when they purchased Media Temple we saw a fair amount of changes, some good some bad.

In the worst case, if hosting and all the options surrounding hosting scare you find a company to manage your account. You get the benefit of a good company – not going through a random third party reseller trying to maximize revenue by cutting server corners.

After today, I will no longer have any companies I work with with or any in any capacity use or allow a client to use any EIG owned companies services.