This morning a handful of unrelated sites and clients began to report that access to their EIG-owned website hosting companies was not allowing them to log in and had shutdown their hosted services. As we began to probe we found that this is a much bigger issue than a simple forgotten password.
EIG (Endurance International Group) Background
EIG or the Endurance International Group is currently one of the world’s 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 of 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.
A Small Orange
Berry Information Systems
Cloud by IX
IX Web Hosting
Networks Web Hosting
You may recognize some of the names on the list FatCow, HostGator, Site5, Bluehost – these were (keyword were) a cheap hosting platform that performed relatively good with decent support and uptime rates. But that was then…
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 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, that’s a bit much).
So this morning when a couple of clients called to notify me that their email was out (multiple unrelated domains) I dove in. MX records looked fine. So I went to log in 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 forgotten 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 that’s all that mattered, especially since now the client’s 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.
— Ellie Jarvis (@elliejarvis1234) November 18, 2016
I've been a @site5 customer for over 8 years, and have watched them get progressively worse, especially since their sale.
— Bike McBikeface (@BikeMcBikeface) November 18, 2016
Why does it take @site5 online chat 30+ minutes to respond? They THAT busy? Might start shopping…
— Matt Steinman (@mattsteinman) November 15, 2016
Saving a couple of dollars on a hosting company is great all too often I see hosting companies charging way too 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 or any in any capacity use or allow a client to use any EIG owned companies services.