How My Website was Hijacked by My Web Hosting Company

This is the story about why I am very careful when it comes to selecting a new hosting company for my websites.  I’ve been designing and developing websites since 2000.  And throughout that time, there was one web host that has scarred me for life.   Every other web host has done it’s job of just hosting my website and nothing more. But this one, has succeeded in being the worst and they are still in business today.  Scary.

Let’s go back to 2007

In 2007, one of my client’s website hosting had expired and I was trying to renew it for them.  After several emails and phone calls, they had failed to renew it on time.  It was always the same person that I would chat with, a guy named Neo.  And the same person I spoke with that had an Indian accent.   We moved them to a different host.  It was very frustrating.

That same year, my church’s web hosting stopped working.  We were trying to renew it but we weren’t getting anywhere.  We couldn’t just move the site because they had registered the domain name under their name.  We tried and tried and called and emailed and it all ended up nowhere.  It was the same Neo guy chatting and the same Indian accented person.  There was nothing that we could do.  They had our website and the domain name was under their name.  The only thing that we could do was to just let the domain name expire and rebuild the website from scratch.  After it expires, it goes into redemption period which is about 65 days.  Then it becomes available again to be registered.  That was the longest 65 days for our website to be down.

I finally did my research

Then I looked them up online and they had an F from the Better Business Bureau and several websites dedicated to warning others about them.  They had an office in California but were based outside of the United States.  That’s when I realized that we were dealing with a very bad company.

So I decided to move all my clients and all my websites out of there.  The problem for me was they had just renewed my account before the actual expiration date.  They wouldn’t refund the money because it had already processed through.  And if I cancelled the account, I would be in a breach of contract and would be charged a $200 cancellation fee.  I did not have the luxury of just blowing $200 and I wasn’t about to get my money back so I decided to just move everything and let the account expire.  I was SO happy that all my domain names were already with a different registrar.  I could start up anywhere I wanted.

So who was the worst web host?

So I’ll start with the name of this company and how I chose the new company.  The company was called Gisol, short for Global Internet Solutions.  They are doing business today as Total Internet Solutions.  Fox did a news story on them because they were that bad.  They were doing okay in the beginning but then started to scam people and charge their credit cards without permission.  It was pretty bad.   I’m sure there are other bad hosting companies out there.  This just happens to be the one that I had experience with.  Now onto the happy ending.

My search for a new website hosting company comprised of a google search and pouring over the hundreds of search results and reviews about who was the best website host out there.  I wanted to know their reputation before I even considered them.  So after I had narrowed it down to just one, I called them up.  I wanted to know if they were even based in the United States and how their customer service was.  So I called Hostmonster.  And oh was I relieved to find that I was speaking to a US based person.  I believe that they were located in Ohio.  I explained the situation and they reassured me of their practices.  So I signed up for an account and haven’t regretted it since.  That was in 2007.

It is now 2013 and none of my websites have gone down or been hijacked.  I am still very happy with Hostmonster.  I have registered all my domain names with Moniker, which is the sister company to SnapNames.  I wanted to make sure that I was dealing with an actual domain name registrar and not the middle man which is what most web host companies are.    So I wrote this post to help others choose a good web hosting company.  Let’s recap below.

Steps to choosing a web hosting company

Here are some basic steps to choosing a web hosting company.  This is important.  You will probably be investing some money and a lot of time into your site.  Finding a good home for your website is absolutely necessary.

  1. Research your web hosting company before you sign up
    Do a simple internet search and see what comes up.  You can probably search for “[company name] scam” or “[company name] fraud” to start.
  2. Register your domain names with a real registrar company, not the middle man
    This ensures that you still have access to your domain name if the web host goes awry.
  3. Register for a one year account to test them out
    It is a lot cheaper to absorb a one year fee if you need to move to another company.
  4. Re-evaluate the web hosting company after one year and decide if you need to find a new one
    Even with a really good hosting company, you want to re-evaluate if they are the solution that you need. You may need more features or a dedicated server.  If that’s the case, doing some price surveys would help you get the best deal.

I hope that your experience on the internet is a wonderful one with a huge lack of website drama. :)   Feel free to share your favorite web hosting companies by commenting on this post.  Together, we can help make the internet a great place to be.

Love, Lucy

 

HONESTY POLICY:  I will earn a small commission through any registrations coming from the Hostmonster links at no extra cost to you.  I just wanted to be up front with you and not try to hide that fact.  If you do end up using the link, THANK YOU!

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One thought on “How My Website was Hijacked by My Web Hosting Company

  1. Pingback: 5 Free Website Tools You Shouldn’t Be Paying For | Chic Design Geek

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