So many of you in our community have asked why we’re recommending Site5 for WordPress shared hosting now and I thought I’d answer that with this blog post.
In 2008, I bought a shared hosting plan with HostGator for iThemes.com and remarkably we survived and thrived on that small cheap plan for almost two years before going to a dedicated server (which we still have with HostGator to date but that is changing soon).
Since around that time, we have actively promoted HostGator to our community because it was THE most amazing shared hosting experience. Boxes weren’t overloaded. They were FAST. Chris and others on our team reveled at how they were about quality and optimizing their boxes for the customer experience.
I loved that too. But I also loved how I could tell people … “On Christmas Eve, if you have a question, go to the site and hit live chat and in seconds you’ll be talking to someone that can actually help you.”
But sadly, that’s changed. And honestly, we knew it wouldn’t be forever.
I had also developed some internal contacts at HG but those have grown very cold, or do not exist anymore.
So when for the last 6-plus months we’ve heard from customers that HG was shutting down sites and doing odd stuff that was NEVER the case, specifically with our main product — BackupBuddy — we were really concerned. And then it got beyond the point I could ignore it any longer.
In fact, the straw that broke the gator’s back was getting an email from a tech support blaming BackupBuddy for problems …. TO ME PERSONALLY.
Now I had proof of what our customers have been saying for months. And yes, it was most likely a copy and paste.
I think they’ve simply grown too big. And we’re out of touch with them now. Totally except when I’ve been forced to rant to them on Twitter (which I hate). And we’ve seen the customer experience (for us personally now with our dedicated and a shared plan I personally have) dwindle.
For whatever the reason, that’s the status and why we’re no longer promoting or recommending HostGator to our community.
We want the customer experience to be AWESOME. And I can’t, with any confidence, say that any longer about HG.
(It should be said … I do believe with their recent acquisition that they will make the appropriate adjustments and be one of the standards again, but for now, I’m done.)
So … enter Site5 and the actual reason for this blog post.
Why are we recommending Site5 now?
I will give you four quick reasons that really center around one big one — I have a relationship with people at Site5 that I trust.
1. I know the co-founder Ben Welch-Bolen.
We go WAY back, like even before iThemes. He was one of my first freelance clients. So I’ve known him for a long, long, long time.
We actually got to meet at Pressnomics in Phoenix in November for the first time in person. Matt Danner, our COO, and I had lunch with Ben. I expressed all our frustrations with shared hosting in general … and said, “We just want someone who we can talk to and work with for our customers.”
Knowing Ben this long … I believe that to be the case with him and Site5.
If someone runs into a roadblock with BackupBuddy and Site5, I’ll be emailing Ben directly … one founder to another about how our products work better with each other.
I can almost say I’ve NEVER had that with any shared hosting company like this.
Ben and I share many of the same values. And because I know his background and who he is, I believe in him and what they are doing at Site5.
By the way, Ben was also the first full-time employee beyond the founder at HostGator WAY back when they were based in Florida!
2. He assured me that when we run into issues with BackupBuddy or any other iThemes product that we’ll work together on a remedy for our mutual customers.
I’ve wanted this for a long, long time.
3. He’s offering a no-obligation free offer to our customers to see for yourself if their hosting works for you.
Here are the THREE offers good through Dec. 21, 2012:
- 6 Months Free Shared Hosting — Use coupon code ITHEMES toward any shared hosting plan
- 3 Months Free VPS Hosting — Use coupon code ITHEMESVPS toward VPS1 or VPS2 plans for servers in their Dallas location.
- 3 Months Free Reseller start plan — Use coupon code ITHEMESRESELLER for all locations.
4. Ben did a webinar on WordPress hosting for our community on Dec. 13 (Recording below).
He gave an overview of shared hosting and VPS hosting (virtual private server) and the pros and cons of each, along with why / when you should choose one over the other.
Here is the recording from the Webinar:
So there are my four reasons for recommending Site5 for WordPress shared hosting at iThemes.
Mainly in short, it’s about people and relationships. And I want to work with people I like and trust who know what they are doing. Period.
And YES, I believe there are a lot of other good shared hosting companies we still recommend, but none offer us the people part of this equation that Site5 does currently.
I hope that never changes. But sometimes things do and will change.
In the meantime, we’re pointing to Site5. 🙂