The October 2014 Hostgator outage was the final straw. I have been a customer of Hostgator since January of 2009. Initially, they provided very good uptime, and excellent customer service. If I had a tech support question, it was answered right away.
But since they were bought out by EIG in June of 2012 Hostgator’s reliability and customer service have suffered. Just one more example of company mergers and buyouts that do nothing for the customers.
So after the latest outage, and seeing Hostgator’s lame response to it which kept many customers in the dark, I decided it was time to find another host. That’s never an easy task for a reseller, because it involves moving many domains, and coordinating all the email changes with many customers.
I had recently attended a WordCamp seminar in San Francisco, and inmotion was one of several companies that sponsored the seminar and had a booth there. (along with Bluehost, another company now owned by EIG)
I started my search online, looking at various web hosting review sites. Like any review sites, you have to take them with a grain of salt, because many of them are really just affiliate sites, where they get paid for referring you to the companies they review.
But by reading enough of them I narrowed my search down to inmotion. Before moving any of my customers, I first thought I’d try them out with one of my personal web sites, knowlesville.com. On their web site they offer a 90-day 100% money back guarantee, so I figured I could try it out without incurring any expense.
inmotion falsely advertises a 90-day 100% money back guarantee
I set up my reseller account with inmotion on October 30. I did a Cpanel restore of the knowlesville.com site which went pretty smoothly, and a couple of days later it was propagated and ready to go. Then the fun started.
I first tried to set up my FTP program to connect to the new server using SFTP. With Hostgator, this is a very simple process, I just have to supply the correct port number and other connection details. In fact with Hostgator, you have to use SFTP to connect. Since I don’t like the idea of hackers grabbing my FTP credentials as they are being transmitted, I only use SFTP which encrypts them. I also only want my customers using SFTP.
With inmotion, setting up SFTP requires a very complex procedure, that requires a knowledge of Linux commands. It didn’t help that the instructions provided on their web site were wrong. In all, it required three support tickets and one long phone call before I could finally get it working. I figured if a programmer had that much trouble setting it up, it was going to be impossible to explain to my customers how to set it up on their computers.
But I figured I’d try moving one more account and try the procedure again before giving up, now that I knew how to do it. So I picked one client’s account that doesn’t have any email accounts associated with it, and figured I could move that one pretty easily as a test.
So I went into the familiar Web Hosting Manager (WHM) screen to add a new account. Only there was no menu item for adding new accounts. In fact most of the familiar sections of WHM were simply missing. So I had to open another support ticket with them. The next day I received word it had been fixed, and I was going to go in and set up the new account when I received an email invoice for the next month of hosting. I hadn’t realized that it had taken a month to get this far, but work schedules, the Thanksgiving holiday, and the delay in getting support questions answered on the SFTP issue meant I didn’t get very far the first month.
Still, I had the 90 day 100% money back guarantee, right? After debating it for a couple of days I decided to go ahead and close the inmotion account. I had to move knowlesville.com back to Hostgator for the time being, and so that took a couple of more days. Finally, on December 9, roughly 40 days after opening the account, I called inmotion to close the account and get my money back.
The next day I received a confirmation that my account was closed, and $27.99 was being credited back. I sent an email back asking about the first payment of $13.99, why wasn’t it being refunded back as well?
This is the response I received:
I do apologize for any confusion. If you look at the bottom of our website, in our About Us section, you will see an option that says Guarantee. On that page, it elaborates on our 30 or 90 day money back guarantee. It states that "All Business Class Hosting packages (Launch, Power, Pro) and 6 or 12 month billed VPS packages are covered by our unmatched 90-day money back guarantee. All monthly billed VPS and all Dedicated Servers are eligible for a full refund for 30 days". I will provide you a link below so you can view this elaboration on our guarantee. Please let us know if you have any further questions we are here 24/7 and are more than happy to help.
It certainly is confusing, when right on the page that you are selling your reseller accounts you boast of a 90-day, 100% money back guarantee, and then somewhere else in some small print you try to weasel your way out of it.
Now I really don’t care about $13.99. It’s not a huge sum of money. But given how much time I wasted because of inmotion’s complicated system, incorrect support info on their web site, and incorrect setup of my WHM account, I figured the least they could do was give me 100% of my money back.
So now I’m back to looking for a replacement for Hostgator, but it sure won’t be inmotion, and hopefully I can help some other web developers in their reseller hosting decision with this unbiased opinion.