Note: I'm now an affiliate for SiteGround.
I'd been with my hosting company for over 10 years. I'd recommended them more times than I could count, and for most of those years I was happy. My friends and clients were happy. Life was good and my internet presence was stable.
I knew I could count on that hosting company. They had my back. I felt safe.
And then they got bought out by a mega corporation.
Change was slow, but ugly. My favorite tech support gurus were gone, replaced with new people who really didn't know what to make of technical questions.
Prices went up. Those wonderful automated backups suddenly weren't wonderful. More than once they didn't exist when I needed them, or they were corrupted.
There's nothing like a corrupted backup to really ruin your month.
Now understand: I may not be actively doing web development any more, but I still have a lot of friends that I help out. I spend more time than the average person chatting with my hosting company. I have them on speed dial on my phone.
Wait times increased. Bizarre errors started occurring. I was lucky not to be hacked (I'm a fanatic about updates), but many of my friends were not so lucky. When I'd call technical support, I began to hear a very common line: a site on the server was hacked and compromised the entire server. And let's face it, if you're going to have wait times longer than 30 minutes, PLEASE have good hold music. Please don't play the same odd song over and over and over.
I may never get that song out of my head.
I tried to find it on the internet. All I found were a lot of other techies begging to know the name of the song they'd just listened to over and over on their web host's tech support queue.
See, that's the problem. All of these big, really good companies got bought by one giant corporation who centralized everything into one facility. Then they seem to have painted a big target on the roof. Every hacker from the kid next door to the nation-state internet armies sees that facility as a fun thing to attack.
Servers slowed down.
Sometimes email just went...away.
When I started looking for a new hosting company, what I discovered was that almost every highly rated company was now owned by the same mega-corp.
A few years ago, I met some folks from SiteGround at a tech conference. They were nice, smart, friendly and WOW -- was that hosting plan expensive! My geek lust was quickly stifled.
Fast forward a few years and SiteGround has moved forward with their service and they have some good deals on hosting plans. The other site has continued to raise prices. SiteGround suddenly was affordable. When I found them on the list of top 10 hosting companies, I was surprised.
I remembered them.
A little research showed they were only one of two on the list not owned by the big corporation. They were the only one on the list that could handle the particular site I wanted to move.
The last straw with my old host was when they refused to offer the free automated Let's Encrypt SSL certificates, choosing instead to charge a lot of money for more traditional certificates. (What these are is all techie and likely to become an ugly issue next year as sites suddenly discover that Google wants the internet encrypted and they're willing to force the issue.) I needed that SSL certificate. And there was no way I could afford one. But with SiteGround I could.
And so I'm now the proud owner of a SiteGround hosted website.
(Highly astute individuals may notice that the site isn't encrypted yet. It's coming!)
So far, my new hosting experience has been interesting. I'm still adapting to their technical support. It feels so weird. They don't want me to listen to hold music. Do they even have any? Usually they just offer a screen chat if I'm stuck. They'd really rather fix things for me than have me try to sort it out on my own.
THAT is going to take some getting used to.
They don't start contacts with "domain name and last four of the password" followed by a sigh. The last few contacts I've had have started with, "How are you doing tonight?" "Welcome to our company! How can I help?"
And y'know what is even weirder? They fix things.
I'm not 100% sure that I trust this yet. Their technical support DID tell me off the other day. (Okay, so I started it...) They told me to just go do something else and let them fix it for me. THAT is going to take some serious adjustment on my part. (Apparently my searching and trying to be helpful was messing up the timer on my technical support ticket...and they are REALLY serious about that timer.)
So as of now, I'm recommending SiteGround. I'm an affiliate. I get a commission if you sign up through that link.
But mostly I'm hoping my friends will switch not for the money, but just so I won't have to listen to that song again!