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Four Web Hosting Companies to Avoid

Just about everyone who has owned or managed a website has a horror story or two about a website hosting company. Unstable servers, poor security and molasses-in-January download speeds is enough to ruin even the best site, and if you throw in poorly trained tech support and non-responsive customer service you have a nightmare in the making.

Here are a few web hosting companies that have consistently received horrible reviews from their (former) customers. Please note that these are not first-hand reports; I’m happy to say I’ve never worked with these particular companies myself. If you have, or you’d like to add a company to the list, please post your feedback in the HTML forum.

iPowerWeb – This web hosting company was apparently quite solid and reliable… until 2008, when something went terribly wrong and customers began experiencing issues with site crashes, billing errors, and insanely long hold times with customer service (several reviewers report three hours or more spent waiting on hold).

OnSmart – Many web hosts seem to go through a “success kills” pattern; they start out small and provide great support and terrific responsiveness if something does go wrong, they bring in more and more customers, they buy new servers and hire more people to support the load... and fall into a horrible pit of clueless tech support and crashing servers as they fail to keep up with their customer growth. OnSmart appears to be the poster child for this vicious cycle. A number of reviews mention that they were faithful OnSmart customers for years and experienced great service, until suddenly their website vanished/thousands of spam emails started to pour in/the databases crashed, and tech support agents literally stopped answering the phones.

Webserve – Customer reviews for Webserve and Webserve Canada mention the word “downtime” a lot. Reliability is extremely important for a web hosting company, since so many small businesses live and die by their website traffic and sales. A web host that experiences significant downtime (and many reviewers report that their sites and email were down for literally days at a time) should be avoided like the plague.

HostOnce – webhostingreviews.com gives HostOnce an astonishing 4.45% satisfaction rating – yes, that’s 4.45 out of 100. Other reviewing sites draw an equally appalling picture of this host’s poor reliability and lack of support. Several reviewers mention that HostOnce’s own web site is often down, which is a pretty scary red flag for a web hosting company!

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