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Opinion: HostMySite.com Problems, or The Worst Shared Hosting Company I've Ever Dealt With

First let me say that I understand that no hosting company is going to be perfect. I understand that they have to deal with issues every single day and sometimes an issue may not get resolved immediately. And now that I have gotten that off my chest, let me tell you of my experience with a hosting company called HostMySite.com.

It all started last year when I finally had it with CrystalTech. CrystalTech's tech support at the time was horrendous. I could no longer deal with the constant site crashes and abysmal support responses. So after a few weeks of scouring the web, I made the decision to move a couple of clients to HostMySite. On average, people were giving them praise and said that their tech support was superb. They were a little more expensive, but I made the assumption that this was the price I had to pay to receive better service. I had my clients buy their top shared hosting ColdFusion 8 plans.

Almost immediately after moving the site over to their server, we began to notice problems. HostMySite uses a ColdFusion server management application called "SeeFusion". I'm not 100% familiar with this program, but from what I can gather it keeps the different sites in check by making sure that they don't overload the server, kill request that take to long and handle server restarts. The error message we started to see was simply called the "java.lang.ThreadDeath" error.

I know this, because I set up ColdFusion to e-mail me any errors on the site through the Application.cfc component. On average I was getting about 25 of these a day. So I opened a support ticket and then got a response of "Hi, we looked at your site and it seems to be working for us". Oh oh. If you don't know this by now, this is what I like to call "The first sign of crappy tech support". It basically means that some guy opened the support ticket, pointed his browser to the website in question and if he can see the first page, then the problem must have fixed itself. After he e-mails me this, he says "If you have any further problems, let us know", and the he closed the ticket.

I preceded to contact him again and said "The site will work for a bit, but then crashes. You must have looked at it when it was active for a minute or two. Can you please take a look at it again." And then I mentioned in a very polite way that maybe, I don't know, he could look at the frick'n log files to see what's frick'n going on.

This went on for a few weeks and it finally came down to them moving the site to a new database. If you recall, awhile back I gave you a ColdFusion tip to see the database response times. For our site they were across the board. We had anywhere from 30ms to 50,000ms for a very simple cfquery SELECT statement (SeeFusion was set to kill any process over 50,000ms). I had to present these findings to tech support to finally get them to move the site to another database server.

So over the next few months, we would sporadically get these ThreadDeath error messages. Nothing major, but during the course of a week we would get anywhere from 25 to 50 of them. These messages would come in clusters, so most of them were happening when the server was restarting. After the restart, things would return back to normal for a day or two, until the process started all over again.

Now, during this time I consulted with a professor at a local university who taught programming. His specialty was SQL, especially mySQL. I wanted him to take a look at some of my code, to make sure that it wasn't something I was causing. We had a few pages that had a couple of SQL scripts, that I thought were a little bit complex. He assured me, that what I was doing was nothing spectacular. And they shouldn't be causing any kind of significant server load. I was somewhat relieved, since I don't think of myself as any kind of SQL master.

I have not touched the site since early March. As of 2 weeks ago the site started seeing a major increase in crashes. It was a little bit different this time, since now the site was just displaying a blank page. Normally, we would see that JRun was restarting or some similar server message. I opened up a support ticket and got the standard tech support first move, "Hi, we looked at your site and it seems to be working for us." Hmm... this must be the equivalent of the first opening chess move, were you move your king's pawn out 2 spaces.

I really didn't want to play chess with these guys this morning, so I thought I would be cute and I opened up another Support ticket. I told them that I appreciated how quickly the resolved my last issue and would appreciate their help on another, which oddly enough was very similar to the first. And to make sure that they could see the errors, I began e-mailing them every single error message I received. At some point I had an epiphany and set up the Application.cfc to e-mail tech support every error as well. By the end of the day, the should have received 50 e-mails with the error dump. Check.

Eventually, after a few days, they tired of my little game and asked that we turn the e-mail reporting off. I did, but I still do not have a resolution for this problem. It's been 2 weeks... 2 WHOLE WEEKS WITH MY CLIENTS SITE DOWN!!!! And the problem has still not been fixed. And just so you guys get a good sense of my frustrations, I present you a screen capture of the error messages from my clients site. This picture shows 158 errors messages within a 23 hour period. Since I have started this blog post, I have received well over 200 error messages within 24 hours... checkmate... they win. I will pick up my board and move the game to another hosting company.

HostMySite 158 Errors in 23 Hours

If anyone can recommend a good hosting company, I am all ears. I have read some positive reviews of a company called Edgewebhosting.net. But I would love to get some feedback from you guys. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.