The web hosting business is part of an incredibly large industry worth well into the billions. A number of large and well established web hosting companies that we’ve known to trust for their reliability, service and support are being bought out by even larger web hosting conglomerates. Some of the largest and most successful web hosting companies in the industry, including HostGator, BlueHost, HostMonster, and HostNine have been bought out by Endurance International Group (EIG).
Who is Endurance International Group (EIG)?
For those who are unaware, Endurance International Group is one of the world’s largest web hosting companies managing over sixty different hosting brands including:
A Small Orange
Berry Information Systems
Networks Web Hosting
EIG initially began as BizLand, but began buying smaller web hosting businesses to grow their customer-base. Today, they own some of the most well known hosting companies such as BlueHost and HostGator.
Among their top purchases was the purchase of HostGator for $225 million dollars, one of the fastest growing businesses in the United States. Endurance International Group is valued at nearly a billion dollars for all their brands, equipment, datacenters and goodwill. Most people are unaware of EIG, because they tend to hide when they buyout smaller hosting companies. For over a decade, EIG has been focused primarily on acquiring customers through the purchase of different hosting businesses.
Recent Hosting Outage by HostGator, BlueHost and HostMonster
As some may be aware, several EIG web hosts experienced an unexpected downtime on August 2, 2013. Servers and phone services were affected for HostGator, BlueHost, JustHost and HostMonster. All these web hosts experienced server downtimes because they were all on the EIG network. The EIG datacenter based out of Utah experienced some technical issues and caused a downtime that lasted nearly a full day affecting millions of customers worldwide. Web hosting outages can happen to any web hosting company, but it is rare to happen on such a large scale. Hopefully, nothing close to what happened on Auguest 2, 2013 will ever occur again for the millions of EIG customers.
Update… 12/31/2013 Another EIG Outage: BlueHost and HostGator Crash After EIG Outage – read more at http://americanlivewire.com/2013-12-31-bluehost-and-hostgator-crash/
Update… 04/16/2014 Another EIG Outage: Major HostGator and BlueHost downtime all day today due to router issues at the Provo data center:
HostGator’s Director of Customer Service, Joshua Martin’s Response on 04/17/14 – http://forums.hostgator.com/network-outage-provo-t316804.html
“While most all services have been restored as of this time, I’d like to first note that we’re still working towards tying up the final lose ends. These remaining issues are absolutely a priority for us currently. In the meantime we do want to provide some more information and answer everyone’s questions with what details we do have available currently.
Q: What happened?
A: We experienced a degradation of network service in one of our data centers due to a firmware bug in one of our vendor’s hardware solutions. This was an undocumented bug and we worked with our partner to diagnose the issue and deployed a firmware update to the systems to remediate the problem. Only websites that were being served by this hardware were affected.
Q: Was this related to any previous outage?
A: No, this is unrelated to any previous outages.
Q. Have you identified the problem?
A. Yes, we have isolated the problem to this firmware failure and the downstream effects that resulted from it. We have reviewed our entire network to make sure this problem will not occur elsewhere.
Q. Why did it take so long to address the problem?
A. We started to address the problem immediately when we began to see performance issues. The root cause of the problem was complicated to diagnose because it was an undocumented bug in software of a vendor’s hardware solution. Full service for some customers was restored immediately, but some servers were not visible on our network. We apologize for any downtime that you experienced. The servers continued to operate during this entire period, which means, that at no point in time was your data at risk. The problem was access to the servers because of the firmware issue.
Q. What happened to any email that was sent to me while this firmware issue was affecting the network?
A. There is good and bad news. Unfortunately, any message that was sent to you while we were experiencing this issue would not have been delivered, however the sender should receive a notice that their mail wasn’t delivered and most mail servers will continue to try to re-send that email at periodic intervals, anywhere from 2 days to up to 7 days. While we cannot guarantee that any emails sent to you will be delivered, there is a very good chance that it will arrive…slightly delayed.
Q: How has Endurance’s involvement with HostGator affected the situation?
A. Actually, this was not a result of Endurance. In fact, the team at our corporate headquarters was tremendously helpful in our recovery effort. They stayed with us throughout the entire incident. By committing the resources of the entire company, including technicians, customer service reps, and engineers, we were able to swarm the problem and address it as quickly as possible.
Q. Why did you leave SoftLayer?
A. We moved out of SoftLayer to be able to more fully control our server environment to provide a better customer experience. We work really hard to prevent issues like this from happening. We recognize that this transition has not been as smooth as either you or we would like and we take the issues that have occurred very seriously. We believe in the long run this is the best environment to deliver service to you.
Q. Do I have to worry about this happening again?
A. We would like to say that we will never have a network service outage again, but realistically that isn’t something we can promise. What we can assure you is that we are continually taking steps to audit and improve the performance of our infrastructure, and investing a large amount of capital and people to do this.
Last and certainly not least, I want to thank everyone for your extreme patience throughout this. We realize the situation is hugely frustrating, but we look forward to getting this resolved for you all and hopefully moving forward stronger.” – [Source]
Twitter Customer Responses to the 04/16/2014 Outage
Sarah Witford’s Twitter response to the Provo data center problems below:
From Mindy Joy Media’s Twitter - “@lindseymurray It sucks but there’s a human being behind the twitter account who is having a very bad day, and I appreciate their updates.”
Very true indeed Mindy, there are real people that work very hard for EIG to resolve these issues when things go wrong.
What’s Next for the New EIG Acquisitions?
If the past is any indication of the future, we can safely assume that EIG will continue to expand it’s operations and acquire more and more web hosting properties. As soon as EIG buys a hosting company, it typically makes several changes to the company such as changing the control panels, equipment, operational changes to existing staff and starts moving customers to their own network. Some customers have noticed a significant reduction in the level of customer/technical support following the purchase of a hosting company by EIG.
Since the purchase of HostGator, some customers have become frustrated with their quality of service. Some have noticed a delay in response time when submitting tickets. Also with accounts being moved from SoftLayer to the EIG data center in Provo, UT there has been an increase in customer complaints. On the outside, HostGator among most of EIG’s other acquisitions have remained the same, while all the changes took place on the administration and technical side of things. It is possible that HostGator is not the same company we once knew to be reliable and performance-based.
The Sad Truth – With EIG owning a number of the top web hosting companies in the industry; even if you are dissatisfied with one host and choose to switch to another; there’s a good chance that you might still end up with a company owned by EIG. A really good business model to have for EIG.
Update… On 10/31/2014 EIG purchased Arvixe.
Non EIG Hosting – The Benefits of Choosing a Hosting Company Not Owned by EIG
The fortunate fact is that there are several other highly reputable hosting companies in the industry that still have not been taken over by the Endurance International Group. Slowly but surely, many hosting companies are finding out about EIG and will refrain from a deal if it means a reduction in service, support and reliability for their customers.
There are options available for those who are looking for non Endurance International Group hosting, the following are some of the best options for reliability, price, customer service and performance; A2 Hosting, WebHostingHub, InMotion Hosting, StableHost, GreenGreeks, SiteGround.
Moving forward from the datacenter-wide outage that occurred in August of 2013, one can only hope that EIG will do everything that they can to improve the quality of service they provide on every level. Otherwise webmasters will increasingly be on the lookout for EIG hosting alternatives. In a year from now lets hope to be hearing about all of the great improvements the folks at EIG have made. But just to be safe for the time being be aware of this company’s past and choose your web hosting wisely.