Just like many things in our society the big fish eat the little fish. We end up with near monopolies because the little fish just can’t compete with the sharks. The problem with monopolies is that we have to sometimes use sub-standard services because we no longer have a choice. It’s the “Big Box” or no box.
Many times these ‘mergers’ do not consider the impact on customers or customer service. Of course they care nothing about employees, that’s a given. Often times they will lay off the experienced employees and replace them with lower paid and unskilled people who really don’t do a good job at customer service because they are not trained and probably never will be.}
When it comes to web hosting unfortunately this can be much more serious than usual. Essentially if your website is ‘down’ (not displayed) then you are not able to conduct business during that time. Your potential customers are finding other websites that do work properly and conducting their business there.
You may have to wait forever either on the phone or live chat to get through to customer service. They will ask a bunch of questions but mostly have no idea what to do to help you. If you are lucky they will escalate it to technical support. Problem now is that it can take days for them to get to fixing it since they are understaffed, especially in the area where there is any real technical skill.
So you will eventually get your site back and you will grovel and be glad just because the nightmare and aggravation is over. You probably won’t even consider how you have been treated as less than important. Life goes on.
It is very important to get a hosting company that is reliable (high rate of ‘up’ time) and that has decent and timely customer and technical support. So the first thing would be not to be too attached to the idea of having the free or cheapest source for hosting.
However, the scenario above is actually true, is the current environment and is NOT the cheap or free source – it WAS a highly respected hosting company until the last few ‘mergers’ have left it in the bargain basement (without the reduction in price, in fact it has been increased). In the current environment it may not be possible to have both reliability and timely customer service – so opt for reliability – and again that would not likely be from the free or cheap source. Get the best you can and hope they will wise up.
There is little more you can do than watch this closely. Check your website all the time – daily to be sure it is running and if not don’t wait for the tooth fairy. First clear your browser cache to be sure it is really down right now. If it is get on the chat client or phone and find out what is happening. (Bring your lunch because you will be waiting a long time – average 15-30 minutes). Report the problem and then really keep track of how long it takes them to fix the problem.
If you find yourself on more than one occasion being treated like a second-class citizen then you should really consider moving your hosting to another company who cares about your business. It’s a hassle but the new hosting company will very likely help you transfer your files.