Who is your Web hosting provider?
It seems like an easy question to answer, but the fact is your web host provider could be incognito.
Let me start off by saying I have nothing against resellers, used to be one myself when I was starting out. When I graduated from reseller to collocation I owed it to the carefully picked hosting companies (of which I was a reseller) for educating me in good reselling.
Reselling is common these days… All one needs to do anymore is sign up with your hosting provider and resell for them. After one has increased the rates for profit, and posted “Your Hosting Packages” you are good to go! It is a good way to make some money and make your business look good by providing web design services and hosting. A all in one if you will.
The huge problem is this. Deception!
I will use one of my clients who is in the worst of worse situations - which is what has inspired this post.
My client is a successful business owner and we will call him Jim owner of Company A. Jim came to me in need of a new website, fresh look and commerce solutions. Their old web developer vanished.
Starting my first day of work for Company A, I was given a password, User name and so on to gain access to their FTP. I was presented with server errors and messages that I did not have FTP access. My client stated this was all the information he had and did not know who he was hosted through. Oh how sad I thought – not having total control over something you pay monthly for. Anyway – I took matters into my own hands with the authority of my client. Simply looked first at the whois – noticed the old developers hosting company was listed as tech support. So I went to the hosting company and found the package that my customer is signed up for. I could not find any support on hosting companies site (strange) so proceeded with e-mail to get access information for the Company A website. No reply for 3 days after I have sent 2 e-mails. The reply was nice, and thanked me for contacting them. I was told that they would have to look up the account information would get right back with me. Day 5 I got my reply: “We don’t host that package anymore and it is the customers responsibility to keep that information. *DING *DING *DING!! The lights came on… I ran a trace route on their site with a nifty application I have. Did some deeper whois information and TA DA! My client was a reseller of a reseller! I could not believe what I was seeing…
I finally got access to my customers FTP from the original Hosting provider who gave my information within an hour of my contact.
My client was not happy at all to learn he had been paying $33.00 per month when his hosting account really should have cost him $16.98 per month! I was asked what he could do about this legally. I told him “though I am no lawyer, I think you may not have a case – You were blind to what exactly you were paying for and trusted your developer.” I took some time and educated him a bit…
This had to be the worst case I have run into. Fact is there should be some standards in reselling. At least be honest that you are a reseller. Hosting companies should make resellers post on their site “Authorized reseller of….” Which would save a lot of headaches. It also keeps you honest as a reseller. Resellers lack so much on their sites and open themselves to potential lawsuits. What about the simple things.. tech support, account info, etc… I believe Hosting companies have a certain level of responsibility to manage their resellers and their company services.
So you plan to find a hosting company to host your website… How will you know you are not hosting through a reseller of a reseller like my client above? Maybe simply you want to make sure you are dealing with a legit hosting company or not.
Fact is resellers are getting better at covering their tracks! But with some simple applications and easy digging you can find exactly whom you are doing business with.
Networks Solutions www.netsol.com
Click on: whois
Enter: somehostingcompany.com (the hosting company address you want to check out.) and search the whois database. Listed in the results you will see ns1. and ns2. name servers.
But if results are:
Chances are your hosting company is a reseller of abchosting.com. Check out abchosting.com in the who is and see if the ns1. or ns2. names match the domain name.
This does not always promise you will find out if your reseller is a reseller or not. Some resellers can get their own ns1. and ns2. custom name servers.
Find the servers location:
First download a application called: TraceRoute which is found at: www.visualware.com/visualroute/index.html
Demo is 30 day free trial.
If my company states for example:
Colorado Hosting company (domainname.com)
How do I know that company is really in Colorado like they say. They have their own ns.1 and ns2.domainname.com – but I want to make sure.
Type in the web address of the hosting company and it will show exactly where their servers are. If they are located in Germany or Florida you may ask the company why their servers are there.
Some hosting companies need to store their servers in better data center then what may be offered in their own state. So they may have them in another state. The purpose here is to just help you in shopping for a good solid web hosting company. Simple tools to make sure you don’t end up in a trap like my client or pay more then you should for something you want.
Now – I may be flamed seriously for posting this, but I hope this is taken is more for educational then negative. I have experienced a client too many in bad hosting situations and thought I would post this up in hopes of a good discussion.