Finally freeing myself from EasyCGI

Or, EasyCGI is a horrible web hosting company.

Or, EasyCGI sucks..

This site was previously hosted by a great little firm called Webstrike Solutions. They were responsive to any issues that arose, my site was decently fast loading and I basically never even thought about my hosting. Then, in March, the company was aquired by EasyCGI. There were lots of falling bricks, but I tried to be patient. I know how difficult migrations can be and I assumed that the move would be beneficial in the long term. I shouldn’t have been optimistic.

Right off the bat, my blog (then on the Movable Type platform) didn’t work. I contacted their tech support expecting the kind of friendly and helpful response I’d always received from Webstrike in the past. Instead, they basically offered no assistance. I wound up writing code to get the data into a format that would work for WordPress, their recommended blog platform. That should have been enough for me to move hosts, but I didn’t.

Since then, I’ve had multiple instances of downtime, none of which have been explained. The site eventually comes back, or the error message disappears and my tickets were closed with notes indicating that no issue was found. This kind of sweeping under the rug is a sign of an organization that has a really toxic culture. How do you build up institutional knowledge and prevent re-occurrences of problems if you just make believe they never happened?

BTW, in each circumstance where my site was down I noticed and contacted Tech Support. They seem to do no monitoring of their hosted sites. Unbelievable!

The folks I worked with in their level 1 support tried to be friendly, but they were completely non-technical. Basically, they were robots that read from the prepared script and had no real ability to understand specific problems or to provide advice. Usually chatting with them for a few minutes led to them promising to open a ticket with the level 2 support.

The final straw for me was about a week ago when PHP errors about a MySql module started showing up at the bottom of the pages of my blog. I hadn’t touched anything on the server, so it was obvious that something had happened on their end. The blog still worked, but the pages weren’t loading correctly and the admin pages were at best halfway functional. I contacted a chatbot and after much prodding they actually scrolled to the bottom of the page and saw the error. They escalated my ticket and I went on with my day.

The next day I received a message that they could not find the error message and had closed my ticket. I contacted them via the ticketing form to indicate that the error was in fact there and that they had just not bothered to scroll to the bottom of the page. They never responded. I contacted another chatbot and this gentleman saw the error and re-opened the ticket. A few days later, the ticket was again closed and a note was added that the error wasn’t visible. I checked the site and the error was in fact gone. More than likely, someone made some sort of mistake and then cleaned it up without admitting what they had done.

My blog has also been dog slow. Now, WordPress is known for being kind of sluggish, but this was ridiculous. I tested the site and often had 14 second load times. Personally, any site that doesn’t load for me in 2-3 seconds gets the back button and I never visit again. FTP was slow. Everything was just pretty slow.

…but choosing a host is hard. There are tons of them with slightly differentiated offerings and just as many sites offering “reviews” that are often just obfuscated ads. I kept dithering.

Then, while looking into my WordPress slowness problems I decided to look into adding the WP-Super-Cache plugin to my site. I stumbled onto a blog post by Jess Coburn with instructions for using WP Super Cache on Windows Hosting. It was well written, clear and most importantly it specifically addressed the idea of using WordPress on Windows without any religious platform dogma either way. It turned out that Jess is the CEO of Applied Innovations, a hosting company in Florida.

Well, I made the leap and you are now reading this on my new host. So far, without any changes to the blog, the speed problems seem to be a thing of the past.

The bottom line? EasyCGI sucks! Ask google, that opinion is pretty widespread. I highly recommend that you not do business with them.