Don't host your business on Fatcow.com
December 27, 2016
I've been a Fatcow.com customer for well over a decade. I use their shared hosting plan to serve many of my projects, experiments, personal pages and email. You may be familiar with them, as they aggressively market stupid-cheap hosting services (which increase dramatically in price every year after you sign up.) Clearly, having stuck with them for so long, I've been satisfied.
Actually, "mostly satisfied" would be a better way to put it. I've endured their occasionally flakey email servers incorrectly bouncing mail, their billing flubs, and their silent refusal to even acknowledge my repeated requests to support WebDAV.
Last year I signed up for a remote monitoring service and shortly thereafter started getting fairly frequent reports that my website was offline. Maybe just a few minutes at a time, maybe an hour or so, but on regular basis. This isn't that unusual with a shared hosting account, but it was enough to make me start looking at alternatives, such as Amazon Web Services. AWS is inexpensive, but intimidating, so I didn't actually make the jump.
Then Fatcow committed what I considered to be the ultimate customer service sin. A few months ago I was traveling and couldn't fall asleep in my hotel room. It was close to midnight when an email from Fatcow tech support arrived, notifying me that they had turned off my website. The ungrammatical message said that a php script of mine was consuming too many resources.
The script was a photo gallery/album that I deployed to create The Shopping Bag Museum. (One of my wife's projects.) It was a script provided by, installed by, and recommended by Fatcow. In fact, it was part of their "InstallCentral" package that touted maintenance-free, easy web services.
The rude message from their India-based tech support informed me that the script was no longer supported and was no longer allowed on their server. And because of this, my website had been disabled. Not just the photo gallery, but my whole account.
My entire website, all my email, and the five domains they host for me, all turned off, without warning, in the middle of the fucking night. Because I was using a script they provided to me.
They could have easily turned off the script, which I did in about 2 minutes of work, but instead they decided to completely shut off my account. And to emphasize, there was no warning, no notification that their script was now outlawed, and they took this action during the middle of the night. (It was probably afternoon in India.)
Four hours later, after several frantic email exchanges, everything was back online. The only lasting damage being the complete destruction of any trust I had in Fatcow. Fair warning to you, my dear reader.