ThinkHost: Eco-friendly Hosting, But At What Cost?

Filed Under (Musings) by on 12-26-2008

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At the moment I am writing this blog post for a blog that is down.  I’m also writing this post while I should be writing a post that is scheduled to go up tomorrow, but since the blog is down I can’t access the data I need.  Needless to say I’m NOT a happy camper.  But of course, the “…system administrator is working to resolve this matter and restore services as soon as possible.”  At the moment the ThinkHost Athena server is down.

Back in June I decided I was going to move Musings For A Darkened Room over from a Blogger hosted blog to a self hosted WordPress blog. At the time I put my feelers out there since I had only been familiar with 1&1 and HostGator through client work. Around that same time Donna Fontenot mentioned of the eco-friendly hosting provider ThinkHost.  Being a very green minded individual I thought using ThinkHost was a great opportunity since it was being recommended by someone I trusted AND it boasted being eco friendly being 100% carbon-neutral powered using wind and solar power.  The site also guaranteed 100% uptime.

The initial setup with ThinkHost was quick and painless, and I only ran into a few downtime and error issues in that first month.  And ThinkHost kindly applied a month hosting credit to my account for my troubles.  After that I didn’t run into many errors with my site, but then last month the errors returned and seemed to happen three fold.  This time it wasn’t just me experiencing the issue.  I had visitors e-mailing me and IMing me telling me the site was either down or giving them errors as they tried to use it.

I e-mailed ThinkHost at the beginning of the month explaining the increase in outages and errors and they basically told me there were no outages on my server but to provide them with more details and they would look into it.  I did, and their response was that nothing was wrong on their end and that it must have been an ISP problem.  I would have bought this excuse, but it wasn’t just me having the issues.  I was getting complaints from both local and non-local visitors, as well as friends who use a different ISP.

I have continued to have minor issues with accessing the site since then, and then tonight the site won’t load at all.  It won’t even give me an error.  Normally I wouldn’t publicly comment on things like this, but I feel that as of late the support I have received from ThinkHost has been less than adequate, especially when they are blaming ISP’s for outages that are being experienced at the same times across various networks.  Furthermore we are pushing the hour mark on this outage and I can still not access my site.  At a time when my blog traffic and revenue are at an all time high it’s frustrating.

I have again put my feelers out there for hosting providers and the name that keeps coming up is HostGator.  They are definitely cheaper than ThinkHost, but I really like the fact that ThinkHost is 100% carbon-neutral.  Right now I am leaning towards switching to HostGator, but if anyone out there knows of a green hosting alternative that they know is reliable I would LOVE to hear from you.

I don’t want to end this post on a totally negative note so I will say one thing positive about ThinkHost. I really like that they have a network status section in their Hosting Operations Center that gives you updates on outages.  I also like that you can view your entire issue history with their support department and read updates and statuses of your issues.

UPDATE: ThinkHost reported that the server came back online at 01:15AM EST…1 hour 9 minutes of downtime.  I believe that’s a month of hosting folks!

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