WordPress hosting companies and customer support

 

WordPress hosting companies and support-tech support guyThis month, I was reminded how important it is for WordPress hosting companies to have great support.

Here are three scenarios involving Steady Sites clients using three different hosting companies. I won’t mention specific hosting company names because this is not an actual review of their support services. If you want to discuss names and options, please contact me directly.

Small WordPress hosting companies

The first scenario involves a small hosting company I’ve used to host many small websites over the past 15 years. They’ve been great. The price is right, they don’t overload their servers with too many websites, and the support response has been very quick.

Until recently.

Over the past year or so, I’ve noticed a few lags in response time that make me think about switching to another host. I really don’t need to contact them often. For the most part, the servers tick along nicely without a glitch. But when something goes wrong that I cannot resolve, I need a quick response. Unfortunately, a couple of my support tickets have gone unanswered. Fortunately, I’ve found solutions on my own. But it takes extra time for me and I know their support could have resolved the problem much faster.

Medium-sized WordPress hosting companies

The second scenario involved another hosting company that is much larger than the first one. I would call it an average sized hosting company. One of my clients has been using them for years. Generally, they are adequate for this small but very active website (lots of blog posts and reader comments).

A few weeks ago, this hosting company decided to move my client’s website to a new server. This happens quite often with hosting companies. Technology changes, equipment wears out, etc. I think it’s great when this happens. It’s often an improvement. But usually the hosting company sends out an email notice a few days in advance.

Not this time. The change happened over the weekend and by Monday morning the website was offline. Completely gone.

I quickly traced the problem to the server. The nice thing about this company is that they have multiple options for contacting support. I first tried the standard support ticket (email). After a few hours, I still had no response. I tried the online chat option. This got me through to a support person within 10 minutes. Unfortunately, they could not resolve the problem. Finally, I called the support line. Yes, the old-fashioned telephone, speak-to-a-real-person method.

I wish I had done that first! While it still took some time to get the website back online (much longer than I have seen in years), the multiple support options did the trick.

Large WordPress hosting companies

The third scenario I experienced this month involves a very large web hosting company. They’re so big they’ve even advertised during the Super Bowl (see, I said I wasn’t going to mention names!).

One of my clients has used this hosting company for years, much to my initial disappointment. But I have to admit, this hosting company has dramatically improved their WordPress hosting services recently. I would almost consider recommending them, except for the fact that their servers are often overloaded and slow. Support is important, but it has to be coupled with a good product at a fair price.

The website hosted with this large company has a security certificate (SSL) that expired. I had thought that it had been renewed, but due to some miscommunication it lapsed. You’ve probably been to websites with expired SSL certificates. You get a warning in your web browser stating that this website’s security cannot be trusted, or that the secure connection failed.

Basically, it’s a great way to turn away visitors from your website.

I started reading some support articles on the hosting company’s website, trying to figure out how to fix the problem. Then I remembered my experience with the other hosting company. I picked up the phone.

The guy I spoke with was much better than the medium-sized hosting company’s support worker. He listened and quickly understood. He did what he could, then put me on hold while he dealt with other departments to resolve the issue. The support team was determined to fix the problem while we were on the line together. And they did.

Considering the nature of the issue, that was one of the fastest hosting support cases I’ve experienced.

Lessons learned

I like to think I’ve learned from these three scenarios this month.

First, I’m slowly migrating old sites to WordPress hosting companies that have multiple support options. Preferably, they need 24/7 phone support.

Second, I’m willing to pay a bit more for hosting services that have great support. Many WordPress hosting companies offer comparable features and equipment. But the difference lies in the support staff they hire. Web hosting problems don’t happen often, but when they do I want a quick resolution.

Finally, I’m open to changing hosting companies. But loyalty is important to me. So I want to settle in long-term with the best WordPress hosting companies that meet the specific needs of my clients.

Feel free to comment on your experiences with web hosting support.


About Steady Sites

Steady Graphics Services provides a WordPress maintenance plan to ease concerns like:

  • Is my website performing at peak performance so visitors get the best experience possible?
  • Do I have regular backups of my website in case something happens to my web server?
  • What if my website gets hacked?
  • How can I get up-to-date, professional training so I can use my website better?
  • Who can I trust to do the updates that are beyond my technical or creative abilities?

Tired of trying to maintain your own website? A WordPress maintenance plan might be the solution for you.

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