Why you should avoid 1and1 at all costs
So as some of you may know, I had hosted my web site with 1and1 for quite some time up to June of 2008. Worst web hosting experience ever.
This is what happens when you use 1and1:
In case that wasn't clear, it means that pages loaded occasionally (perhaps 60% of the time). The other 40% consisted of only a page that says "Service Unavailable" being loaded instead, a password popup in its place, or some other server issue. The "Service Unavailable" page, literally just says "Service Unavailable" and nothing else. That's just meaningless to most people. Though often if you reload the page the error will go away, many people don't know that, and it drives many potential visitors away. Based on my referrer data, I see so many sites where people recommended my randomizer site, and link to it. Following that is a reply/comment that says "I got Service Unavailable :(". I work so hard on a service and this is what I get...
Password popups? Well you know how certain web sites have password protected directories, where if you try to go to a page in the directory, the browser would pop up a dialog asking for a username and password. Well, indeed we were given that feature, but sometimes it got applied on random directories, and without me knowing about it. So, when users tried to get on, they get a dialog asking for a password instead, and in the end cannot get on. This is an even bigger problem considering that I run an image randomizer service, where the users do the equivalent of linking images directly off my site. When *any page* with *any of those images* get loaded, the password dialog pops up, causing a major nuisance because they are often on popular forums. And this is not me, because almost all the times it happened, I was completely away from the computer. It fixes itself after a few hours, and I find out only after it happens because of threads on those forums, or messages to me that I find well after the incident. I also end up finding my URLs censored. Very bad for a service like this.
A certain other server error probably resulted from some idiot in control of the server messing around, or just not knowing what he was doing. It may be apparent that a service such as this involves file reading and writing. This requires particular permission settings. Ever so often, a permission on a randomizer folder would get reset for some mysterious reason, leaving it without write permissions. This means randomizers will give an "access denied" server error, and on most cases leaving the filesystem and the database out of sync, and giving me a massive headache to correct. Though this particular method isn't used any more on my site (It's almost all databases now; not much filesystem use), this still shouldn't happen. It was basically my last straw when it got reset one last time, and when I tried changing it back through their interface, it "worked" for a bit, then simply gave "Unknown Error".
And their support is no help at all. Most of them deny that these are ever happened, and when I figured out how to show them concrete proof, they say they are working on it. After a few weeks, they say it is fixed, but it wasn't. So in June I've finally moved off them and onto GoDaddy. From what I've seen so far, it was a very good move, despite the higher cost, and the full month (almost) that it took to transfer everything.
Also, something I noticed after I made the move, here is googlebot's chart on the average time it took to load a page in milliseconds (from Google webmaster tools; on my randomizer site):
You can tell when I switched hosts. Also, my ASP.NET scripts worked immediately when I transferred over. I didn't have to do some weird thing involving changing DNS settings and only accessing it via certain URLs.
The transfer also made a huge difference to my randomizer service. See here. This is the statistics page that I created for my randomizer service, updated automatically 2 or 3 times a day. Click the users/month stats for 2008 and older. Compare the # of users registering per month before and after the transfer (June 2008). Observe that DURING the transfer, I nearly set a users/month all time record. After that, the registration rate just went into a totally higher range entirely. I did not do any additional advertising. I didn't even have to wait for results. This shows that MANY of the potential users likely saw a "Service Unavailable" message and just got the hell out of there ASAP. I probably would have well over double the membership I had now had I switched earlier (reason for not switching? I just didn't have the time...)
The people at 1and1 don't know how to run a server I tell you >.<
I'm actually surprised that I got all my domains tranferred off of them without a problem. I don't want anything to do with that company anymore. Don't make the same mistake I did!
-More will probably be added once I remember.-