During my unannounced getaway from dotTech, there was a time when I wasn’t sure about the status of this website. What will happen to dotTech? Would I continue to update dotTech? Has dotTech officially reached its point-of-no-return? During this time the only thing I knew was that at the moment I wasn’t able to update dotTech. So, I figured since I wasn’t able to update dotTech for the time being, I could save a little bit of money by moving dotTech off a dedicated server and onto shared hosting. (Shared hosting is significantly cheaper per month than a dedicated server.) This made sense because there there wasn’t a lot of traffic coming to dotTech since I wasn’t updating, so there was no need for a dedicated sever at the time. (dotTech is on a dedicated server now, though.)
So I did a little bit of window shopping, looking at web hosts. I eventually ended up purchasing four years of shared webhosting from HostICan. I should have known better (never, ever purchase hosting from a company that has anything short of excellent reviews), but I got sucked in with a 50% off coupon; after all four years of shared hosting for $78 is a banging deal. I didn’t just pick HostICan out of the blue; I did do a bit of research on HostICan and they had mixed reviews about them. I figured with their 30-day money back guarantee I was relatively safe by going with them. Boy was I wrong.
Five weeks into my contract, HostICan send me an e-mail telling me I have “outgrown” my shared hosting plan and I need to upgrade to VPS, starting at $48/month. They then proceed to suspend my account – without even giving me a chance to respond to their e-mail - losing all of dotTech’s data in the process. (Some dotTechies may remember this as the dotTech turmoil era, when visiting dotTech.org would bring up a gruesome “account has been suspended account” page and all the recent forum posts were lost.)
In my e-mail response to HostICan’s support team I asked why my account has “outgrown” the shared hosting. (I was mighty suspicious how my account suddenly “outgrew” their shared hosting plan after the 30-day money back guarantee was up considering traffic was fairly constant for the whole five weeks.) They ignored the question. I asked what I did wrong. They ignored the question. I asked if it was possible for them to temporarily reactivate my account so I could at least grab my data. They told me they didn’t have a backup of my data. That is the last I have heard from them.
Now while I do have my suspicions about their justification for suspending my account, all webhosts have their rules about what they tolerate on shared hosting and what they don’t; so if I outgrew HostICan’s shared hosting, fine – that is not the issue at hand. The issue at hand is the fact that HostICan never explicitly told me why my account was suspended (aside from a vague e-mail), they never gave me a chance to rectify my mistake (I could have kept my other websites on HostICan and moved dotTech away from HostICan, back onto a dedicated server), and they lost five weeks worth of data in the process (luckily we didn’t lose everything, since I had a five week old backup).
I have repeatedly tried to e-mail, chat, and call HostICan to try to get this issue resolved; but they are ignoring all forms of communication and to this day my account remains suspended even though I paid for four years worth of service and only got five weeks.
After the lack of communication and their behavior, I tried to ask for my money back but of course, they didn’t respond. Getting the cold-shoulder from HostICan made me turn to the other “insurance” I had (or so I thought) – PayPal. However, turns out PayPal is of no help since PayPal “doesn’t cover service items”. With HostICan ignoring me, and PayPal being useless, it seems like my $78 are pretty must lost. $78 isn’t a large sum of money but it is nonetheless my money that HostICan has literally stolen.
I have already filed a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regarding HostICan’s behavior. Although I don’t expect much to come out of the complaint, it felt good filing it. Next step on the anti-HostICan campaign: Spread the word. This is me spreading the word:
Avoid HostICan more than you would avoid the plague.