Category: Domain, Hosting and SEO Tools


I just had a client ask me for an evaluation of Earthlink as a web host, after I’d recommended he switch to Bluehost.  I thought it might be useful information to share.  Now, I have to admit that
I love Bluehost.  I’ve been a customer and an affiliate for five years.  So, this “review” is a tad biased but I think you’ll find there are at least some objective criteria!

Earthlink’s main business is an Internet Service Provider, not a web host.  In looking at their website, I see some “red flags”:

  • Features

    Earthlink doesn’t have a “comparison table”  showing features for their hosting plans, like many other hosts do.  So, it’s hard for me to tell if they have all the same services as the other big major web hosts.  However, they do list some of their features here. Compare to Bluehost features.

  • Pricing:

    Earthlink charges $9.97 / month for hosting, but this is an introductory price.  After 3 months the the price goes up to $19.95 / month, which is higher than what I’m used to seeing. Bluehost currently charges $4.95 – $6.95 / month, and that rate stays consistent.

  • Domain Name:

    Earthlink  includes a free domain name registration for 1 year, but charges a fee thereafter.  Bluehost includes a free domain name indefinitely with a hosting acccount.

    The going rate for a new domain name, should you need to purchase one, should be no more than $12 per year.  New domain name registrations with Earthlink cost $20 / year.  New  domain name registrations  with Bluehost cost $11.99 / year.

  • Space Limit:

    Earthlink’s hosting account space limit is 200G.  This is generous; However, you could run up against that limit after a couple years, especially if you’re displaying a photo gallery or hosting videos.  Bluehost has NO space limit on web hosting accounts.

  • Customer Service:

    This comparison is less objective than the others, but….  In my experience, Earthlink customer support has been less than easy to deal with and, on at least one occasion, has been downright evasive when I was asking questions about pricing on behalf of a client.  My family’s ISP was switched from Earthlink to Comcast several years ago, for that reason among others.
    Bluehost Customer Service is stellar!

Photo credit: W. Warby http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/

Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy, has made the news lately, by “ridding” the world of a problem elephant in Zimbabwe, then creating a promotional video portraying himself as a hero who helped feed the local community (elephant meat).  Now we are finding out that the elephant he’s pictured with is very likely a young female.  http://news.discovery.com/animals/parsons-elephant-killing-110404.html

 

This is not sustainable hunting, nor does really help the community.  Elephants remember, grieve and retaliate against losses.  This is particularly true of females, who form complex family groups.

True, Zimbabwe’s “animal management” policies may need some review, but what was Bob thinking?  How could he think this would be good PR?  And what does this have to do with websites?

Well, GoDaddy has  long been recognized for the biker chick image and the in your face website (you can’t make a simple account update without being bombarded by sales offers).   And Bob Parsons has infused the business with his own personality.   While passion and personality in business are generally rewarded, I’m thinking he’s gone over the top.  And I’m thinking I don’t like the GoDaddy personality. Or the Bob Parsons personality.  After all, if success were the only measure of likeability, we’d all be fans of Donald Trump.

What to do?  Well, the thing is, I have several domain names registered at GoDaddy, and so do most of my clients. Their customer service is second to none and, while the website is annoying, it gets the job done.  And, domain registrars have a way of making it difficult to change.  That’s why, in the past, I’ve advised clients against having their domain registered with their web host.  Because if you want to part ways with your web host, you can move your website, but it may be more difficult to change your domain name registrar.  At least, that was my thinking, and it proved true in a couple instances, when clients had fly-by-night web hosts or web hosts that help you construct (and then own) your website.

But that was then. I’m re-thinking.  Bluehost has been good to me.  As a reputable web host, I have no reason to think they’d make it difficult for me if I need to make a change in the future.  So, I plan to try moving my domain names, and see how it goes.  I’ll report back on how this is handled by both GoDaddy and Bluehost.

Oh and…  I will NOT be recommending NoDaddy to my new clients!