Hostgator India Review: Unbelievably Bad

Verdict: Hostgator India Sucks Big Time

I cannot believe what a bad experience we have just had with Hostgator India. Review coming soon, plus suggestions for alternative web hosting in India.

Context:

  • We tried to renew our client’s web hosting with Hostgator India
  • None of their payment options worked – we wasted ages trying Paypal several times and then both debit and credit card via two different merchant gateways – that’s about 6 attempts and a lot of wasted time.
  • We replied to Hostgator India’s own support ticket advising the problem and asking how we could pay to ensure the service was renewed.
  • They did not respond, and then suspended our client’s website.
  • Over the next 9 days(!) they failed to respond at all to any of our subsequent ticket updates explaining the seriousness of the problem and demanding resolution.
  • Similarly they ignored our message to their Twitter account and emails to their sales and billing departments.
  • They did send us a string of automated responses exhorting us renew and offering discount if we did so.
  • Finally got hold of them today on their website chat.

To be going on with, here’s the chat transcript (minor edits only for clarity and to cut out some repetition):

10:35:1497263735 We’re finding the best person to connect you with. Please stay online.
10:37:1497263841 Vivina M has joined the Chat.
10:37:1497263842 Drashti G: Hi,how may I assist you?
10:37:1497263842 Vivina M: Hello, How may I assist you?
10:37:1497263877 Kevin Holdridge: Hello Vivina. Please read ticket #GGK-737-29164 and update me on status.
10:38:1497263899 Vivina M: Checking Kevin
10:38:1497263902 Vivina M: Give me a few minutes
10:38:1497263923 Drashti G: As vivina will be assisting you further so I am leaving the chat .
10:41:1497264107 Vivina M: Kevin, Are you facing any issues in making the payment now ?
10:43:1497264216 Kevin Holdridge: Your system do not appear to allow international payments. I have repeatedly asked for an alternative means of payment. Nobody has ever replied., Instead you have sent me automated updates offering discounts.b And you have suspended my client’s website.
10:45:1497264306 Vivina M: I am checking if there can be an alternate way
10:45:1497264324 Vivina M: Can you tell me from where you are trying to make the payment ?
10:47:1497264427 Kevin Holdridge: UK. I think at this point the correct answer would be (1) for Hostgator.in to apologise for its performance and service, (2) to restore the service immediately, and (3) to offer 3 years’ free hosting as a small compensation.
10:50:1497264643 Vivina M: Are you trying to make the payment via Card / Debit or Credit card ?
10:52:1497264730 Kevin Holdridge: I tried paypal, and both debit and credit cards with both of your payment providers. As I just wrote, I think we have moved beyond that and the matter is much more serious now.
10:53:1497264809 Vivina M: Can you tell me if you face any issue in making payments via Paypal ?
10:53:1497264815 Vivina M: Any error that you see ?
10:56:1497264962 Kevin Holdridge: I already explained that when I opened the ticket. Vivina, I don’t think you are listening to what I am saying here? Can you explain why nobody has responded to my ticket or to my email or to my message to your Twitter account?
10:57:1497265055 Kevin Holdridge: From my ticket update of 2 June: “Your Paypal link shows a ‘not working’ screen before any details can be entered. Both of your debit/credit card gateways refuse the process the transaction – one of them at least gives an explanation ‘International cards are not accepted’. I presume that is the reason for both gateways failing and, maybe, for Paypal refusing to play.”
I have only UK issued cards and UK-based Paypal. How would you like me to pay?”
10:58:1497265125 Vivina M: We were facing some issues with the Paypal gateway then
10:58:1497265131 Vivina M: It has been resloved now
10:59:1497265155 Vivina M: Let me know if you are still facing the issues in making the payment
11:02:1497265351 Vivina M: Are you there?
11:03:1497265387 Kevin Holdridge: yes … trying to put together a calm response ….
11:04:1497265445 Kevin Holdridge: From my experience so far, Hostgator India is facing bigger issues than with the payment gateway. I asked you to explain and to suggest how to resolve this problem of Hostgator’s making. Suggesting – without any hint of an apology – that I waste more time trying your PayPal gateway in the hope that it might work this time is not an acceptable response. You want me to pay you for the full price (after you have sent me automated emails promising discount) and for the period during which the website has been suspended by you? This is not an appropriate response.
11:05:1497265528 Vivina M: Kevin, Sincere apologies for the Inconvenience
11:05:1497265542 Kevin Holdridge: I appreciate that as first line support you are unable or unwilling to deviate from script. So perhaps it would be best therefore if you escalated this chat straightaway to somebody who is in a position to discuss and address the bigger service recovery issue?
11:06:1497265577 Vivina M: Kevin, can you please try making the payment now ?
11:06:1497265594 Vivina M: The issue with the Paypal gateway is resloved
11:09:1497265758 Kevin Holdridge: No I will not be doing that under the circumstances until there is a satisfactory response from Hostgator. Please escalate. Every hour that my client’s website is suspended due to Hostgator negligence simply adds to the commercial consequences of this problem.
11:26:1497266790 Vivina M: Kevin I have asked my senior to update the ticket
11:29:1497266949 Vivina M: Are you there?
11:29:1497266974 Kevin Holdridge: yes .. I am sure that your system tells you I am typing
11:33:1497267226 Vivina M: Kevin, Can you tell me if you are able to make the payment now ?
11:34:1497267278 Kevin Holdridge: Yes I just got that. It is an unbelievable response. It just repeats what you have said – an unconvincing and unspecific apology followed by a request to pay for a service you have not provided at the full price despite your offers of discount. If you persist with this approach the best outcome you can hope for is that I will renew for 1 month (assuming that your payment facility really is working) simply in order to move the service to a better provider, that I will be motivated to spend time publishing honest but damning reviews of my experience across the web, and that my client will engage a lawyer to obtain compensation from you. Alternatively, you could aim for some service recovery for a better outcome for all parties. Are you going to do do that or am I wasting more of my time?
11:44:1497267892 Kevin Holdridge: OK. You clearly have no interest in service recovery. I have given you so many opportunities to respond sensibly. Your Paypal gateway does now appear to be working. I have paid for 1 month’s renewal. I suggest you restore the website access immediately to minimise your further liability. I will migrate the facility as quickly as I can after that. It goes without saying that my experience with Hostgator India has been appalling and entirely unacceptable. I will be sharing that actively across the web and social media. I will advise my client to seek compensation from you for damage to their business resulting from your incompetence and negligence.
11:48:1497268092 Shyam M: I apologize for the inconveneince our team has already removed the suspension and the website will be live shorlty
11:56:1497268567 Kevin Holdridge: Shyam – that kind of routine and insincere apology unfortunately is meaningless and doesn’t help either of us. Neither you nor Vivina have made any effort to achieve service recovery. You have blanked my questions and suggestions on every occasion and just asked for payment. Still, that’s more than from anybody else at Hostgator India over the last 8 days – until I chased you today nobody had even bothered to respond except to offer discounts for payment – offers by the way that you refuse to honour today. The transcript of this ‘support’ chat will soon be appearing online as an example in how not to manage service recovery. Have a nice day.
Update: 31 July 2017
We moved that website to HostIndia after our bad experience with Hostgator India. All went smoothly until Hostindia inexplicably dropped the DNS zone records from their nameservers. That, of course, made the website inaccessible. It took several interminable support chats and tickets to get the issue rectified. Even then, we have been unable to get an explanation or apology from HostIndia. Every time we asked them when and how the records could have dropped, they either terminated the chat session or tried nonsensically to blame us (even though: the domain record has always pointed to the HostIndia nameservers; the fault was that the DNS zone had disappeared from the Hostindia nameservers; and we have no means of modifying those nameservers ourselves). Quite astonishing. I have to say that our experiences now with two leading hosting companies in India have been extremely poor.
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