Okay, from time to time, I try out different web hosts around the net. Because I develop using ASP.Net 2.0, I get to see who’s on the up and up when it comes to new technology. This isn’t to say that I only will test ASP.Net web hosts, I haven’t gotten around to testing out the Linux hosting from some of the vendors I work with.
So recently I was deploying a website and decided to try out Gate.com. Right off the bat, Gate is attractive because of their month to month plans, but when you look in the fine print, you realize that your not getting that much.
I had a simple account; registered one domain and one ASP.Net hosting account. I quickly logged in and set up the hosting for .Net 2.0 and uploaded my app to the server. The admin section allowed me to quickly set up my application roots so uploading was simple.
After deploying the app, I gauged the load time on the page. I was stunned to discover that it took over a full minute to load the pages. Thinking that it might have been the build time, I hit it again and it was practically the same (To give you a comparison, I uploaded the same files to my remote server and the load time was only 2-3 seconds!). So, why the big difference?
To find that out, I decided to do further testing. I went to my office (I have a 3 Ghz processor with 3 GB DDR2 Ram and a T1 Line, so I knew that it wouldn’t be an issue of my processor being slow). The result… 74 seconds! My jaw dropped. A load time of 74 seconds on a 24k page is extremely unacceptable and any host that offers service like that needs to re-examine their servers to find out what the problem is.
So to get a straight answer from them, I sent a support ticket in at the beginning of the week. Another problem.. It took them 5 full days to respond to me! What… you read it right… 5 FULL DAYS to respond. Their response… it must be your processor or your internet because it only take 2.3 second on our end. Really? I doubt that. So I sent them a question about some thing else. And again it took 5 full days to get a response. What gives!?
Then a few days later, another problem. The site is down. Their servers are not redundant! The way it’s supposed to be designed is that if one server goes down, another server takes over. The files are supposed to be duplicate between the two. If the site is down for any length of time longer than a few minutes, then either mysteriously both or all servers crashed , or they were never redundant to begin with. My site was down for over an hour. When I called, the CSR that I spoke to said they had just got the server (notice singular) back up and that they were now having a problem with DNS records on their Linux server (mental note: don’t test this company for Linux compatibility and speed).
So then I decided to transfer the files to another host… Big mistake. Because of their business model, they purchase your domain through a bulk account that only they have access to. So if I needed to make a change, I would have to call them and request it. Not good for somebody who needs full control. When I called and asked them to make a change, their response immediately was, “Why, are you leaving us?” Then once I had them make the change, they cancelled my hosting after I specifically asked them not to.
Maybe its a sheer coincidence that all these mistakes happen to me, but I doubt it. In the end, my experience with Gate.com is less than impressive. With slow upload, download, and speed; coupled with the bad support and questionable uptime, I can’t in good conscience recommend this web host. Maybe in the future circumstances will change and their support and technology will be up to par. If you have any questions about specifics, leave a comment with your email address and I will get back to you.