GreenGeeks limitation – What you should know before web hosting

I have been using a dedicated web host since my university days for multiple websites. Eventually I switched service providers. And even tried to switch again. That’s when I realized there were bad service providers, and worse providers. The worse was HostPapa. All the bells and whistles, but a provider built on a foundation of sand.

I had mixed feelings about HostPapa going in to my short time with them. But the reviews online were so polarized and from such bad looking websites that I wondered if they were legit. In the time between starting to research Canadian web hosts and the time I switched to HostPapa for 30 hours, I got an account with GreenGeeks.
See, I was shedding as many sites as possible from my account. I wanted them all cleared out so my account was my account and I didn’t want any of these charity cases on my site. This one site was ran by an organization that could actually have their own server. But what I did instead was get the GreenGeeks account and bill them for my time and money. They then issued me a tax credit for my work. Essentially I donated it to them and got a tax write off.
My time with GreenGeeks was okay. The server times were mediocre. The sites went down for a minute or two sporadically. About the same as my analysis of HostPapa and even iPage. More importantly, customer service was immediate. I never had to wait more than about an hour, unless I opened a ticket to billing in the middle of the night.
For a ‘race to the bottom of the market’ web host like HostGator, JaguarPC and HostPapa I thought GreenGeeks was pretty good, and Canadian.
Then I tried to leave. Oh, they didn’t give me any trouble about leaving. But I wanted to download my cPanel backup. They don’t allow that. Which means I cannot download a file, and restore it on another cPanel website in a way that easily preservers all the data:
  • Files have to be (zipped and) transferred manually, via FTP.
  • Databases have to be exported one at a time, manually, via phpMyAdmin. Then you have to manually create each database and import them to the new host.
  • Database users? Cannot move those. Have to make sure you have kept records or can find them out. Apparently, someone on this site had automatically created some databases with some software installs. So I had to make sure I found all the web apps and edit their configuration files to find the passwords.
  • Add on domains? You have to re-add all of them.
  • MX and DNS records? You have to remake all of them.
  • Any email on the server? They didn’t tell me how to transport that. I would be able to do it myself, but what about all my users?
  • Mailing lists? Dido.
  • Server logs and usage? Gone. (Luckily, we are using Google Analytics.)
So this makes it a pain to move away from them. But here’s the kicker: it also makes it harder to move to them. Oh, maybe they will restore from a backup from the previous host. But I have no way of doing this. And I don’t know if this is allowed or not.
Took what could have been an easy day for me, and made it a mess. I’ve transferred the databases and am transferring the files as I type this. You see, I was so dissatisfied with web hosts, and I was already hosting other people’s sites that I decided to become a web host reseller. That means I charge people to use my server, which I sublease from another company. This means I can provide top notch service that doesn’t have as many outages and a full support team, but as I buy in bulk I can pass the savings on to small and mid-sized website.

So I’m transferring it to a new cPanel account I created on my own server. Manually. Because they suck.