It was the early 21st Century. I was gearing up for my second year at Wilfrid Laurier University. I was not only a member, but a student rep in one of the geekiest clubs on campus: The Physics and Computer Science Club. Despite the name, it was primarily for any student who had an interest in computing and technology, not just students in the Physics and Computer Science department.
The president of the club was Tudor, who I had only seen once before as a fill in teaching assistant (Tudor the tutor). He asked if anyone wanted to have their website hosted for free. His provider — Aletia — allowed him to multihost up to 5 domains for free. I took him up on this offer, and am very grateful to him for the opportunity to have my own hosted website with it’s own domain and server side scripting.
A year later I decided to run a service selling unique email addresses to people, which required me to get my own shared hosting plan. So I moved off of sub-leasing Tudor’s server to my own shared hosting at Aletia. Eventually, Aletia was bought out by Jaguar PC.
For the longest time I was extremely happy with Jaguar PC. They were in a race to the bottom of the web hosting market. I would pay for a year, and then a year later wonder why I didn’t get an invoice. Turns out, they had lowered their rates and credited my account the difference, so I was getting free months. And whenever I popped on to their site I’d learn that my package was become ever more powerful: multi-host unlimited domains, unlimited databases, unlimited emails addresses and finally unlimited disk space. My yearly price was going down and the features were being added on top of features.
Then everything began to go wrong: Technical support stopped understanding the tickets I was posting, and they were responding in extremely poor English (second language), my server starting running slower, and slower meaning pages were taking longer and longer to load. Finally my server started grinding to a halt and going offline for at least an hour several times a month. I asked why, and they said someone else on the shared server was being bad and causing problems (i.e., was running resources intensive applications) and that person was being moved off my server to a different one. And I waited. And waited. And kept having problems. When it came time to renew my contract, I left Jaguar PC. And haven’t looked back.
Disclaimer: Jaguar PC may have gotten its act together. And the major problem I faced was only faced by people on my shared hosting server. And Jaguar PC has many, many servers. Your experience if you were a customer at the same time may have been different. And things may well have changed.
Next: I switched hosts. See the blog post about my experience with Drak.net / A Small Orange.