My one year hosting with HostGator was about to expire early this month (April, 2009) and I decided to look for a new host to take advantage of special offers. I had been looking at GeekStorage for a while, they had a good special through Web Hosting Talk of 50% off and 50% more disk space and bandwidth. So I decided to sign up with them.
I selected their “Geek” package because it included enough space and bandwidth for my Church website and because it also included a free dedicated IP address, and after adding a 1 year RapidSSL certificate and applying the coupon my total was $78.50 for one year. Not a bad deal.
The sign up process was easy and very fast, my new account was setup on less than 5 minutes. Well, almost. The account was setup with the default disk space and bandwidth, instead of the 50% more promised by the coupon. I had to contact support to had that done (they responded very quickly under 1 minute to correct this), but I never received any instructions indicating I had to do so. Also, my dedicated IP address wasn’t setup automatically, again I had to contact support to do that for me, and again without GeekStorage providing any indication that it had to be done that way. Same thing happened with my SSL certificate, I had to contact their support to have it issued and installed. It took about 5 hours or so to have the dedicated IP assigned and the SSL certificate issued and installed.
Now, while I was waiting for all this to be completed I decided to start transferring my web site from HostGator to GeekStorage, I decided to do it by myself, I have done it several times before and it’s not a big deal. The first time I logged into my GeekStorage cPanel I noticed it was very slow, I looked at the server CPU/memory stats using SSH access and the ‘uptime’ command, and for more than 10 minutes the CPU load was always higher than 35, at some points hitting 41 and 44. I opened a support ticket (#772978), I received a response 30 minutes later only indicating that they were aware of the problem and that they were working on resolving it.
I continued transferring my files, performance was sometimes bad and sometimes OK during this time. I completed my site transfer and changed my DNS to point to my new site, and I was up and running the same day I signed up with GeekStorage.
My Church web site has been running on GeekStorage for a couple of weeks now, and performance has been bad. I have received a few complaints from my users. On April 16, 2009 I decided to open a new problem ticket (#650729) with support, documenting all the downtimes flagged by Monitis monitoring. While I was hosting with HostGator my sites’ availability was usually 100% every week, on the first week with GeekStorage my sites’ availability was 90%, the second week it was 73%. Of course that doesn’t mean that the server were my account is being hosted had been down during that time, but it means that the server is so busy that it doesn’t respond to HTTP requests, which for my users that’s downtime.
I received a response from GeekStorage tech support, 45 minutes later, indicating again that they were aware of the “slow speeds” problem and that they were working to resolve them, which was the same answer I received two weeks earlier. I was offered the option to move to one of their upcoming new servers, the new servers will be located on their Los Angeles location instead of their Chicago datacenter were I am located now. This solution is not ideal because most of my users are located in the east coast. But, in any way, I am willing to give that a try to see of that helps. I asked then to let me know when the new servers were available to move my account.
So, my first impression of GeekStorage is that their sign up process is fast, although it can give the customer a little more instructions to indicate that certain features need to be requested via tickets. Their tech support is quick to respond, although they don’t seem to have the capacity to solve a performance issue (after looking at their own support forums I found out that other users had reported performance issues on that same server since the beginning of March 2009), maybe they just grew too fast.
After opening a number of support tickets (772978, 532463, 559539 and 650729) and waiting for the new servers to migrate my account to. Today, April 30th, 2009, I decided to cancel my GeekStorage account and move my church web site to another hosting provider (I have selected Shark Space).
I requested a refund from GeekStorage based on their 60-day money back guarantee. Will see how that process goes.