I’ve been building websites on and off since 2006, and through the years I’ve jumped from one web host to another to find one that fits my needs the most. I stumbled upon DowntownHost in late 2007 and I’ve hosted several sites with them since then.
Generally speaking, DowntownHost is a good host. I’ve cancelled with them a few times (6 months “account suspension” at maximum) because I didn’t have time for my new web projects, but I always went back to them. Uptime has been consistent for years, I think my sites have only gone down twice or thrice in at least two years. Servers aren’t overloaded and they are straightforward with what you’re going to get for what price. Support had been fantastic too. Actually it’s just recently that their support has deteriorated a little too much.
Has DowntownHost Gone Downhill?
There’s nothing much to criticize about the performance of their service because everything was smooth during the time I had my sites with them, so I’d like to focus on the performance of their support and sales staff instead.
For years, I’ve been constantly in contact with DowntownHost’s support and sales team because I always needed to update account information like main domain names and such. I also referred a couple of my friends and clients to them and whenever I needed help in configuring these people’s accounts, tech support was always ready to help via their live chat platform. I remember one time I needed to switch a hosting account’s server location from DTH’s East Coast server to the West Coast and this was done for us in just a few minutes! That was a sign that they cared about their clients. Sadly, I really believe that’s all in the past.
DowntownHost’s New Definition of Support
I’ve previously mentioned that their support team rocked a couple years back. Yeah that’s true, however it seems that they now have new support guys and they aren’t really that helpful.
During the last couple of months, I’ve sent a few tickets about minor issues. “Minor” issues like problems with addon domains, R1soft backup link not working, VPS location questions, and no cPanel access. I received one response for all these tickets – “I will have my senior administrator assist you further.” And by “senior administrator,” these support guys actually mean Jorge, DowntownHost’s founder. Yep, your concern will be escalated to the company owner almost everytime. You’d have to wait for Jorge to get on to have your issues resolved. It certainly wasn’t like this before but it’s a no-brainer that this can be classified as a support department going downhill. This is when I began to feel uncomfortable with their service and moved my main sites to another provider. I kept a few smaller sites with them though, so read on because the story doesn’t end here.
Some time ago, I got on live chat and asked a support rep named Ethan to change one of my account’s main domain. He said he couldn’t do it unless I cancel my other account which uses the domain I wanted to switch to. So I did, I submitted a request to cancel my old account. Support guy said now I just have to wait a couple hours for them to approve it and he will change my domain as soon as the old account is cancelled. I specifically asked if I’d need to open a new ticket for the domain change, or to contact them again. He said no, he took note of it already, he’s gonna take care of it and I should expect it to be done in 24 hours. I actually forgot about this issue because the sites I had on their servers weren’t my major projects anyway. When I got the chance to check on it a week later, well guess what… old account still active, new account’s main domain name was untouched. Instead of being angry, I just shrugged it off. I couldn’t care less anyway. At least, at that time, I didn’t have my main sites with them anymore. I did finally move most of my and my clients’ sites from DowntownHost to MDDHosting.
DowntownHost’s support department puts too much on the owner, but there’s no problem with the actual hosting service. I prepaid for 3 years because I thought they were going to be consistent with their service AND support. Turns out I was wrong, the support team literally went from exemplary to being unreliable and entirely dependent on the owner for getting things done. Luckily, I was eligible for a pro-rated refund when I cancelled so I didn’t really lose any money.
Definitely go with DowntownHost if you have a budget of around $4-5/month (cheapest plan) and want great “site performance” but don’t really care about the support. I think they take care of their servers pretty well so you won’t have to contact them that much about technical issues. If you aren’t too concerned of having to deal with their mediocre support and “sales reps” who keep forwarding all sales and support inquiries to the company owner, you’re going to be fine.