Having to host dozens of different sites I have many shared hosting accounts, some VPS’s and a dedicated server.
One of these cheap shared accounts is with fatcow.com and recently I needed to add some redirects to “mask” the long and ugly affiliate urls. I usually do this with a 301 redirect through .htaccess. There are many ways and tools to do it, but this is the easiest. So when I was about to do this in the fatcow account I found out that there is no way to upload .htaccess files through ftp, or edit them through the control panel and the only way to set up the redirects is through their custom .htaccess editor tool. And apparently it can’t do redirects for inner pages on domains other than the main account domain. So after a few futile attempts I turned to their online chat for help.
After waiting about 5 min, a support guy (or more likely someone pretending to be a support guy at fatcow) joined the chat. So I explained my problem right away hoping to get a quick answer.. how naive.
First he asked my main account domain, then after receiving that info asked me to please wait 2-3 minutes while he’s checking something (?). Then he asked my secret question for verification. Then he asked to wait another 4-5 minutes to verify it. After that he asked what the problem was again. And every 5 minutes he kept asking me to wait 4-5 minutes while “he is checking for solution”.
Finally about 40-50 minutes into the whole ordeal, still with no answers or even hints to possible solutions to this problem, when I was ready to give up and “hang up on him” he finally told me that.. he can’t help me. Big surprise 😉
Apparently there is no way in fatcow to setup up 301 htaccess redirects on subdomains or added domains in the account. What kind of hosting doesn’t have that option? Looks like I’ll have to move those sites back to good old hostgator, or find some other nice and simple method for affiliate urls redirection.
What have we learned today? Don’t be so cheap and stop trying to save a couple dollars on hosting! It’s simply ridiculous considering how important having a reliable hosting provider is, and is just not worth all the headache.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a bad idea trying to shop smart and checking the most cost effective hosting solutions (that is monthly price vs space, bandwidth, amount of domains etc), but in a highly competitive market like web hosting lower prices always come with setback – in this case a slow and inefficient support and lack of important features.