Endurance International Group, Inc. (EIG) is presently one of the largest web hosting companies in the world. It was founded in 1996. Initially the company had a hard time competing on the market. Instead of seeking growth by attracting new customers, it took the unusual approach of buying out and absorbing competing companies. At the time, this was a very popular business expansion strategy. For example, eBay used it very aggressively and successfully to establish itself in Europe. Smaller auction sites such as Ibazar, which was the leading auction site in the old continent, were absorbed by eBay and branded under their name. The sites you know today as “eBay Italy” or “eBay Spain” were once “Ibazar Italy” and “Ibazar Spain“. Google did the same thing when they bought out Youtube.
EIG however takes a very unusual approach when acquiring a new host. Instead of making an official announcement about the acquisition or marketing the company under their brand (e.g. “Hostgator: An EIG Company”), they try their best to make the move pass as unnoticed as possible. It’s not like they would deny the acquisition. The companies that EIG owns are all listed on their website. However, their policy is to keep the companies as independent from each other as possible. Each company has it’s own logo, pricing strategy, affiliate program, hosting features etc. These are the web hosts that make up EIG:
• A Small Orange
• Intuit Websites
|• Networks Web Hosting
• SEO Hosting
• Southeast Web
• SuperGreen Hosting
• Webstrike Solutions
The largest companies, among those that EIG owns are Hostgator and Bluehost with JustHost, eHost, FatCow, iPage, HostClear and Host Monster being some notable mentions. It’s worth noting that Hostgator, Bluehost, Host Monster and Just Host (and possibly many more of the smaller EIG brands) all use servers from the Unified Layer data center which is owned by EIG. These servers are managed using the techniques I described in part II of this guide as “greedy overloaded host” habits. They are definitely not overdoing it but they do push their servers to some extreme which causes a few downtimes and slowdowns. Hostgator also uses servers from Soft Layer which are among the best in the industry. However only a few of their customers end up hosted on these, presumably those who are on a higher end tier or who have been Hostgator customers for a long time. Therefore, it’s important when testing Hostgator, using the methods in part IV and part V of the guide, to distinguish between those sites that make use of Soft Layer data centers and those who are on in-house Unified Layer data centers. If you are a new customer don’t expect to get the Soft Layer servers, like I did when I signed up with Hostgator, as you will be having a very unpleasant surprise. Soft Layer data centers are the ones used by Site 5 too. Note that Site 5 is not part of EIG. While some of the EIG brands still use their own data centers such as A Small Orange does, in terms of speed and uptime all the brands that use Unified Layers should provide the same performance. As far as the price goes, I believe Bluehost has the best deal. I may be wrong on that, but it’s just a matter of checking the prices on the companies’ home pages to confirm. Be careful because the cost for renewal sometimes is much higher than the first time payment with EIG companies. Therefore, if you’re interested in hosting with EIG, you just need to test one company that uses Unified Layer data centers. If you don’t like the company and wish to move to another EIG brand, just see if the servers are from Unified Layer, and if they are, you can expect the exact same results of the first one, so you don’t need to do any further tests. If not, of course, you will need to investigate further. I will describe in detail how to check the speed and uptime of a hosting company in the next two parts.
One thing we should be careful about when evaluating hosts is any claims made by websites that they are being hosted by some particular host. These are quite common, both on hosting review sites and “make money” blogs. For example: “We recommend Super Turbo Host [affiliate link] as the best hosting out there! This site is hosted by Super Turbo Host!” And one may think, “Oh, cool! This review site is really fast. If I host my site with Super Turbo Host, my site will be as fast as this one is!” Well, not really. When I run the required tests to check who the host actually is 99% of these claims turn out to be BS. 🙁 It’s advisable to never trust any such claims and to not use any review sites or make money blogs with affiliate links (I am a masochist, guys! I told you I hate myself!) to judge the speed and uptime of a host. Instead, look for some random sites and check their performance using reputable tools. A little note about the tools: many of those “who is hosting this” sites are also filled with greedy deceptive affiliate links. Unlike Money Earning Sites that’s filled with greedy honest affiliate links. 😛 Checking who is hosting a website accurately is not that easy, because there are data centers, hosts and sometimes resellers too involved in the deal. It’s easier done for some hosts rather than others. We will tackle this practical task in the next part: How to Find Who is Hosting a Site.