As I’ve written about before, customer support is one of the most important ingredients of a great web host. Features, value, and data center performance are definitely needed, but good customer support is vital to having a successful web hosting experience. While it can be difficult to determine how great someone’s customer support is before signing up with that company, I do recommend that in addition to your online research, you also contact the prospective hosting company and feel them out by asking some pertinent questions.
On that note, I recently decided to do my own totally unscientific test on some web hosting companies to see how well they did. Now, this is just one small test and everyone’s mileage may vary. But it was fascinating to see the difference in responses I got. Some of these web hosting companies I personally use myself, while others are certainly known to most hosting shoppers.
In this test, I wanted to see how long you have to wait until you get a support tech on chat support. Now it would be great to increase the sample size and test out each hosting company over and over. However, my experience has shown that wait times tend to be pretty consistent for each particular hosting company. In any case, here are the results.
InMotion Hosting — 3.5 Seconds to respond.
It doesn’t surprise me that InMotion had the fastest response time. InMotion support is usually very prompt and efficient.
IX Web Hosting — 10.5 Seconds to respond.
Very impressive response time here.
MyHosting.com — 17.5 Seconds to respond.
Very impressive response time—especially since it was stated there were 2 people ahead of me in the queue.
HostNine — 25.2 Seconds to respond.
Very quick response from HostNine. The support person was very friendly and helpful.
JustHost — 30 Seconds to respond.
The estimated wait time was 2 minutes, but they were able to respond much quicker than that.
Host Monster — 55 Seconds to respond.
Estimated wait was three minutes, but they responded much faster than that.
Bluehost — 4 Minutes to respond.
This does surprise me. In the past, Bluehost has been quick to respond to chat request. On this occasion, the stated wait time was two minutes, but it took twice as long as that.
Fat Cow — 4 Minutes and 20 Seconds to respond.
In the past, I’ve had issues with Fat Cow’s support. Although they weren’t the fastest to respond, they weren’t the slowest either.
iPage — 4 Minutes and 57 Seconds to respond.
This is another company I personally use. They have been great. Sometimes though, there is a bit of a wait to connect on live chat. On this occasion it took almost five minutes.
HostGator — 10 Minutes 52 Seconds to respond.
Estimated wait time was a whopping 14 minutes. The good news is it didn’t take 14 minutes to get connected. The bad news is it still took almost 11 minutes.
Although this test was more about speed, quality of support is equally important. I’ll share some thoughts on what kinds of assistance I received during the above chat sessions in a future post.