Got an email today about a spring savings event from HawkHost. Very good price. Memcached caught my eye. I thought I would add two services from HawkHost today. One would be Shared Hosting, the other would be Cloud Hosting. Whichever of our site needs redundancy could go on the Cloud Hosting.
I added both to my cart but I was confused, as there wasn’t anything different in my cart. The nomenclature was identical. Both were labeled Shared Hosting. I returned to the landing pages listed in the email. They are https://www.hawkhost.com/shared-web-hosting and https://www.hawkhost.com/cloud-hosting. I noticed that the Sign Up Now for the Shared Hosting Primary package is essentially the same link as the Cloud Hosting Primary link. This is what they are:
Primary option on Cloud Hosting:
Primary option on Shared Hosting:
Notice how both of them have pid=113. Same product ID. The Cloud Hosting link at least has the &configoption parameter. Perhaps that is what lets HawkHost know you want to purchase Cloud Hosting instead of Shared Hosting. Cutting through the marketing lingo, you are letting HawkHost know you want to purchase the service that includes redundancy and fault-tolerance. Is the parameter all that is needed? Perhaps, but I found it odd that I was about to pay yet “Cloud Hosting” wasn’t mentioned anywhere, instead both things I added to my cart were labeled Shared Hosting.
Seeking reassurance that I was in fact adding two separate services, I opened a pre-sale ticket.
The reply to my ticket was two paragraphs. I have to admit, because of the first paragraph, I completely ignore the second paragraph. The first paragraph was explaining to me the differences between Shared Hosting and Cloud Hosting. I was annoyed (I know I shouldn’t have been) because that wasn’t something I was seeking clarification on. I know they are different, and I was aware of most of the differences. My annoyance stems from a decade of reporting bugs to companies such as broken SSL on their homepage, mixed https and http content on their homepage, missing knowledgebase redirects, etc.. only for the person replying to think I needed typical end-user assistance (try un-plugging it and plugging it in again) which is just a waste of time.
Anyway, I replied back letting them know I wasn’t looking for information about differences between the hosting options, rather I wanted confirmation that HawkHost was able to know which of those differences I wanted to purchase if both services had the same product ID.
They replied back and this is where I realized I missed the second paragraph earlier. Since Cloud Hosting is only provided in select locations, choosing your location at checkout is what determines if you get Cloud Hosting or not.
This was not what I expected. Cloud Hosting and Shared Hosting have their own landing pages on the HawkHost website – look at the site right now – and in the marketing email. To me, it is odd that in the cart and checkout process that they do not have their own first-class selections/distinctions, instead piggy-backing off the location you select.
Furthermore, I now realize you could set out to purchase Cloud Hosting after reading about it, but screw yourself up by choosing a location that doesn’t support Cloud Hosting. This would be easy to do to yourself since the locations aren’t labeled.
I didn’t find that very intuitive. If Tony or Brian want to clarify things, a quick win would be to append -Shared or -Cloud to the location drop-down on the cart page, “confproduct” section. Example: (New York City – Cloud) and (Toronto – Shared). I assume if you could easily give them their own product ID’s, you would have already. Something should probably be done though. Ordering is ambiguous, the order summary shows shared hosting no matter what.
Luckily, with prices between Shared Hosting and Cloud Hosting being the same, the worst a client can do is experience downtime when they realize that to their surprise, they didn’t purchase Cloud Hosting as intended because they unknowingly picked location that didn’t support it.
If any of this was incorrect, then the ticket I opened probably needs to be looked into as the information would be incorrect there too. I think the ticket was accurate, it was It is just odd that Shared Hosting and Cloud hosting are distinct in the navigation on the HawkHost website, yet pre-sales is trying to drill into my head how they are virtually identical.
tl;dr I am also in ecommerce.
Having the same product ID’s for two different products that get their own dedicated product pages on your website, would throw up a red flag to me. I just wanted clarification. But perhaps for future clients, they too may benefit from some improved labeling.
Epilogue: Getting two identical plans sans redundancy isn’t as interesting of a test as it could be, so ultimately I want to get Cloud Hosting and Semi-Dedicated hosting.