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Why I Don’t Like Dotster.com

My web clients choose from among many web hosting companies, and Dotster.com is one that I don't like for WordPress sites. Why? Great question, let me give you an example. I got a phone call from a client saying that his web site was down, and there was a WordPress message about a fatal error.

Sure enough, when I browsed the web site I saw the dreaded WordPress message. The only recent action on the site was updating PHP to version 7.4, because WordPress was showing a warning notice when logged in that PHP was out of date. To find out what the error was required that I first turn WordPress debugging ON, then it revealed that the JetPack plugin was failing, because of an undefined function ctype_digit().

Hmmm, that sounds odd, because JetPack is coded by Automattic, the company that develops WordPress, and certainly they don't release a Plugin with fatal errors, right? A little further Google search revealed the true culprit as PHP 7.4 requires a feature called ctype to be turned on, but for some unknown reason at Dotster.com, they decided to turn ctype off.

Chatting with tech support at Dotster.com I first had to get through the security question gauntlet to identify myself as a trusted person, even though the chat feature requires that I first login to the account with proper credentials. I explain to the tech support person that I need PHP 7.4 and the ctype feature to be turned on, and they comply and manually change it for me.

Other web hosting vendors like IONOS already have ctype turned on by default, not Dotster.com. Why is that?

There you have it, host at Dotster.com and expect to be in contact with tech support more often. Who has time to debug these low-level, technical details?

My WordPress clients simply want their sites to be up and running, no matter which version of PHP is installed. So why does Dotster.com have to added this extra drama by turning off much-needed features like ctype that then crash a WordPress site? My advice is to simply not use Dotster.com as a web hosting vendor.

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