How Hari Ravichandran Founded Endurance International Group

Endurance International Group or EIG owns a number of popular webhosting companies, including Bluehost, HostGator, and A Small Orange. It’s also an investor in Automattic, parent company of WordPress.com. While I’ve read and heard a number of complaints from people in the WordPress community about EIG owned companies, I’ve never looked into how EIG started.

Forbes India has a great article that highlights how Hari Ravichandran, founder of EIG, started and funded the company. In 1997, Ravichandran spent $8K in savings on advertising in Wired and PC Magazine offering to help people create an online presence. After two weeks of no responses, Ravichandran received a call from a bookstore which ultimately became the first customer of his webhosting business.

Ravichandran goes on the describe the highs and lows of the dotcom crash of 2000 and how the company almost went under due to the lack of advertising revenue, “Advertisers started backing off and our revenue dropped dramatically,” Ravichandran told Forbes India. “When things go bad, the venture guys start running for the hills.”

After laying off most of his staff and converting 2% of his existing customers to a subscription model, Ravichandran was able to make the company break even in 2002. One of the tidbits of information I picked up from the article is that Ravichandran renamed his company from BizLand to Endurance after reemerging on the other side of the dotcom bust.

There’s also a few other noteworthy items in the article. For instance, EIG is expected to rake in $1B in revenue this year and their subscriber base is about 5.4 million customers. Also, the company is 20 years old.

It’s great to see how far Ravichandran has come and what he’s accomplished since spending $8K on advertising in 1997. While BizLand could have easily crumbled like so many other companies during the dotcom bust, he persevered and continues to manage a successful business.

13 Comments


  1. Their purchase of Constant Contact was the one that surprised me.

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  2. Hari Ravichandran is the Michael Milken of hosting. He purchases decent brands and then runs them into the ground with second rate support. EIG make money, due to cost cutting (both service and support) and affiliate promotion.

    It’s one of the great shames of the WordPress world that Automattic took money from these guys and are prostituting the recommended hosts page. Bluehost and EIG are not controversial, they’re just bad/evil.

    Surprised to see you whitewashing EIG, Jeff. Ah, except your experience of Bluehost does not mirror that of normal clients. WPtavern.com is on the Bluehost promotional VIP list. I think at one point it was established VIP Bluehost sites weren’t even at the same datacentre as the commercially sold allotments.

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    1. “It’s one of the great shames of the WordPress world that Automattic took money from these guys and are prostituting the recommended hosts page. Bluehost and EIG are not controversial, they’re just bad/evil.”

      Great that someone finally said that aloud! That’s what many people think.

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  3. 2 remarks:
    – Congrats to the founder for running all these succesfull companies.
    – Shame on most of these webhosting companies which suck to no extent. Terrible experience on bluehost and hostgator. For my websites and tens of customer websites. Moving to digital ocean with VVV or custom setup.

    Ps: no im not schizophrenic. While I give credit to the founder of these companies for running succesful businesses, I still recommend AGAINST making these companies more successful since they mostly under deliver.

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  4. HostGator had a good reputation for their excellent customer support until it was sold to EIG, and it was when I left HostGator because of the bad customer support.

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    1. Same here. I had some bad luck timing; first trying out Arvixe just after they’d been bought up by EIG and had nothing but awful performance from day one. Then when I finally had enough and left Hostgator, I moved to Site5, but Site5 was bought by EIG less than 6 months later!

      My Hostgator experience as they slid downhill was amazing. They wouldn’t believe me when I told them they had a routing problem after the move to the Provo data center, not until another friend sent me the traceroutes from outside their network to show them what was going on because they couldn’t see it from their internal network (they’d forgotten to delete a route to a temporary server that had been put in place to facilitate the move… one that stayed there 6 months longer than it should have).

      EIG is nothing but bad news for small-mid sized hosting options.

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    2. I agree. I used HostGator since 2010 and it was all great until they’ve been bought. Then the support quality and site performance started decreasing steadily. I left them and cannot be happier.

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  5. I build WordPress sites on WiredTree, SiteGround, Liquid Web, DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, Google Cloud Platform, GreenGeeks and SoftLayer. I don’t waste my time, or my client’s money, building sites on GoDaddy, Bluehost, Network Solutions, HostGator, 1&1, Strato or any EIG company.

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    1. Yes, you are right. You got what you paid for. But HostGator used to be very good and affordable, and their headquarter is in Houston, TX, very close to me, and the previous owner Brent put lots of effort on customer support. Too bad he decided to sell his company so he could travel around. :-(

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  6. I had bad experience with HostGator, so much that I moved away from them.

    I have moved from/to so many companies for domains and hosting over the year.

    It usually goes like this

    1) Order the new transfer at a new provider
    2) Put in the EPP code
    3) get e-mail at the registered e-mail address on the domain’s whois record thing.
    4) click on link in the e-mail
    5) Voila, wait up to 3 days but most of the times 24 hours.

    HostGator however sends you an e-mail “if we don’t hear back from you by x date then the transfer will occur”. the x date is 5 days after you gave them the request.

    So instead of sending an e-mail to click a link if I agree to transfer, and the e-mail usually has a second link in case we did not agree to transfer….HostGator does the “wait 5 days before we do the transfer”.

    HORRIBLE.

    I moved 85 domains away from them (my own domains and clients).

    Clients are happy with the new domain registrar.

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  7. Will never use a web host owned by EIG ever again. Was with ASO for a number of years and shortly after EIG took them over, their service and support went to absolute crap! It was after my VPS was down for over 5 days that I moved all my sites off them. As others above have mentioned, they simply buy up as many webhosts as they can and then run them all into the ground. It’s a shame to see them getting any sort of promotion on here

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    1. Its a crying shame what he and others like him are doing.

      They are simply playing hosting arbitrage.

      They buy a host with hundreds of thousands of users signed up to cheap multi-year deals, then don’t give a shit if their site gets hacked and if they stay or go.

      I move dozens of sites away from their brands every month, because when they get hacked and they simply do nothing to help them. Even when the code injection comes from another infected site on the same server, and you would expect them to provide some cross-contamination protection.

      In my opinion, what these companies are doing with cheap shared hosting is criminal. They take your money for a year or more with a ‘cheap’ offer, and then they simply don’t care whether you stay or you leave. In fact I think it’s part of their game plan for you to get pissed off and wander off.
      Then they have the disk space back again and can resell it.

      Not only that, but their servers run so slow anyway, because they are so oversold. It takes effort and knowledge way beyond what the average user possesses, in order to get a site on one of them to load in less than 1.5 sec and be ranked well by Google.

      Its up to you of course, but I don’t think your website will ever bring you any benefit ~ no ROI ~ configured as it is on cheap hosting, in general, but on EIG specifically.

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