HostGator charges $15 for restoring website backup

I accidentally deleted one of my websites from my HostGator hosting account (Cpanel) the other day. It wasn’t until one of my guys told me today that it was offline that I realized my mistake. But then I remember receiving periodic notifications from HostGator that they have completed backing up my sites. With that in mind, I thought, no problem — HostGator has a backup and they can restore my website easily.

So I emailed HostGator support and requested that they restore their backup of my website because I deleted the files accidentally. They replied promptly (HostGator support is very good) and asked me to confirm the restore request. There was no mention of any restoration cost, so I assumed it was free. I replied, “Yes, please proceed with restoring my website.”

About 15 minutes later, I received another email from HostGator support that the restore process had been completed and that my website was back online. At the end of the email was this line:

Please note, however, that the account was invoiced a $15.00 fee as that is the standard fee for restoring from our backups.

That’s the part that I did not expect. I didn’t recall seeing any fees for the restore service so I looked up their backup policy. It was there — as clear as day — I just didn’t bother to read the fineprint.

Our backups are made every week on a random day, and only the newest backups are kept. We make no guarantees about our weekly backups, and we do require a $15 fee to restore the HostGator backups. If you can provide your own backup file, then the fee is $0 (free).

I have to admit that it was indeed my fault that I didn’t read the fineprint. But it would have been good business practice on the part of HostGator if they let me know before performing the restore process that I was going to be charged $15 for the service. It’s true that $15 is not much — I just feel that I was blindsided by a supposedly reputable hosting company.

So a couple of lessons learned:

  • Don’t be stupid. Don’t ever delete your website, not even by accident.
  • Read the fineprint.

Otherwise, you will end up $15 poorer and HostGator $15 richer.