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How do you deal with an unresponsive hosting company?

no order form - no orders



9:41 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I hope this is the appropriate forum for this message... about a month ago I switched to a different hosting company because it appeared that my then-current host was going out of business, and they were very rude on the phone. I needed a new host that supported PGP for my order form, and a couple of people on here were very helpful and recommended a certain company, which I signed up with.

Around the beginning of the month, my new hosting company emailed saying they would be performing system upgrades and that certain email settings would be changing, along with a new IP address. No big deal, I figured. I got my email swiched over (seems that a few emails never got delivered, but didn't lose anything too important, so no big deal at the time). I came back from a long weekend Monday night and my order form was not working. I immediately tried calling and their message stated that they were performing system upgrades which would be completed by June 7th (Monday was the 10th, so accoridng to the message, they should have been completed). I didn't leave a voicemail, I decided to email instead, which I did immediately. Over 24 hours later, I received a response apologizing, saying that PGP wasn't supported on their new system, and that maybe I should install it myself.

First of all, I have no knowledge of how to install PGP myself. Second, and more importantly, it is thier responsibility to have PGP running, since it is one of the main features I pay extra for. I replied asking them to please install it, since it is essential to my business. They replied again that they are sorry, someone is working on it, and that it should be fixed early next week. Early next week would be about a week and a half of having no order form, which is totally unacceptable to me, as I am losing about 50% of my business (people who don't call and order over the phone).

I left a message on their voicemail early this morning and still haven't received a call back. I have emailed insisting that this be resolved today, at least with a promise to have it fixed within 24 hours, and have not yet received a response. I am at wit's end... I can't afford to have my business crippled for a week and a half. What can I do to get some response? Thanks in advance for your help.

Franz A. Honer

PS. To add insult to injury, I got a postcard in the mail today from this hosting company's competition, saying something along the lines "[yourhostingcompany] just upgraded from Linux to Sun and you lost all kinds of features. if you want them back switch to us"


11:13 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

It is always frustrating for sure when caught in one of these situations, I sympathize. Why not go without PGP and instead go with straight SSL? just so the orders keep coming in while the PGP issue is resolved. I don't know if the SSL suggestion is easily implementable for you, you'll have to weigh it against losing 50% of your orders for another week ....


1:09 am on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for the suggestion... unfortunately, I have no idea how to go about that. What are you suggesting to do with the form results instead of sending through the PGP script? What kind of program/script would I use to do this?

I'm sorry if those sound like stupid questions, it's not that I'm too lazy to go and try to figure it out - when I set up this form I searched and searched and searched and this was the best way I could find to do what I wanted. Appreciate your help!


1:18 am on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

turbosaab, with PGP enabled on so many servers, if that company made such drastic changes with no prior notice, which is very unprofessional of them, and they are so unresponsive, in your place I would make a change as soon as possible.

PGP Tutorial for Beginners to PGP [neiu.edu].


2:17 am on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

From a purely pragmatic point of view, I was suggesting to go without PGP to keep the orders coming in, at the expense of security. I was thinking that moving the site to another ISP or waiting for your current ISP to install PGP will still leave you without web based orders for a number of days.

The comment about SSL can probably be ignored, I am assuming that you are using PGP for e-mail security when the order info is mailed to you from the form. I only mentioned SSL in case you could bypass the mailing process and instead access orders online that are written to a file if the order script has that kind of capability.


2:50 am on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for your responses... Marcia, I agree that it is VERY unprofessional - not quite as bad as the people I was with before them, as they at least respond. I agree that it seems they should be able to just install it for me (and everyone else who needs it).

I will paraphrase their latest email that I received after I posted... they claim that their previous datacenter cut them off abruptly and they were forced to move without having full support for existing features. They will not have PGP working for AT LEAST TWO WEEKS and they understand if I have to move the site somewhere else.

As with my first hosting company, they seemed reputable when I signed up (I called up a couple times to test their support, got a few different people, so I knew it wasn't out of some guy's house), but in times of trouble they have fallen short. I'm not sure how to go about screening my next host to minimize the risk of having my business interrupted.

I have thought about just doing plain-text email, but decided against it. Probably no one would know the difference and nothing would happen, but I'd rather not take that risk with my customers. I did think of putting an order form that asked for everything but their credit card, with a "NEXT ->" button labelled "Continue to Payments", and then have a screen saying that our online payments system was down and that we would be calling them for their credit card info. I'd rather just get it switched to a new host. Really appreciate any suggestions!



5:11 pm on Jun 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

turbosaab> I think I use the same hosting company....
Just recieved, here in Spain, Europe, the same card from their ex-business partners.
I'm a bit upset 'cos I still have problems getting the e-mail and username/password thing sorted for a 'very' patient client. Not to mention being locked out of the ftp facility for about 5 days responding to autoresponses. (Man, how I hate them things, so unhuman!)

Do you think they would be prepared to refund on relatively (2 months) new accounts? Their previous contractor has offered 2 months off hosting if I sign up :)
I'm quite happy to accept that s**t happens, but I also expect some give and take. The fact that they used Linux weighed quite heavily in my decision to use them, so to change that doesn't sit very well with me. (That was pretty controlled of me, don't you thinkż)
I also expected at least that the form-mail facility would be 'ready to use', not that I'd have to figure it out for myself (OK, so I learned something, OK :) )


8:06 pm on Jun 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We'll it looks like we all have the same hosting company, but I can not side with any of you, because they have been as responsive as possible with me. From a notice of change a week in advance up until today with their email problem.
Most of everything I resolved myself, coding changes, email logins, etc. There is one thing I do not understand and I keep hearing about it is the FTP'ing. I've never had a problem with the new servers, I use WS-FTP to post updates to our websites. What is everybody else using? I'd stuck with them for at least a little while longer, I plan to.

It's like a new pair of shoes, you've got to break them in. :)

P.S. I am disappointement about Linux though, I really like Linux.


9:52 pm on Jun 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>I really like Linux.

Yeaah, me too. DOn't actually know why. LOL
I'm quite happy to stay with them so long as They tell me in advance when they are going to change 'my clients' login username.
Obviously an oversite, >I'm quite happy to accept that s**t happens,
However I was locked out because I (nor the client) was not informed that the username had been changed. Nor could I access the control panel to find the new username. I did get auto responses though, which got me even more nervous. :O
My first indication of problems was an e-mail mentioning a dispute between two parties (who hold part of my livelihood in their hands).


1:55 am on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I spoke with the web host this evening and got a bit more detail about the situation. Apparently the data center is responsible for quite a bit of the problem, in fact the data center themselves have contacted clients directly advising them they would be better off going with them. To make matters worse, the data center is responsible for some clients having their current problems, they wouldn't relinquish all that was stored with them.

The web host was just doing what all businesses do, look out for the best interest of their clients as well as maintaining a profit. All of us know their prices were unbeatable for the results you received.

As for not being notified, I can not comment, each of our sites received an email notification about 1 week before the move, in fact the move was put off for a couple of days. The changes that had the biggest impact where explained as well as having a hyperlink to additional information. Within a day or two additional information was available on line as well.

Having experienced computer conversions myself, no one actually anticipates the worst, you prepare for it, but you don't expect it. Unfortunately this time around the worst can alive. It is my opinion they have supported all of us very well, now it's time to support them. I've explained the situation to my clients, though they are concerned, they are willing to wait it out. They know if I feel it's worth it, it's worth waiting for. Good thing this has happened now and not in the fall.

Well that's my 2 cents worth.... perhaps it's more like a nickels worth.


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