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They won't let you import more than 1 meg at a time in phpMyAdmin, so this tech was supposed to import 20 meg of records to my database. I go back in 30 minutes later and my entire database has been wiped. No explanation or apology, or even admitting that it happened.
I can't backup my database, because they are getting some weird error and when I try to get support, they tell me everything is just fine. Like I'm imagining things, maybe.
Every response I get from support is obviously geared toward the "shut him up quick" approach. I could understand that attitude for some support issues (I used to work in support), but these are issues that are obviously problems on their end, and they just don't care. This is a pretty big hosting company.
And my last host took 5 days to get anything done, never answered their "24 hour" 800 number, and suddenly went down for 3 days due to an "upgrade". Google was doing a TON of indexing on my site in the middle of this outage, and now that I'm back up there's no sign of the bot. I'm wondering if my site is now classified as "flaky"
I'm about to rip my hair out. Is anybody else going through this? Does it get better if you pay more for hosting? Any recommendations?
Just had a letter in the post from my web host to say that they couldnt debit the money from my account to pay for one of my sites that they host for me, my bank account has been in credit with enough money for them to take their small amount for the last 2 weeks! :(
I try to ring them to tell them to take the money again, but there is no answer on the sales/admin/support lines at all. :( :(
I decide to visit all of my sites to check if the are up and running and all 5 are down, all returned a "this page can not be displayed", I then try their home page to see whats up and then to also make a payment for the missed one... no home page at all again a "this page can not be displayed" :( :( :(
Lucky all 5 have had deep crawls at the begining of the month.
Gonna be looking around now for a good UK host I have had enough!
would you get on a plane if airlines were unregulated? how sure could you be that the pilot had ever been up in a plane, let alone been trained to fly one? would you undergo major surgery if the medical profession was unregulated?
nothing personal here, but if you don't want regulation, you have no right to complain about incompetency. regulation is the only way to prevent incompetency.
Anyway, I'm not seeking legislation, I just want to know how I can get my site running without all this hassle. Nobody's biting on the dedicated questions..
Initially, I went the cheap route ... you know $4.95 a month.
However, you always get what you pay for with webhosts. So, after many lost days/hours due to our host being "DOSS atttacked" and reinstalling/checking the harddrive, etc. We jumped ship to a $9.95 a month host that promised better service and more bandwidth/storage space.
This host was worse and did not respond to emails. They deceived us about many things (like modules that were supposed to be installed, why the website was off line for days at a time...).
So we researched and asked a lot of questions of our webmasters.
We came up with a host now that costs $59 a month, has unlimited domains, unique ip addresses, and 1 gig of harddrive space...and offers 99% Verio bandwidth uptime.
I am paying more now but at least I have piece of mind that my sites will stay online and I get great service. Usually my emails are answered within minutes.
So...if you don't mind service trouble...use the cheap hosts...but if depend on your site to generate money...pay the extra few bucks. You will have less gray hair!
it will be 9.95 a month with 450 megs of storage and 40gb of bandwidth a month...sounds kind of gimmicky, but they have cnet awards and what not. i figure it is worth a shot
the crappy host i am now has no 24 hour tech support and i have had weekends when my site hasnt worked(generally the busiest time).
i am dreading the domain transfer as well.
Having used some 20 + hosting comps, from the big boys to medium sized, like most people I was appalled by the tech support in all the comps. So I tried another tack
∑I wanted to be able to get through to tech support on their mobiles
∑I wanted a company that guaranteed to reply within 12 hours to any emails
∑I wanted a company that it would hurt their bottom line if I pulled all the sites from them (ok I donít want to have to do that butÖ)
∑I wanted to be on first name terms with tech support
∑Blar, blar, blar
And so far itís worked (2 years now), the company is basically a vsp on F***hostís pipe. I know everyone in the company, on first name terms, hell weíll probably start socialising soon ;)
At this point I donít think I will every touch one of the large hosting companies again, they are understaffed and unless you are lucky, the staff that you can communicate with are under qualified/skilled.
As a co-owner of a hosting company established in early 2000, I feel compelled to speak out.
First of all, running a hosting business is NOT simple. Getting a server set up maybe, but that is about it. With the advent of the rackshack/eServer/etc $99 unmanaged servers, there have been a huge rash of start up hosting 'companies' who have no clue as to what is going on. They simple sell some space on their server, hoping for the best.
Running your own server is NOT SIMPLE.
The business itself requires quite a lot of intelligence. They range from programming itself [for eg perl and php], database [MySQL, postgreSQL], web standards, connectivity, etc etc. The average 'host' these days unfortunately does not have that knowledge - with the entire internet market generaly flatlining, many see web hosting as a way of making quick profits.
And then there are the technical aspects of it. Ever been under a DDoS attack? Our P4 2.0 Ghz servers have hit sudden loads of over 200 before we were able to clamp down on it - luckily our servers never went down, you could always access our website, but if you were new to this, what would you do?
Then of course are patches, updates, etc. Even as a computer geek, my head swirls when I see our server admin working on our servers ... its arcane magic!
Its not so simple!
Then there is phone support, ticket based, etc. We personally use tickets. Why? First of all, everything is 'filed' - I think this helps support better. Second of all, we have international customers. We do not want to add any extra costs just to man 24/7 phone lines. Third of all, by keeping you off the phones, and your problems online, we are able to better support you. Think of this way - you are having problems with a script. You can fill out a ticket, and when we get to it, we look at it fully online, noting any problems, and reply. Our on the phone, when we have your irate self yelling at us to get it fixed asap! In which situation do you think we will do better?
Lastly, because of the influx of so many hosts, the competition has become cut-throat, and prices have plumetted. Just as people these days still expect 10 gb bandwidth, PHP, MySQL for free ... so when they see companies charging lets say $10 for that, and another one charging $5 .. many will jump to the $5 host.
werty talked abou the CNet award .. I think I know what host you are talking about. Not to bash another host, but those CNet awards are not based on CNet recommendations but something else ... look into it in more detail :-)
What should you then look for when looking into a host? I wrote up an article on that in general ... if anyone asks, I can email them that, or even post the article as a reply here.
The key is to research.
My advice now:
1. Get managed dedicated hosting. It is worth every penny.
2. I personally would never use a reseller again. Everyone I tried offered lousey support.
3. Get 24/7/365 telephone support (preferably toll-free) and test them out first. If they won't allow you to talk to support before you sign - run! Phone them at 3:00am their time and see if you get a machine, a monkey or a true server tech.
4. If they ask for payment 12 months in advance - run!
5. Their guaranteed uptime should come with a refund clause, find out how much you get back if they fail. My host offers 99.999% uptime (max 24 seconds per month down) and a 5% refund for every 30 minutes downtime if they fail. I thankfully haven't had to claim a refund yet:)
6. Hardware failure....2 hour guarantee to replace failed components or a refund is a good deal....24/7/365. The refund incentive tells you they know they can perform.
7. Support is the critical element. Personally I would only use a company that provides 24/7 phone support. I don't understand those that say they will answer email 24/7 but not the phone? If there are warm bodies available to answer email why not the phone as well? If they have so many problems or are so small they can't man the phones then get worried.
8. Watch out for "testimonials". Nice comments written by "Joe S" or "Mary" IMO are worthless in the hosting world. Find a company that gives full names, positions and URLs for testimonials, then if you wish contact these folks and see what they really think.
9. IMO big is beautiful in the hosting world. It is too easy for one-man-bands to become a hosting reseller and then not provide the support necessary.
With my host I actually got a list of the full names of the folks in my support team on day one. On day two the support team manager emailed me to setup a telephone appointment so they could just get to know me, what I wanted to achieve and how they could help with anything I wanted to do.
After a week a printed and bound hosting manual arrived in the mail, with a free T-shirt! When OS vunerabilities are determined by the OS providers the support team email and ask if I want the patches installed, a simple "yes please" and the issue is taken care of within the hour I send the email back, typically I do this at low traffic times.
Last week I got a Christmas card from my 12 person support team with their group photo on the front! Now I can even put faces to their names. All of these things were a surprize, they just wanted me to know they are on "my team".
When I started out in business for myself I went for cheap & cheerful, $30 to $80 per month for multiple domain shared hosting with various clowns. Now I look back these hosting companies cost me a fortune in my own time, lost sales and hours of trying to figure out solutions to problems which a good server tech could have answered in seconds. It just isn't worth it.
I pay $250 per month per dedicated server and have a bunch of support guys at my disposal who really know their jobs in all aspects of hosting, software support, security, and are always only a phone call away. This isn't the cheapest dedicated hosting available or the most expensive by far, but I believe the service levels and support makes it a bargain :)
Hosts should also consider a "chat" facility also for where email replies are not sutable or there is a complex problem. These are very cheap to set up, and if controlled properly. (eg. used only when there is a complex problem that really needs it) This can be used by international and local clients alike.
However also agree that different people have diff needs, so research, as Ahmed, says, is the key.
I am using DreamHost now, and their support seems excellent, however their servers have been down a lot and the MySQL "conueries" are killing me.
I think I'll have to find a really cheap dedicated until I have enough income for managed.
Definitely be careful about those 99.9% guarantees - one host I just looked at offers a 99.99% guarantee, and in the fine print it says they will refund the percentage downtime for the month. So if your site is down 3 days per month you get 10% off your bill, yay!
The ggod ones are around - just not easy to find among the rubbish.
When I talked to tech support afterwards they said they did not have any downtime and they said it was a problem on my end.
So..I send them a traceroute, ping, etc and a screenshot of the site, they got the message. However, they never update the news page to reflect reasons for down time...so new customers think they are truely a 99% uptime host.
percentages makes a lot of suggestions like getting toll free support and calling the host at 3am before signing up or running a mile if they want 12 months payment upfront etc. that may all be perfectly valid if (like percentages) you're paying $250 a month, but not for the vast majority of hosting that costs less than $50 a year - many good hosts aren't interested in playing 20 questions or providing telephone support (especially toll free) as pricing is so low now that they can't offer these and make a profit. people like percentages who are willing to pay substantial amounts for hosting are few and far between.
my hosting biz offers 12 months hosting for £25. we insist on one single annual payment due to the costs (card processing fees and costs in admin time) of processing the payments. £25 is less that a good night out. we don't see any good reason to spread small payments like this over 12 months. if a customer doesn't think our hosting is up to scratch, they can always chargeback. so far, nobody has. in fact, we've only ever lost a handful of customers to other hosting companies, and these seem to be to companies that provide things we don't - coldfusion or imagemajick etc.
we have 24/7/365 email only support (response times vary between a few minutes and a few hours). we have a substantial (but simple) support section on our site that explains almost everything the user needs to know - they shouldn't need to contact support at all, and very few do. most support enquiries we do receive are unnecessary and we normally have to point someone to a couple of pages on our site - email makes that easy. email support also allows us to answer customers one at a time as and when we can. no engaged signal, no call queueing, no annoyed customers, no staff getting angry or upset at abusive phone calls. email works for us.
we don't offer guarantees - extra admin work would increase costs and we could price ourselves out of the budget hosting market. even if we did offer guarantees, our hosting costs around 7p per day, so processing refunds would cost more than the actual refunded amount. we've had virtually zero downtime in the last 2 years. a few minutes here and there for server reboots following patches etc.
we tried the personal touch once - incoming emails to support were met with replies from named members of staff. caused problems with customers only wanting to talk to the named member of staff (they don't all work 24/7) when anyone could have dealt with the problems in 2 minutes. these days we don't bother and no names are mentioned. works ok for us and customers seem ok about it.
what we provide may not be ideal for everyone, but then we can't please everyone. if people want to host with us for the prices we charge, then great, but if they want to play 20 questions or want extra this or that, they can find another host. we don't chase hosting customers any more - it's just not worth our time and effort. the hosting side of our business is still growing, but we concentrate on other parts of the business as they make us more profit for less hassle.
before you hassle your host or insist on 24/7 telephone support etc, think carefully and remember that there are good hosts with email only support and no guarantees and there are bad hosts offering 24/7 telephone support and money-back guarantees. there's so much more i could add, but not enough time ....
If you are going to run a web site which is "mission critical" or just critical to the future of your business then I assume the owner is expecting to make a reasonable amount of money from the venture. They are also going to lose a reasonable amount of money if the site is down, or the support is inadequate.
As Shakil said in #8, they lost $15K per day because their host was down. IMO I don't see how folks in these positions can afford to take risks, even though several in this thread have, myself included....but we live and learn.
As far a buying non-managed dedicated servers is concerned I agree totally with you and AhmedF. With managed hosting I get to see what the "management" fee pays for to a large degree. There is no way on this Earth I would want my company to be taking on those headaches. Just investigating the security issues would require a full time, highly trained, and expensive employee(s). Supporting the servers is a job for those that know what they are doing, very difficult to justify unless you are a huge presence on the Internet.
For people running information sites, personal sites, and even business sites that are not very important to their financial success then low price hosting and limited support is there for them. If it breaks and they have to wait 12 hours for a fix, then I assume it hasn't cost them much (although that can be difficult to determine sometimes).
No one is saying hosts charging $3 per month should be paid monthly, or provide telephone support, or 24/7 support. You get what you pay for, site owners paying $3 per month are not paying for much and shouldn't be surprized if, and when, it causes problems.
But I believe looking for the cheapest deal when your business relies on good support and good service levels is hunting for "fools gold". Cutting corners on what you really need in order to perform is also folly.
If someone tells me they provide immediate 24/7 email support, but won't let me test it first, and won't let me call them, I simply can't afford to take the risk they are telling the truth. Some of them probably do a great job for a very low price, but how is anyone supposed to know in advance?
Moving critical sites to a different host is a big risk, if hosts won't allow a few questions to be asked in advance and their systems tested, then I for one will not take the risk. In the big picture I probably represent only a tiny percentage of "users", the few that can't afford to be down for any reason.
Unfortunately the hosting industry is full of sharks and the few good cheaper hosts that may exist are getting hurt along with many customers that get into that same pool of water.
I truely hope the number of companies offering hosting will decrease, allowing all to increase prices, offer improved levels of service and make some money! It is bad business practice to screw any supplier into the ground, I truely feel for the honable companies that have been forced into these positions. You win as a team, and part of your team is your suppliers, another part is your customers, they all need to be successful for you to be successful.
My comment about advanced payment wasn't aimed at the hosts charging $3 per month, it was aimed at the hosts charging $600 per year with no monthly option and no refund....I tried one that does that and it is nothing short of a scam. They offered 24 hour toll-free support....it's a 24 hour answering machine, my fault I guess for not dialing the number first! They offered 24 hour ticket based support also. You could send the ticket 24 hours per day, but don't expect a reply for 48 hours+. I sent several tickets and phone calls to these folks saying "The server is down again"...12 hours later I get a reply saying "it seems okay to us, try again"....of course by then they had resolved the problem and were just trying to avoid admitting it ever existed. We may not be the World's greatest technical gurus, but we can use traceroute and ping!
The Internet covers a broad spectrum of site owners, all with different needs, and hosting companies with different services. At the low end competition is too fearce IMO and that has caused a degradation in customer service and support levels. The cheaper hosts were often forced into these positions and are not all technically incompetant, just trying to survive in a very competitive market.
If you need quality support, service levels and true technical skills then you have to expect to pay for them. Having said that the most expensive are not necessarily the best either and their support can also be lousey. I tried one (in desperation) of the most expensive in the industry at $4k+ per month, the one owned by the imfamouse US company now in Bankruptcy, UU know who I mean;), their tech support left a lot to be desired :(
Choose the right horse for the right course. If you need a high level of service and support then expect to pay for it. If you don't try a few low priced hosts and hope you find a good one.
I have numerous sticky's asking who I use for hosting. Not sure this is allowed under the TOS, but, I use Rackspace. The URL is obvious. If that gets edited by a mod I'll try to reply to you all.
They are a company that says they offer "fanatical support" and live up to it. If you have a minimum of $250 per month to spend, want managed dedicated, and realistically your bill will probably be $400+ per month per server (add on bandwidth over 30GB and extras), then they are the best I have found.
They say they have Mircosoft as a customer, must admit I did't call Bill to determine if that was true, but I did contact several other high profile companies and got great recommendations. I have no reason to believe MS hasn't put some trust in them.
I have to admit initially they were scarey compared to shared hosting. The instructions to set up a new domain are 6 printed pages and it took us 30 minutes to do the first one (they offer free telephone assistance for the first 5 you do, we didn't call them on that occasion as the docs were accurate), now we have it down to 20 seconds blind-folded.
Their support for MySql, Perl, and PHP has been throughly tested, and they made us look like rookies everytime....in the nicest possible way. Just the transfer of knowledge was worth paying their fees, hosting could probably be viewed as free. It would have cost me more to purchase just the training they have provided as part of the managed hosting service.
If you are a server guru then the setup will probably be easy, we weren't, and had to learn, they taught by phone when necessary (at no additional cost) and now we are more knowledgeable:)
Chiyo said in #44 that international customers shouldn't have to pay for toll-free support when they can't use it. I agree....So how about a hosting company that will call you internationally for free option? Check it out...my host offers it. Chiyo also said how about an online chat facility....yes, that is their too.
If you read this and get the impression I have great admiration for the company I use....believe it...I do. I could have replied to the sticky's with my referral URL that earns us $500 per referral signed and made a few thousand.....but I want my hosts to make money, that way they can afford to continue to do a great job:)
As another hosting company, I can definately say that the company you did go with for dedicated is truly regarded as the best ... I was going to recommend them myself for people wanting to host 'mission-critical websites'
My post was directed more towards those who use virtual hosting.
The fact though is that still, many people are NOT willing to pay for this service. When you are paying $15 a month for example, look at it objectively. $15 perhaps pays for one person's salary for one hour. 24/7 telephone support with 'friendly intelligent staff', and yet also ungodly amounts of bandwidth and webspace?
Fools gold is the correct word.
I get a lot of emails from people saying 'My friend said you are good, but you are expensive, and so I will be going with someone cheaper'
I always reply saying that quality does not come at a cheap price.
If you want your website to be accessible and online, then paying more than a $1 a day should be within your budget!
On a related note, when you are paying $15 a month, is it our responsiblity to teach you how to program effectively and/or use HTML? We will ensure that it isnt our servers causing the botch ups, we will ensure that your website is up and loads fast, but we will not ensure your education in 'webmastering' ;-)
The best way to determine if a host is any good is to check if they got an open forum where clients may post. If all of, or at least most, the forum is available to the public / non-memebers, and the mood of the forum is good, then the webhost usually can be trusted.
I've found this to be the best way of determing quality of hosts, since many of the so-called "impartial" webhosting-sites are spammed by "impartial" users who are not impartial, but actually paid by hosting companies.
Remember that with the revolution of reseller accounts, a lot of "webhosting companies" are actually teenagers working out of their bedroom with mam & dad sitting in the kitchen. All that it takes to become a webhosting company today is a website and $30 to pay for a reseller account.
On a funny note: I went to check on this web host's position in the Google serps and found a very blatent spammer also. I used 3 keywords, I'll leave them up to you but the spammer was unjustly in the top 10. Normally I would have just done <eyeball roll> and moved on but the **** enlargement popups just got to me. I filled out the Google spam report a few minutes ago.
I really found your post above quite helpful. I think many
here benefit from a better understanding of hosting.
Especially the factors budget hosting providers have to deal
with, since many here use them.
It help to know what issues one's host has to contend with.
It helps customers to have more realistic expectations. It
also helps customers understand the need to -- and get in
the habit of using -- the FAQ and other low cost service
aids rather than the higher cost mediums like live phone
calls requiring more paid staff time to answer appropriately.
I for one very much appreciate and value the sharing of
information you and others have done in this thread. I hope
you and other folks -- especially host -- continue to share
as you have above, so we can increase our understanding of
what is so essential to our online effort -- webhosting and
its realities. I think you (all) do the forum a great service.
Thanks a bunch and Happy Holidays,
i know - i was just pointing out that a great many people with just a couple of pages think their sites should be treated as "mission critical" and feel the need to hassle their web hosts to the same extent for the sake of a few $$ annual fee. for the money you're prepared to pay, i'd have no problem meeting most (if not all) of your requirements prior to sign-up. considering the small number of people willing to pay that kind of money, we've chosen budget pricing instead. our managed servers are a lot cheaper than rackspace, but it's on a "take it or leave it, just don't mess us around" basis.
>>(ahmed)I get a lot of emails from people saying 'My
>>friend said you are good, but you are expensive, and
>>so I will be going with someone cheaper'
we know that one well .... <sigh> .... we let them go, we never chase them, just not worth it for the money ....
>>(ahmed)If you want your website to be accessible and
>>online, then paying more than a $1 a day should be within
>>(ahmed)On a related note, when you are paying $15 a
>>month, is it our responsiblity to teach you how to
>>program effectively and/or use HTML? We will ensure that
>>it isnt our servers causing the botch ups, we will ensure
>>that your website is up and loads fast, but we will not
>>ensure your education in 'webmastering' ;-)
very well said! it's amazing the number of people that expect the web host to fix every scripting problem for free.
>>(shadow)The best way to determine if a host is any good
>>is to check if they got an open forum where clients may
i disagree with that. it's very easy for them to seed and moderate their own forums for their own benefit. i also disagree with getting recommendations from unrelated forums - all too often it's a set up by the web host.
We are talking about our businesses being on the line and going down for days at a time because of incompetence. Annoying customer requests are hardly on the same scale.
The hosting industry should and will define specific market services and their cost.
Could hosting standards be a topic for WW?