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Worst Web Hosting experience?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the anecdotes-of-warning dept.

Businesses 101

Tim asks: "I have just come through an experience with a web hosting company. Basically, a script on the server was compromised, because of incorrect security settings on the server, and used as a zombie phishing mailer script. My account was suspended for phishing, and through the course of several tickets, it was made clear that I had nothing to do with the phishing. Still throughout the entire ordeal, they refused to give me any of my files, saying that they could not be released now, or ever for 'legal evidence reasons.' So, here I am without a database (I should have backed up!), and without several files I was working on. What is your worst web hosting experience, and how have you dealt with it?"

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geocities (1)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419884)

starting out with barely any knowledge of the web and realizing there was something called "bandwidth" which Geocities didnt have enough of, especially when you decide to test download zip files in mb range which you decided to host just to prove you could :P of course, with Cleverdot [] i havent had any problems and I've had an account for over 1 year :) domain name-wise, however, someone stole my home address and then joke threatended me on irc. either way I was not amused.

Re: Cleverdot et al (3, Interesting)

some guy I know (229718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420439)

The main problem that I see with Cleverdot and most other hosting companies is that they charge extra for exceeding monthly bandwidth limits.
This can be really, really expensive if your site ever gets Slashdotted.
What I'd like to see is an option to redirect to a "bandwith exceeded' page when the bandwidth is exceeded, with no extra charges.
The problem with this, of course, is that if your bandwidth limit is exceeded near the beginning of the month, your site is offline for the rest of the month.
To avoid this, one company that I checked out had a 30-day "sliding window" bandwidth policy.
This meant that if you exceeded your thirty-day bandwidth limit, your site would be shut down only for the rest of the day.
(Unfortunately, I forgot to bookmark that company, and have been looking for it (or one like it) ever since.)

It would be really nice if sites that review web host providers would indicate which sites are pay-extra-when-bandwidth-is-exceeded, and which are shutdown-when-bandwidth-is-exceeded.

Re: Cleverdot et al (0, Troll)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14422511)

yeah definatly, but my site is not too popular so I don't have to worry about that yet :P

Re: Cleverdot et al (1)

soliptic (665417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14428006) do what you say. The bandwidth quota in their packages is quoted per-month, but it's worked out per day - if you excess that day, you get the "bandwidth exceeded" page, but the site comes back next time it reaches 12:00PST. Overall their packages seems good value and I've had no real problems with them. Hope this helps.

Re: (1)

some guy I know (229718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14444189)

Thanks for the info.
Reading their TOS, it appears that they restrict their low-end customers to files under 10 MB, and attempt to regulate how the bandwidth is used (HTML pages vs zip/bz2 files, etc.).
Since I may eventually have archives and other files over 10 MB on my site, this makes unsuitable for my needs.

Since I made the GP post, I have signed up with [] (mentioned elsewhere [] in these comments), which has an innovative payment scheme that charges you for what you think that you will use (disk space and bandwidth), paid for in advance.
Their FAQ specifically mentions Slashdotting and how to limit financial liability when it occurs.
They are missing some features (e.g., anonymous FTP, virtual servers, co-hosting, etc.), so they may not be suitable for everybody, but they look like they will meet my needs just fine.
Also, they are in the process of revamping their "control panel" system to get rid of JavaScript, which is great for me, because I have all scripting disabled in my browsers due to my extreme paranoia.

The timing of this article was very fortuitous for me, as I recently switched from dialup to DSL, and have been looking for a web host provider to replace the miniscule free space that came with my dialup account.
As soon as I finish getting my new nFS sites set up, it's bye-bye, Earthlink.

Try something a little different (1)

byolinux (535260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421650)

Bytemark [] - UK based, £15 a month - you get your own User Mode Linux machine, choice of distro, root access, and it's fast and reliable.

Have a look at my uptime - / []

Re:Try something a little different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426165)

I'll second that. I have a VM with Bytemark, and they've always been great to deal with.

Emails are answered personally and quickly, and they've always been very friendly and very helpful.

Re:geocities (1)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423220)

After a terrible experiance with CI Host where I got slow speeds and didnt get features that they said I would get (like IMAP) I finally quit (after finding my email getting blacklisted because it was from a CI Host mailsedrver).

I switched to Dreamhost who have been absolutely great at only about $7 a month for a ton of services/bandwidth/storage. If you sign up with this link [] (or use the promo code 7BACKNOW) you get $7 basically your first month free. There may be better deals but for 20GB storage and a TB of bandwidth, its not so bad at all.

Re:geocities (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423629)

This is a question about BAD experiences. How did this turn into an advertising forum?

1and1 (5, Informative) troll (593289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419885)

1and1 (I'm not going to link them as it would help their pagerank) is HORRIBLE. They offer a free webhosting trial (easy signup, just need to give a phone number so they can call you to verify), but then when the trials over, they force you to go out of your way to cancel or they start billing. Of course canceling involves printing out a form, filling it all in & signing it, then faxing it to their offices (on a fax number that most of the time is busy or out of service). Then a few months later they'll try and send a collection agency after you.
Avoid them at all costs. They also go as '1und1' in germany, and oneandone in the uk I believe.

Re:1and1 (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14420345)

We've had 2 dedicated servers with 1and1, one of which we cancelled 6 or 7 months ago. The other one is in the process of being transferred to another provider, because just last month, out of nowhere 1and1 tells us they weren't able to bill our credit card. I checked with the card co. and my balance was fine, but it ended up they were trying to charge us not for the $69 for that month but for over $900! Our bandwidth usage was well under what they allowed, so I said "What?!" They come back with a claim that we have outstanding invoices dating back to over a year and a half ago, for the server we cancelled half a year ago now. Not only is the claim 100% false (not to mention rather ludicrous), but it's the first we've heard of it, and their billing department has treated us like crap from the first email exchanged. I've tried to call them to discuss, but after sitting on hold for over an hour on 3 separate occassions (same thing for tech support), I gave up and simply continued emailing. I've maintained professionalism in all communications, but sometimes you really just want to give these people a piece of your mind.

I've had to speak to my lawyer over this, as well as the consumer protection board, the credit card company, and I'll probably report this to the better business bureau as well if I find the time. What a waste of time, and what terrible service.

PS. I'm posting anonymously because I'd rather not put my name out there on this while a) it's still not completely resolved just yet, and b) it could give cause for them to argue libel against us if any little thing in here can be misconstrued, and since I'm not a lawyer and don't want mine billing me to read over a /. comment, I'll just go with 'anonymous coward' for today. So take my words for what you choose to, but keep in mind that there are so many hosting companies that it's not worth the risk with a crummy but cheap one like In this case, you get what you pay for.

Re:1and1 (1)

HugePedlar (900427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421187)

I've been with 1&1 for over two years now and, while I don't doubt people may have had problems with them, I've found them to be nothing less than superb. I started out with a pretty basic account and they kept upgrading my storage space, bandwidth and email address allocations etc. spontanously and for free. The only problem I've found is that there's no apparent way to stop paying for a domain name once you've registered it.

Re:1and1 (1) troll (593289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421932)

Theyre okay while you use them, just wait until its time to move and you'll see what the hate comes from. I also didnt like their web panel stuff, but I'd rather be hacking config files, so ymmv there.

Re:1and1 (1)

Sgt. CoDFish (943288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421399)

While I couldn't be called someone who has used 1and1 a lot, I did buy a domain from them. The service I recieved was less than great. I got a letter from some company I'd never heard of, talking to me about domains, never once mentioning anything about why it had been sent, or how they had got my address. The only reason that I would have got such a letter is that 1and1 sent them my address, as I am very particular about who knows where I live. The letter also gave me some sort of access code, which confused me as I thought that I already owned my domain.

When I tried out my control panel, I found it confusing and hard to use, as I was, at the time, new to Web Developing and computing in general. The many names the the corporation seems to have also hit me, as I kept on ending up on the American site, and I'm British. I was repeatedly told that my data was incorrect when trying to log in, because I thought that I was on the right site. I knew that my data WAS correct, because I was copying it from an e-mail that had been sent to me.

Also, I recieved very little information on what to do to CANCEL my order. To be honest, I don't really care, but It'd be nice to know that someone isn't charging my credit card every two years. Does anyone have any information on how to cancel?

All in all, 1and1 (or oneandone, or whatever they're called) were absolutly crap for me, though others might indeed have had a good experience. I certainly know that I'm not going to use them again.

Re:1and1 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14421461)

>The only reason that I would have got such a letter is that 1and1 sent them my address

when you register a domain your contact information is added to a public whois database for when someone needs to be contacted about that domain. it's very easy for marketers to mine this for people to send information to. doesn't have anything to do with service since every single registrar does this.

Re:1and1 (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423158)

I've been using them without any trouble since they opened until this past Thursday. It took me 3 hours on the phone to get somebody to hit the reset button on my server - after being hung up on three times by people who were confused by what filesystems were. Very disappointed.

The trouble is they have a $50/mo plan for a root server and they have a nice internet connection and good backup power. If anyone has recommendations for "service with a smile" and good infrastructure for similar prices I'm all ears, but I've been unable to find it.

Re:1and1 (2, Interesting)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14427336) - manage your own server, less than $50 if you don't need tons of resources. I'm using a $20/mo plan, 80mb ram, 4gb disk, 50gb xfer.

Re:1and1 (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14427384)

Thanks for the pointer - the guaranteed CPU takes much of the problem of VPS out of the equation - this might be useful for some of my clients.

Unfortunately their disk space and transfer pricings are such that it would cost me over 5X as much to host with them than 1&1, for a difference of > $4000 per year. I can also buy local colo space for about that price.

Re:1and1 (1)

sometwo (53041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424291)

I have a personal 1and1 account that is almost done its 3 year free trial and have had good experiences with it in general.

However, I started a free 6 month trial for a client who later didn't need it and had a similar bad experience canceling the service despite the fact that the the account had never been used. They insisted on me printing out some form and faxing it to them despite my repeated emails that i was not in the USA and I had no access to a fax machine. Finally, they gave up and cancelled the account but it was not stress I needed.

Despite this, it's likely I'll continue with them after my free trial as the service is reliable and they seem to have the best price/features ratio of any isp I've seen. The only thing they don't have is jsp/java servlet hosting.

Re:1and1 (1)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426229)

It would not help their pagerank because the anchors are tagged rel=nofollow.

I know because I work at Google (in the cafeteria).

Cut the whining, pervert (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419932)

Still throughout the entire ordeal, they refused to give me any of my files, saying that they could not be released now, or ever for 'legal evidence reasons.'

That's what you get for serving illegal porn, cocktard.

You control your own experience (3, Insightful)

toddbu (748790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419944)

So, here I am without a database (I should have backed up!), and without several files I was working on.

I'd argue that you're never going to have a good experience if you don't take reasonable care to protect your work. You should never trust an ISP with anything that's important to you. We colo our own stuff, and even though we own our own equipment and trust our ISP, we still assume that the box could at some point in the future become unavailable (stolen, buried under tons of rubble in an earthquake, etc.) Don't blame your hosting service for your own lack of preparation.

Re:You control your own experience (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421219)

I've the same thinking. I've been using serverpronto for some time. Uptimes are ok, maybe less than average (99.9% or so) and although they advertise 100mbps, you have 580mBps downloads maximum.

They said they do this to 'protect' the customer from ddos and other charges. Probably my 'worst' hosting experience. Still my uptime is upwards of 200 days on my dedicated server (at $29 per month). I still feel I need more control over everything, so I'm going for their colo service.. at 19 per month for 100mbps (really?) 500GB connection. In 18 months the cost of a server becomes breakeven so I'm not losing much, and its 'profit' after that.

I've almost NEVER called or emailed them (twice.. 3 years ago, billing issues), partly because its a dedicated server and I handle everything except the connection. All they have to do is manage the routers and switches and the temperature.

Hosting web + apps in linux/bsd/unix has too many complex issues, and blurry lines along what they provider should provide and what costs extra. Give them too much and the server can be brought down. Give them little and theyre unhappy.

I wonder if in the future we'll have microservers... Via/Transmeta cpus and small flash disks under one's full control for $5 or less per month. I'll take 2.

Re:You control your own experience (1)

Oopsz (127422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423258)

$29 a month sounds good, but each reboot over 1 costs $29 a month? For what, some guy to click a button on the power console? Better hope two kernel patches aren't released within a week of each other.

Re:You control your own experience (3, Interesting)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421320)

I agree.

Basically, a script on the server was compromised, because of incorrect security settings on the server, and used as a zombie phishing mailer script.

To a certain extent this is also the submitters fault. If you must rely on server configuration for security related matters runtime checks for required functionality or config options should be made and if not satisfied your scripts should quickly perform a respectable suicide.

A good example is PHP's magic_quotes_gpc which often protects novice PHP developers from SQL injection attacks, but when moving scripts to a new host where this functionality is disabled it will soon bite them in the arse.

Re:You control your own experience (1)

yog (19073) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421633)

All true, but those five words "I should have backed up" really say it all. No one should trust their web hosting provider to back things up, maintain all equipment in perfect condition, avoid all subpoenas, and stay in business forever. One or more of these things is bound to happen.

A prior webhosting company I had used for years (and recommended to several others) experienced a hard disk failure which took down my email and web sites for about 10 days during which time they were attempting to "recover data from the disk". They ignored my peevish comments as to why weren't they using disk arrays or similar redundant systems. Their backups were quite incomplete as well. I switched providers and have been basically satisfied ever since.

The take-home lesson is to run daily backups; there can never be too much redundancy unless you have no data of any value whatsoever. For $9.95/month one can't expect too much of a hosting service. For $500/month one still can't trust them to avoid making mistakes or caving in to litigation threats and other cowardly tactics. A simple shell script and ssh/scp commands will work wonders ;)

Jason Scott's experience. (1, Interesting)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419953)

Jason Scott, of the BBS Documentary fame, recently detailed on his weblog [] an appropriate tale.

I realize you mean well, (2, Informative)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420081)

but instead of being a main-page link(wank)er, link to the permalink for the entry [] -- without that link, your "topical" link will be useless (in fact, it already is, since I had to scroll around to find the anecdote in question!).

Re:I realize you mean well, (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420808)

I was using my PocketPC. PIE blows. I thought a timely link would be more important than futzing around to get the permanent link. (BTW: You can't right-click on a link to copy it to the clipboard, you have to actually visit the page and copy it from the address line. And about 20% of the time you do a "right-click", to copy to the clipboard, by holding down the pen on the screen it locks up and you have to re-start it.)

Re:I realize you mean well, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14430703)

This is apparently fixed in Windows Mobile 2005... unfortunatly for me Dell won't produce an upgrade, even at a cost, for the Axim x30... Jacking up sales for the newer models I guess...

Re:Jason Scott's experience. (2, Insightful)

moonbender (547943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423556)

Quite a story he's got there. And I can't fault him for being very pissed at his hosting company. But I also have to say their support sounds pretty nice. Sure, they messed up telling him to buy more bandwidth, but apparently they refunded him without a problem - and a mail "Go to hell." to their support actually got a very nice reply asking if there were any problems they could help with. That's all more than I would expect from some of the web hosters out there...

Re: Worst Web Hosting experience? (2, Interesting)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419974)

I learned the hard way to buy my domain names and my hosting from different companies. Tried to get control of the domain back, but that was a no-go, so I had to wait until it expired, then bought it back. Thankfully there was nothing major at stake, I just needed a new email address for a while.

Web Hosting (1)

queenb**ch (446380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420141)

Well, since the entry bar to web hosting is so very low, it's easy for any dufus to set up shop and call himself a hosting company. Heck, I have a 7MB/sec connection to my house. Frankly, it suprises me that more people don't have problems with hosting.

I've had my share of horror stories - sites down for days and even weeks, nimrods in tech support that don't even know which side of a keyboard goes up, the free consulting I've had to do to get my site(s) back on line, the couple of hacking incidents (neither of which was serious), and the billing issues.

By far, the worst issues I've had have been billing issues. I agree with an earlier poster that you should aways get your domain name from a different company than the one that does your hosting. I've seen charges appear on my card for no reason from hosting companies. When you call to ask what it is, it's either implied or you get told outright "Well, it's only $10. Is it really that important?" That's your first clue to find a new hosting company. If you refuse to pay or dispute the charge, they shut your site down. It's little more than blackmail.

2 cents,

Queen B

Exactly - web hosting is a "market for lemons" (2, Informative)

DavidNWelton (142216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420678)

I wrote about the economics (as I understand them) of the market for web hosting, and why it's a market with problems: lemons.html []

In short, you're right - anyone can get set up, and it's difficult to tell which ones are any good before signing up!

Re:Web Hosting (1)

Vorondil28 (864578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14422244)

Heck, I have a 7MB/sec connection to my house.

I hope you mean 7Mb. A 7MBps = 56Mbps, which is better than a 51.844Mbps OC-1 (A/K/A: T3) line. Otherwise you must crap $100-bills or you live upstairs from an ISP with an unsecured, channel bonding 802.11g network. (Both of which would be pretty sweet.) </nitpick>

Eh, but your UID is almost half mine, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you know what your talking about. :-P

Seriously though, is that a symmetric 7Mbps? I mean, it's easy to find relatively cheap access to the Internet with downstream speeds around 7Mbps. Getting upstream speeds like that is another story, which is what someone would need for a decent hosting service.

Best solution... move! (2, Insightful)

wahmuk (163299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420165)

My worst hosting experience was with a small, cheap company whose only real enticement was unlimited bandwidth. They didn't even meter it, you couldn't ask them how much you'd used in a month... anyway, I never got the whole story on why I was having a problem (they couldn't give me details for legal reasons?), but it had something to do with script kiddies attacking another website on the same box. Every Friday afternoon, mail would start getting sluggish, and by Saturday morning the websites would be down. And nobody would do anything about it until Monday, of course. This went on for six months, with only three or four weekends that the websites were up. I lost several customers over it, while the hosting company gave me excuses and then moved me to another server (oh boy! Five days with no email) - and, of course, they moved the script kiddie bait website to the same new server!

I put up with it a lot longer than I should have, and didn't bother to pursue any grievance against the company. Nope. Why? Hell, I don't know. I believed some of the excuses, I guess.

But one day, during a duscussion right here on /. that was remarkably similar to this one, I saw an ad for hosting in someone's sig. And, I'm still with SlashChick (hi Erica!) and her company and have been with them for almost two years.

So obviously, the solution is to host with someone that knows the stuff and runs a tight ship. There's simply no substitute for competence, no matter what you're paying.

Best and Worst (1)

green pizza (159161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420199)

Worst experience was with a company that was so bad it was eventually bought out by Verio. Billing was totally messed up, my account on a shared server never worked quite right, and my leased/dedicated server had the most botched install of SuSE I've ever seen.

Best experience has been with / Small mom-and-pop type business yet they're located in the silicon valley with their equipment in one of the best datacenters on the west coast. Doesn't get any better than that!

Re:Best and Worst (1)

DaemonDazz (785920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420235)

Best experience has been with / Small mom-and-pop type business yet they're located in the silicon valley with their equipment in one of the best datacenters on the west coast. Doesn't get any better than that!

Hmm, redirects to which seems to be some sort of parking service.

You're the second person (with only 10 comments) to recommend, but it just gives me a blank page when I try to load it. I'm not sure how it could get much better than that! :/

Re:Best and Worst (1)

green pizza (159161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420253)

The site seems to be blank, you're right. I can access my server and the simpli control panels just fine though, so it must only be their site that's fubar.

10for10 looks fine though: []

Re:Best and Worst (1)

DaemonDazz (785920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420337)

Hmm, yeah, seems to be working for me now too :) Perhaps I didn't select it all when I copied it. PEBKAC...

Re:Best and Worst (3, Interesting)

VGR (467274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421216)

I was using an excellent local ISP, ClarkNet, which had been around since well before the advent of the Web. Then they were bought by Verio.

I don't know when it happened, but one day I went to check on my web space, which had always been accessible as, and discovered itself was simply redirecting to some Verio promotional page.

Where the hell were my files? After many phone calls to both Verio and to the few ClarkNet contact numbers I had, I learned that when ClarkNet's customers were "migrated," all web files were destroyed. Forever.

Verio's support was particularly irritating, since their first question was always, "Okay, what's your domain name?" I don't have a domain name, you jackass, you guys absorbed the competition who was from a time when domain names weren't handed out like candy. (Which was fine with me; a short URL is a short URL, regardless of the slash count.)

Perhaps if I'd been checking things frequently, I might have caught this at a time when they still had a backup somewhere. But I didn't check the web space frequently, because I never used it for commercial dealings; it was just a place to share some information.

The lesson I learned, of course, is to check one's web site frequently. And, as many other posts have said, back up your files yourself. The standard practices that every admin should follow, such as daily, weekly and monthly backups, are by no means practices to which large corporate ISPs feel bound. Indeed, I've since held a few jobs where it was evident the person administering the Windows server had little or no admin experience.

My Worst Experience... (3, Interesting)

amarodeeps (541829) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420256)

...was about a month or so ago. One day, a Saturday I'm pretty sure, I found that my email from the last three or so weeks was gone. Just...gone. I poked around for a while and realized that my DNS had changed without any warning! They had moved the server over and changed the DNS and had used a version of my data that was almost a MONTH old. They didn't even send a warning email telling me they would be moving servers. Granted this was personal email, and personal web site, but I was pissed.

I emailed back and forth with the sysadmin and could not figure out what the hell was going on, why they were using old data, etc. His final response was, "well, I guess I'll move your up-to-date data over from the old server for you if you want..." I ignored his last email for a day, found a new hosting company ( [] who I'm quite happy with, they are a LOT better in many big and small ways) moved my data over to my new host (I still could log in using the IP of the old server so I grabbed everything that way as soon as I figured out what was up) and switched DNS. It only took me about a day to get back up and running.

At that point I emailed the admin a response, saying "if I did what you did at my job I would be FIRED. So, you're fired." The name of the company was imagelinkusa--I recommend you stay away from them.

P.S. Yeah, I know I should have been doing backups anyways...

Re:My Worst Experience... (1)

just_because_it's_ir (621364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14427005)

...was about a month or so ago. One day, a Saturday I'm pretty sure, I found that my email from the last three or so weeks was gone. Just...gone. I poked around for a while and realized that my DNS had changed without any warning! They had moved the server over and changed the DNS and had used a version of my data that was almost a MONTH old. They didn't even send a warning email telling me they would be moving servers. Granted this was personal email, and personal web site, but I was pissed.

Sucks, doesn't it?

This happened to me a while ago (back in the mid 90s, when the web was young). Our site (a science journal) was hosted externally. The hosting company managed to:

  1. Forget to pay for their domain name! Because they wanted to move their ip addresses around, our domain name pointed to their domain, not to an ip (vague way of putting it, I know, but that's how it worked). So we just disappeared for three days while they denied there was a problem. A five figure hosting contract and they couldn't get round to paying a $15 bill!
  2. After this, they (they controlled our dns) set the dns to a specific ip. Unfortunately, due to company decrees, we were using an internal dns system which was caching the site address. They were told, repeatedly, that if they moved the server, they had to tell us (and give us the new ip). They did move the ip. They didn't tell us anything. Instead they copied all the data onto the new server, but left the old server running. We spent a whole week preparing update content on the wrong server, published it on the wrong server, and spent almost a whole day answering phone calls with "no, really, $VALUED_CUSTOMER_PAYING_EXPENSIVE_SUBSCRIPTION, the new content is there - it must be a browser caching issue".

Oh, and frequent site crashes, charging us over a thousand bucks for an sql query to get some subscriber data (which we managed to avoid by, essentially, hacking our own server - just about the only vulnerability they ever patched), and much, much more.

Happy days...

Re:My Worst Experience... (1)

amarodeeps (541829) | more than 8 years ago | (#14429110)

Okay, you've got me--that's much worse considering it was a professional situation--I'd MUCH rather have to deal with this for my own personal stuff than work. Yeesh.

These kinds of things just really makes me wonder how some places stay in business!

Typical ISP behaviour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14420507)

I was subjected to typical cyber-terrorism from my EX registrar/host. They failed to remind me that my domain was about to expire; they then let it expire and when I noticed that my site had evaporated and tried to renew it with my chosen registrar, refused to release it unless I payed them direct for the renewal (under the pretence of some BS 21 day protecion period). I told them to stick it up their collective arses and waited it out. I then renewed with a cheaper registrar, who have been great. Despite their petty attempt to ruin my site, we now get more traffic than ever.

Re:Typical ISP behaviour (2, Informative)

lux55 (532736) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420605)

Renewal protection is a common service that ensures nobody else can register your domain name should it expire for an additional X number of days. This is not cyber-terrorism, it's a nice-to-have feature.

Re:Typical ISP behaviour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14420615)

Unless the ISP uses it against the original owner, like they did with me, which is extortion.

Small time providers with no idea (1)

mcbridematt (544099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420520)

Small hosting providers that lease servers from The Planet and EV1 etc. aren't bad (I've had two for CPanel based reseller accounts and had a good business relationship with the owners in both cases), but most of them don't get DDOS protection until its too late...

Re:Small time providers with no idea (1)

schon (31600) | more than 8 years ago | (#14422629)

I have a customer who used one of them, and their experience was *horrible*.

They leased a cobalt from the provider, which was supposed to be up to date.

It got hacked, and was used to send spam. The ISP shut the server down, and billed the company $500 to re-image the machine (this was about the time the customer called me.) The ISP swore up-and-down that the machine was secure, but a basic audit showed old versions of a bunch of software packages (SSL 0.96b, etc.) which had known security vulnerabilities. Knowing that some vendors backport security patches, I emailed them detailing the bugs, and asked them if the software had been secured.

I never received any answer.

A week later, the box got hacked *again*. The customer decided to move away from the ISP. He needed his server up, so he paid the ISP their $500 extortion fee to re-image the box. While I was setting up a new machine (the next day), their box got hacked *AGAIN* (even though the ISP still swore that it was secure.)

After we put the new box up, the box got some hack attempts which ceased after the attackers discovered that they wouldn't work.

My web hosting nightmare is customers like you. (4, Insightful)

madstork2000 (143169) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420528)

As an owner/operator of a small hosting company (I am not going to pimp my own company here), I can say this kind of thread is a bit irritating, because it happens way too often. I am regularly dealing with web server security issues caused by users.

Security is always important, but so is the user experience. I would love to only allow users to select from known good preinstalled scripts. But is that realistic? No.... I would love to run PHP in safe mode by default, but then I get plenty of customers jumping ship because their scripts no longer work.

The point is ignorant users are going to cause problems. Hopefully only to their accounts, but often enough those problems extend to everyone on a shared (read cheap) server.

If you buy cheap hosting, you get cheap hosting. Do not expect a hosting company to bend over backwards for $5 /month.

You install a poorly written script...Then your site gets hacked. Popular scripts make popular targets. How hard would it have been to do a google search BEFORE installing? another tip, get the script from the original author or official site. Web scripts are usually patched quickly, but often old versions hang around on mirrors and software search sites.

In this case, how much do you think your little screw up cost the hosting company? Did you ever stop to think that your mistake probably cost the company more $$$ than they will ever see from you?

Hosting company at a MINIMUM pays for:
1. The wasted bandwidth your error caused.
2. The administrators time to stop the problem.
3. The technical support persons time to deal with you.
4. The administrative time it takes to collect the files and cover their asses, in case law enforcement becomes involved.
5. The admin and support time it takes to deal with the numerous complaints that will flood them. Likely they heard from end users pissed off that they got spam/malware that originated from their IP range. They probably also had to answer to their upstream providers, and give them detailed evidence that the problem has been dealt with.

So your little error has cost the hosting company, in an best case scenario, hundreds of dollars by the time you add up the hourly costs for the administrator(s), technical support, the BW, storage and other overhead.

So how much did you pay them for hosting your site? $5 a month? $10 a month? You will probably move on to the next $2.50/month hosting offer you find, long before they recover the cost of your blunder.

Like, I said I deal with this situation regularly, it is not pleasant for anyone involved. It really is a lot easier (and cheaper) for you to install a copy of PHPMYADMIN and backup your database, and download your web site. Than it is for a hosting company to commit resources to holding your hand through every technical blunder you make.

If your data is important it is ultimately your responsibility that the data is taken care of, not your hosting company, not your ISP, not the maker of your PC or of your hard drive. If your data gets lost it is YOUR problem.

Yes, there are slime ball hosting companies (I personally hate them because they tend to make customers pretty paranoid, but at least their shittyness provides me with additional business). But customers need to understand that they have responsibilities and obligations too. Otherwise the hosting experience isn't likely to be a good one for anyone involved.


Re:My web hosting nightmare is customers like you. (3, Insightful)

lux55 (532736) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420639)

You raise important points in what is unfortunately a pretty one-sided argument. Hosting costs real money, especially when support time is being eaten up. At a minimum, customers should always act in a considerate and polite manner to any support staff. They deserve the benefit of the doubt.

I hate to say this, but it's also rarely the end of the world if a website goes down for even a day or two, let alone an hour, yet people panic because they feel out of control when technology such as a website suddenly "breaks", and that out of control feeling causes people to act like it's the end of the world. That's a natural response, but the fact is, if it _is_ the end of the world if your site goes down, then you should probably be thinking of redundancy at this point. If you can't afford such a level of service, then you're not making enough to cover the required overhead of running your business, meaning your business isn't working out for you.

As a rule, being the support person for a software company myself (lead developer, but answering questions and solving problems is a big part of my job), I try to be courteous to all support staff, and to only call on them when there's a real problem I've verified lies on their end of things. This has usually resulted in me receiving very good customer service. I have had a few bad incidents with one slimey mass-hosting provider, but you live and learn.

Re:My web hosting nightmare is customers like you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14420672)

And as for the hosting companies that set up their servers so poorly that the only way to get anything to work is to follow their advice and chmod 777 everything in the site?

Re:My web hosting nightmare is customers like you. (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421037)

If you can't get PHP to run safely without Safemode then you are lame

There have been plenty of holes in PHP asfemode

SuExec is your friend

Re:My web hosting nightmare is customers like you. (1)

Blackknight (25168) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421108)

PHPsuexec is nice if it's a new server. If the server is already active it's kind of a pain to switch over and then make sure that everybody's permissions are set right.

Cpanel takes care of most of it automatically though. There's also mod_security which stops a lot of problems.

Re:My web hosting nightmare is customers like you. (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421165)

"Kind of a pain" !!

Pain is your stock in trade, that's what they pay you for !

It was "kind of a pain" to buy, build the shed for and install our 20kw generator but data security is kind of important.

Re:My web hosting nightmare is customers like you. (1)

Blackknight (25168) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424624)

Yeah, I'm sure you want to deal with tons of phone calls after you change a server setting and break things.

Re:My web hosting nightmare is customers like you. (1)

DA-MAN (17442) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421273)

Where does one download PHPsuexec?

Re:My web hosting nightmare is customers like you. (1)

morzel (62033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421303)

So yeah, some customers can really screw things up.
In the end though, they're still your customers, and in the case of a screwup like the submitter described you either kick 'm off your service or try to help and (hopefully) educate them.

I don't see why the hosting company involved (which isn't named, btw) isn't dealing with this properly. Either they should tell Tim that they unilaterally break their contract according to whatever terms both parties have agreed to or work with Tim as a customer to get him back on-line in a safe way. In neither case his files should be kept hostage.

Re:My web hosting nightmare is customers like you. (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421312)

When did the OP ("Tim") ever say it was one of his scripts? It's reasonable that it was a script another customer had put out there and the OP was collateral damage. Which makes it all even more ludicrous. But not something the OP could have ever controlled.

Re:My web hosting nightmare is customers like you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14421720)

Y'know, that was particularly enlightening about the business you like to run and whom not to deal with.

Yep... budget hosting (3, Interesting)

FLEB (312391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14420591)

I bought a year of hosting and a domain name from, just something to host a personal domain and emails. The place was just a fly-by-night budget host, I came to find out. But, they had a "99 and some nines" uptime guarantee, and a phone tech support line, so I bought in. It was cheap, but I ended up getting what I paid for, and less. About a month or two after the year was up, my site started going up and down on a regular basis. I found that the "tech support" phone number had gone from giving me an answering machine to giving me a "disconnected" message. Sure enough, the tech support number had disappeared from the page. Tech support emails were either blackholed or poorly answered.

Then, the big bomb hit. I know that SSH shell access isn't absolutely necessary to run a simple website, but I needed to run a few programs (ImageMagick and the like) and do some testing, management, and the like through a shell. When my shell access started coming up "denied", I started to get angry. Since letters addressed with ALL CAPITAL THREATS OF CUSTOMER LOSS OR RETRIBUTION, triple-CCed to "sales", "service", and "support" seemed to be the only thing that got through (trust me, I tried politer methods first), I sent off my trouble and heard back that "These features have been turned off because the server got hacked." These services were the ones listed in the product description... the ones that got me to buy in in the first place.

Well, long story short, I ended up transferring the domain (with excellent assistance by DotRegistrar [] , whom I still use). It was a bit of a hassle, since I'd stupidly abandoned the contact email for the domain name, but I got it worked out. Then, as a final goodbye, my site was unceremoniously terminated, not honoring the 99% uptime guarantee that should have given me a free month.

After some further research, I found out that the site has been noted for shoddy service and poor support, and "Derek" of Superuser has even been known to vigorously argue with folks, on other web sites and boards, who disparage the service.

From there, though, I stayed with DotRegistrar [] for the domain name. This was the company that Superuser used, but they were unaffiliated and quite helpful in recovering my domain name. For webspace, I went with Just-hosting [] . They're another budget shared-host setup, and I have had the not-unexpected shared-host downtimes every so often, but their technical support is quite good, they get it up and running... and often even relay what the problem was... and they were willing to accomadate my needs for extra domains, an alternate SMTP port (since my ISP blocks port 25), and working with me through the weirdness that some of my setups cause.

So, just to retierate-- evil. and recommended.

Pipex (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421054)

they use smaller hosting companies as a kind of umbrella group

You sign up with Pipex but end up at Bob's Local Hosting

I inherited the account when I changed jobs

It runs :
Linux version 2.2.16C37_III ( (gcc version egcs-2.91.66 19990314/Linux (egcs-1.1.2 release)) #1 Sat Apr 12 14:54:32 PDT 2003

With some sort of Cobalt Control Panel

I said to myself : I bet this box is a bit vulnerable

and decided to back it up straight away so did a scp -r / /home/remote_backup &

watched it tick away for a while and then closed the terminal window

They were running all the boxes with unlimited bandwidth and when they saw the bandwidth spike from this box they decided it was suspicious activity and closed it down !!

I didn't notice it was down, it was for some legacy static sites, not really part of my work but just in my dept.

They told us the box had been compromised and that they wouldn't bring it back up. They had tar'd the file system and, if we paid a re-installation fee, would re-install Linux and put the tar in the / directory.

Over the barrel we did so.

When I picked apart the tar I noticed that indeed the box *had* been compromised, so they had seen the b/w spike, logged in, seen it had been owned and turned it off.

OK, fair enough I though. But they had re-installed EXCATLY the same vulnerable Linux/Apache combination and by the time I had worked out what was going on, the re-install had been owned again !!

Seems they got an irc bouncer running as user www, so I presumed they hadn't rooted it.

I installed my own Apache, but this killed the control panel.

Great for me but now I have left the company they need someone who can use BIND to manage their domains =)

score 1 for the BOFHs

Re:Pipex (1)

hughbar (579555) | more than 8 years ago | (#14444934)

Yes agree...Host-Europe was taken over by Pipex about a year ago and the level of support, courtesy and everything has dropped.

I've been told recently by one of their 'customer care' (teehee) that I mustn't criticise them in my blog otherwise 'action will be taken against my domain'. The rest of their communications have been heavily influenced by Dilbert too.

It's notable that Pipex are in fact GMX Communications who have adopted the Pipex 'brand' but not (apparently) the Pipex ethos.

I've already dumped them for hosting and will dump them at home too. A great option. (1)

Sgt. CoDFish (943288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421067)

I used [] to host my website. They give you free PHP4 (perfect for me, I can't be arsed to learn the differences between Versions 4 and 5) and a free MySQL database. I have more space than I'll ever use (100 Mb, but it's not a big site), and 10Gb bandwidth a month. And the best part is this: It's totally free!

I've never had any trouble, and have, therefore, never needed to contact them. My worst ever problem was a slight bit of downtime once, during the night, and a slight slowdown at random points in the afternoon, but never enough to be a real problem.

I can heartily recommend everyone who needs a small and easy to use package to use Siteburg, as it really is a great free webhosting option.

NearlyFreeSpeech.NET (1)

tomservo291 (863856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421285) [] Best host I have ever used. You pay for the bandwidth/storage that you use. That's it. My personal domain I use for development and testing and selling small website services to people... I initially put $10 in my account with them over a year ago, $6.50 still remains. A website I designed and maintain for a singer/songwriter friend who has a good amount of traffic, costs her roughly $1 - $2/month (she gets ~ 10-20gb of traffic per month.)

Re:NearlyFreeSpeech.NET (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421433)

The site states $1.00 per gigabyte (1,073,741,824 bytes) of transfer. This seems to conflict with your song writing friends numbers.

Re:NearlyFreeSpeech.NET (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14431082)

...unless he was talking about gigabits.

Don't even get me started.. (0)

mattpointblank (936343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421368)

It won't surprise me if other people here experienced bad service from CyberPixels. Basically, Christmas 2004, our site suddenly went down, no explanation. It had happened before, usually not for long, so I wrote it off to experience. An hour later when I next tried it, however, it was still down. I spent some time refreshing the page and trying to ping the server, got nothing, and no FTP access either. I checked out the CyberPixels site and got nothing. "Ah well", I thought. "They're probably aware of it and fixing it now." How wrong I was. When it got to the next day and it still wasn't back, I logged onto the CyberPixels forum and found I was not the only one. It seemed _everyone_ hosted by CP had gone down, and they were pissed. From reading around in the forum, net gossip got back to us and it seemed that the owner, Rebecca, had fired the two main support staffers (people got this info from livejournals, blogs and forums) and was currently away skiing for the Christmas holidays. Most people defended her about this, saying of course she wouldn't just leave the company without anyone to run support. Of course, this is all going on in the week before Christmas, so many of us were running promotions and stuff on our sites. Or were. Anyway, cutting a long a frustrating story short, the sites were down for about a week. Suddenly on Christmas Eve, SQL came back up, eventually followed by the sites themselves. No explanation, no word from CyberPixels (who nobody had heard from for the duration of the downtime). The first thing we all did when the service was back up was to download current backups and make sure we were covered. The second thing? Searching for a new webhost. Days later I discovered Dreamhost [] , and I've never looked back. They've upgraded our accounts (free, Gmail style) tons of times, I now have 20gb of storage and 1TB (yes, TB) of bandwidth. If you're reading this and thinking "wow, sure sounds reliable, kinda like those email providers offering 100gb", seriously, DH rule. They have a personal blog and I won a free year's hosting and domain just by entering (and not winning, might I add) a video editing contest. They gave that prize to all the entrants. As for support and uptime, they're perfect, the name Dreamhost really isn't an exxageration. Anyway, to conclude the story, my site was just recovering from the Santy worm [] , so once I'd repaired it and backed everything up, our CyberPixels account was left to expire (it was due anyway) and we moved to Dreamhost. However, as a final insult, CyberPixels, without asking us, or contacting us in any way to explain the crazy week, billed us for another year's service without our approval (we hadn't signed for a 2 year package or anything). After some angry phonecalls we got back the cash, but I would heartily reccomend Dreamhost and warn anyone reading this to steer clear of CyberPixels (who are, beyond belief, still operating).

Re:Don't even get me started.. (1)

mattpointblank (936343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421372)

Gah, sorry everyone, been away from /. long enough to forget that it doesn't auto-insert linebreak tags.

"Plain Old Text" vs "HTML Formatted" (1)

some guy I know (229718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14444220)

it doesn't auto-insert linebreak tags
It does if you use the "Plain Old Text" setting.
The mis-named "Plain Old Text" setting recognizes everything that "HTML Formatted" does, and in addition adds <br> to the ends of lines.

Also, the "Preview" button lets you preview your post before you actually submit it.

Re:Don't even get me started.. (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421468)

I second the Dreamhost recommendation. I've been hosted with them for about three years now, and I can honestly say that it's the best host I've ever dealt with. Some of the freebies are meaningless - I have about 8 TB of bandwidth on my account, for example, even though I signed up when it was 25 GB (I'm never going to use all of that bandwidth in a single month) - but some of them, like allowing unlimited domains to be hosted on a single account, are very useful.

Re:Don't even get me started.. (1)

objekt (232270) | more than 8 years ago | (#14422223)

My worst experience was when a friend of mine signed up for Dreamhost and I didn't get the referral (I would get 10% of his hosting payments forever). Oh well, I still have enough primary and secondary referrals (10% and 5% of their payments, respectively) to pay for my 4 domains forever! Dreamhost absolutely rules!

Re:Don't even get me started.. (1)

GeekBird (187825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14441835)

I third the ( [] ) Dreamhost recommendation. was my previous host, where they a) converted from Linux to BSD without telling us, b) screwed up the upgrade to the new version of berkeley db, c) were supposedly running in "compatibility mode" (and claimed that it was fine, not a violation of their advertised linux servers.) Csoft rendered my blog useless (literally -- I couldn't log in to my own stuff).

Dreamhost was a welcome change. When we signed up we could host up to 15 full domains - now it's unlimited. Yes, they have glitches now and then, but they are always fixed promptly. They have nice mail options, lots of hosting extras, their customer service is good, and their web UI is actually usable, even by command line junkie admins like me.

Even when the ISP does 'backups' (1)

WgT2 (591074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421422)

It's been my experience that anyone who hosts a website, particularly on someone else's equipment, that they should keep a current copy/backup of all of their data. This is especially true for those who rest confidently in their hosting provider doing backups for them.

The reason I say this is multifold:

  • Your own restoration/uploading of your essential site files is almost always faster than the hosting providers restoration thereof.
  • Your ISP may not actually be doing the backups or not in the way you expect them to be doing them.

Also, don't expect your emails to be backed up. And, you should have a fail over email host/provider: email service, to some companies, seems to be much more important than website content.

CIHost (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14421428)

I hated CIHost. The server was down every day, they made all sorts of billing mistakes, they'd leave old versions of software with vulnerabilities on the servers, and their customer support was not very good. They kept trying to bill me after I cancelled, but the card number I had given them expired at about the same time as my account cancellation, so they couldn't charge me anymore.

I'm hosting with Dreamhost now. They're one of the best hosting companies I've ever dealt with. I'd strongly recommend them.

Re:CIHost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423332)

I used to work there and can only tell you how fucking glad I am to get away. Everyone I know that worked there has hated it.

ultimatehost (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14422099)

I had my site on ultimatehost for a while. At $40/mo for my own box, I was expecting a fairly high level of service. Well, in only a few months of hosting with them, I experienced three (!) hard disk failures. To their credit, they did allow me to back out of my commitment (which I had made shortly before the first failure) to 1 year of hosting with them that came with a lower rate. The impression I get is that they're honest, but not up to the technical and organizational challenges of running a reliable hosting business.

Really, the worst nightmares I've had haven't been with hosts, they've been with credit card processing companies. I signed up with payquake, because I expected to have a low volume, and their plans were tailored for that. They have twice started putting new monthly charges on my bill without notifying me, and I've had to do the legwork to get them taken off. They sent me spam trying to get me to take Discover, which I didn't want to do, and then after I didn't respond to their spam, they signed me up anyway, and started charging me a monthly fee for it. At one point, after I hadn't been paying close enough attention for a few months, I realized that although they were sending me monthly statements showing payments as being given to me, the payments weren't actually going into my bank account! Their explanation was that it had to do with a buyer who had tried to buy something from me using a stolen credit card number --follow the logic on that, if you can! I'm not even sure payquake is any worse than other companies. Actually, when you sign up with one of these businesses, you're entering into business relationships with several different companies (in my case USMS,, and some individual CC companies like AmEx). But payquake does seem to have unusually bad service; they publicize an 800 number, but they never actually answer it. Still, a lot of these hassles really may have originated from the other companies.

Re:ultimatehost (1)

Phil John (576633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14422257)

At $40/mo for my own box, I was expecting a fairly high level of service

I hope you realise how clueless that sentence makes you sound? $40 a month for a dedicated leased box puts you firmly in the "budget customer with little to spend" category. When you are paying ~£350.00 p/box p/month with places like Rackspace (last time I checked), then you can expect a high level of service (unless you run an indymedia site, then you're screwed whichever way you turn). True, the company shouldn't offer such low prices if they can only fulfill them with flaky hardware, but come on, for that little a month you are going to be on a heavily overloaded 10mbit port getting speads slower than first gen broadband.

I'm sure many people will reply below that I'm wrong and you can get great support for $40.00 a month, but those places are few and far between. And even then, what happens if you have a piece of hardware fail? Do they have spares to swap in or are their margins so low they have to order in parts when stuff goes wrong?

When it comes to hosting I think the real problem is in the rise of the clueless "I'll rent a box with ev1servers and start a hosting company, how hard can it be?". You can always tell one of those from the "big boys" when you visit their homepage and they've got the same templatemonster "hosting" template (or variation thereon) that every other fly-by-nighter has.

Web.Com (1)

Bob Gortician (246811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14422242)

They were bought by a bigger company. Locked us out of our servers. Broke scripting. Broke email server. No phone contacts, now. No resolution of problems. Locked into three years of hosting with a company I didn't sign on with.

Please identify (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14422901)

Please identify the pig bastards that stole your data, so that we can avoid them.

Hiway (1)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423842)

Not my *worst* experience, but my first really bad experience with using third parties to host projects...

In '99, I was doing some freelance work for an ecommerce project, and it was hosted at hiway. Right after launch (meaning after the site owner had spent thousands on marketing/mailing/promotion/etc) hiway suspended the site for 'resource abuse'. What???

"CPU usage is too high".

That's about all we got - for a week. I had some loon on the phone telling me to rewrite my queries because doing "Select *" from a table in mysql can cause a lot of resource usage, nitpicking over whether all file handles were being closed, etc. I tried very hard to be accomodating, but it was NOT our code! They wouldn't even LOOK at any of the other 500+ customers on that server - they shut us down, and that was it.

Turns out, after 8 days of us being shut off, they 'found out' that it was someone else's script on that server which was using up all the resources.

I just couldn't get over how awful the experience was. Yes, we should have run our own server, but things were much more costly back then... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14424126)

I used these a couple of years back and it was fine until they got too many customers & not enough servers and the speed of my site slowed to a crawl. This lasted for about a month. Then it went down completely - no website, no email. I tried to contact the guy who runs it (James Innes) by email and fax but no response. It came back up a week or so later, but my website had been restored to a much earlier copy, and I found out later that I was missing a lot of emails. Still no response from support when I complained.

I wasn't the only one with these problems: c25268d8e6192?hl=en []

Eventually I gave up .. fortunately I had registered my domain elsewhere so it was easy to change to another. (I changed to mythic beasts ( [] ), who have been excellent. (1)

s7uar7 (746699) | more than 8 years ago | (#14427486)

I was a customer of Bargainhost during this downtime - it was about 11 days in total - and there was barely an apology from BargainHost, let alone any offer of compensation. After wrestling my domain names from them, by faxing proof that they were mine to the registrys, I switched to another host and put up a page to warn potential customers about the service, which got to no. 2 in a Google search for bargain host and bargainhost. A couple of months later I got an email from James Innes threatening legal action if I didn't take the page down or if I published that he had sent the email. I hadn't written anything libelous, just the facts, but at the time I didn't have the cash to fight it. Figuring I had probably cost them enough business to make up for the money I had lost (I was 3 months into a 1 year contract), I put up a 301 redirect to a page on the BBC about them.

The lessons I learnt:
- Never take out a years contract (for anything) if it can be avoided.
- Never buy your domains from your host, they'll only hold them to ransom.
- Only host with companies that provide a full postal address and geographic telephone number (as opposed to an 0800 or 0845). Not necessarily telephone support, but at least a way of contacting them.

Getting to my CGI Scripts (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424251)

My worst experience with a host has with the thier 'form mail' junk that they use so that your pages can send e-mails. They had standard subject lines, etc. and so the only fields that you could change were the 'From' and the message body. I thought that was lame, and asked for access to the scritps (which were in my directory) but permissions were not in place to be able to access them. When I asked for permisssions to modify my own scripts, the Support said that they did not support scripts and that I wouldn't be given access to them. After going through several supervisors, they finally realized I wasn't trying to modify anything on their side of things, but customize MY OWN stuff, they finally relented. This incident and other similiar events, led me to new host.

I was robbed (1)

students (763488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424370)

I once had a host who stopped paying his data center and ran off with all the money - from several hundred clients. Moral: Cheap = Risky. I don't think the law got involved because he only stole a few dollars from each person. Now I use a different cheap host, which happens to be reliable. ( In fact, they're so reliable I keep forgetting the name of the company.

Not my own experience, but... (3, Interesting)

SkiifGeek (702936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424375)

Part of my company's Information Security work is monitoring reported defacements of websites under various domains (such as .au). Through this work, we have seen numerous cases where ISPs ignore complaints from their customers about their sites being hacked, ISPs having every single customer site hacked at the same time (and still ignoring customer complaints), ISPs where a commitment to action means some time in the next month or so, and ISPs where their lead technical people have trouble understanding their own technology.

By a strange coincidence, or maybe not, the troublesome ISPs are those that also accuse us of hacking their customers, threatening us and generally abusing us for providing a report of an identified defacement. The abuse from ISPs and technical contacts has gotten so bad that we no longer report every defacement that we otherwise would have. Now we only report significant cases (such as complete server compromises or sites which may have sensitive information accessible).

My worst web hosting experience (2)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424677)

I registered a domain using Network Solutions.

My worst webhost. (1)

Deus Ex Raijin (805722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14425319)

Yeah, I've been through more than my fair share of being hosted by friends, using 50MB diskspace free hosts, and even a supposed company that's barely anything more than a scam. Bihira is the most ungodly awful hosting service that I've ever used, being far less reliable with far less support than the free hosts I've used. Thankfully, I'm on an incredibly awesome hosting company now, Dreamhost, which recently gave me enough disk space to fill up half my laptop. ._. Anyways, no use copy and pasting a gigantic block with details when I've already written it. [] The first review you see on that page is me, along with my nasty experience. It's gotten even worse now.

Faradic (1)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14425452)

That was with Faradic, and was a similar case. This was my personal website, I had a quotes page full of tidbits from famous people, friends, and random people on the Web and USENET. Since not everyone had a handle or used a real name on USENET, some quotes were attributed to their email address.

Then a harvester bot came across that page looking for bites. It slurped up every email address on the page. This harvester, as it turned out, was used by someone who tries to sell you page ranking services (or something page related). So everyone whose email address was on that page -- which did not include me -- got an email from someone saying "We can make soar" or whatever.

So one of these people got such an email and, through some form of idiocy, the web address (my web address) in the spam was looked up and the hosting company was notified that, basically, someone received a spam with my web address in it. Naturally I had something to do with it.

Well, that's what the spam nazi at Faradic thought, anyway, and my account was immediately suspended for spamming. This brilliant egg either didn't know how to read, or didn't read the spam. Or didn't care. I played email and phone tag with this person until I reached someone sensible at Faradic, who happily reopened my account, but my dealings with the spam nazi continued, who was urging me to repent for my sins.

When I finally got a copy of the sent to me, I figured it all out within minutes. My conclusions did not phaze the Faradic spam nazi, who didn't care, and insisted that I had received a one-time reprieve, and that if I ever spammed again, I would have to pay a "$500 cleanup fee".

I believe I told the spam nazi to fuck himself (in politer terms), and shortly thereafter moved to a new host (not my current host), who provided me with much less grief for the same price.

FWIW this was years ago, and before that point I'd had no problems with Faradic. But there was no way in hell I was going to risk a second "offense" in the eyes of their unreasonable spam nazi at the time.

When I was a sysadm, I was a sensible one. Eventually I was laid off. One wonders how the world continues to operate when sensible admins are terminated, and nonsensible ones get to unilaterally shut down people's accounts and charge them half a G.

PS: Of course, I also immediately spam-proofed the email addresses on my entire website from simple harvesting. This is probably a Good Idea.

Hypermart is the worst webhost ever (1)

Intangion (816356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14428783)

here is a news posting i made march 10, 2002 on my website, after being hosted with them for 2 years they deleted my site for no valid reason and without warning and denied me access to my own files.

"It has been a rough week!
My previous webhost, hypermart, deleted the website march 1st. They claimed i was hosting Pirated Software, Serial keys, and/or Copyrighted Software. I sent repeated emails to them and even called them telling them that their reasons were simply incorrect, i cant pirate my own software, even if it is copyrighten (BY ME!) and i had no serials

5 days later they decide they will send it to their abuse department and have them check into it

I asked if i could connect to the FTP to get my files, cause i hadnt backed up the site in about 2 years (oops) so all the file counts, forum posts, forum members, hit count, .. the entire files page, forum settings and changes to forums cgi code to work with delinquentminds were all not backed up! (thought i had a more recent backup but i guess i lost it)

They said NO i couldnt, i told him about MY FILES that they had and they refused..

so after being hosted by them for 2 years. they delete my site without warning, dont even bother to make sure they did it for a valid reason till 5 days later, and flat out deny me to back my site up, this is how hypermart treats their "valued members"

they did say they would have abuse check it out though and they would decide within the hour, so i set up my ftp client to continuously try to connect to the ftp site, hoping i could connect at some point when they were investigating, or if they found it to be alright, and get my damn files!!

2-3 hours later i connected! i was totally surprised. my site was back up, this was wednesday

I started the FTP backing up the site and went to post the biggest rant about how hypermart sucks on the news :) when i went to update the news with the new story 2-3 minutes later the site was deleted again!!!!

and when i checked the FTP, it was getting permission denied on all the files :(

but before they managed to lock me out again i did get all the forum members, the forum cgi scripts, the files and files index.. but i didnt get the old forum posts so the forum is started over with 0 posts.

apparently the reason they deleted me the 2nd time was because someone from blizzard sent them an email claiming hacks are illegal, which is Bull***t, DMCA doesnt say shit about editing process memory in windows. Some guy on another website claimed he sent a spoofed email("from blizzard") to my host to get me deleted..

Anyway so hypermart f***ed me for the last time, i moved the site to a new host! Not everything is set up here 100% though, until i figure out how to send mail from cgi scripts on this server i cant accept new registrations on the forum,

Everything else appears to be working correctly, If you notice any errors post them on the forum under website comments!"

Registerfly SUCKS (1)

potus98 (741836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14431190)


They are NOT accredited by ICANN! []

They do NOT have any phone support!

They do NOT have any escelation procedures for problems that continue to go unresolved.

Their servers go down for DAYS at a time!

My problems with RegisterFly are not isolated incidents or one-time goof-ups. The NUMEROUS and MAJOR problems I have encountered are symptoms of a completely broken operation. I used to work in the hosting arena, so I am VERY familiar with the types of challenges faced by RegisterFly. I tend to be (too) patient since I know what they might be going through; however, their issue handling constitutes gross negligence.

In my first 3 weeks of using RegisterFly for 6 new domains and 3 hosting packages (mid-range web-starter plan, not the super-cheap personal stuff), I have experienced the following problems:

1) Webhosting service down for 7 days straight.
2) DNS service down for 6 days straight.
3) None of the domains' e-mail services were setup. Rec'd auto-gen error e-mail re: failure to create new e-mail service.
4) Conflicting answers between live chat support sessions.
5) Conflicting answers between trouble ticket resolutions.
6) Trouble tickets being closed with no resolution and being asked to "open another ticket later..."
7) Buggy account login: I have to login twice anytime I access RFly.
8) Buggy checkout: Items continued to fall out of my shopping cart.
9) Buggy checkout: I could not register a domain name AND sign-up for web/mail hosting at the same time (despite being given the option to do so AND despite have done so a few days prior with another domain) I was told to purchase the domain name and come back later to sign-up for web/mail hosting.
10) The DNS, web, and mail hosting are dis-jointed systems cobbled togeather via clumsy control panels. The user interface issues are horrible.
11) Absolutely no phone support or any way to contact a real person.
12) Non-English support peoples are making difficult my chances of understanding the why problems of the issues not being fixing.
13) RegisterFly and Unified names is not even listed as an accredited registrar by ICANN! [] (MY fault for not checking this sooner.)

Support conversations go like this:

ME: My problem is blah blah...
RF: First of all, your settings are all wrong. They're still default values.
ME: I know, but I can't access the control panel to make the necessary changes. I was told last week that...
RF: Your settings have been corrected, please wait 24 to 72 hours for the change to be active.
ME: That's what I was told last week, but the problem still...
RF: Sir, please wait 24 to 72 hours and try again.
ME: But what if it doesn't work?
RF: Please open a support ticket.
ME: But they close the tickets without fixing the problem and ask me to re-open another one later.
RF: Sir, please wait 24 to 72 hours and try again.
ME: [I stop typing and just watch the chat window]
RF: Sir, please wait 24 to 72 hours and try again.
RF: Sir, please wait 24 to 72 hours and try again.
RF: Sir, please wait 24 to 72 hours and try again.
RF: Sir, please wait 24 to 72 hours and try again.

1 for me, 1 for another (1)

spx (855431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14434197)

I have never myself had a problem, but Im sure my fiance can agree that many issues have arose.... A person I know in AZ uses Cox (Communications) and was telling me once that he received a disconnection from the ISP, when he called he was told they had received intel that his computer was sending faulty logs of hacks, after about 2 hours on the phone with the Cox rep, he had to been able to get a copy of the log file, then have to teach the rep what it really meant. No harm done, damn funny story though. As I now reside in SC our ISP is Charter (we also have our landline with them), while not on a net issue call, a rep came here to hook up everything brand new for the phone system, I had to blog it, its too much to type here. Charter Sleeping []

My worst experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14435457)

It happened just last month actually. I host for a christmas website and the site was down for about half an hour a couple days before Christmas. I was mortified. That guy does most of his business right before Christmas.. boy did I get an earful.

Name of the hosting company (1)

Tim_TDS (944863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439948)

As requested the name of the hosting company that ripped me off was Acenet. [] Stay away at all possible costs!

Today I'm using Dreamhost [] - I highly recommend them. To help ease your switch in I offer the promotional code bigmoney, which saves 90 dollars on yearly plans, and 40, 50, 70, and 90 dollars respectivley on every tier of the monthly plans.


CiHost, circa 2000 (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14444097)

Once upon a time I had one of my sites hosted at CiHost. During the summer of 2000 (I think). I had always thought it odd that their two DNS servers at the time were both on the same subnet, but thought nothing of it.

Until the cache on one of them got corrupted, propogated to the other, and restoring a backup failed. This ultimately resulted in all of the sites (tens of thousands, maybe more) they hosted being unreachable for 30 days.

I switched somethere else ASAP. I still get meil from them offering me overpriced hosting.

And I think they still use the same IP addresses for DNS: and (although there are two more now according to whois).

Worst hosting EVAR.

Oktagone and their NYC datacenter disaster (1)

OnyxRaven (9906) | more than 8 years ago | (#14447217)

For a growing set of sites with growing needs, I had outgrown shared hosting 'reseller' accounts and got a pretty decent deal on a dedicated server ($100/mo rent-to-own type situation).

First, I ordered a second drive for the machine, which never got installed.

Second, I got double charged for the CPanel installation/subscription.

Third, Oktagone was globally DDoS'd numerous times and it seems that nothing was done about it.

That was while everything was still sort of OK, We were getting a decent deal and generally happy with the service. We were housed in a datacenter in NYC with wich Oktagone had leased space.

Aparently, Oktagone stopped paying their bills to the datacenter. They turned off the routers and switches, and held the machines for ransom. Calling the datacenter directly, we as the actual customers had no say in what was happening with the hardware we actually owned (ownership was actually in dispute, it seemed that Oktagone screwed us on that part too). Oktagone refused to pay the bills, and abandoned the datacenter. No server which we had paid dutifuly for, and for a while, no way to get the data off. Luckily the datacenter did eventually turn on ssh so we could copy the data off and onto new servers.

As of now, it looks as if Oktagone has been eaten by their creditors (as is fitting), and I'm happily using a dedicated server provided by ThePlanet/ServerMatrix. = worst ever! (1)

botkiller (181386) | more than 8 years ago | (#14447988)

My worst hosting experience was with - based out of florida, when I found them a number of years ago they had great deals and really cheap service, so I went with them. I had a ton of bandwidth and storage, and it cost me nearly nothing (about $125 per year).

But, they were a shady company; at one point my site went down entirely for a few days; no one in tech was available or picking up or responding to emails. About a week later I recieved an email titled "Explanation email". It detailed that apparently a water main had broke in a server room and destroyed the entire room - what kind of server room has a water main hanging above the units, I do not know. I lost all my data but was given two years free hosting. All of which did me no good when, six months or so later, Featureprice seemed to again lose all of its tech support at the same time that my site went totally dead. For about two weeks I was down, and had to redirect to another server I own. No phone support, just a chat with litterally ONE person handling all inquiries - as well there was a support ticket system, but good luck if that worked. What it amounted to was my finding out that FP had gone totally bankrupt, fired all of its crew and left its servers for dead. They said they were sold to, but near as I could tell, that was all a sham as well. FP's CEO (whose name escapes me, we'll call them stupidhead) ran off with everyone's money, which was quite annoying because I had recently also paid for another year of hosting. I was told my money would be returned, but of course, it was not. I contacted the BBB and the attorney general, etc. all to no avail. Oh well. I'm with a better host now (godaddy) and much happier. If they were still around I'd warn everyone to stay away from them, but they're long dead now.

there's some more info here: 00148.html []

worst of the worst (1)

neighter (783710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14466262)

My band had hosting through and when we broke up, of course we stopped paying for the site. Not being web gurus, we did not have our DNS disabled, so they were still getting a few random hits when people tried to get to our page (very few, we were not famous and only played out 5 times) .

So how did Merchbox handle this? Somehow, traffic to our page was "magically" being redirected to a gay pr0n site.

So either someone hacked their box and did it, or someone working for their company did it.

I'll admit, we should have been more savvy and changed the DNS, but that was very unprofessional. Beware of Merchbox.

trying to run a good hosting company (1)

NateTech (50881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14488994)

I think my worst experience with web hosting was watching all the people like the ones in this thread, keep trying to find hosting at unreasonably low prices, while the company I worked for at the time had things priced reasonably for GOOD service that didn't have any of these problems.

I just sit back and LAUGH at all you idiots who lost data to crappy hosting companies.

Good hosting companies were out there, you just weren't willing to PAY for them. And it eventually led to many of them laying off a lot of good people, who now wouldn't touch the hosting biz with a ten foot extension ladder coated in cheese.

We charged a lot of money but we also GUARANTEED 100% uptime, and we tried damn hard to hit that. We gave serious refund money out when certain maintenance simply had to be done. We never refused to give anyone their own data back, and we never lost anyone's data.

It's like many markets -- there are markets where consumers simply don't value quality service over money. Web hosting and services are one of them.
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