Friday, February 29, 2008

Screw Your Sucky Service, EHost.NET and ValetHosting!

For several years I'd coasted on cheap hosting by buying shared servers through eBay. They usually offered "unlimited" bandwidth and space, plus CPanel support and all the necessary CGI and PHP scripts, for just 10 dollars a YEAR.

The problem with these sites are they're run by guys like me who thought to make a quick buck by buying a bunch of server space that they could rent out themselves. As such, the tech support was pretty spotty, and if there was ever any downtime, their response always used to take forever.

I admit that I got what I paid for with these services, and I never complained too much. But the first really frustrating experience was with ValetHosting, essentially run by someone named Donovan Stewart from Washington state. One day his hosting service just went up and left, not giving me any access to my data, and as such I couldn't make a backup. I tried to get Paypal and eBay to intervene but I'd already left positive feedback and since the service was a subscription, I wasn't allowed to get a refund. Let it be known, Donovan Stewart is a shifty guy with whom one should not do business. This is after over a year of being his customer.

Luckily the company who hosted his server was very nice and were able to send me a semi-recent backup that let me set myself up at another place. But even they talked about how this guy just up and left (the number I'd found for him was the same number they had, which was the number he was not answering).

That place was eHost, which was another 10 bucks a year service, run by a guy named Cyrus Chow, also apparently from Washington state. I needed a server fast after ValetHosting went down and luckily I had bought this server for a client that fell through, so I just took it over.

These guys' service was even worse than ValetHosting's, and they would cop an attitude whenever I demanded my quick service (I admit I'd become quite verbal with these companies before, since they seem to act so lax with regards to tech support). Their website boasted 24/7 chat support, but even during normal business hours (for any US time zone), I never got anybody to answer on the other side. Worse, their servers would go down at a frequency that I found unacceptable, especially since I was using my email through their server.

The last straw that broke the camel's back, however, was when I suddenly got a form email from them saying that they would no longer be taking on new customers and were moving their servers to another company. This was after my site was down for almost a week with no proper response from them explaining why.

When I received access to my site again after a while I quickly made a full backup and moved to another server. I'll let you know about them in a future post, but rest assured I'm ditching these eBay guys forever.

As a final lesson, be wary of these guys' respectable feedback ratings. They are usually not too bad because people leave feedback less than a month after they pay for their server. I must admit setup was really simple through these guys. As such, by they time people realize how crappy the service was, it was already too late, and they had already left positive feedback.

FINALLY, though, from the looks of it Valethosting is now owned by someone else other than Donovan Stewart. I can't vouch for these new guys, but they probably could do without the previous company's baggage. As far as EHost is concerned, their website seems to be back up and they're still serving customers, and for those people I bid good luck.

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Diana Brunson said...

Thanks a lot for contributing to the conversation on my blog. It's a shame that some people treat their customers like this. Yes. Good luck to those who are still using Ehost or have switched to Searchitup. I didn't know who was behind Ehost until now. Thanks again.:)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I am gonna chime in: sucks, took my money and then went missing. No response, no phone, no nothing. Avoid at all costs.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just wanted to say that I too was irritated by Donovan Stewart's disappearance. I posted a rant on YouTube about it and people just made fun of me because I was pissed. I eventually got a response after emailing the address I found in a WHOIS database.

I have to say that the new people who run it are FAR better than Donovan. When I submit a support ticket, I get a response within about an hour during business hours. I'm quite pleased, but I'm still shopping around.