Vidahost 'world-class disappointment'?

Discussion in 'Ecommerce Forum' started by geranium, Mar 7, 2013.

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  1. JPMiddleton

    JPMiddleton UKBF Regular Free Member

    259 33
    No, our site was down also but back up now. You're not going to find a host who can provide 100% uptime, it's impossible to the best of my limited knowledge. A quick look at their twitter feed suggests they were working pretty proactively to deal with it. This certainly wouldn't make me look elsewhere, no host is perfect.
     
    Posted: Aug 12, 2014 By: JPMiddleton Member since: Aug 18, 2011
  2. NewGardenStyle

    NewGardenStyle UKBF Regular Free Member

    373 82
    OK thanks, I'll wait and see what their explanation is before making any conclusions. They have a lot disgruntled customers venting on Twitter, perhaps unfairly if that is indeed the case.
     
    Posted: Aug 12, 2014 By: NewGardenStyle Member since: Jun 26, 2014
  3. openmind

    openmind UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

    4,750 864
    From a technical perspective this is not impossible however if you're paying £2.99 per month for hosting then you wouldn't normally expect it ;)
     
    Posted: Aug 12, 2014 By: openmind Member since: Sep 6, 2005
  4. JPMiddleton

    JPMiddleton UKBF Regular Free Member

    259 33
    Am I to assume you think that's what we spend on hosting? If so, don't jump to conclusions please. We have a VDS.
     
    Posted: Aug 12, 2014 By: JPMiddleton Member since: Aug 18, 2011
  5. openmind

    openmind UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

    4,750 864
    Read my post again, I didn't assume anything of the sort, I was merely picking that price from their site as an example.
     
    Posted: Aug 12, 2014 By: openmind Member since: Sep 6, 2005
  6. Faevilangel

    Faevilangel Website Critic Full Member

    7,564 2,400
    The servers weren't down, it was an ISP / DNS issue which basically made accessing the servers difficult for some people on some providers.

    If something goes wrong people will vent before checking the circumstances, I couldn't access any of my websites but they aren't critical to my business (most of my work is word of mouth) so didn't bother me too much.

    BT had a similar issue a few weeks ago where anyone on BT couldn't access a lot of website, it affected millions of people (fun)

    Vidahost have a status page at http://status.vidahost.com so you can see if they are aware of any issues on their servers.
     
    Posted: Aug 12, 2014 By: Faevilangel Member since: Jun 29, 2009
  7. ecoleman

    ecoleman UKBF Regular Free Member

    392 71
    Posted: Aug 12, 2014 By: ecoleman Member since: Feb 12, 2010
  8. ecoleman

    ecoleman UKBF Regular Free Member

    392 71
    Anyway, this is the RFO we got from TSO




    I've left out the into bits, but below explains what the problem was.


    For those who are interested, the technical explanation…


    The global routing table is a ‘map’ of each possible destination on the internet. Every large network operator (such as ourselves, or the ISP you use to connect to the internet) holds a copy of this, or multiple copies in our case. This is what enables every computer on the internet to reach every other computer.

    Over the past two decades the routing table has been increasing in size, due to new ipv4 addresses being used and existing ipv4 address ranges being split (meaning that 2 consecutive ranges might have different paths). Today it hit 512,000 routes. This is a magic number as it’s an inbuilt limit in many common routers and switches.

    We had pre-empted this. Most of our routers/switches already have a higher limit and we have recently spent £250,000 on network upgrades to improve the rest of our network. These had not yet been installed as we believed we had room to spare. However, last night there was a sudden increase in the number of routes being announced to the world and at 9AM we hit the limit.

    Due to human factors it took us approximately half an hour to find the cause of the issue. At that point we applied a fix on the only router we believed was affected. This took effect after a reboot (which caused approximately 60 seconds of packet loss as indicated on the graph) and the majority of people who could not access our network were then able to. However some users were still reporting problems so we continued to investigate. We believed the issue may lie elsewhere as customers were also reporting issues reaching websites such as eBay and Skype but, despite the lack of any log entries to indicate, it turns out another of our Cisco routers had also hit its routing limit. The same configuration change was applied to that router and, at that point, the remaining people still having problems accessing their site were now able to again.

    It seems many other high profile ISPs also suffered the same issue today and most have now fixed their own networks.
     
    Posted: Aug 12, 2014 By: ecoleman Member since: Feb 12, 2010
  9. Faevilangel

    Faevilangel Website Critic Full Member

    7,564 2,400
    Posted: Aug 12, 2014 By: Faevilangel Member since: Jun 29, 2009
  10. ecoleman

    ecoleman UKBF Regular Free Member

    392 71
    If that's the case, I'm surprised that people are complaining about Vidahost.

    I've dealt with all of the directors directly before when I've had a problem and they have all been extremely helpful in resolving issues.

    Granted, I don't think they man the phones themselves anymore, but TSO service has always been superb.
     
    Posted: Aug 13, 2014 By: ecoleman Member since: Feb 12, 2010
  11. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

    3,022 1,087
    If you ever try online chat on the vidahost site, make sure you have an hour to kill.
     
    Posted: Aug 13, 2014 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
  12. ballista

    ballista UKBF Regular Free Member

    101 7
    I've used Vidahost for years with no issues. I heard of them originally through this forum. Customer service has always been faultless with any queries. I do recall some emails recently about some server outages but just par for the course I think. Just goes to show not everyone gets the same service I guess but I definitely cant fault our hosting service with them.
     
    Posted: Aug 13, 2014 By: ballista Member since: Sep 1, 2011
  13. Mico Dabs

    Mico Dabs UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    7 0
    Hi everyone, just joined this forum after reading this post at great length.

    Have been hunting around the last few days as I'm starting out on the path I'm sure others here have started a long time ago; starting up my own little vinyl cutting operation. It's not going to make millions but its something I always wanted to do and now have the time to spend on it. I've seen so many forums and posts on this subject its staggering.

    Anyway; Vidahost seem to be the big hitters from what I can gather; sure, as any tech. based business will know, there WILL be problems, there WILL be unhappy customers.

    Its how you take care of them during these times that matters most and stays longest in customers' memories I guess.
    I used to work for a well known media providing company and if the average customer saw how we ran around like headless chickens trying to keep the network stable they'd've probably likened it to the cat in Tom and Jerry trying to catch all the plates with his arms, legs, nose and tail.
    We're not talking about one or two residential homes and the odd business premises here and there; when part of our network fell over, it took streets out at a time.
    Working in the pouring rain trying to hunt down faults and sort them within tight timescales whilst being polite and explanative to affected customers is not easy at all for anyone; but when things get sorted and normal service is restored THAT is when you see the fallout and the flack coming in, and it is so satisfying to know you fixed things rapidly AND kept paying customers informed and made them feel a bit special, because they are after all is said and done.

    It takes a special kind of customer to accept that faults DO happen, often, and to work WITH the host. Hosts aren't charities or government bodies that will simply hand you a Ferrari when their fault affects your business; but they DO realise they have dropped the ball and usually offer some kind of apology.
    To refuse that is kind of stepping outside of the understanding you both have (regardless of T's & C's) and once this stage is reached I guess a host would prefer to say 'you can always leave if you want, we'll release you from your contractual obligations.'

    And from what I have trawled in the last few days is that Vidahost seem to get it right mostly, and when they don't, they say so and try to help you back on your feet.

    That's all I'm after really.

    So, I'm signing up with Vidahost and if the moderators are ok with it would like to keep this thread updated periodically with events, in particular the customer service side of things and how I am spoken with during calls as this seems to have been the OP's main gripe from what I can see.

    Am I correct in saying I should register my domain somewhere else and then point traffic to my Vidahost site?
     
    Posted: Aug 14, 2014 By: Mico Dabs Member since: Aug 13, 2014
  14. Seb de Lemos

    Seb de Lemos UKBF Regular Full Member

    106 16
    Hey Guys

    Seb here from Vidahost. This thread is a bit upsetting for me because, though I think it's an open and honest thread for the most part, I don't think there is any thing more we could have done for the first poster. We spent hours, perhaps days, trying to help over the year. Now this thread is third on Google for Vidahost and it's a little frustrating the way it comes off on the subject and first page.

    Anyway, to answer the last couple of posts:

    1. On Live Chat, we're changing the way it works. Ten new support staff are being trained up from next Thursday and one of their jobs will be to man live chat. We're still perfecting it and changing the system (we've written our own live chat system) so sorry if there have been bugs. Response time should be immediate, so if there is a chat left unanswered it's a coding bug I will track down :)

    2. On the network outage that occured two days ago, the best thing for me to do is to refer you to the RFO above. We're always completely honest and any disruption is as frustrating for us as it is for our clients. I've just included the graph of the outage. For most users there was just one burst of downtime (around 3 mins) as we rebooted the router. For UK users on the majority of ISPs, we peer with your internet providers over LINX and those connections were largely unaffected.

    ---


    [​IMG]

    Obviously this downtime is still unacceptable.

    3. On registering a domain name elsewhere and pointing to us, that's entirely up to you. Every domain registrar has to comply with regulations from ICANN, so even if something disastrously wrong were to happen (extremely unlikely, if not impossible) then your domain is still safe. Most of the domain issues I've come accross have occured when there is a long chain between the registry (e.g. Verisign, Nominet) and the end registrant, through resellers and so on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
    Posted: Aug 14, 2014 By: Seb de Lemos Member since: Oct 8, 2008
  15. Mico Dabs

    Mico Dabs UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    7 0
    Hi Seb, nice to see Vidahost taking the bull by the horns and being proactive on forums.
    With you saying that, re. the hosting and domain provider being one in the same, I didn't even know about ICANN until you mentioned them,a quick Google search restored my slight worries,so thanks for that.
    With that in mind, and bearing in mind what you said about this thread being high up ib the search results currently, I feel confident registering with and having Vidahost host my domain also.

    Ta muchly, and don't beat yourself up too much, most people know these issues occur all the time (count how many you have on your entire setup in 24hrs lol).

    I know I'm only going to be a very small sized user compared to companies that have circa 100 domains etc, but who knows where my little enterprise could end up in a few years time lol

    Keep up the good work over at Vidahost Seb!!!!
     
    Posted: Aug 14, 2014 By: Mico Dabs Member since: Aug 13, 2014
  16. Seb de Lemos

    Seb de Lemos UKBF Regular Full Member

    106 16
    Posted: Aug 14, 2014 By: Seb de Lemos Member since: Oct 8, 2008
  17. MG72

    MG72 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    22 0
    Just a quick update on the issues I had with Vidahost back in July. I was unhappy with the service I received when I sent in a ticket. Adam, from Vidahost, seemed to accept that it had not been handled in the way it should have been. However, I would say that the service provided by Adam and Dominic has been spot on from that point onwards.

    They have assisted (and this was not asked for) in cleaning up the websites, and on the suggestion of Adam, my account has now been migrated to the Cloud service they provide.

    I understand that things can go wrong, and I run a business that has thousands of new customers every year and know that all will not run smoothly. In my view it is how the issues are resolved, and in the case of Vidahost I am happy to say they have redeemed themselves in my eyes. From a customer who was going to leave them after 4 years, I am now happy to stay with them. I do feel that as upset I was at the way I was initially dealt with, it is only fair that I make public how well they have dealt with it since.

    Well done to Dominic and Adam, thank you for your help and assistance.
     
    Posted: Aug 22, 2014 By: MG72 Member since: Jul 4, 2014
  18. Faevilangel

    Faevilangel Website Critic Full Member

    7,564 2,400
    Glad you got it sorted, as you rightly said, things can go wrong, it's how the company deals with it that matters!
     
    Posted: Aug 22, 2014 By: Faevilangel Member since: Jun 29, 2009
  19. Dominic Taylor

    Dominic Taylor UKBF Ace Full Member

    1,174 254
    Thanks, that's much appreciated. In recent months I've written tools to automate the hassle of this and I think that's what you got from me in the ticket recently. Glad it helped.

    The same hacked site situation (multiple sites, one cPanel account) applied to another poster in this thread although back then I had to run through the sites manually with you (and we did get them all fixed and working). Which is what made me create tools :)

    I'm not sure if WordPress tells site owners about outdated components beyond plugins? As that is a common problem we've been seeing recently - your plugins might be up to date but if you have an old theme installed which contains an insecure script, that becomes the way in.

    When the 'original' major Timthumb issue came out a few years ago, we patched every affected file on our cloud system as the patch was simple. We also block ~90% of all bruteforce attempts to WordPress sites as standard. Bots send more requests per second to our system than the entirety of the traffic we handled a few years ago. It's crazy. I think Cloudflare said they identified/blocked 200,000 IPs taking part in WordPress/CMS bruteforcing. We see something like 50 million bot hits blocked each day.

    Years ago I had 10 servers in total, and now I have more than half a rack dedicated to just dealing with bots/spam. I don't get the chance much but I do like showing off my spam filtering cluster although there's only so many times you can refresh an haproxy report.

    In the past few months the number of hacked sites / other similar issues has been, essentially, a pain for everyone. 5 years ago, most of the code being exploited today didn't exist. In the last few months alone there have been serious issues in a whole range of popular plugins :/

    I wish it was that way around (I would then own the entire group!) but our history is detailed here :) Guess who is who from the picture for a free domain ;)

    Also, for anyone new, regarding the original poster who started this thread - although it appears they've now deleted their forum account - my replies about their particular issue are on pages 1/2. As then, I'm not going to break the DPA and discuss their account but I think I can fairly say that they got back in touch with us via our support system and we continued working with them, like we do with thousands of our clients every day.

    In case anyone is wondering, we've never asked for the thread to be removed (!), and I actually got a message from UKBF management thanking me for keeping a friendly/productive discussion. We get the occasional ticket or PM asking about this thread and I give the exact same response. Even to my mother. Who has recently also discovered Twitter....

    Finally, if anyone has any problems/questions of any kind at any point, our email/phone is the best way to get urgent help (there are ~30 support/sales people versus one of me!) but you're welcome to PM me here as always (I don't post here so much now but that's solely because I work every waking moment but I do try to post in threads where I can help, I don't know a lot about retail or legal/HR/accounting!) as my forum account comes through to my work email address.

    I could go on but I should catch up on my tickets now!
     
    Posted: Aug 22, 2014 By: Dominic Taylor Member since: Jun 19, 2008
  20. Gillie

    Gillie UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    13,198 1,481
    Well I have just moved to Vidahost - transferred cpanel from some others and some emails yesterday back and forth sorted it all out - some nice bods there put up with my daft questions - it was transferring a few sites and emails worked throughout during and after without having to do anything. For some strange reason I thought I would have to alter stuff and spend hours talking others through it all - but nope no one even noticed!

    (Ok so I do have a history of tempting fate - so ain't saying anything more on this!)
     
    Posted: Aug 22, 2014 By: Gillie Member since: Apr 12, 2006
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