Ming the Mechanic:
Server4you sucks a bit

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Server4you sucks a bit2007-02-11 17:22
by Flemming Funch

For the past year my main server has been at Server4you in Germany. They had the best deal I could find anywhere, for a fast server with good connectivity. Only problem was that they turned out to only speak German, and that they wanted me to pay for a year up front, because I wasn't in Germany. Took them a couple of months to set the server up, but it worked great when it was up. At least as long as there weren't any problems. The first big surprise was when I realized they didn't have 24/7 tech support. I hadn't even imagined that possibility. So, if something goes down, it of course is always just after midnight, and particularly in the weekend, just after their support line closed. And it then turned out that my 15 minute server reboot facility doesn't work either at such a time, as somebody at their end would have to go and do it.

And then they closed their support e-mail addresses, so that one only could contact them through their online control panel, and they take a couple of days to answer most things. Or by phone, which takes hours to get through to, and costs something every time.

But so far so good until yesterday. When the server came up for renewal after the first year, I had sent a message to the accounting department if I couldn't please pay per month, rather than per year. Which it took them two weeks to respond to. After a couple of messages back and forth like that, I called them. And they repeated that no way they could do that, as I wasn't in Germany, so they had no way of controlling that I actually paid. And they said my server would be turned off soon if I didn't pay. So, I sent them their €1000 for this year, as I said I would, and sent them a fax with the bank transfer confirmation, as they said I should. That was several weeks ago, in January.

So, now, yesterday, half past midnight, somebody halts the server. Of course that's 1/2 hour after I possibly can get hold of anybody. So, I call them in the morning, now Saturday. Tech support says that my account had been cancelled and no longer exists, and there's nothing they can do to turn on the server, as it is accounting who controls it, and they of course aren't there before Monday

So, that starts to seriously suck. There's a lot going on on that server, dozens of quite popular sites, a lot of mail accounts, including my own, and many mailing lists. It can't really be down for several days.

So, most of the weekend until now I've been busy bringing everything up on my other server, at 1and1 in the States. Luckily the backup situation was pretty good, databases replicated, and other files at the most a few hours old. But, still, that is very messy, and there are always little things missing.

Seems like everything is working. But I really had better things to use my weekend for.

So, I take back any recommendation I might have made to rent servers from those guys. In the meantime, I've noticed that OVH here in France has good deals. So, if Server4you for some reason holds on to that I no longer have an account with them, and they pay my money back, that's what I'd go for.

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11 Feb 2007 @ 19:50 by Tim @ : Glad you got it ...
... sorted in the end. I'm lucky, as the sites I host for myself, a handful of clients and a few friends are hosted here in London by a co-op I belong to and we have our own server.

I can only imagine the hassle involved in hosting a bigger operation and then have it go down - or have to be re-created elsewhere.  

11 Feb 2007 @ 21:34 by ming : Server
It is on one hand nice that some big operation with a data center takes care of hardware and connectivity, but it sucks when they're hard to deal with or unresponsive. So, even though it is 'your' server, you might not be able to get to it at all. Like, at this point I don't know if I get this one back at all. But if I don't, it is a relatively small problem at this point. Could be much worse.  

12 Feb 2007 @ 11:03 by jazzolog : Cash On The Keyboard
Would this be a convenient time for contributions? I don't believe there's been a call to NCN members in some time. Is it through PayPal...or another way?  

12 Feb 2007 @ 11:57 by swanny : Yo
Yo I suppose its time but I is flat out
though "he who pays the webmaster writes the log I suppose."


12 Feb 2007 @ 13:33 by ming : Contributions
Probably a good time to call for contributions. I'm not too good at that. And, of course, if I had just been prepared to pay the bill when they sent it, rather than several weeks later I wouldn't have had that problem.  

12 Feb 2007 @ 20:54 by GeZi @ : good idea ..
... that contribution thingy - what's the paypal account to use.
O, and there is an idea about "not being too good to ask for contribution" - - out source!

If you don't like to ask yourself - hire somebody to do it for you!
Any voluteers?  

12 Feb 2007 @ 22:06 by ming : Contributions
OK, I'll ask, I'll ask, and I'll try not to be too good.

Send generous donations to paypal ffunch - at - cr8.com, to support ongoing server hosting costs.  

12 Feb 2007 @ 22:11 by ming : Server4you
The outcome of the Server4you story so far was that they wiped out the server, erased all the data. After some initial insults, I suppose they realized they were in the wrong, apologized, and offered a month extra credit. Which isn't worth much in relation to 100GB of websites and databases, and the pain of setting up the server all over again. But, again, I feel rather lucky that off-site backups were good. Only a few things that didn't make it so far, but nothing that can't be re-done.  

12 Feb 2007 @ 22:58 by GeZi @ : Fund Raiser
The Fund Raiser for running Flemming's web is on!
(that's Flemming's web - not Charlotte's web!)

I placed an opening bid of $50 - now it's up to you to out-do me.

Ready - Set - GO!  

12 Feb 2007 @ 23:44 by bushman : Hmm
lol. Im not buying thier excuse. Too many other sites got whiped out at the same time. Rense is saying it was a HD failure that took him out. lol. Coincidence?  

15 Feb 2007 @ 00:02 by ming : Support
Thank you, guys, for the fund raising support!  

15 Feb 2007 @ 05:06 by Ge Zi @ : support
Hi Flemming,
it was a good step forward for you to announce your willingness to accept support and donations for the newciv site - now you will have to take the next step and write a full post about this. OK, it's here in this comment thread - but this is hidden pretty deep within, so now the next level of acceptance is a top-level post about it - wattaathink?  

15 Feb 2007 @ 13:14 by ming : support
Hey, I need coaching. ;-) I did actually put a full post in the NCN Journal blog in the member start page, which seems to be noticed by some at least.  

16 Feb 2007 @ 05:15 by Ge Zi @ : coaching
hmmm - NCN Journal blog ... what is that?
I don't know if I just missed that, but only you can know how the readership of that blog compares to the one on ming.tv - and the call for action (money spending action) need to be where there are the most readers.
Let's assume that I'm a pretty standard user - I subscribe to the blog I like to read and maybe the comments as well, so new info is pushed to me, in other words I will not look actively to other areas of newciv, so I'm rather ignorant on what else is going one.
To summarize - the post needs to be to the 1500 readers of ming.tv
Now what?
Just quote me:

Hey Dudes and Dudettes,
this is GeZi here, one of the many readers of Ming.tv - just as you.
Flemming has plenty of support from us, right? - - moral support, comment support, etc. - what else can you ask for?

I know something: financial support!

O NO - a fund raiser!! I know those are annoying, and really should not be done. They are disruptive - - and I agree - at least if I'm only a reader. If somebody runs a blog it's his thing, readership has to be free - period.

But look at what Flemming does beyond that. Many of us run our own blogs on newciv, and I think we should offer Flemming sharing the cost for the hosting. This stuff is not free and why should Flemming pay for our blogs?

On the other hand, it should not be a big amount - something everybody can afford easily but which would make a difference on Flemming's side because of our great numbers.

How does $20 per year sound?

To set an example I have done that just a few days ago. It was very easy and painless. Fire up your paypal account, select 'Send Money',type ffunch -at- cr8.com as the recipient (obviously you have to replace the -at- with @) write 20 in the amount field and off we go - one happy Flemming!

And isn't that what we want - a happy Flemming?


16 Feb 2007 @ 22:01 by ming : Coaching
Heheh, thanks, ok, I've now posted something here. Yes, there are many more daily readers of ming.tv than there are visitors to NCN overall, so that gets a bit more attention of course.  

16 Feb 2007 @ 23:31 by Ge Zi @ : ;-)
nicely done!
Would be interested how that turned out.
Sometime the direct way is - kinda - the direct way ;-)
Practiced this once at my monsters school: they had lot's of fund-raisers with games and bake sales, kick-backs from companies, etc. to get some 6k for a new playground. I did the math and at 20 families that was 300 a pop. Not being a fund raiser myself, I just wrote a letter to all the parents - guys, this is less than 2 weeks of tuiton, cough it up and we can forget all that fund raising. Obviously not everybody is straight forward, but the result was a bigger part of the money needed.  

18 Feb 2007 @ 22:03 by desperate @ : They've done it again!
I also have a server at server4you
It's down for 48 hours now!
I'm going to ask for a big amount of money!
They really SUCK!!!  

26 Mar 2007 @ 22:47 by GeZi @ : how did it turn out?
so - yeah - what ever came out of that situation. Did you ever get your server back or did you leave them behind in the dust?  

27 Mar 2007 @ 00:41 by ming : Server
Funny you mention it today, as I just exactly today decided to get down to setting it up. This US server has been seriously overloaded recently, so I'm going to be moving some things back.

And, well, I didn't exactly get it back, but I got another, better one. But not without a lot of pain. See, they had at first sent a letter and apologized, admitted it was their fault, and offered me an extra free month. And I naively thought that meant they would just set it right, with a minimal amount of trouble. But, no, essentially it just meant that what I paid was a credit on my account, and they passed me on to the department for new accounts. Which insisted that I didn't really have an account, and the previous server was all gone, and I couldn't have it, or its IP or name or anything. Which is a lot of nonsense, as the server itself was up continuously. They had really just reformatted it, but left it up, with a different password. But the guy insisted that, no, we needed to make a new contract, and I had to choose from their current lineup, and it would be a different IP, a different account number, etc.

So, I seriously considered just asking for the money back. But they still had the best deals around. And I imagined that it would be months of wrangling to get them to pay me back. So I reluctantly went along with the farce and made a new account. The upside to that is that it is cheaper than before and with a better server and with unlimited bandwidth.

One of the downsides was that the contract I had with them before stipulated that at the end of two years, the server was mine, and they'd put it in the mail and send it to me. Which would have been at the end of this year. But I didn't see myself capable of arguing that through with them in German. The new contract is the same, but that would be in two years, obviously.

And it took weeks and a lot of back and forth messages and phone calls to work out that contract. Little things like them sending me the contract as a PDF form attached to an e-mail, and I send it back with a digital signature made in Acrobat, which they didn't know what was, and eventually they only would accept that I printed it out, signed it with a pen, and then faxed it to them.

Anyway, the server is up since a few weeks, and I'm only now starting to use it.  

27 Mar 2007 @ 18:32 by GeZi @ : looking myself
I am playing with the idea of setting up a second server and obviously they have the best prices. Funny, because they now have a US branch, but the deals are way less attractive. Logistically it would be better for me to have one here but all the extras I would be missing, plus a higher price.
I did do a bit of googling for 'server4you sucks' and there are a few but not that significant for the number of servers they apparently run - and '1and1 sucks' actually look a lot worse. Do they have name servers running in their data center that you can use - like 1and1 does?  

23 Apr 2008 @ 11:07 by Adam Iley @ : Another bad experience
Not only is the hardware that I rented suspciously slow, I believe the support must be incompetent, as due to a misconfiguration on one of their routers, my server was inaccessible for nearly a month, despite repeated calls. On top of that, they seem to deliberately try to trick people into longer contracts than they intend - they give no warning when your "notice period" is nearly up, and unless they get a notice (in writing!), they'll renew your contract without talking to you. Since there's apparently no way out of the contract once they've renewed it for you, you're then in trouble. Burned me for a whole nother year.  

21 Jun 2010 @ 21:58 by ming : server4you indeed sucked
I'm luckily rid of them, since about a year ago. They ended up for a second time screwing me out of that server they had promised to send me. They apparently had some small print hidden somewhere. When the two years were up, I wrote and told them I wouldn't need to renew it, and please send me my server. They then said that I should have cancelled a renewal of the contract at least 6 months earlier and really I owe them money for another year. So I just let it go, as they still rarely speak English and they don't have the kind of service minded attitude like a US company usually does.

I'm now using OVH in France for my European server, and still 1and1 for my US server. None of them particularly have personal service, but so far no actual problems.  

30 Jun 2010 @ 15:49 by server4you customer @ : Just forget server4you
I know server4you is tempting. There prices look good. I run a small test server
without any value for me there. So I have nothing to lose.

I was actually surprised about their fast customer service. Most requests are answered in 0.5-3 hours. And the technical answers are generally not bad. Much better actually than in the IT industry in general, even by so-called market leaders. However: I use the customer service in German. So your mileage may vary.

But when it comes to legal & billing issues, it's just unacceptable. Their whole business model is to offer insanely cheap prices first and charge the customer later. Some tricks are hidden somewhere in the fine print, others are clearly illegal by German law (some are both). Yes, the English Terms and Conditions state that they are just an informal translation. The German ones are the only binding ones and German law is applicable. If you don't understand them, don't do any business with them. And if you understand them, think twice. Do you want to do business with a company that just does not respect your legal rights? Do you seriously want to go to court in Germany because of some 10s or 100s bucks? And remember: Even if you could convince your credit card company and they will correct you credit card bill. Server4you will treat you as non-paying customer. They will just close down your server and you have lost all your payments (service has to be paid in advance) Again: Do you really want to go to court in Germany?  

28 Apr 2016 @ 23:51 by Honney @ : pZKJSufRRO
Posts like this bregthin up my day. Thanks for taking the time.  

Other stories in
2012-05-03 00:04: An evolving path
2012-01-02 13:52: 2011 Accomplishments and 2012 Aims
2011-11-17 02:20: Your inner piece
2011-02-01 00:05: Slow Mo Flow
2011-01-22 18:40: Recognition
2010-08-23 00:36: Where's Ming?
2010-07-20 14:24: Getting other people to do stuff
2010-06-22 00:27: Inventory
2010-06-19 23:10: Conversations
2009-10-28 12:31: Then a miracle occurs

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