back to article Fasthosts in day-long email FAIL

Customers of Fasthosts - the UK-based webhost - have been without both POP and web-based email for much of the day, complaining that such outages have become, shall we say, far too prevalent in recent months. A half-dozen users have contacted The Reg about the outage, and countless others have complained via posts to the web. …

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Stop

Puh-lease

Do your research before signing up with a web host. Don't just accept cheapest price (although fasthosts is not the cheapest)

See e.g. http://www.reviewcentre.com/products100.html

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Stop

reviews

"Do your research before signing up with a web host. Don't just accept cheapest price (although fasthosts is not the cheapest)

See e.g. http://www.reviewcentre.com/products100.html"

That site contains a lot of fake positive reviews of hosts.

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Unhappy

This time.....

Every time these cowboys have their systems go down on me I swear that this time I'll move on. This time they won't get away with it......

But pressures of work etc and a few days later you forget. Other more important things to worry about like earning a living. Until the next time something breaks.

This evening I've been looking at alternative hosting. Trouble is you look through all the websites, they all say the same thing. Often you are suspicious that some of these companies are just resellers. How do you tell?

So who do Reg readers recommend annoyed Fasthosts customers go with? I just want someone reliable with a decent set of features that are UK based and not a reseller.

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there are better hosts

We use United Hosting - UK based servers, as well as US based servers. UK based business. We've used them for at least 4 years. Minimum downtime. 24 hrs/day, 365 days/year support. Very fast response to support enquiries.

Apologies for this positive like posting on ElReg - I'll try not to do it again :-)

Anyway, no I'm not an employee of the above, but yes we are resellers.

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Anonymous Coward

Fasthosts

Ive hosted ith Fasthosts for some years & the fastest thing about them is the time to deliver an invoice, you need some fairly sophisticated kit to measure it as they usually arrive in nano seconds.

Regrettably (for them) theres a lot of competition out there & they cant afford to keep faffing around with poor email service as a reliable email service is essential. Im sure many have grown tired of their less than satisfactory service, which comes at a premium price.

That said, when their service works correctly it is good & works well, to be honest I dont really know of any host that hasnt experienced some sort of problem when a service is 'upgraded'

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Anonymous Coward

Some fault with users / some with host

Does fasthosts use a central email server(s) for email for all accounts?

Currently I myself work for a webhosting company, and up till recently all email was hosted on the same servers that host the websites. Doing this meant that when a server goes down (which DOES happen occaisionally) the only users that would be affected would be those that were on that server. Other servers/email would be unaffected.

Unfortunantly even the host I work for is now slowly moving to having "central" servers for email, and while this means that if the hosting on a server goes down, the email will stay up.

While this iin theory is a good idea, if the email server ever goes down, a larger amount of users are going to be affected.

Another common issue seen is that users who signup for hosting tend to put email addresses hosted on their own domains as the contact email address. This means in the event of a server/email outage, when our admin team sends out an email notification, the users never receive it.

Users need to learn for their hosting, to NOT use email addresses hosted on their domains.

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FAIL

Fasthosts are CRAP!!!!

I was warned before I moved our systems over - what an utter idiot.

Intermittent my arse - our mail was down completely from 8am this morning.

To illustrated their complete and utter talentless ability to run an ISP.

Their webmail home page didn't say "System unavailable because of some useful reason", it just sat there for 3 mins and timed out - all day well after they knew.

Their support website was so overloaded it didn't say something useful, it just sat there for 3 mins and timedout - again well after they knew.

These people are idiots - I can't believe they are so utterly incapable of running an email system. My clients would sack us if we ran theirs like they run ours - I intend to sack them after this weeks - and last weeks, and the week before etc etc debacle.

AC is right - the fastest thing about these retards is the speed they deduct your credit card for yet another shitty useless service.

Rant Rant Rant - Useless Useless Useless.

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Thumb Up

tee hee..

The email service we offer as a part of our business is loss making, and not because of the the work generated during an outage like this, customers who won't use their control panels, time spent setting up new mail boxes and telling them to empty their full mail boxes over the phone and so on.

The more customers who move away from us, the less loss making our email business is, it takes events like this to trigger people to get annoyed. Thanks for supporting our business strategy fasthosts! We've no plans to move away!

That said, half of our company is on the premium mail boxes that were unaffected, half were not, we are moving our own company mail away already ASAP!

So I think a natural order to things is being found. People who are serious about email don't use fasthosts, but you forget there are loads of people out there who are not serious. (the bulk of my customers)

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FAIL

My Experience

In my experience, Fasthosts are truly, truly awful.

If we were lucky enough to ever get through on the phone, to chase whatever support reason big or small, every time we were told our unresolved issue had been escalated and we would receive a call back. We always had to chase. We could tell from our machine logs that issues were sitting untouched for days. Even when we got really angry and demanded some level of service, we were left short changed - but the invoices turned up on time.

There was the major connectivity issue that meant customers weren't able to access our dedicated Fasthosts server. We demonstrated it was an issue internal to Fasthosts but it took weeks to get anywhere, no-one cared - but the invoices turned up on time.

There was the hardware issue that screwed up our RAID 0 mirroring which turned our web server into a machine that could respond quicker using quill and ink. It was sidestepped, ignored, brushed over, deflected and never fully fixed - but the invoices turned up on time.

Before it went really wrong - or more precisely, before we actually tested them - at the start we kidded ourselves they were useless at the small stuff but would be there if we needed them. They weren't.

Thinking about how much hassle it would be to move, we kidded ourselves that they failed us once but it was a fluke. It wasn't.

We moved hosting company and have never looked back.

I would never trust Fasthosts with my business or my data again. Ever. And not in a vengeful way, I mean in the same way I wouldn't put my baby in a car seat on sale for £5 because of quality control issues at the factory...

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Go

The alternative is...

Rackspace. We moved over to them six months ago and cannot fault them. Yes, they look expensive in comparison to the "£3.99 per month" bunch, but then you're paying for a service where someone who knows what they're talking about answers the phone the moment you call them up, pro-actively monitor your servers, and help you when you've fscked things up.

All those people worried about loss of revenue from FH downtime should ask themselves if the amount lost is more than the cost of a Rackspace server. Then switch.

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Thumb Up

Bring back andrew michael

things really went down hill when andrew michael sold the company a few years ago to the german company united internet. I had two reseller accounts and 11 dedicated servers. I moved the servers to Rackspace who are excellent but never found a good reseller offering.

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Anonymous Coward

"there will certainly be a large chunk of those 200 people moving away"

You're customer have suffered a number of outages and now you're going to try and port them to a new service provider? I don't think so.

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WTF?

Several times in the past few months...

...I've been unable to access my e-mail. No apologies, no information, no renewal coming from me. Used to be excellent, now pants. What is going on?

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Paris Hilton

Thansk Mr. C Hill...

"Every time these cowboys have their systems go down on me..." :0)

Paris...need I go further?...

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FAIL

Not worth the money

Utterly useless company. I sold a business with some attached domain names, and because Fasthosts had 'switched systems' found I could not get the domains moved to the new owner even though they had opened up a Fasthosts account to make this easy. Okay I said, can you do this manually rather than me using the control panel? No, they could not even do it manually, and they estimated that it would be about a year before they could.

Their stunning technical ineptitude was compounded by the lousy support throughout.

Have you ever looked at their site-building software SiteBuilder? ShiteBuilder more like! It looks like it was designed in the 90's by someone who loved MS PowerPoint v1.00.

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FAIL

Ha Ha

I used to have my domains and email with Fasthosts. Thank deity these problems are a thing of the past since I quit them and moved to a decent provider like UK2.net - who have never given me any problems and whose customer service and tech team are a delight to speak with. *Smug*

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Thumb Down

Boing

Hmm, can't say I noticed any mail problems yesterday. However for the past two weeks or so I've been getting bounced messages when I send a mail to a certain address. Though I could have sworn the other day that one got through. Fasthosts deny there's a problem, but no other mail (work, Gmail, etc) is having the same problem.

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Go

I've never had a problem with Continuum Hosting

I use Continuum Hosting, http://www.c--h.co.uk and I have NEVER had a problem. Used them for the last 5 + years, they are only just now going fully commercial and I know the two directors have invested £120k in hardware. The one director used to do some pretty cutting edge research involving network storage gear at one of the reputable and big IT companies, said company used to make damn good laptops too.

Yes it is a bit of a plug, but like I've said I've never had a problem - I believe they also have a fully redundent system, so if your Virtual Server fails it is immediatly started on another hardware server. They are going to expand this in time, so that they cover several datacentres - thus even if by some freak accident the entire datacentre is cut off the net, they will still be up and running.

Give them a chance, FTW!

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FAIL

SMTP still worked. Woo bloody hoo...

We had no POP or webmail until late afternoon, which caused us major grief. SMTP worked fine throughout. One of our providers outsources our email to Fasthosts and is jeopardising their own relationship with us in doing that.

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Thumb Up

Memset.co.uk best in the UK for Hosting

I would recommend Memset.co.uk as a UK alternative to Cowboy Hosting companies.

They walk the walk and talk the talk - Nuff said

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FAIL

Registered email

"Even if you have a Hotmail you need their support PIN, which if you need a reminder needs to be sent to your registered email. So you are back where you started!"

Well then that's your own fault. Don't have your registered FH account email provided by FH.

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Stop

Used to be good....

I've used them a couple of times and was initially pleased. My last experience with their customer service was just awful. Won't be using them again. Always a shame to see a company fall apart but at the end of my contract I'll be off.... recommend other people stay well clear.

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WTF?

You get what you pay for

I work for a shared hoster (ok not as big as FastHosts) and freely admit that we've had issues where for some reason one of the mail servers in the cluster plays up and we've had a bit of a slow down for a couple of hours. We're usually on the ball, customers are made aware of the issue usually before they notice and we provide constant updates on their admin area status pages. Shit happens.

But it never fails to amaze me when we see emails from customers (on tenner a month hosting + 10 pop3's) claiming to be losing £1000's per day or hour because of a glitch that happens maybe once in two years. If email is a mission critical part of your business then you need to plan for failure. If loss of email service is going to kill your business dead in the water then you need to have a failover service with another provider. That's life. Whilst the current issues with FastHosts may be a pain in the arse, I have no sympathy for organisations or individuals who haven't put in place a backup plan if reliable email is a must.

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FAIL

Fasthosts = crap

Unfortunately Im one of the poor buggers that because of the organization I work for we are resellers for fasthosts, so effectively everytime they screw up and loose email/hosting services, i get about 30 businesses who use their services call me up saying why can they not get emails....

Here's hoping the company I work for gets their collective 3 brain cells together and moves providers!!

Oh, they are making me redundant 1 week before Christmas also....strokers!!

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Grenade

Heading down hillfor a while now

I have been with fasthosts for 4 years on a low end Linux home package and have noticed that performance and reliability have been steadily getting worse. My email was down recently for the best part of a day and when it came back up service was intermitent. Im surprised to hear people on dedicated servers are having problems too as I wouldve thought fasthosts would at least take care of their premium customers.

It seems like they are hell bent on overloading their servers and network to breaking point to squeeze as much profit as possible.

Looking for quality web hosting reviews is a mine field, i spent a whole weekend trying to find an unbiased (un affiliated) review site or one that didnt have just as many positive posts as negative for each host.

In the end I choose to go with a linux xen virtual server from MemSet. It costs about twice what I was paying fasthosts but I can do so much more with it and so far its been very reliable (time will tell) and support has been outstanding, questions by email (I dont pay for phone support) are usually answered within the hour and responses often go beyone the "basic technical support" service I pay for.

The main selling point for me when choosing Memset for my hosting was the 1month rolling contract, I figured if they dont lock me into a year long contract they have more incentive to pride a consistent service. As far as I could find they were one of the only hosts to offer this (especially on virtual/dedicated servers)

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Flame

Possible work round?

I have my domains and mail hosted at Fasthost, but all my mail is auto-forwarded to my ISP's mailbox where I pick it up. I haven't noticed any lack of e-mails coming through.

... just in case this is of use to anyone.

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Intermittent - Yes

I'm another customer of Fasthosts, but just for personal use rather than business or as a reseller.

Like everyone else, my email was down yesterday - but I was certainly able to access webmail a couple of times during the day, so for me, intermittent was an accurate description.

For personal use, I find them fine - the price is reasonable for what I get, and the few times I have had to use support they have been very helpful - but then I don't try contacting them during a major outage as I'd rather they concentrated on fixing it than answering the phone to tell me it's not fixed yet!

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Or companies could have their own servers

Once companies are reliant on Email they could have their own email server run for them at relatively low cost. We have run VM Email servers for relatively small companies for about £150 per month.

That way they can have it configured exactly for their requirements including multiple domains, anti-spam, web interfaces, monitored, backed up etc etc.

Using amavis, clamav, spamasssin etc means that spam is virtually eliminated.

The fact that VM's are so reasonable these days and OS email software is so good makes this all possible.

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Status

Worst part is their system status page tells you nothing until after the event, so valuable time is wasted convincing them something is wrong.

Actaully thats not true - worst part is when they randomly restore a load of your deleted emails, so all the mail you sorted and spam you killed off reappears, TWICE...

Actually, even THATS not true... Worst part is them using SORBS and blocking IP addresses, but rather than saying "this IP is blocked" you get a nice "Your password was incorrect" message.

Actually.... Well I'll be here all day if I keep going.

</rant>

Towards "Anonymous Coward Puh-lease #" - some of us are over the age of 12 and indeed DID do our research before choosing to go with what was once an excellent hosting company - several mergers and cost cutting later it is not, but we're stuck with them while migrating sites away (its not just a case of transfering a couple of files!)

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Silver badge

2nd Chance

I've been with Fasthosts for some years. I haven't asked that much of them, but on the ocasisons when I have needed to contact them, they've been very quick and competent. Mind you, I came to them from 1&1 so Hitler printing out my emails and sorting them by hand would probably seem quick and efficient after that lot. Yesterday caused me some problems, but I'm going to hang on and give them a second chance. If they cock up again, I'll be looking around.

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