back to article Judge slaps Fasthosts for rubbish kit and support

A county court judge has awarded a disgruntled Fasthosts customer almost £1,500 in damages and costs, after the Gloucester firm failed to meet its uptime and customer service guarantees. Hampshire consultancy UK Mobile Media was prompted to take Fasthosts to Southampton small claims court yesterday by a four month period that …

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  1. Pete

    they didn't really win.

    From the article, the claimant was paying £15k a year and suffered 22% downtime. They got 1200 quid back.

    Just simple arithmetic says that 22% of £15 grand is £3300, so the claimant has still lost £2000

  2. TeeCee Gold badge
    Joke

    "still the no.1 for UK hosted websites"?

    They sound more like number twos to me.

  3. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: they didn't really win.

    Hi Pete,

    As the article says, the 22 per cent downtime lasted 4 months. By your reckoning it therefore cost them £1,100, not £3,300.

    - Chris

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Not much compensation

    So, £15,000/year

    Was down for 22% of 4 months... roughly 1 month

    So, if they just got money back for the downtime it would be £1250... me thinks they didn't do particularly well out of this.

    Ho well, perhaps they've learnt something about redundancy and multiple sites, disaster recovery, etc (I'm sort of joking - seems like the sort of company that would prefer to sue than learn something)

    Of course, if they'd gone for linux servers, they would have survived the hdd failures with no downtime at all!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Not much compensation

    "Of course, if they'd gone for linux servers, they would have survived the hdd failures with no downtime at all!"

    What sort of blind penguin-fondling tosh is that?? I know amazing things are professed for OSS but being somehow immune to hardware failure (running on the love of the people perhaps?) is a new one on me.

    Since none of us know the full details of what caused the downtime, trying to turn it into a "should've used Linux" argument is possibly one of the stupidest things I've read all week.

    And no, I'm most definitely *not* an MS lover, or a mac-tard. All systems have their strengths and weaknesses, and all are more or less appropriate for different cases. Vive la difference!

  6. Matthew Rahman
    Stop

    Re: They didn't really win

    Just to clarify - although up until a point last year we were paying £15k a year to FH, for the period the case was concerned with, we were only paying Fasthosts £5k p.a pro-rata because we had already moved a bunch of our services to another provider - leaving just two with FH which were due to be moved (we obviously left it too late before they went tits up!!!).

    So the downtime was 22% of 4 months between October 2007 and Jan 2008 which totals 1 month.

    Still - the point is that we made the wrong decision in choosing FH and paid dearly - regardless as to what percentage the damages equated to - so you're right in a sense - we didn't win.

  7. Bnjmmn
    Linux

    Any recommendations?

    I was just about to use Fasthost's services too...

    Anyone recommned a company for a reliable, cheap, dedicated server??

  8. Andy Tunnah

    @@@Not much compensation

    you sire, should learn to pick up when someone is joking..

  9. Matthew Rahman
    Happy

    Re: Not much compensation

    "Of course, if they'd gone for linux servers, they would have survived the hdd failures with no downtime at all!"

    Someone beat me to it, but that was a completely irrelevant argument! In any case, the software we were running on them was .NET-based - so Linux was not even an option (and don't even think about mentioning Mono!!!)

    Believe it or not, these machines did have mirrored disks - but entire hardware was flakey at the sniff of a disk failure. Fortunately we had no data loss due to our backup regime and could restore a machine fully once it was back up - it was the getting it back up that was problem!

    When you have an online business which has grown quickly and organically with multiple sub-systems talking to each other it's not always black and white.

    And yes - we would sue if we weren't getting the service we paid for - rather than letting them take the p***.

  10. Martin
    Thumb Up

    @Bnjmmn

    I find that Heart Internet do a fairly good job, with the minimum of fannying about

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    linux is great but its still fallable.

    Its totally irrelevant to this whether or not these guys had linux boxes or something else.

    Most servers even windows, have methods of providing ways to deal with a disk failure (RAID being an obvious one), the fact that FH didn't seem to fix the problem (which we dont know the details of) is the fault of FH and not fixed or created by the OS they were using.

  12. marvin p a

    Re: Any recommendations

    Titan Internet. Great support, never had a major problem in 4 years.

  13. Bnjmmn
    Heart

    @Martin

    Cheers! Will check 'em out

  14. Bernard

    re: if they'd gone for linux servers...

    I love it when people miss irony alerts.

    It almost makes your brain melt reading people argue with deliberately ludicrous statements.

    As for Fasthosts, they seem like a rock solid host who everyone should look at for their business critical websites (you see what I did there?).

  15. Matt Thornton

    @Compensation

    Whatever the ration / % of downtime, it doesn't appear to factor in loss of business / earnings.

    @AC re: Linux. I suggest you check your sarcasm detector, seems like it's on the fritz.

    As for Fasthosts, I've never used them for hosting but I do use UKREG (a Fasthosts company) for all my domains, and they've been flawless.

  16. Dan Wright
    Thumb Up

    @Bnjmmn

    try ezpzhosting.co.uk

    i rent a dedi from them and never had any problems

    Dan

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Bnjmmn

    I moved from fasthosts to Dataflame - best move I ever made - then again, *In this readers opinion* fasthosts were such a pile of steaming dingo's intestines, it's hard to really tell.

    Nasty thing about fasthosts, is that it's so damn hard to get in touch with *in this readers opinion* the slimy two-faced butt-holes.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Lighten up folks

    "Of course, if they'd gone for linux servers, they would have survived the hdd failures with no downtime at all!"

    Looks like sarcasm to me but why's there a comma after servers?

  19. h4rm0ny

    Fasthosts have been excellent for me.

    I've been using Fasthosts for the best part of three years now. I know it's only one person's experience, but then so is this story. They've been extremely good both in reliability and in customer support. I have absolutely no complaints with them, especially after the support Hell that was 1&1 who I was with previously.

  20. John O'Grady
    Go

    Recommendation

    For dedicated services, you could try Lunerpages.com. I've been using them for a while, and I haven't had any troubles. Better yet, when I put a service ticket in for stuff like setting up DNS or a mail server, these guys have always gotten it on the first try.

    I've been through the ringer on a few hosting companies in my time - cwihosting being the worst (Owner thinks he can yell at customers). Funny, but I almost signed up with 1&1 until a network admin friend of mine mentioned that their email servers were bullocks. I guess I doged a bullet.

    Go icon for "go to someone else".

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    @ Not much compensation

    "Of course, if they'd gone for linux servers, they would have survived the hdd failures with no downtime at all!"

    yup cause we all run linux in a shoebox with no psu and a cheese sandwich for storage

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @Bnjmmn

    "Anyone recommned a company for a reliable, cheap, dedicated server??"

    You can have reliable *or* cheap.. you can't have both*

    * Depending on your definition of cheap, which is of course subjective

  23. pctechxp

    Hard drive dependence

    All operating systems rely on a storage device, whether it be a hard disk or solid state drive so the linux lovers have just made themselves look really stupid.

    I'm thinking of setting up a hosting biz but I think for redundancy I will rent my servers from several providers so that if one network/machine goes down the others will take the strain.

  24. Darren Poulson
    Linux

    Other hosting companies

    Bytemark are really good and friendly too, tho' only any good if you want linux. They don't do any windows servers. www.bytemark.co.uk

  25. K Silver badge
    Happy

    Hosting ..

    I'd recommend UKDedicated.com, they're still small enough to care about customers, but big enough to offer good support. Also somebody beat me too it, but Lunarpages.com are good, even as a former employee I'd still recommend them (support really is their top priority).

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Any recommendations?

    UK Websolutions Direct (UKWSD) - they are pretty darned good, I was with them for about 6 years before not needing my site anymore, never daytime downtime, and only ever went down for scheduled maintenance maybe once every 6 months for about 10 minutes, even when they physically moved their site it didn't affect me - not the cheapest, but compared to fasthosts they were last time I looked.

    Just avoid homepage universe - possibly worst host ever, even fasthost were better and more reliable for me, and I'd had a few problems with them in my time too. The thing about homepage universe, stupidly cheap, good for one-off proof of concepts and reselling account costs for crappy non-essential sites.

  27. Stephen Gray
    Paris Hilton

    They couldnt be arsed

    They didnt even bother to turn up to court, which tells you everything you need to know about that particular bunch of retards

    Paris cos even she managed to make it to see the judge

  28. Bnjmmn
    Linux

    @everyone

    thanks for the suggestions guys, is much appreciated!

  29. Simon Ward
    Thumb Up

    Re: Any recommendations

    "Titan Internet. Great support, never had a major problem in 4 years."

    Seconded.

    We've got a dedicated Linux server with them - no hardware problems (thus far) and, on the few occasions we've had to contact them (for domain transfer and DNS stuff, mainly) their support staff have seemed very clued in.

  30. Tom Simnett
    Boffin

    @Darren Poulson

    Err, yes they do. Try going through the order process and choosing the operating system on even the pre-selected Dedi.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Tagadab

    Has anyone used these guys for hosting?

    Steve Rawlinson (who used to be, or might still be, involved with ClaraNet) set this up? I was a dial-up ClaraNet customer many moons ago until I left them for free 0800 access via a cable firm. I was always a pleasure reading how open Steve was with problems and fixes on his blog (which wasn't called a blog back then).

    Any opinions on them?

  32. P. Lee Silver badge
    Pirate

    re: yup cause we all run linux in a shoebox with no psu and a cheese sandwich for storage

    A good linux admin would know never to use cheese with holes in it - it wreaks havoc with the read-heads.

    Skull & Crossbones cos the trolls have had a good feed today ;)

  33. Dan Wright
    Linux

    Regarding my earlier comment

    EZPZHosting.co.uk will give you 25% off the first payment on any monthly plan.. shared, reseller or dedis

    with the Promo code GREEN

  34. Igor Mozolevsky
    Paris Hilton

    RE: Any recommendations?

    > Anyone recommned a company for a reliable, cheap, dedicated server??

    So a 'reliable' server would cost somewhere in the region of about £15k-25k just for the hardware (and then, of course, to protect yourself from motherboard/cpu/ram failure you'd want to at least duplicate the system and run that one in parallel because the availability is important), plus redundant power sources plus redundant network connections plus environment monitoring & conditioning plus staff to ensure that everything is actually working fine plus the cost of backups, and you're expecting to pay how much exactly for that?..

  35. John Robson Silver badge

    Hetzner

    Do good dedicated servers,

    OK they're in germany, but they've heard of redundant power supplies and ring connectivity between various data centres.

    And their English is pretty good.

  36. Simon Painter
    Coat

    New icon

    Can we have a new icon with an anvil for when we want to same something with a little irony?

  37. Shaka Bishlop
    Thumb Up

    Commensus Plc

    I reviewed a number of different providers and ended up going with a company called Commensus Plc. They have a different slant on hosting and use a managed virtual platform that spans multiple sites.....I really need my systems available all the time so their redundant hardware and sites pretty much guarantees this. Give them a try or get in touch with our account manager (020 8661 4696).

  38. Daniel Palmer

    @Hard drive dependence

    >All operating systems rely on a storage device, whether it be a hard disk or solid >state drive so the linux lovers have just made themselves look really stupid.

    You need a storage device to store the data before you load it into memory.. but you don't need a fixed disk if you don't intend to keep accessing it. It's very possible to load a linux kernel + initramfs image from a "real" disk (or prom, flash, whatever) and then run totally inside memory.

    Hint: If operating systems really really really *needed* a fixed disk i.e. wouldn't run without one they would be unusable.

    Most operating systems handle stuff like disks disappearing from the system (due to disconnection, failure and such) better than Windows.

  39. Homer

    re: Lighten up folks (warning: Grammar Police)

    "...why's there a comma after servers?"

    The sentence "Of course, if they'd gone for linux servers, they would have survived the hdd failures with no downtime at all!" contains a correlative conjunction that lacks the adverb "then" to connect both halves of that conjunction, therefore a comma is used instead. This is grammatically correct use of a comma, unlike the comma following the word "course".

    You also missed three other grammatical errors, specifically the inappropriate use of an exclamation mark (which is reserved purely for imperative statements); failing to capitalise the acronym "HDD"; and the misspelling of the proper name "Linux".

    The capitol of Nebraska is Lincoln.

    Also it's a well known fact that Linux can survive nuclear holocausts, and can even run in thin-air without any HDD at all, so the small matter of hardware failure should present it with little difficulty. :)

  40. Tony

    @Bnjmmn

    Haven't used them for a while, but I used Giacom for about 3 years. They were very helpful, with knowledegable support staff. The prices were competitive as well.

    http://www.giacom.net/

  41. Justin
    Stop

    @Igor Mozolevsky

    £15k - £25k for a server? F**k me, not sure about you, but the servers I (and most others are used to) such as HP ProLiants and Dell PowerEdges etc, cost between £350 - £8,500 for brand new, stock models.

    The likes of redundant power feeds, network transit & fire supression are standard with most of the larger providers, and in my experience the whole package (hardware, hosting & utility access) start at around £70/month.

    Hot standbys and managed backup solutions are stuff of larger setups, and I imagine aren't a requirement of someone who just wants "a cheap dedicated server".

  42. Nigel Richards
    Paris Hilton

    oops!

    Sounds like they messed up here.

    I've used Streamline.Net dedicated servers and they have been excellent. They have a hardware raid controller so disk failures do not cause any problems.

    I've also heard good things about rackspace, but I think they are quite expensive.

    I've chosen Paris as her servers go down when ever you want them to.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @Bnjmmn

    I can recommend Secura Hosting, been with them for years and they are rock solid.

    To be honest never could understand why people put their business critical stuff with the likes of farcehosts and 1and1.

  44. pctechxp
    Linux

    Linux

    Can also run in the extreme cold too, hence why its mascot is a penguin

    Mine's the puffer with Tux on one sleeve and the Windows flag on the other because I use wheatever will get the job done.

  45. yeah, right.

    pick two

    You get cheap, you get good, you get fast. Pick two of those, (without redefining the terms. I saw one marketing guy try to claim their company had all 3, but he had to redefine "fast" and "good" to do it.)

    Those wanting "cheap" hosting are bound to be disappointed with the reliability of their chosen host. Although "expensive" also doesn't mean "good", it has a better likelihood of getting it right.

  46. dodgyedgy

    Angry man...

    Screw them! They charged me 2 days early for hosting and cost me 65 quid in bank charges. I Hope they rot in hell.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    £8k for redundant CPUs?

    You'll be lucky...

    I think the point he was making was that everyone has a different meaning for 'reliable' and 'cheap' depending on their viewpoint.

    Paris aint 'cheap'.

  48. Pierre Silver badge

    Linux and storage device

    They should have gone for a Linux server, of course. If admin'd properly, there is no chance of disk failure as you can have all the data looping in the network tubes, provided you have a sufficient length of good cat-5 (or better) cable. If you have a lot of data, optic fiber is better as it doesn't produce as much heat. See http://homepages.petech.ac.za/~bruces/bofh/newbofh/bofh2apr97.html for all the technicalities.

  49. kain preacher Silver badge

    C64

    See now in he had one of those supper C64 web servers it would never crash, never have a HDD failure. On top of that its hack proof.

  50. Mike Lovell
    Flame

    Re: Any recommendations

    Yes, you should check out <insert name of hosting company>, they are great. Never any problems and the CEO is hung like a donkey.

    No I'm not affiliated with them in any way.

  51. Thomas Baker
    Happy

    Can I say something stupid that is neither funny nor ironic?

    ...and then when I get flamed for being a 'tard and exposed for having said something 'tarded, just make out like I was making a joke and being sarcastic all along...

    Is that OK? It seems to work. Just sign in as someone else and make a few comments about trolls, flame symbols, anvils, repeat the word "irony", etc.

    Could easily just be one person wiping egg off their face. Might not be...but then again, just might be. I've seen it a few times on The Reg and it seems to follow a pattern.

    Ho hum.

  52. Neoc
    Joke

    re: Lighten up folks (warning: Grammar Police)

    @Homer: "The capitol of Nebraska is Lincoln."

    Actually, "capitol" is a building occupied by a state legislature. I assume you mean "capital", which is a seat of government. So while technically a capitol *is* a capital, the converse is not necessarily true since the seat of government is not necessarily a building, nor is it probably used by *state* legislature.

    It is interesting to note that technically the Capitol building in Washington DC is a misnomer, probably from an earlier time before it hosted congress. ^_^

    On a lighter note: "Pro" is to "Con" as "progress" is to...?

  53. Tim J

    @Thomas Baker

    You are a 'tard.

  54. Joe

    @ Mike Lovell

    Seconded! I've used them too and they've never let me down once in 45 years. The CEO wears very tight trousers.

    PS. I am also not an employee or owner of this company.

  55. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Can I say something stupid that is neither funny nor ironic?

    Yes, of course you can. Go ahead. Everyone else has anyway, so one more won't hurt.

    By heck we need a "Tongue in cheek" icon.........

  56. foo_bar_baz
    Thumb Down

    @pctechxp: double fail

    I hope you feel suitably stupid for responding to a Linux-baiting troll like that.

    WRT to your assertion there are lots of examples (thin clients, nodes in compute clusters, etc.) where diskless computers boot from the network and run off a ramdisk.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Back to the matter at hand...

    Fast Hosts are complete shower of incompentent arse holes. Last year they decided to delete all of the usernames and passwords of users that supposedly hadn't changed passwords after they were hacked - even though I changed all of mine.

    After two weeks of trying to get through to the permanently engaged 'customer service' line and about 10 emails I finally got a response. My secret? Cunningly threatening them with a combination of legal action and physical violence (I threatened to drive to their offices and insert a server in an exit-only orifice of their choice)

    since then their service has been...well shit really.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not cheap but very good.

    Star.net.uk do HA hosting using VMWare. They reckon downtime from hardware failure is the time it takes for a machine to reboot (about 3 mins). Linux and Windows options.

    And they're giving a free Lenovo laptop too!

  59. biznuge
    Thumb Down

    floppy...

    I've got a couple of smaller clients sites hosted with fasthosts and their flaky at best. I've now switched to mediatemple grid servers for clients, and they're great.

    main reason for problems with fasthosts was their DB servers are in a different location (correct me if i'm wrong - may be another reason for timeout frequency in mysql) so I had to build in a ton of caching to both sites, just to cope with moderate levels of traffic, and subsequent db connection timeouts.

    I might add this is only on the small business package, which appears to have less downtime than dedicated....!

  60. Pete Spicer
    Linux

    Another option

    If you're not looking for quite so powerful a setup, you could always try Linode (www.linode.com). You sign up for a virtual machine, essentially, with Xen (they still use User Mode Linux where Xen deployment isn't complete) and you get a virtual Linux server to play with.

    You can install distros, roll your own software etc, and the support is top-notch, even when I managed to break mine when upgrading to Ubuntu Hardy Heron (I broke it so bad it refused to boot), and they fixed it within the hour. Considering I pay $40/month for this - yeah, about £22 given exchange rates, this is pretty phenomenal.

  61. Mike Lovell
    Coat

    Once more, with uptime

    "Seconded! I've used them too and they've never let me down once in 45 years. The CEO wears very tight trousers.

    PS. I am also not an employee or owner of this company."!

    See you at the AGM next week Joe.

  62. Christopher
    Alert

    @@@@Not much compensation

    There needs to be a sarcasm tag for comments

  63. Steve Rawlinson

    gosh.

    @P.Lee - somebody remembers me :)

    Yes, Tagadab is part of the Claranet group and I'm still there.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Linux the answer to all?

    "Of course, if they'd gone for linux servers, they would have survived the hdd failures with no downtime at all!"

    I almost fell over when I saw this.

    Considering I just had to re-build a Linux system (RHEL 4) from the ground up because the raid driver and controller apparently had a bit of a spat ... I'd say that, no matter what OS you run, sometimes crap happens.

    It just seems to happen a lot fo Fasthosts.

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