E-mail/web hosting, uptime critical.
April 20, 2005 7:36 AM   Subscribe

On the recommendation of some AskMefites, I started using Dreamhost as email/web provider for a small-business. Pretty serious email downtime (undeliverable messages, 24+ hour lags) in the last month necessitate a switch.

Who should I go with? We need large (>1gb) IMAP inboxes, a fairly small amount of web space (~1 gb), and the possibility of WebDAV access. Equally critical: a telephone number for tech support; my boss is tired of "they posted a message saying it's not working right now but should be soon".
posted by piro to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Pair Networks is pretty much shared hosting for people who are tired of the typical crap that comes with shared hosting. Advanced and higher accounts come with phone support. The dedicated server accounts have optional web_dav support. (never used web_dav, so I can't comment on it's reliability).

If you don't want to admin your own box and aren't looking for the lowest price, you'll be hard pressed the find something better than Pair.
posted by alan at 8:07 AM on April 20, 2005

I've been using Internet Connection for over 5 years now, and have been very happy with my service. I never have a problem getting someone on the phone over there when I have an issue, and they even do some support over IM. I do have outages occasionally, they they are remedied quickly, and I am almost always supplied with detailed explanation.
posted by emptybowl at 8:11 AM on April 20, 2005

I have been using Dreamhost for over 5 years and have never had a problem that wasn't solved in a few hours. My historical uptimes for Dreamhost over these last five years are 99.5%. Good luck.
posted by terrapin at 8:56 AM on April 20, 2005

I'm sick of the recent Dreamhost email problems, too. The worst part is that I've recommended them to a bunch of clients (and taken the referral profit) and now they're coming to me to complain. Not good.
posted by letitrain at 8:58 AM on April 20, 2005

Can someone outline what the problems are? I'm in the middle of migrating over from my own colocated box, and I still control my mail. I might need to back up and punt if the problems are severe.
posted by bh at 9:07 AM on April 20, 2005

Response by poster: bh - In the last month, they've had a SpamAssassin config. problem that trapped all incoming messages -- without bouncing them -- for more than 24 hours without bothering to notify customers that there was a problem at all.

This morning, a different problem resulted in all incoming mail (at least for me and some others) getting bounced as undeliverable; the support notice, when finally posted, described it as "planned downtime."

I was excited to go with them initially, and probably would stick with them for personal use, but our company can't be without e-mail for indeterminate time periods.
posted by piro at 9:30 AM on April 20, 2005

bh: there was a problem about a month ago where email from Friday wasn't received until the following Monday or Tuesday. There have been several noticeable email lags since I moved to them last year - maybe some kind of relay problem? This morning there was this message:

Mail Downtime! (Planned Downtime)
Posted: Apr 20th, 2005 - 07:04:07 AM PST (2 hours 18 mins ago)

Good morning happy DreamHost mail users! About 30 minutes ago, the mail clusters that handles your mail started to have problems. We're in the process of investigating the issue, and hope to have it resolved within the next hour. We apologize for the problems this cause.

Happy DreamHost love the smell of mail in the morning team.

I'm starting to see that this is the typical Dreamhost modus operandi: by calling the downtime "planned" it doesn't count against the uptime percentage, even though this is obviously not planned. The communication has been terrible, too - the attempt at a funny tagline is just annoying at this point. They don't answer the questions in their forums at all. I am not a happy customer.
posted by letitrain at 9:32 AM on April 20, 2005

I have had a great experience with HostGator and in fact the 24 hour tech person on Yahoo Instant Messenger has always been very accomodating even when outside of their scope. They aren't the cheapest but peace of mind goes a long way. I am in China so I can't call but I would guess it to be as good. Top notch, really.

On preview - I control my own SpamAssasin for each domain. Think about it.
posted by geekyguy at 9:32 AM on April 20, 2005

I'm convinced that companies like Dreamhost are victims of their own success. They sell tons of accounts for next to nothing, then can't afford to support them.

We have two web hosts, one is on a shared box and shall remain nameless because of current email problems. Our other host is theplanet.com, where we have a dedicated server with tons of bandwidth on a major backbone down in Dallas and excellent support. Of course this comes at a price, but it's worth it.

If I may rant just a bit more... I think we're seeing many more email problems in general because of the amount of spam that's floating around the ether. Web hosts continually have to upgrade systems just to store junk.
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:42 AM on April 20, 2005

I like Hostrocket for business. Lunarpages has been OK for personal, but I'm moving away from both to a mail server I'm hosting at a colocation facility because of spam blacklist and other issues.
posted by SpecialK at 4:06 PM on April 20, 2005

Two words: Verve Hosting. Very simply the best out there.
posted by Dreama at 6:04 PM on April 20, 2005

I've been with Pair.com for 3+ years and have no complaints. I've placed a number of clients with them, too, with no troubles. Higher-level hosting plans come with phone support, but I've never needed it.

I used Dreamhost 4-5 years ago, but left after various problems.
posted by belladonna at 7:17 PM on April 20, 2005

I have been using Dreamhost for over 5 years and have never had a problem that wasn't solved in a few hours.

Several months for me, and I couldn't be happier. I'm upset to to hear that there are problems, as more than 40 people have since signed up as well using me as a referrer. I hope none of them are disappointed with the service (even though they got it for $10).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:31 PM on April 21, 2005

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