Approximately 31 hours ago, during the middle of a weekday (about 12:30 pm Eastern), I ordered a dedicated Mac Mini server from 3dgwebhosting, primarily due to the good price relative to the offering, and absence of setup fees or lock-in. I've read some good reviews about them, and some bad, but most of the bad was due to their tendency to overload their VPSes. Since I'm not ordering a VPS, I assumed it would be OK.
Well, other than being charged my money, I haven't heard a peep out of them. They haven't made an account for me in their system; I've received no order status; I've heard nothing about an estimated or even ballpark time as to how long it will take to get the server up and running. I mean, is it going to be another 24 hours, or next week, or do they have to physically order a unit and wait 3 weeks for it to get into the datacenter?
I submitted a ticket about 4 hours after signing up, and the only response I got was:
"We will update you with details as soon as we can sir
The customer service reply, while curt and very to-the-point, is OK -- but I really wish that the business end of this hosting company were a bit more professional with their setup times. They should:
(1) Explicitly state on their website an approximate (or average) setup time
(2) If their setup times tend to be highly unpredictable, they should explicitly state that, too
(3) Work to reduce setup times as much as possible without unnecessarily increasing customer cost
I have used other bargain dedi hosting companies before, and they have either committed to a specific setup time (such as "1 full business day after you place your order") or have been able to give me an estimate when I requested it. These guys seem to have zero information whatsoever, even when directly prompted by a customer.
Hopefully my 30 day billing schedule will start the day that they bring it online, and not the day that I placed the order. Because this is taking a lot longer than I anticipated.
Any other 3dgwebhosting customers out there who have (or had) a dedicated server with them? Better yet, a Mac? How long did it take for your server to be provisioned after your ordering and billing process completed?
At this point, I don't want a refund; but if it's going to take multiple weeks, or winds up taking that long, I will probably ask for one on principle. And if they insist on charging my account for the missed days between order and provision, I will most definitely ask for a refund.
I'm hoping this turns out well because they have a good price and they're offering what I want, where I want it. I'm going to wait this out a bit and see what transpires. But I really wish they would take a little responsibility and tell me what the situation is, even if the situation is something grim like "we just placed your order with Apple and it will get here in 2 weeks".
Part of this was my fault (or really Gmail's fault); their domain was marked as spam. I had never marked them as spam myself, so I guess they have a high amount of "spam karma" according to Gmail's filtering algorithms. Maybe many people have marked them as spam in the past, affecting the decision.
Anyway, they have sent me a bunch of emails every few hours since I ordered the server, keeping me pretty updated on what's going on. Here's a summary:
1. About a half-hour after I ordered the server, they said they'd have it up in a few minutes. At least they reacted quickly to my initial order. They also sent me account details for their web portal at this time, but the account details mail was marked as spam by Gmail.
2. Then they said that they are waiting on their next shipment of Mac Minis to arrive and will have it running by 3:30pm. I guess they didn't realize at the time that they were out of Mac Minis. This mail was originally marked as spam by Gmail, until just a few minutes ago when I found them.
3. Then they said that it will be 3:30pm the next day (this is one day after I ordered). Nothing happened. This mail was originally marked as spam by Gmail.
4. Then I sent them an email asking for a status update, and because I had specifically sent a mail through, I got the reply in my inbox instead of spam folder, with a confused technician asking if I had received their previous mails. So I checked my spam folder and found all the other ones they had sent.
5. Now they're saying that the server will be up by Monday, and the reason for the delay is a "shipping issue" with the Mac Minis. Honestly, I can understand that, if they're telling the truth. I have had nothing but problems with UPS and FedEx over the years; packages are very prone to get lost in the system for sometimes days, and they can get redirected all over the country if multiple waystations misdirect the package.
If they really have a shipping issue and it's going through one of the standard mail services (USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL), then I don't think they have any better idea of when it's going to arrive than I do. We're both just waiting for whoever-it-is to get the order straight and get the package traveling in the right direction.
I can't fault them for this, especially if they had originally planned to receive a fresh shipment of Mac Minis on the 15th, the day that I ordered. An unfortunate coincidence that I wanted a new Mac Mini on the day that they expected them (because they ordered them *before* they ran out of stock), and then the expected shipment gets delayed and delayed.
The jury's still out on whether they actually deliver or are just leading me around, but if they are genuine, I don't fault them. I will probably stay with them if the server stability and network performance are provided as advertised.
Another update: my server is set up and working. They managed to get it to me today, at 4:42 pm PDT.
The total is approximately 56 hours from order time until provisioning time, which is higher than average and higher than I expected, but still not too bad. If the rest of the service is good, I'll be happy, because the server's a good value.