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  1. #1
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    Resellers: Beware of H9

    Good afternoon everyone,

    I am and have been a H9 reseller client since 2009. Over the last 3 years there have been a significant amount of changes to the service given to customers.

    I need to provide some background for those who are unaware of how H9 operates on their reseller accounts. H9 is a cPanel host, however, they use RC, a proprietary panel that is limited in functionality compared to WHM. They use RC because they host your accounts on hundreds of servers and spread users' accounts over different nodes. So, at any given time a Reseller could have clients on a number of different servers (ASIA, US-East, US-Central, US-West, UK).

    For some clients, a reseller account is used as a stepping stone to a VPS or Dedicated server. H9's RC is being used as a contract. If you're with them, and intend to grow outside of a reseller account, have fun (even if it means upgrading to a dedicated server with them).

    Because your accounts are spread over a number of servers, you would either need root access (not happening) or the individual cPanel usernames/passwords for each account. In a sense, if you ever want to move from H9, be prepared to modify each cPanel account's password and do a cPanel to cPanel transfer manually. This will be painful especially if you have over 500 accounts! There is no way to mass change passwords, and each password change via RC takes about 60 seconds.

    Since I have over 500 accounts, I have been talking with management to order a dedicated server, since I can no longer sustain my business on a Reseller. They will only move X accounts for you (even though this would be an easy process since they have the root pw's) equivalent to your dollar spend per month. So in my case, I would order an entry level server at $169. They would only move 169 accounts for free, anything after that would result in a $75 per hour charge. I have no problem doing the migrations myself, but it seems as if management is going out of its way to punish you for trying to move.

    Nothing is free - everyone knows that. Ever since 'A Small Orange' acquired this operation, service has gone down hill. Response times on tickets remain the same (or better) but the responses themselves are terrible (lack of skill, lazy, or both).

    When it is time to move you and your clients sites they will not assist with a migration, and because they use a proprietary panel, you will need to do a cPanel to cPanel transfer FOR EACH account.

    Here is the TL;DR:

    I have a Reseller account with H9, asked to have a Dedicated Server setup and have all of my accounts move from my Reseller to the Dedicated and H9 wants me to manually move each account or pay $75 an hour. If you are a reseller with H9 and intend to grow into a large hosting operation, prepare to spend a week moving the accounts manually. The manager I spoke with took her word back and will not honor the 'free migration service' which was offered.

  2. #2
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    Even if you're moving from their reseller account to their dedicated server, you still have to pay the $75/hour fee?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daryl View Post
    Even if you're moving from their reseller account to their dedicated server, you still have to pay the $75/hour fee?
    Yup. I had no problem paying the premium for a dedicated server with them (their entry level server is overpriced compared to the competition, but would be worth the trouble it'd save me moving everything).

  4. #4
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    Going off the TL;DR... they told you they offered free moving when you signed up?
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  5. #5
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    Yup - early in the conversation with the manager she said they would move my accounts from the shared servers to a single dedicated (so that I would have WHM), but would not assist in moving it to another provider(that is fair, I wouldn't expect them to help me move it to another provider).

    If you have a hostnine reseller, don't plan on moving to a dedicated or VPS. They'll do everything they can from letting you leave (I'd compare my experience to be worse than I've had with getting out of an AT&T contract!)

  6. #6
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    What do you mean by RC? And $75 a hour to move accounts which is easy.

    That's a bit high per hour, £20 at the most for a hour, but most reliable hosts do it as a service to their customers.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelDance View Post
    What do you mean by RC? And $75 a hour to move accounts which is easy.

    That's a bit high per hour, £20 at the most for a hour, but most reliable hosts do it as a service to their customers.
    RC is their proprietary control panel for Resellers, aka Reseller Central.

    I've been in talks with their management for the last 3 weeks and nothing good has come from it. Customer loyalty gets you no where with this outfit (even after 3 years of annual subscription, /sigh)

  8. #8
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    Hi! I'm the Manager in question that the gentleman above had the conversation with, so I thought I would jump in. Please note I will only address the policies with regard to HostNine as stated and the reasoning behind them - customer privacy (even after they go to WHT) is something we take very seriously.

    The policy above is correct in that, at this point, HostNine will now only move X number of sites equal to X number of dollars paid monthly at no cost from our Reseller platform to our VPS or Dedicated Server platform as policy.

    This policy change took place only within the last week and was, unfortunately, in response to a Reseller choosing to claim that they were staying with us and would not leave after negotiating a discounted dedicated server when they were only doing to in order to utilize the free migration services to make moving to another host easier and faster. While I applaud the ingenuity, it unfortunately prompted us to reconsider the previous policy and whether we could bear that type of cost for extremely large resellers with many, many sites as migrations are time consuming for us as well. Turning up servers also requires time, cost, and an investment that we additionally have to consider.

    After looking at a number of potential scenarios, we realized we could not and the policy was changed.

    The manual work involved in moving a large number of sites off our proprietary multi-location platform can be tedious and time consuming, but it is possible to do without our intervention so long as the Reseller has the account passwords. So long as something is able to be done without our intervention and can be done by the customer, asking us to do it for them because they simply don't wish to do so does (in general) garner administrative fees.

    Resellers are aware that our RC is not WHM, and does not have all the capabilities of the WHM. Of course, it does have capabilities that the WHM cannot do, like being able to move sites anywhere in the world without our intervention, and at the will of our customers. If folks choose to leave the HostNine platform, however, it can be a bit time consuming to move it into a strict WHM platform just as it would be to move from one platform to any other different platform, and we try to be extremely upfront about those issues. Again, while it is a bit more complex, it is definitely possible for our customers to do so with absolutely no intervention from us.

    We would have much preferred to leave the policy as it was to ensure that our customers could move from one platform to another with little to no effort on their part regardless of their size but this situation, unfortunately, illustrated a risk we had not considered. Potentially, if someone is pre-paying for a long period of time we may re-evaluate the policy on a case by case basis, and we are still firming up the parameters. Due to the situation that took place, however, we felt it necessary to put into place and felt the formula we arrived at was a good compromise.

    We are always happy to facilitate our customers moves (coming or going - though, granted, we're not quite as happy when they're going), and are happy to perform custom work to make their lives a bit easier, but if it is something they are capable of performing themselves we do have to charge fees for those services.

    If anyone has any questions, please let me know.
    Jen Lepp
    “Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers.” – Kate Nasser

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenLepp View Post
    Hi! I'm the Manager in question that the gentleman above had the conversation with, so I thought I would jump in. Please note I will only address the policies with regard to HostNine as stated and the reasoning behind them - customer privacy (even after they go to WHT) is something we take very seriously.

    The policy above is correct in that, at this point, HostNine will now only move X number of sites equal to X number of dollars paid monthly at no cost from our Reseller platform to our VPS or Dedicated Server platform as policy.

    This policy change took place only within the last week and was, unfortunately, in response to a Reseller choosing to claim that they were staying with us and would not leave after negotiating a discounted dedicated server when they were only doing to in order to utilize the free migration services to make moving to another host easier and faster. While I applaud the ingenuity, it unfortunately prompted us to reconsider the previous policy and whether we could bear that type of cost for extremely large resellers with many, many sites as migrations are time consuming for us as well. Turning up servers also requires time, cost, and an investment that we additionally have to consider.

    After looking at a number of potential scenarios, we realized we could not and the policy was changed.

    The manual work involved in moving a large number of sites off our proprietary multi-location platform can be tedious and time consuming, but it is possible to do without our intervention so long as the Reseller has the account passwords. So long as something is able to be done without our intervention and can be done by the customer, asking us to do it for them because they simply don't wish to do so does (in general) garner administrative fees.

    Resellers are aware that our RC is not WHM, and does not have all the capabilities of the WHM. Of course, it does have capabilities that the WHM cannot do, like being able to move sites anywhere in the world without our intervention, and at the will of our customers. If folks choose to leave the HostNine platform, however, it can be a bit time consuming to move it into a strict WHM platform just as it would be to move from one platform to any other different platform, and we try to be extremely upfront about those issues. Again, while it is a bit more complex, it is definitely possible for our customers to do so with absolutely no intervention from us.

    We would have much preferred to leave the policy as it was to ensure that our customers could move from one platform to another with little to no effort on their part regardless of their size but this situation, unfortunately, illustrated a risk we had not considered. Potentially, if someone is pre-paying for a long period of time we may re-evaluate the policy on a case by case basis, and we are still firming up the parameters. Due to the situation that took place, however, we felt it necessary to put into place and felt the formula we arrived at was a good compromise.

    We are always happy to facilitate our customers moves (coming or going - though, granted, we're not quite as happy when they're going), and are happy to perform custom work to make their lives a bit easier, but if it is something they are capable of performing themselves we do have to charge fees for those services.

    If anyone has any questions, please let me know.
    Took me a while to read that, why don't you consider moving to WHM?
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  10. #10
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    Hi Jen,

    Thank you for your response. I understand your motivations regarding the total # of migrations vs Cost.

    The limitations of RC is really not the customers fault - yes, it is a great app for spreading accounts out over a number of geographical locations - but it limits their ability to truly manage their accounts.

    I've been with H9 even before the CP was released, and my service was better with WHM. CP was(and still is in some areas) a weak platform when it was introduced. Resellers were not given the opportunity to choose if they wanted to stick with WHM or CP. As a grandfathered account, this should be considered.

    Giving your customers the ability to move accounts to a specific node (not just a target area, because it gets load balanced) is necessary so users can get a temporary WHM and migrate accounts without the user violating their customers privacy. I for one, as a host, think that changing a customers password for ANY purposes (other than security) is a violation of privacy. As a large host that values privacy you must consider what you are asking your clients to do.

    With regards to facilitating customer moves - I've never once had a positive experience, so I've always moved accounts on my own via cPanel full backups.

    Yes, technically I can do the move myself. But by doing so I am not using the tools that are freely available for this purpose (WHM to WHM transfer) AND am violating ITIL process and privacy guidelines.

  11. #11
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    I was not concise in my last posting regarding the resources required to move accounts.

    As we know you need the root password of each server for a WHM to WHM transfer, so it wouldn't matter if temporary WHM access was given (other than to facilitate faster password resets since it takes approximately 30 seconds per account in RC).

    I am more than willing to pay the cost of a server to have a tech work on this issue - I understand that it does take time out of your techs schedule and everything costs something. My issue with the whole situation is that I feel that resellers are being held hostage (especially those with a high amount of accounts).

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelDance View Post
    Took me a while to read that, why don't you consider moving to WHM?
    Because a single WHM account cannot operate across multiple locations, which is one of the core features of our Reseller hosting.
    Jen Lepp
    “Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers.” – Kate Nasser

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCNC View Post
    Hi Jen,

    Thank you for your response. I understand your motivations regarding the total # of migrations vs Cost.

    The limitations of RC is really not the customers fault - yes, it is a great app for spreading accounts out over a number of geographical locations - but it limits their ability to truly manage their accounts.
    Yes, it does in some ways. The ability of people to pick up and move an account from Amsterdam to Dallas within an hour or two is a complicated feature, and there are some tradeoffs. RC is not WHM, nor does of duplicate all the functionality, though our developers are constantly working to improve it and add features to RC.

    Quote Originally Posted by DCNC View Post
    I've been with H9 even before the CP was released, and my service was better with WHM. CP was(and still is in some areas) a weak platform when it was introduced. Resellers were not given the opportunity to choose if they wanted to stick with WHM or CP. As a grandfathered account, this should be considered.
    If you can give me the tickets or interactions where you were forced onto RC and not given a choice, that might be a consideration if that was what happened to you specifically.

    Overall, Resellers were given a choice - Reseller Central began being offered in 2007 and for a couple of years HostNine offered WHM and non-WHM RC Multi-location hosting. In 2009, HostNine made a choice to focus on the RC Multi-location platform and resellers were given the option to move into RC - they were enticed with better packages and overselling at the time if they did move. If they chose to move, they were imported.

    However, many chose to stay on a WHM single location account because they didn't want to go to RC, and many of those Resellers are still on our service today.

    If you know the ticket number where you were forced to move off of WHM to RC despite stating that you wanted to stay on WHM, I would be happy to look into that - we keep all tickets going back years. I have not been able to document this, however, or any customer being forced to move. If anyone on WHT has a ticket number for that happening to anyone at all, not just the OP, I would love to look into it.


    Quote Originally Posted by DCNC View Post
    Giving your customers the ability to move accounts to a specific node (not just a target area, because it gets load balanced) is necessary so users can get a temporary WHM and migrate accounts without the user violating their customers privacy. I for one, as a host, think that changing a customers password for ANY purposes (other than security) is a violation of privacy. As a large host that values privacy you must consider what you are asking your clients to do.

    With regards to facilitating customer moves - I've never once had a positive experience, so I've always moved accounts on my own via cPanel full backups.

    Yes, technically I can do the move myself. But by doing so I am not using the tools that are freely available for this purpose (WHM to WHM transfer) AND am violating ITIL process and privacy guidelines.
    I understand your point, but I again have to reiterate this account is not a WHM account, nor has it ever been advertised as one. Simply buying a cPanel account does not denote the host will offer all features in cPanel, and a Reseller account is not synonymous with a WHM account.

    I did check the archive.org snapshot from the time that you signed up, and this was clearly stated. In addition, at the time of your sign up, Plesk accounts were also offered with Reseller Central and clearly stated. I truly don't see how anyone could have understood RC to be the equivalent of WHM when Plesk accounts could also be installed.

    It appears to me that your complaint is that our RC lacks a feature that you feel is needed - and that's a fair complaint. I can see how a mass moving ability similar to WHM would be a useful thing for people moving to VPS's, Dedicated Servers, or off our service. It is not, however, a feature of RC at this time. I have passed this on to our developers to see if they can address this, as this is the first complaint regarding this I have gotten, and we do our best to be responsive to feature requests, though some take a bit more time than others. Since our panel is custom we will see what we can come up with as we are now only offering cPanel on RC and that was not always the case.

    However, this complaint is, at it's core, a feature request/feature addition - while I appreciate this is a feature that you need immediately, it's not one we can implement immediately. Again, we're happy to work with you to attempt to work something out (and are in your ticket), and the need/request for the feature is one that we will look closely at.
    Jen Lepp
    “Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers.” – Kate Nasser

  14. #14
    So you took a hit from one customer, and have decided to pullout of your agreement with another long time customer because they "might" be doing the same thing?
    Last edited by geolie; 04-03-2012 at 03:37 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by geolie View Post
    So you took a hit form one customer,and have decided to pullout of your agreement with another long time customer because they "might" be doing the same thing?
    Because of privacy issues, I can't answer specifics. All I can say is that what you outlined is not the case and is not what we did.

    I'm happy to discuss our overall motivations in changing the policy and why, but not the specifics of customer relationships or actions or our specific actions with customers (in relation to their actions or statements) without leave to do so from the customer specifically. To do so I would have to share their communications with us or their actions to clarify why we would do or say something, and I'm not comfortable at all doing that without their explicit permission (not to mention I think its a bit tacky).

    I know this puts me at a bit of a disadvantage in "arguing" our company position because I cannot outline specifics, but I hope folks reading can understand why I cannot say more than that without leave to do so.

    Thanks.
    Jen Lepp
    “Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers.” – Kate Nasser

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by JenLepp View Post
    This policy change took place only within the last week and was, unfortunately, in response to a Reseller choosing to claim that they were staying with us and would not leave after negotiating a discounted dedicated server when they were only doing to in order to utilize the free migration services to make moving to another host easier and faster.

    I was just going by what you actually said. I was browsing the forums looking for a new host. Would seem to me that, satisfying an existing customer, by following your original agreement would have been more effective in dealing with your "disadvantage". And would have made this thread, beneficial instead of harmful.

    Good luck to the OP.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by geolie View Post
    I was just going by what you actually said. I was browsing the forums looking for a new host. Would seem to me that, satisfying an existing customer, by following your original agreement would have been more effective in dealing with your "disadvantage". And would have made this thread, beneficial instead of harmful.

    Good luck to the OP.
    What I have outlined is our perspective for the change in policy, as that seemed to be the OP's complaint, and I stated from the outset that I would not address the OP's specific complaint because to do that would violate the OP's privacy regarding his communication with us.

    I am comfortable saying that the information that the OP presented here, and the information we were given, are different. We made decisions regarding information the OP gave directly to us and not based on the information in this post.

    Thanks.
    Jen Lepp
    “Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers.” – Kate Nasser

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by geolie View Post
    I was just going by what you actually said. I was browsing the forums looking for a new host. Would seem to me that, satisfying an existing customer, by following your original agreement would have been more effective in dealing with your "disadvantage". And would have made this thread, beneficial instead of harmful.

    Good luck to the OP.
    I wrote a module for Reseller Central years ago back when I was developing it that allowed for quick migration to external servers provided there was an SSH key in place on that server. It saved me a bunch of time since I was constantly dealing with those customers that had a lot of accounts and wanted to move to a dedicated box and such. When I left H9 and took over another company, they wanted to charge me $75/hr to run my own script. There was no "admin" work involved. I felt really screwed when they wanted to charge me to do something I had done for them for years knowing that it was pretty much automated.

    There have always been customers that tried abusing H9's systems, and that's what resulted in a lot of these changes to policy. It's not something I necessarily blame them for, but at the same time, I think they are being very unreasonable with certain situations. Back when Ben was involved, he would bend over backwards to make everyone happy. While I have seen the complaints overall drop substantially since A Small Orange bought out HostNine, the complaints I'm seeing pop up seem to be the easiest ones to avoid.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt R View Post
    I wrote a module for Reseller Central years ago back when I was developing it that allowed for quick migration to external servers provided there was an SSH key in place on that server. It saved me a bunch of time since I was constantly dealing with those customers that had a lot of accounts and wanted to move to a dedicated box and such. When I left H9 and took over another company, they wanted to charge me $75/hr to run my own script. There was no "admin" work involved. I felt really screwed when they wanted to charge me to do something I had done for them for years knowing that it was pretty much automated.

    There have always been customers that tried abusing H9's systems, and that's what resulted in a lot of these changes to policy. It's not something I necessarily blame them for, but at the same time, I think they are being very unreasonable with certain situations. Back when Ben was involved, he would bend over backwards to make everyone happy. While I have seen the complaints overall drop substantially since A Small Orange bought out HostNine, the complaints I'm seeing pop up seem to be the easiest ones to avoid.
    Rather looking forward to a response from H9 now, given this information!
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by side3 View Post
    Rather looking forward to a response from H9 now, given this information!
    If someone was employed by HostNine as a developer for Reseller Central and wrote a module for the proprietary platform, it would seem that we should have this module since it would be property of the company but it doesn't seem that we do. I did ask those employees still with us who were with HostNine for years previous to the acquisition (including our developers, who were both with HostNine previous to its acquisition), and they seemed unfamiliar with it as well.

    I did ask around about the situation named above with the script, but the recollection of folks regarding what that conversation entailed was, again, different than what was listed here and involved a non-employee having root access to our servers (which, for obvious reasons, isn't something that's allowed).
    Jen Lepp
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  21. #21
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    To be honest, just a personal opinion, but I do find it hard to believe that even if you're not aware of this module, someone will have created/commissioned something to do the same or a similar job since.

    There just wouldn't be any point in spending numerous man-hours on transfers, when the time spent could be cut down fairly simply.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by side3 View Post
    To be honest, just a personal opinion, but I do find it hard to believe that even if you're not aware of this module, someone will have created/commissioned something to do the same or a similar job since.

    There just wouldn't be any point in spending numerous man-hours on transfers, when the time spent could be cut down fairly simply.
    There's not, I agree, but I didn't say we had no automation, I stated that we have no RC module that integrates this automation into the RC at this time.

    As to this particular module, I can't speak for why it supposedly existed "for years" and the previous management chose not to integrate it when developing Reseller Central as I wasn't at HostNine pre-acquisition, and no one still currently at the company that was from HostNine pre-acquisition seems to be familiar with the module he's speaking of. Our two developers were both at HostNine for several years, and are very familiar with RC and they are unaware of the module's existence.

    We do have some internal root-run scripts to help speed the transfer process along internally, but these are not integrated into RC for mass-transfers.
    Last edited by JenLepp; 04-04-2012 at 01:53 PM. Reason: clarification
    Jen Lepp
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenLepp View Post
    There's not, I agree, but I didn't say we had no automation, I stated that we have no RC module that integrates this automation into the RC at this time.

    As to this particular module, I can't speak for why it supposedly existed "for years" and the previous management chose not to integrate it when developing Reseller Central as I wasn't at HostNine pre-acquisition, and no one still currently at the company that was from HostNine pre-acquisition seems to be familiar with the module he's speaking of. Our two developers were both at HostNine for several years, and are very familiar with RC and they are unaware of the module's existence.

    We do have some internal root-run scripts to help speed the transfer process along internally, but these are not integrated into RC.
    Fair point, and kudos for coming on here and addressing the issues. If I could ask one question, just from my own morbid curiosity - if you've accepted that this is an issue, and a client side module is possible to be created - why don't you?

    If it means spending a few hundred dollars to get a coder in to write the module, wouldn't that be worth the saving you'd make in support calls/tickets, and your time answering threads like this?

    Once again, not having a go, just curious
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by side3 View Post
    Fair point, and kudos for coming on here and addressing the issues. If I could ask one question, just from my own morbid curiosity - if you've accepted that this is an issue, and a client side module is possible to be created - why don't you?

    If it means spending a few hundred dollars to get a coder in to write the module, wouldn't that be worth the saving you'd make in support calls/tickets, and your time answering threads like this?

    Once again, not having a go, just curious
    For what its worth, I doubt the cost involved in creating such a tool is the issue. I think its more likely that while it could, and probably will be done at some point, The time it takes to do this, and fully test it, are beyond helping the OP with his issue. I believe Jen mentioned that earlier in the thread.

    From personal experience, RC is fairly complex. You cannot just slap some code in there and cross your fingers that it doesnt break anything in the process. Things must be thoroughly tested, as with any other production system, before being implemented.

    That being said, I would probably write a root-ran shell script to assist in the migration for the OP's issue. As he stated, he has 500 or so accounts he wants to move, thats no small task to do manually, and quite frankly, I wouldn't never even consider doing it manually. However, a shell script could be written fairly easily to take a list of cpanel accounts on various servers, package them up, scp them over to the new server, and then restore them. It'd probably take less than an hour to write, and probably many hours to run, but would save the OP some headache and show the level of support that H9/ASO is known for.

    Anywho, thats my 2 cents.
    Frank Laszlo - Developer
    Franksworld Solutions, LLC

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankLaszlo View Post
    For what its worth, I doubt the cost involved in creating such a tool is the issue. I think its more likely that while it could, and probably will be done at some point, The time it takes to do this, and fully test it, are beyond helping the OP with his issue. I believe Jen mentioned that earlier in the thread.

    From personal experience, RC is fairly complex. You cannot just slap some code in there and cross your fingers that it doesnt break anything in the process. Things must be thoroughly tested, as with any other production system, before being implemented.

    That being said, I would probably write a root-ran shell script to assist in the migration for the OP's issue. As he stated, he has 500 or so accounts he wants to move, thats no small task to do manually, and quite frankly, I wouldn't never even consider doing it manually. However, a shell script could be written fairly easily to take a list of cpanel accounts on various servers, package them up, scp them over to the new server, and then restore them. It'd probably take less than an hour to write, and probably many hours to run, but would safe the OP some headache and show the level of support that H9/ASO is known for.

    Anywho, thats my 2 cents.
    Agree with you entirely, I maybe over-simplified my response there, but my issue would be that this obviously isn't a 'new' issue, and one they've known about for a long time.

    Therefore why hasn't something been implemented earlier - if only to make customers happier, rather than the obvious feeling of being trapped, illustrated in the op's post.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by side3 View Post
    Agree with you entirely, I maybe over-simplified my response there, but my issue would be that this obviously isn't a 'new' issue, and one they've known about for a long time.

    Therefore why hasn't something been implemented earlier - if only to make customers happier, rather than the obvious feeling of being trapped, illustrated in the op's post.
    As a former employee of ASO/H9, I can say that I havent actually heard of this being a problem in the past. If it was a recurring thing, the issue would have crossed my desk at some point and it would have been handled accordingly. I do however agree it is a problem, and should be addressed at some point.

    I wasnt with H9 prior to the acquisition, so it may have came up more regular before that. But I cant say it was a regular occurrence after.
    Frank Laszlo - Developer
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by side3 View Post
    Fair point, and kudos for coming on here and addressing the issues. If I could ask one question, just from my own morbid curiosity - if you've accepted that this is an issue, and a client side module is possible to be created - why don't you?

    If it means spending a few hundred dollars to get a coder in to write the module, wouldn't that be worth the saving you'd make in support calls/tickets, and your time answering threads like this?

    Once again, not having a go, just curious
    If no one complains, we assume people are fine with it, and until we get a complaint about a process not working for someone we don't know that it doesn't work. I was first the Customer Experience Manager before I was promoted, so it's been over a year that I have been in a one position or another where nearly all usability complaints would inevitably land on my desk, and this is the first of its kind that I have gotten.

    So, now that I got it, we'll be looking at it to see if we need to do something about the issue, and what's a cost effective way of addressing it if we do.

    For HostNine, because of the multi-location hosting and the ability of sites to move between servers and locations, there's a lot of things that would have to be in a mass-moving tool that ensures the servers remain stabilized. A lot of questions would have to be answered - where can customers mass move? Internally? Only to VPS's or dedicated? If they can go off our service, how do we do that? If they can do it between shared how do we ensure that the server that gains the new sites remains stable? And on, and on.

    Our platform does some very, very cool things, but any mass-move tool would have to include a whole lot of checks and what if scenarios, and that may not be feasible. We may have to look at doing it a different way, like providing FTP backup access through RC without the account password.

    So, like I said - first we have to answer questions regarding what we want it to do. Then, how we do it to ensure stability. It's a bit more involved than just writing a script to zip things from Point A to Point B (which we have, but again, it's outside RC).

    And again, this is the only time it has come up in the past year. For clients that have moved internally or externally, they were able to accomplish what they needed to do with the tools we had.

    So, the core answer is we didn't know it was an issue and now that we do, we'll take a look at it.
    Jen Lepp
    “Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers.” – Kate Nasser

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by side3 View Post
    Agree with you entirely, I maybe over-simplified my response there, but my issue would be that this obviously isn't a 'new' issue, and one they've known about for a long time.

    Therefore why hasn't something been implemented earlier - if only to make customers happier, rather than the obvious feeling of being trapped, illustrated in the op's post.
    Again, the information the OP shared here, and the information that we have about the situation, are different.

    While I am addressing the general issue about H9 policies, for privacy reasons I cannot address the OPs situation directly. However, there are additional issues that have not been outlined here that make the OP's situation unique.
    Jen Lepp
    “Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers.” – Kate Nasser

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankLaszlo View Post
    That being said, I would probably write a root-ran shell script to assist in the migration for the OP's issue. As he stated, he has 500 or so accounts he wants to move, thats no small task to do manually, and quite frankly, I wouldn't never even consider doing it manually. However, a shell script could be written fairly easily to take a list of cpanel accounts on various servers, package them up, scp them over to the new server, and then restore them. It'd probably take less than an hour to write, and probably many hours to run, but would save the OP some headache and show the level of support that H9/ASO is known for.

    Anywho, thats my 2 cents.
    Hi, Frank!

    That is precisely how we generally do moves like this, and how we have in the past, and how we would do them now. If it's over a certain number of sites now to be moved, that amount will incur admin time for any manual work performed by the techs over and above the allotted number of sites that are free.
    Jen Lepp
    “Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers.” – Kate Nasser

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenLepp View Post
    Hi, Frank!

    That is precisely how we generally do moves like this, and how we have in the past, and how we would do them now. If it's over a certain number of sites now to be moved, that amount will incur admin time for any manual work performed by the techs over and above the allotted number of sites that are free.
    Yup, that makes complete sense to me. If there wasn't restrictions on it, you'd end up having the issue of some client with several thousand accounts that need to be moved, potentially costing several man hours of labor, with no guarantee that the income generated from such client would offset that cost.
    Frank Laszlo - Developer
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankLaszlo View Post
    Yup, that makes complete sense to me. If there wasn't restrictions on it, you'd end up having the issue of some client with several thousand accounts that need to be moved, potentially costing several man hours of labor, with no guarantee that the income generated from such client would offset that cost.
    That, unfortunately, is precisely why the situation was changed - a Reseller wished to move off our service, realized that buying a server would be easier for him to move, negotiated a discounted server by stating he would stay, and then let someone at HostNine know that he was only getting the server to pitstop out. So, now, the migration service has some limitations to protect us from that risk and from investing money and time in what is already a losing situation for us.

    We're happy to make things easier on anyone (coming or going), but it's easier to work that out when folks are honest with us. We can usually work out a solution that everyone's happy with if the manual move is more tedious then what they wish to do, and they wish to get our help because it is less tedious for us than it is for them, and we're usually pretty flexible with creative solutions.
    Jen Lepp
    “Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers.” – Kate Nasser

  32. #32
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    I would like to further update the rest everyone who has been involved in this conversation.

    My organization has been trying to reason with Jen Lepp / Dan Maret & HostNine to get a moving plan organized, where both parties can benefit. I agreed to to pay for a script to be developed at the cost of 2 'advanced service' hours.

    To provide you with WHM access we can do a setup in which we create a WHM reseller on each server your accounts are spread across, then assign your accounts to be owned by that reseller. Currently, your accounts are spread across 78 different servers. This would then provide you with a reseller username and password for each server in which you can use to transfer all of the accounts from that single server to another host. We estimate this taking at least 5-6 hours, possibly more to complete due to the number of accounts, servers, and the complexity of this task.

    Another option that our developer suggested is to have us generate a process which tells the server to generate a backup of each account and FTP the backup to an external server. This however would require you to have an external account to have the backups go to, and currently your account usage is almost 140 GB, which may not account for everything. This process would also take a while for the backups to process since the servers can only process one backup at a time. The time estimation to do this would be around 2 hours to generate the process for it, then maybe a day or more for the backups.
    I responded by confirming that by doing this process I would be able to do a 'restorepkg' on the backups and have the accounts setup. The tech I spoke with confirmed this and said they would begin with the process.

    A day later I get a response that the script is done, however, there would be additional charges for monitoring and troubleshooting if the script doesn't work. The tech initial quoted the development to take 2 hours, it ended up taking 2.5 (which is fine, but still wrong).

    The development of the script to generate backups of the accounts and FTP them to a remote location is now complete and took 2.5 hours to develop. The cost for advanced services for this is $187.50.

    The script is designed to generate the backups, FTP them to your chosen location, and email you with the results of the backups once complete. Due to restrictions with cPanel and WHM, the only way to make this possible is to also reset the account's password in the process if the password we have stored doesn't work. If the password we have stored for the account works, then the account will retain the same password, however if it doesn't match, the password will be reset. We'll provide you a list of the passwords that are automatically updated.

    All that is left is to actually run the script to generate the backups. Due to the way the process is, it unfortunately isn't a "set and forget" deal. We'll have to monitor the process and continue processing additional accounts when the others complete. This entire process may take a day or two to complete, but we'd only need to charge for the actual time worked on the process to keep it going, which I estimate will only be about two hours, but could change if unexpected issues arrise.
    Now 'it could change if unexpected issues arise'. This could mean 1 hour, 5 hours, 15 hours, all at $75/hour keep in mind.

    The customer service I have received from this organization is hilarious - I will begin moving my accounts one by one by means of cPanel.

    Here is H9's explanation as to why it is not their obligation to assist me.
    As we have gone over repeatedly, Reseller Central is not WHM. You do not have a WHM account, we don't offer WHM functionality, and while I understand that you feel this is a feature we should offer, it is not a feature we offer. It's not a feature Reseller Central ever had, and not one that we advertised it had. I have read through all 200+ tickets that you have with us, and it does not appear that anyone ever told you that we did have it.

    You keep bringing up a WHM as if it has a bearing on the situation here - since you don't have a WHM account, what WHM can and cannot do has absolutely no bearing on the situation at hand as we do not have WHM accounts, we have a custom platform. It does many things that WHM cannot do, and it cannot perform many things that WHM does. While I realize to you the fact that WHM can do it seems relevant, from my perspective it is not relevant as we don't offer WHM accounts except to the legacy customers that chose to stay on that platform, and those on our dedicated and VPS offerings.
    Moral of the story: If you are with H9 as a reseller, intend to stay a Reseller. Your account will be held hostage, and if you don't have the resources to pay some one $75 an hour to write script for a terrible platform (RC) you'll be moving your own accounts, one by one, without the use of a WHM.

  33. #33
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    I see nowhere where you are being "held hostage" as you put it. The account you have is NOT a WHM reseller account. Its not as simple as you seem to think it is to move all the accounts over to a single host, and they're going to charge you accordingly to move them. What do you think would happen if you had a godaddy reseller account, and decided you wanted to move all the accounts to a single server? (from a custom control panel, to a cPanel server). I very much doubt anyone is going to do this for free.

    They're charging you basically a couple hundred dollars to move over more than 500 accounts, and you're getting caught up on the "but could change if unexpected issues arrise". Sorry, but that is something that anyone is going to do. Labor time is very rarely a fixed amount, thats why its charged by the hour. They're going to put that tag line in there to simply cover their own ass in case it DOES take longer than expected. Chances are that it wont, but they still need to cover their bases.

    Long story short, they're trying to bend over to help you move as painlessly as possible, and you're complaining over a few dollars, and then attack the platform itself as if thats the issue. RC is one of a kind, you wont find any other host that uses anything like it. While it does have its downfalls, the benefits surely outweigh them.
    Frank Laszlo - Developer
    Franksworld Solutions, LLC

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankLaszlo View Post
    I see nowhere where you are being "held hostage" as you put it. The account you have is NOT a WHM reseller account. Its not as simple as you seem to think it is to move all the accounts over to a single host, and they're going to charge you accordingly to move them. What do you think would happen if you had a godaddy reseller account, and decided you wanted to move all the accounts to a single server? (from a custom control panel, to a cPanel server). I very much doubt anyone is going to do this for free.

    They're charging you basically a couple hundred dollars to move over more than 500 accounts, and you're getting caught up on the "but could change if unexpected issues arrise". Sorry, but that is something that anyone is going to do. Labor time is very rarely a fixed amount, thats why its charged by the hour. They're going to put that tag line in there to simply cover their own ass in case it DOES take longer than expected. Chances are that it wont, but they still need to cover their bases.

    Long story short, they're trying to bend over to help you move as painlessly as possible, and you're complaining over a few dollars, and then attack the platform itself as if thats the issue. RC is one of a kind, you wont find any other host that uses anything like it. While it does have its downfalls, the benefits surely outweigh them.
    Frank you clearly haven't been put in the position that I (and other posters in this thread have). It is not a couple of hundred hours. It is potentially thousands of dollars. I have been quoted potentially $1248 for this process (because I have 1248 accounts, most of which are unused, and I haven't been able to keep up with terminating account because RC does not have the ability to work fully with WHMCS, and RC does not have a mass delete function. It takes approximately 60 seconds to fully delete an account (manually via RC).

    And you cant compare GoDaddy to RC. GoDaddys is COMPLETELY proprietary based off GODADDY. RC is based on cPanel/WHM (please correct me if I'm wrong).

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCNC View Post
    Frank you clearly haven't been put in the position that I (and other posters in this thread have). It is not a couple of hundred hours. It is potentially thousands of dollars. I have been quoted potentially $1248 for this process (because I have 1248 accounts, most of which are unused, and I haven't been able to keep up with terminating account because RC does not have the ability to work fully with WHMCS, and RC does not have a mass delete function. It takes approximately 60 seconds to fully delete an account (manually via RC).

    And you cant compare GoDaddy to RC. GoDaddys is COMPLETELY proprietary based off GODADDY. RC is based on cPanel/WHM (please correct me if I'm wrong).

    Where did they quote you $1248? I see nowhere in any of that where that number comes up. If its an issue of deleting the accounts, I'm sure if you ask politely, they can also delete those accounts for you after they have been migrated.

    If you want to delete them via WHMCS, you could easily write a script that does this. Hell, if it'll make you happy, I'll write a little script for you that sends the ModuleTerminate command for all your RC accounts. It would literally take 5 minutes using the WHMCS API.

    And yes, you can compare godaddy to RC. RC is not based off of anything. The fact that it uses cPanel in the backend for each server is irrelevant. Its a management platform, not a control panel.
    Frank Laszlo - Developer
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankLaszlo View Post
    Where did they quote you $1248? I see nowhere in any of that where that number comes up. If its an issue of deleting the accounts, I'm sure if you ask politely, they can also delete those accounts for you after they have been migrated.

    If you want to delete them via WHMCS, you could easily write a script that does this. Hell, if it'll make you happy, I'll write a little script for you that sends the ModuleTerminate command for all your RC accounts. It would literally take 5 minutes using the WHMCS API.

    And yes, you can compare godaddy to RC. RC is not based off of anything. The fact that it uses cPanel in the backend for each server is irrelevant. Its a management platform, not a control panel.
    Frank I didn't include all of the details in my discussion with H9 because they are arbitrary. The $1248 wasn't a 'maximum' price either. The $1248 is because its $1 per account. 1248 accounts x 1 = $1248.

    Maybe i'd be better off paying you to write me a script to migrate this stuff, as you seem to know more about their platform then they do.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCNC View Post
    Frank I didn't include all of the details in my discussion with H9 because they are arbitrary. The $1248 wasn't a 'maximum' price either. The $1248 is because its $1 per account. 1248 accounts x 1 = $1248.

    Maybe i'd be better off paying you to write me a script to migrate this stuff, as you seem to know more about their platform then they do.
    If you have the IP's, usernames, and passwords for all the accounts, I could easily throw something together to migrate them all to a new platform. However, you'll need to ensure that each account has sufficient storage space for a backup to be made. Thats one of the disadvantages of doing it as a "non-root" user. Each account will basically need to be using less than 50% of its allotted storage space.

    How I envision it working is. A script would step through all your accounts. Using the cPanel API, it would generate a backup of each account. Once the backups have been generated, it would download those backups, and copy them over to your new servers. Once this is completed, you could then proceed to run restorepkg on all of the accounts. After you're happy that everything has been moved over, you'll need to update your name servers on all of the domains to the IP(s) of your new dedicated server, and then run a script to first terminate the accounts in WHMCS (so it kills them on RC), and then update the information to point to your new cPanel server, while changing the module to the standard cPanel module.

    Its quite involved, and would take some time to fully develop. But if you're interested feel free to shoot me a message.
    Frank Laszlo - Developer
    Franksworld Solutions, LLC

  38. #38
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    Frank, that's essentially what they've done (but much more simple), but they are suggesting they must reset the password of EVERY account (this also means they are storing passwords of accounts somewhere) in order for this to work. They are also suggesting that if the script breaks, or doesn't work, I am liable to pay for troubleshooting. Last time I checked (and I work in the IT industry as lead of small projects) if a vendor quotes a price, a client agrees to that price, then the vendor comes back (after invoicing the client) that the client is liable for any troubleshooting of the script, it would be breach of terms. If this was 'real' business, H9 would have been sued to oblivion by now. The developer is responsible for testing, writing, and QA of their own product. It's not up to the client to make sure the developer isn't clueless.

    That's like me getting work done on my car, then finding out that its up to me to ensure it works AFTER being sent an invoice (and if the work hasn't been done right, I'll have to get it fixed at my own cost).

    Customer service at its finest.
    Last edited by DCNC; 04-05-2012 at 02:11 PM.

  39. #39
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    I agree that they shouldnt charge you extra for "troubleshooting". It should be tested and working before being invoiced. I just meant that the price quoted may change between quote and delivery.

    With the passwords, they would need to do that if the passwords setup in RC do not match what is in cPanel. Such as if a user changed their password directly in cPanel rather than through RC. Presuming they are using the cPanel login credentials to create the backups.. Personally it would be much simpler to do it as root rather than the local user, and they wouldnt have to worry about that, but I'm sure they have a reason for doing it that way.

    I wont get into the details of how RC functions, as it is proprietary and I am under an NDA related to that.
    Frank Laszlo - Developer
    Franksworld Solutions, LLC

  40. #40
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    Personally I'd be more concerned that I wasn't paying out of my own pocket for the development of a script that they can later re-sell on the quiet. Given how things look at the moment, if you're going to agree to them developing this script, make sure you get a contract stipulating that they can't resell it, and you own the full rights to it.

    At least that way, if it does cost you a couple of hundred dollars, you might be able to make some money back selling it on to others in a similar position.

    Either way I wish you the very best of luck getting the situation resolved
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