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  #1  
Old
Junior Guru Wannabe
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
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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.



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  #2  
Old
Web Hosting Master
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 917
Even if you're moving from their reseller account to their dedicated server, you still have to pay the $75/hour fee?

  #3  
Old
Junior Guru Wannabe
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 30
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).

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  #4  
Old
Aspiring Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 356
Going off the TL;DR... they told you they offered free moving when you signed up?

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  #5  
Old
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 30
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  
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Web Hosting Master
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: 127.0.0.1
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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  
Old
Junior Guru Wannabe
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
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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  
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Web Hosting Guru
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Liberty Hill, TX
Posts: 338
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
Director of Customer Service
A Small Orange Homegrown Hosting | http://www.asmallorange.com

  #9  
Old
Web Hosting Master
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: 127.0.0.1
Posts: 4,622
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  
Old
Junior Guru Wannabe
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 30
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  
Old
Junior Guru Wannabe
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 30
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  
Old
Web Hosting Guru
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Liberty Hill, TX
Posts: 338
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
Director of Customer Service
A Small Orange Homegrown Hosting | http://www.asmallorange.com

  #13  
Old
Web Hosting Guru
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Liberty Hill, TX
Posts: 338
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
Director of Customer Service
A Small Orange Homegrown Hosting | http://www.asmallorange.com

  #14  
Old
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 9
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  
Old
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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
Director of Customer Service
A Small Orange Homegrown Hosting | http://www.asmallorange.com

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