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  1. #1
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    * Do managed hosts stand by their customers or kick them down the road?

    I would like to know what other shared, managed hosts think about standing by a customer, that is in a bad way, due largely to no fault of their own. I read the forums and frankly my jaw drops to the ground when I hear over and over that another customer's account was terminated for bad and sometimes even good luck.

    DDoS. Do you Kick them out?
    I don't understand a host that punishes its customers for things beyond their control. Take DDoS, for example. When our customers come under attack, it can involve taking down their site temporarily, but we help them and stand by them the whole way. Sometimes the medicine we use is a little drastic, as we also protect our other clients, but in the end we all come out of it and are stronger. Sure, that customer has just eaten up three year's profit, so where do you draw the line? I just don't get the whole kicking customers to the curb thing, unless the customer has been deceptive, broken the law or our TOS (with malice).

    Sudden High Traffic Volume. Do you Kick them out?
    When a customer's account goes viral, because they got on Oprah, do you terminate them because they are now using one hundred times the resources and suddenly the largest user on a shared machine? Do you give them time and actively work out a plan to migrate them to the right sized plan? Do you cut them slack? How much time do you give them? If the customer doesn't respond (Oprah put them up in a nice hotel and gave them a car to dive home in), how long do you hold down the fort?

    Unlimited Service. Do you Kick them out?
    When a customer has an either limited or unlimited service, and technically is breaking a TOS rule by impacting the server, what do you do? Say a customer installed a Database that eats up way too many resources, something unexpected. A developer has just installed one million empty tables. Do you work with them to find a solution? Do you charge them for excess usage? Do you give them time and help them devise a plan? Same with drive space, or RAM or bandwidth, how far do you let it go?

    Many call the customer an abuser. Do you show them love or the door?
    Last edited by gPowerHost; 10-27-2013 at 08:30 AM. Reason: grammer

  2. #2

    Re: Do managed host's stand by their customers or kick them down the road?

    I am a reseller on a shared server and keep thinking what will happen if a customer of mine uses too much bandwidth or does anything wrong what is out of my control. Will my host terminate my complete reseller account and destroy my business?

    I keep reading all these horror stories and consider upgrading to a VPS.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gPowerHost View Post
    I would like to know what other shared, managed hosts think about standing by a customer, that is in a bad way, due largely to no fault of their own. I read the forums and frankly my jaw drops to the ground when I hear over and over that another customer's account was terminated for bad and sometimes even good luck.
    I hear you, however sometimes these things can be out of the providers hands as well. For example, frequent DDOS attacks (different target domains doesn't matter) could get the host kicked out of their DC in a heartbeat.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gPowerHost View Post
    Sudden High Traffic Volume. Do you Kick them out?
    When a customer's account goes viral, because they got on Oprah, do you terminate them because they are now using one hundred times the resources and suddenly the largest user on a shared machine?
    If they were happen to be in this situation (a big referral), I hope they understand the nature of shared hosting, therefore plan to migrate to a VPS/Dedicated server in due course.
    Of course, it depends on the nature of the site, php, html, a CMS or custom code.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gPowerHost View Post

    DDoS. Do you Kick them out?

    Sudden High Traffic Volume. Do you Kick them out?

    Unlimited Service. Do you Kick them out?

    DDOS. Have options in place with your provider for such events.

    Sudden Traffic. Everyone wants sudden traffic. In any business everyone wants to become "the next big thing". Again, options in place for such a situation.

    Unlimited....not going down that road.


    In all situations, the best tool is communication. If a site becomes a super hit, if you have the resources, run with it, give it to them. Why make have the site go down.

    If your not able to accommodate the surge, have a strong recommendation in pace. A few years ago I had a client that needed resources that I couldn't offer. I forwarded them to a reputable company from here that I know could handle their needs. Clients still with them and happy.

    Another client has very high traffic a certain time of year. Best tool...communication. Once that time of year comes around, the resources are adjusted to accommodate those needs.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 48-14 View Post
    DDOS. Have options in place with your provider for such events.

    Sudden Traffic. Everyone wants sudden traffic. In any business everyone wants to become "the next big thing". Again, options in place for such a situation.

    Unlimited....not going down that road.


    In all situations, the best tool is communication. If a site becomes a super hit, if you have the resources, run with it, give it to them. Why make have the site go down.

    If your not able to accommodate the surge, have a strong recommendation in pace. A few years ago I had a client that needed resources that I couldn't offer. I forwarded them to a reputable company from here that I know could handle their needs. Clients still with them and happy.

    Another client has very high traffic a certain time of year. Best tool...communication. Once that time of year comes around, the resources are adjusted to accommodate those needs.
    Excellent answer!

  7. #7
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    DDoS. Do you Kick them out?
    Reminds me of the time we had a (non-customer) at the time contact us looking for service, noted that he wanted DDOS Protection for his site, we advised we could accommodate this for him with no issues.

    However, instead of taking our word for it he decided to do a little DDOS attacking on our unit to test and see whether or not we were capable of preventing a DDOS attack.

    We knew it was the same person trying to prove us wrong, though we never showed him the door - kindness maybe, a nuisance most definitely.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gPowerHost View Post
    Excellent answer!
    Thanks . .

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gPowerHost View Post
    I would like to know what other shared, managed hosts think about standing by a customer, that is in a bad way, due largely to no fault of their own. I read the forums and frankly my jaw drops to the ground when I hear over and over that another customer's account was terminated for bad and sometimes even good luck.
    The host has to take into consideration many things when there is a case of "abuse". For example, in our case, the last thing we want to do is to boot a customer, and the last thing we want to do is de-activate a customer account for abuse, however it's important for the customer to see things from the perspective of the host as well.

    For example, let's take a ddos for example. These can be extremely expensive to mitigate and the damage can be catastrophic depending on how long it lasts and how many people it affects. If you have a customer paying you say $5/month, then it wouldn't be viable for the host to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars to mitigate it. Not only that but assign the staff resources to mitigate it. It's not just the actual cost, but you also have the opportunity cost to consider as well.

    Similarly, if it's shared hosting then it's going to impact the entire server, so if you have 400-500 customers on that server, it would be unfair on them as well, not to mention how much money they stand to lose if they have income generating websites.

    I don't understand a host that punishes its customers for things beyond their control.
    This is a common thought that I strongly disagree with. The host isn't punishing you. The host has a responsibility and an obligation to all their customers and not just you. They need to act for the greater good and not act in such a way that will be detrimental and unfair to the rest of their customers.

    A host de-activating a site or null routing an IP that is being attacked is acting in defence, not trying to punish you and any reputable good standing host will have many better things to do than think of ways to punish a customer.

    Sudden High Traffic Volume. Do you Kick them out?
    A customer has to take responsibility for what they are hosting and it is also their responsibility to communicate traffic spikes with their provider. However, with things like CloudLinux, impacts of traffic surges can be isolated to that particular account.

    For us, when a customer is experiencing abnormal traffic, then we consider the business implications of our actions. In some cases, we've migrated a client onto a dedicated server of their own so the impact on their business is limited. At the same time we stay in constant communication with the customer to discuss options for the future if they expect the new traffic volume to become the norm. But we handle all the cases individually and based on their merits.

    Unlimited Service. Do you Kick them out?
    When a customer has an either limited or unlimited service, and technically is breaking a TOS rule by impacting the server, what do you do? Say a customer installed a Database that eats up way too many resources, something unexpected. A developer has just installed one million empty tables. Do you work with them to find a solution? Do you charge them for excess usage? Do you give them time and help them devise a plan? Same with drive space, or RAM or bandwidth, how far do you let it go?
    When a website grows, it grows gradually. A website designed to grow should already have plans in place to ensure they have a clear upgrade path. They should have already taken steps and discussed their options with their host and have a plan of action in place to make sure that when their website grows, the hosting environment evolves to adapt & cater. If the customer didn't take those steps to save a few pennies instead and leaves everything until last minute, then I would say the customer has not been very responsible.

    The important thing to consider here is that customers *must* take responsibility for their content and for what happens to that content. A customer can say a DDoS is not their fault, but similarly, it's not the fault of the host either. The customer must take steps to defend themselves and the host must take steps to defend their business interests as well.

    Some place too much emphasis and try and shift responsibility onto the host. You see it on WHT all the time with titles "omg my host suspended me because I got a million visitors in 5 minutes". If you care about your website and you care about your business, then you will take responsibility and you will take action to prevent such incidents from arising in the first place.

    Abuse issues like you've mentioned however are not all that common in the grand scheme of things. When you compare how many sites operate without a hitch compared to how many that do, it's negligible. It's just that customers are a bit more vocal about it, more so those that haven't taken the necessary steps to ensure they don't have an issue in the first place.

    That aside, a host should also take steps in keeping good dialogue with their customers. Educating customers and advising them with sound technical knowledge when they need it can be of great assistance because some that experience abuse issues may quite simply just not know about it in the first place (careful however, ignorance is not an excuse!).

    Lastly, if anyone is worried about their website(s) implications on the hosting environment, then if you're with a decent & reputable host, they'll take the time to thoroughly go through your concerns either on the phone or email and provide friendly yet technically sound advice & guidance and what can be done to mitigate such incidents.
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  10. #10
    Rameen,

    while I agree with you on the customer taking responsibility which seems to be the main theme of your long and thoughtful reply, it is also the host's responsibility to inform the customer about these issues and to let them know their policies clearly.

    Way too many hosts today advertise their "unlimited everything" plans. In one instance I've seen a big red "Unlimited Web Space and Unlimited Bandwidth. Have your site grow and never worry about the resources". And then at the bottom of the page in small print "Please take note that our plan is suited to small to medium web sites. If you use too many resources we may have to suspend your account but don't worry because this happens only with 0.01% of our customers who upload media files to our servers."

    It's understandable that hosts have to keep up with the competition but wording a TOS this way is deceptive. If a host expects a customer to know what he/she is doing, they also need to be upfront and honest with the customer, preferably before the customers takes out his credit card and not afterwards.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Burlo View Post
    Rameen,

    while I agree with you on the customer taking responsibility which seems to be the main theme of your long and thoughtful reply, it is also the host's responsibility to inform the customer about these issues and to let them know their policies clearly.

    Way too many hosts today advertise their "unlimited everything" plans. In one instance I've seen a big red "Unlimited Web Space and Unlimited Bandwidth. Have your site grow and never worry about the resources". And then at the bottom of the page in small print "Please take note that our plan is suited to small to medium web sites. If you use too many resources we may have to suspend your account but don't worry because this happens only with 0.01% of our customers who upload media files to our servers."

    It's understandable that hosts have to keep up with the competition but wording a TOS this way is deceptive. If a host expects a customer to know what he/she is doing, they also need to be upfront and honest with the customer, preferably before the customers takes out his credit card and not afterwards.
    That's totally understandable and I fully agree with that. A host cannot be negligent of their responsibilities. If a host is offering unlimited everything and giving the impression this is all they'll ever need, but then take steps against a customer when they use what is being advertised, then of course I would stand by the customer in such a case.

    The point is - both the customer and the host need to take responsibility for the roles they play. If a host sees a customer website slowly increasing in usage, then that host should inform the user right away so as to not leave it too late. And the same can be said about the customer too .
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  12. #12
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    Every situation is going to be different but I think when you are on shared server you have to think about all the customers you have on that server, not just that one specific customer. Of course things sometimes happen and you have no control over but I think to actually tell a customer to go elsewhere I think that should be last resort. Unless the customer is not being cooperative then you need to make that decision.
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  13. #13
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    I think getting terminated or suspended is reasonable on a shared host, but:

    1.) Hosts should make the possibility of getting terminated/suspended very clear from the very beginning.
    2.) No one should be selling anything as 'unlimited'--they're just not true.
    3.) Hosts should provide a clear step up plan for those who may outgrow their packages, even if that step up plan involves another host.
    4.) Host should provide adequate proof or explanation regarding why they believe an account was indeed the target of a DDoS or why it has been flagged for consuming too much resources.
    5.) If you are a budget host admit it. Be straightforward about how much resource, bandwidth, support, and monitoring your customer will get.
    6.) Proactively email customers that you plan to or have just suspended/terminated their account.

    I believe even budget hosts so-so speed and downtime here and there can still be awesome, as long as they are straightforward and upfront about their products.

  14. #14
    I'll always talk to clients and try to come to some form of arrangement in any scenario. However if they don't respond promptly or aren't reasonable then I have no option but to suspend services.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddiedKnees View Post
    I think getting terminated or suspended is reasonable on a shared host, but:

    1.) Hosts should make the possibility of getting terminated/suspended very clear from the very beginning.
    2.) No one should be selling anything as 'unlimited'--they're just not true.
    3.) Hosts should provide a clear step up plan for those who may outgrow their packages, even if that step up plan involves another host.
    4.) Host should provide adequate proof or explanation regarding why they believe an account was indeed the target of a DDoS or why it has been flagged for consuming too much resources.
    5.) If you are a budget host admit it. Be straightforward about how much resource, bandwidth, support, and monitoring your customer will get.
    6.) Proactively email customers that you plan to or have just suspended/terminated their account.

    I believe even budget hosts so-so speed and downtime here and there can still be awesome, as long as they are straightforward and upfront about their products.
    Very practical and sensible, thanks!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by MuddiedKnees View Post
    2.) No one should be selling anything as 'unlimited'--they're just not true.
    The truth is no shared host can really offer anything unlimited. "Unlimited" is just a way to keep up with the competition. Instead of limiting bandwidth and disk space, they limit inodes and CPU, which lead to the very same result: lower traffic allowed for the website.
    Last edited by Arthur Burlo; 10-28-2013 at 03:17 PM. Reason: Grammar. Sorry, English isn't my first language

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Burlo View Post
    The truth is no shared host can really offer anything unlimited. "Unlimited" is just a way to keep up with the competition. Instead of limiting bandwidth and disk space, they limit inodes and CPU, which lead to the very same result: lower traffic allowed for the website.
    Yeah, it could also be the market's fault, but I think the best hosts should not fall into this trap. It's hard to let users understand what they really need in terms of resources, so 'unlimited' is really an easier sell than explaining resource numbers.

    Maybe a marketing message based on user needs will be an effective alternative to the otherwise misleading 'unlimited' message. For example, 'our shared service X is more than enough if you want a simple site with a few hundered visitors a day. If you have a few visitors, but want an active forum, shared service Y is best, etc, etc.'

    Just my 2c though...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebHostFreak View Post
    I am a reseller on a shared server and keep thinking what will happen if a customer of mine uses too much bandwidth or does anything wrong what is out of my control. Will my host terminate my complete reseller account and destroy my business?

    I keep reading all these horror stories and consider upgrading to a VPS.
    If your host will kick you for using too much bandwidth, then you are in the wrong provider unless it is ddos. But, when it comes to ddos, the data center will usually just null route the ip.

    Shared hosting, VPS or Dedicated Server, it doesn't matter when it comes to ddos.

    Usually these days, using more bandwidth will automatically just suspend or the provider will just bill you for over usage.

    I didn't experience getting kick out by the data center fortunately :-)
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