So I've been a customer of Vortech Hosting for over a year now. I've always been extremely pleased with their customer service. It's not unusual to have them respond to one of my issues at 3 or 4 in the morning, only 15-20 minutes after I submitted the issue. So in that regard, I really felt they were an excellent service provider.
However, recently my site has been doing really well, and I've been getting more hits and I've been doing more and more development on my site as a result. Things were going great, until one day my site went down with no email, no warning, nothing. I happened to notice it only an hour or so after it went down, and contacted Vortech. They claimed that my site had hundreds of perl scripts running, and that they locked up my account because of this. Unfortunately, I didn't receive any phone call or anything.
Ironically, exactly one week later, at the exact same time of day, the exact same thing happened again. I noticed it right away because I was doing some work on the site when my home dir was locked up, and called them. The guy that answered told me my home directory was locked by accident, and he reopened it and said there was no problem. I told him of the incident a week earlier, and he said it was unrelated, and that my current issue was simply a mistake.
However, a day or two later, I received an email from Vortech about my site, stating that it was abusing resources. So obviously the guy I talked to didn't have all the information when he told me everything was an accident.
So with that, I called Vortech and asked to speak to someone, because I wanted to rectify the problem, and they'd always been helpful in the past. The guy that answered advised me to submit a ticket, rather than contact via phone. So I did just that, submitting a ticket. The response was all related to my perl scripts, and basically claiming that I needed to optimize my perl scripts. Now I should add that I'm writing object-oriented perl, or at least as close to OO as you can get, and yes, there are certain aspects of my code that certainly could be optimized, like any code. But let's face it, I'm not writing flat procedural code that's completely inefficient, so I don't know how much optimizing I could do.
Nonetheless, I asked the support team what I could do to fix this, and if there were other options such as upgrading my level of service. All he would do is address my perl scripts and their inefficiency.
At this point I could read the writing on the wall, so I purchased a new hosting solution and began migrating my site. Good thing I did, because a day or two later, my cron job on Vortech was removed (basically the script my cron job was calling was chown'd to root and set to 000 permissions). I receieved NO EMAIL OR NOTIFICATION THAT MY CRON JOB SCRIPT HAD BEEN SUSPENDED. I didn't notice it until a day or two later. In my opinion, this is absolutely unacceptable.
To conclude, my issue with Vortech completely stems around the fact that they were unwilling to work with me. They wanted to blame everything on perl, even saying that perl was inefficient and a poor choice for designing a website. While I agree that it might not be as efficient as other solutions like php, let's face it, plenty of sites are using perl/cgi coupled with mod_perl, fastcgi, etc., and doing just fine. This excuse about perl being a bad choice is idiotic, and in my opinion shows their incompetency.
Nonetheless, if they dont' want to support it fully by providing fastcgi and/or mod_perl extensions for apache, then fine, but don't gripe the whole time about perl then. In fact, if you're going to claim you support perl and cgi backend for websites, then you shouldn't be griping at all.
Based on this experience, I will never use Vortech again. I have found a better hosting solution where I have 24/7 support and people who dont' constantly sit there and gripe about perl. I have had no downtime, and no processes cancelled, no home directories locked, etc. In short, it's a much better solution.
I guess what really frustrates me about vortech is the fact that they didn't contact me when they had issues with "abuse" as they called it. A simple email or phone call would have done wonders. And then when I did confront them on it, they bitched about my code rather than offering me hosting solutions that could handle my requirements and code.
I would recommend that everyone stay away from vortech. I was a happy customer for over a year before I discovered their incompetency. Based on the way they handled our problems, I couldn't imagine ever using them again.
P.S. If anyone from Vortech reads this hosting forum, I'd love a logical, well-thought-out response, b/c I could never get one via email or through their bug tracker.
Well, in all fairness, they told me from the beginning that it was perl and CGI's load on the server. I can respect that, because I know from experience that perl can be fairly taxing. But that's why we have options like mod_perl and fastcgi, which could have helped things considerably.
My two biggest issues were (1) why could they not provide a solution for me that gave me more resources, since I was under the impression that Vortech provided scalable services based on your resource needs, and I was certainly willing to pay more if necessary; and (2) why couldn't they provide me with, as you said, information on the server load, the name of the script that was the offender, etc.?
It really sucks because up until 3-4 weeks ago I loved Vortech and their fast service and would have recommended them to anybody without any hesitation. I still think for a small scale website, Vortech is a good host, just don't be surprised when your website grows and they're unable to provide a scalable solution to you and, in the process, blame all your woes on you.
Vortech does offer fairly large plans for a small cost, so it is possible that it was just a problem with them due to overloaded servers, etc.
I suggest you search for a business or application hosting environment. Usually (with good providers), these environments are undersold to accommodate larger, more resource intensive websites. If a business or application host still doesn't do the trick, you may want to look into a low-end VPS (I doubt you'll need a dedicated server).
Thanks Steve, I decided to go the managed dedicated server route because I wanted the flexibility. It's definitely overkill right now, but at least I can manage my own applications, and customize the server as needed.
First let me say this today was the first I heard about this as someone pointed this post out to me and give me a little info on the ticket.
Let me start off by saying you should have got an email each time we suspended or stopped your site, it does not sound like your account was suspended because had they of done that the system auto sends the email. It sounds like they stopped the site and I can't blame them if it's causing load issues and as other pointed out perl can causes some big loads on a server if not run correct.
The tech that told you about the issue in the ticket that I was showed told you why we had to shut the site off and tried to explain it to you. It does not sound like you understand what was going. Since you have moved to your own server I will not even get in to that as now it would only affect your site so it would be point less now.
I am sorry about the issue if we you did not get an email but we must take action if a site is in any way affecting other customers or the server or load on a system is extreme.
One is done on the actual server the other is done from the control panel, had they done it from the CP it would have shut ALL of his sites off under that account if he had more than one domain under one user, the tech only stopped his one site it seems, it's one of those good but bad things.
Good if he had more sites we only stopped one site, bad if the customer does not got the email or the tech forgets to send it. Not sure what happened in this case yet. But I will check tomorrow for a abuse warning email if one was sent then, if not I have some bitching today.
I know he had also called in a few times, it's not like this was the first time we told him about the script he even said that above, it happened more than once I know. The techs only know what it's doing to the server, I mean it's not up to them to fix his code can't blame us for his bad code or the way he was leaving 100's of perl scripts open. But again this was the first I heard of it so I don't know to much yet as the tech that was working with him was off.