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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    962

    Blown away by how manual so many VPS providers are.

    Earlier today I signed up for accounts at 20 different VPS providers for a route monitoring & data collection tool I wrote. 8 hours later, the only VPS's that are setup are from Linode and VPSLink. Some of the others wanted to call me up and verify and either never did, or did and haven't yet setup my account. One or two are still in pending state.

    What's with the disparity? Are so many VPS providers really just doing everything by hand?

    Perhaps we could get a list of the providers run professionally, versus the mom & pop ones who haven't managed to automate these braindead simple processes?

    I've got to say, I don't see the VPS market competing against the grid. The other day I interviewed the owner of NewServers.com while at Structure in SF. It took me just under 10 minutes to get a working server, which included the 5 minute email delay because I greylist.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by mhalligan View Post

    What's with the disparity? Are so many VPS providers really just doing everything by hand?

    Perhaps we could get a list of the providers run professionally, versus the mom & pop ones who haven't managed to automate these braindead simple processes?

    .
    would be great idea, rather than going in blind. i've had a few similar experiences.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1,471
    I hope you plan on writing a report at the end of all this and share your experiences. My experience with VPSLink's setup has been great as well, taking only 10 minutes for the VPS to be setup. Other's I've signed up with have all finished setup within 6 hours.

    It would be interesting to hear VPS providers take on this as well. Is fraud a large issue in this sector? I've been hearing a lot lately about fraud checks and what not.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    962
    This is turning out to be somewhat of a comical farce. I've had 2 VPS providers say they take AMEX only to find out 4 hours later, after their ridiculous call-back, that they don't actually take AMEX .. almost 5 hours after paying for one VPS I'm still waiting for them to turn up my VPS. Another 7 VPS companies still haven't given me callbacks.

    It's like I'm on the street corner, covered in money, shouting "I WANT TO GIVE YOU MY BUSINESS" and all the vendors are deaf, dumb, and blind, so they just walk on by.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    23
    Yes, Indeed a report with every VPS company and setup would be a very interesting read.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Amex & Amex
    Posts
    1,273
    Quote Originally Posted by mhalligan View Post
    Earlier today I signed up for accounts at 20 different VPS providers for a route monitoring & data collection tool I wrote. 8 hours later, the only VPS's that are setup are from Linode and VPSLink. Some of the others wanted to call me up and verify and either never did, or did and haven't yet setup my account. One or two are still in pending state.

    What's with the disparity? Are so many VPS providers really just doing everything by hand?
    Would you mind sharing which VPS providers you signed up with? Would be interesting to see whose giving you trouble.
    Looking for a real host? Companies who care: KnownHost, MediaLayer, WiredTree

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Atlanta, Jawja
    Posts
    3,066
    Guess you've never heard of anti-fraud reviews and business hours, Michael? Not trying to be mean, but, you do need to be realistic with some of the providers.

    Unless you're dealing with a VPS provider that has literally tens of thousands of accounts, order reviews are usually done by one to two people, and those people generally can't work 24x7x365.

    Just something to keep in mind. And yes, I also hope you post a review of your progress as things move forward. It's a rarity when someone goes on a mega shopping spree like that, haha!
    Douglas Hazard - Certifiable Sports Junkie and Sports Community Enthusiast

    Host of Two Cents Radio - Follow @TwoCentsRadio on Twitter (@BearlyDoug on Twitter)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    West Michigan, USA
    Posts
    9,675
    After spending some time in the VPS biz, I have to say that fraud is a HUGE HUGE HUGE problem. I've been doing this for 11 years now and have worked just about every aspect of the hosting industry and VPS orders *BY FAR* have the highest rate of fraud. There's no way I would ever automate account setups for VPS accounts...no way.

    Keep in mind that its generally the billing/accounts department that has to verify orders and, unlike support departments, it doesn't make much sense to hire 24/7 billing/accounts staff. So, if your order comes in near the end of the day - you realistically may have to wait until the next day for your account information.

    Frankly, the fact that 20-some VPS providers all gave you much the same setup experience speaks volumes. It tells me that things have not taken a turn for the better in terms of how careful VPS providers have to be because of the large number of incoming fraud orders.

    How bad was it for us? Bad enough for me to want to stick to hosting and the dedicated server market.

    --Tina
    ||| 99.999% Uptime SLA!!!
    Plenty of space and bandwidth to fit your needs!
    www.AEIandYou.com - - (WP Friendly - Premium Reseller Hosting and Cheap Dedicated Servers)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    India
    Posts
    1,048
    Agree with companies taking their time on orders. Unless they specified orders taken care of in xx hours , I think its alright to wait upto 24 hours or even sometimes 32 hours (longer than that is certainly odd).

    Fraud is a major issue and as mentioned above, lots of people are hell meant on making merry of it....

    There is no processor that promises a 100% chargeback solution, and since the vps are costlier than shared & reseller hosting theyre are ALOT of companies that do manual verification and even have you sign .pdfs or fax out signed documents before setting them up.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    1,646
    Quote Originally Posted by mhalligan View Post
    Earlier today I signed up for accounts ... 8 hours later, the only VPS's that are setup are from Linode and VPSLink.
    I'm guessing you didn't sign up with any HSPComplete/Virtuozzo providers like Tektonic or FutureHosting? They should be able to provide on-demand provisioning as well.

    I've rented a few VPSes over the years, and the VPSLink level of automation is unusual from my experience. What makes it impressive to me is that it is all custom coded and highly functional.
    Eric Spaeth
    Enterprise Network Engineer :: Hosting Hobbyist :: Master of Procrastination
    "The really cool thing about facts is they remain true regardless of who states them." -SpaethCo

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    London
    Posts
    227
    Fraudulent orders is a big problem in the VPS market. Phone verification is a must for overseas orders and if an order looks at all suspect we don't give them the benefit of the doubt.

    We are semi-automated working on a "order before 3pm (UK time) and set up the same business day" basis, which seems to work for most people.
    Andrew Ogilvie | Xtraordinary Hosting | AS30827 | Member of LINX
    Dedicated Servers in Central London | Xen VPS Linux & Windows | Complex Hosting | London BGP4 Bandwidth

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Liberty Hill, TX
    Posts
    338
    Wow. Brain-dead simple processes caught me.

    I don't automate anything, by choice. I have Ubersmith, I have WHM, I can tie them together just fine (it is, after all, a brain dead simple process, don't ya know). And I do mostly shared hosting - and I still do it all by hand (installing, opening new accounts, ect.) I still

    1) Get the order
    2) Eyeball it, make sure they can, you know, spell their city.
    3) trace the IP, match it to the address.
    4) Google the email address, google the site, visit the site...

    and on and on. I have been told by some of the colleagues I regularly IM that I am an old fashioned relic from another time. I've been made fun of by some of the sys admins at my data center (good natured-ly, of course). I've been offered coding by friends just to get me to stop. It drives them crazy.

    But you know what? For the 5 minutes it takes me to manually look over every single order and provision it and install it, that's less of a risk that I will spend three hours stopping a staunch of garbage flowing through my server or from my server. My sys admins at the NOC may make fun of me, but they never see a ticket from me asking how to stop a spammer spamming through my box, and I never hear from them that I need to shut so and so down because they're doing such and such.

    After ten years, I can usually spot them in an instant or two. I doubt any algorithm has as good a track record as I do.

    And, frankly, there's the added bonus that the client coming on passes through my hands. It may seem silly and ridiculous, but I don't want someone popping up on my boxes one day and have me wonder when the heck they got here.

    I'm large enough that it is, admittedly, a bit of a pain. I'm small enough that it's something I plan on continuing to do, and not because I can't implement a brain dead process - it's because I, personally, don't want to make that process brain dead, anonymous, and automatic - the same as if I owned a brick and mortar, I would want to glance up at the door when someone walks in and say hello.

    In case you didn't catch on, I took umbrage at your claiming I am not professional.
    Jen Lepp
    Director of Customer Service
    A Small Orange Homegrown Hosting | http://www.asmallorange.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Oztrayla Mate!
    Posts
    572
    I'm really glad my VPS provider phoned me from the other side of the world and thoroughly reviewed my order instead of mailing me a log-in as soon as the funds hit his account.

    The quality of the server is top notch, and i would hate to think he was letting people on instantly and risk degrading the service.

    This is coming from someone who is not a host, and who wanted a VPS fairly quickly.
    Great Host = WiredTree.com Managed VPS Hosting

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,074
    As another VPS provider I have to agree with everyone else here. The Fraud rate on VPS compared to any other service is extremely high.

    Even though we have the capability for automated setups, several orders would still get through our fraud detection systems just to open chargebacks against us later on. It really isn't worth the risk.
    System Administrator (RHCE, LFCS, cPPC::Tech)
    PCSmart Group.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    315
    I would not say offering automatic activation without fraud/abuse problems is impossible nor very difficult. If you study the top ten uses frauders find a server useful for, build network, application, and filesystem level monitoring applications for these cases, you can eliminate 99% of fraud. Further, once fraud/phishing/spam gangs realize your system is quite bulletproof, they will not waste their time defrauding you. Combined with a fraud profiler like maxmind, you an achieve a very stringent anti fraud system, which would make you feel like a peon manually activating accounts all day long.

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