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Thread: LiquidWeb

  1. #1
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    LiquidWeb

    I'm currently considering a host change, so I'm putting out feelers to potential candidates. As always, I'm putting on my difficult customer mask (turning down my rationality and patience module) to find out if the host can actually handle real-life customers (one of the things I find most important and that I don't want to find out once the server is already on fire). Most companies pass the test very well. Here's how LiquidWeb handles new customers:

    Quote Originally Posted by yosmc
    Hi guys,

    I'm looking to switch hosts in the next couple of months. I'd probably wait until January, but since the recent experience has been a bit bumpy with our current host, I'd like to get some basic info now so we can move more quickly if circumstances force us to do so.

    MY SITUATION: I'm a do-it-yourself webmaster who has been managing his own server for years. It's become a curse though because managing your own server means you have to be online virtually every day. I'm looking for a solution that will allow me to be offline for several weeks (a REAL vacation, something I haven't had in a decade), knowing that whatever major issue there is with my sites, someone will take action and make sure the service stays available.

    - Last year, I've switched to my first managed solution, but as it turns out, they're not doing what I need. Yesterday, for example, I came home to find my sites offline. The site was unavailable for over 40 minutes, and after asking about it I learned that they didn't take action because the server wasn't quite dead yet, only really, really, really slow. To me, this is hairsplitting, the only thing that matters is whether or not my site is available to visitors. - And once the service has been restored, I would also expect a managed host to figure out what caused the issue, and to propose a solution (or just implement one, e.g. change the mysql configuration) so that a similar issue won't happen anymore under the same circumstances.

    - If my sites are unavailable due to a fatal error (e.g. a table needing repairs, or max users reached, "can't connect" or whatever else) I would also expect my managed host to catch it on their own, restore things to normality, and possibly think of ways to keep similar issues from happening in the future.

    - If my site suffers a DOS attack, I would expect a managed host to think about how my site can be protected.

    And so on.

    - My largest database tables are 2.5 GIGs in size, but the /tmp disk my host configured has only 600 MB available, so everytime I perform a major operation (even if it's about slimming it down and running an OPTIMIZE afterwards) everything goes down the crapper (/tmp 100% full and load average shooting up to 200). Seems like the fact that /tmp is 100% full doesn't even trigger any alarms with my host, they send the alert to me, and expect me to contact them and ask for a fix. - When I needed to run a business-critical script that keept failing due to the small /tmp, it was me who reconfigured mysql so that it would temporarily use another partition for /tmp - no suggested solution from the host whatsoever. Not good at all.

    - I would also like to see a host being able to learn from past incidents. This would require the host admitting though when they made a mistake, or gave the wrong advice. A host not admitting mistakes means that they will not learn, and will therefore keep making the same mistakes all over again (for the client that's a horrible outlook).

    - I also think it's embarrassing if a host tells the client that fixing a certain issue is beyond the scope of their support, if it turns out afterwards that the issue happened because of some update done by the host. If in doubt, the host should always provide assistance.

    - And if an issue does go beyond what can be expected from managed hosting, it would be the icing on the cake if the host could offer to fix it anyway, possibly against a fee. Such a situation could occur if a major site error is due to a broken script that was provided by the client. ("Looks like your script blah.php is causing the fatal error, we can look into it but this will likely take X hours and cost you Y USD.") Again, the ultimate goal for me is to be able to be offline for several weeks at a time, knowing that any major interruptions to my sites can be resolved without me.

    - I would also appreciate a system that will allow trusted site members to report issues - i.e. one where I can give users the ability to report problems without at the same time giving them the privilege to push any red buttons that may damage my site.


    So in a nutshell I'm trying to figure out if Liquid Web is the right hosting solution for me. Please let me know if your hosting philosophy meets me needs (and don't hesitate to let me know if it doesn't ).

    Thanks!
    Greetings,

    Thank you for contacting us. Liquid Web offers Heroic Support which covers the
    hardware, OS, and installed components. We will also monitor your server, and
    if a service fails one of our reps will log into your box and restart the
    service. We do not provide support for your content (including backups). If
    you are having a problem we will help you to troubleshoot the problem, however
    if the fault is in your content or scripts we will not be able to assist you
    with that.

    For more information on what your support covers please see our website at:
    http://liquidweb.com/services/heroicsupport.html

    If you have any further questions please let us know.
    Quote Originally Posted by yosmc
    Hi,

    I hadn't written such a long email because I'm bored, but because I wanted to know where Liquid Web stands on the issues mentioned ("what would have happened in these situations if I was hosting with Liquid Web"). You have basically answered the question about fixing script problems, and for the rest sent me to a page with unspecific promotional teasers. If that's all I can get as a reply I guess that also answers my questions (I'm already Googling for alternatives) but then again maybe you just want to give it another try?

    Thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by LiquidWeb
    Greetings,

    We will take care of server administration issues, we do not take care of any
    content issues. From the email you sent it sounds as if you are looking for a
    web developer that can watch over your site, and make corrections and
    adjustments as needed. This is beyond the scope of what we offer.

    If you have further questions please let us know.
    Quote Originally Posted by yosmc
    XY, right now I am just looking for someone to answer my questions. For what it's worth, I didn't draw the name "Liquid Web" out of a hat, and I had already been to your website prior to sending you my mail. Anyway, here's what I read from your responses:

    THE BAD NEWS:
    - Even if it's a one-time emergency, you are paid extra and not providing help would ruin the client's business because the client is currently in a thunderstorm in the middle of the Atlantic, it is not possible to convince Liquid Web support to fix a fatal error that may have been triggered by a programming error in one of the client's scripts.
    - Although Liquid Web's server monitoring is called "Sonar" it is - in practice - just as slow as the one I've described in my intitial mail (because if it was any better, you would have told me by now how LW would have handled the given example differently).
    - Even if all my sites are down because your staff has misconfigured mysql to break under heavier traffic, or because one of the tables crashed, Liquid Web's staff will do nothing until notified because as long as the mysql service itself is up, you don't see any reason to intervene (if this is something you'd care about and fix, I'm sure you would have let me in on it by now). - EDIT: Or wait - you guys are installing mySQL but you're not configuring/tweaking it so it actually works for the client? Not sure, seems like I actually have to *guess* on that one.
    - Liquid Web's ticket system cannot provide sub-accounts with lesser privileges (because if it could, you would have advertised it to me).
    - When Liquid Web sets up new servers, /tmp is below 1 gigabyte as well, and when this causes issues, it is definitely not Liquid Web's fault (because if you would be handling this any differently, you would have pointed it out).
    - Liquid Web has too many customers already, which is why even customers who know what they want aren't told what they can get, but instead receive links to canned information that doesn't answer their questions, along with the info that Liquid Web probably isn't for them anyway.
    - Generally you're in a hurry and can't spend more than 5 minutes on the average ticket.

    THE GOOD NEWS:
    - LiquidWeb offers DoS protection (I had missed that, but see it clearly now).

    Hope there was nothing I missed. So - thanks for all the extensive information you gave me (and sorry for using up so much of your precious time), I will make sure to honor it when I reach my decision.
    No further replies.

    Anyone know what's wrong with these people? Are they full, or do they only take on easy customers who need nothing?

  2. #2
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    It doesn't say they aren't taking new customers? It's just saying that they aren't the right host for you (their own words) because their support offered does not cover the tasks you want it to, from their understanding.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by yosmc View Post
    I'm currently considering a host change, so I'm putting out feelers to potential candidates. As always, I'm putting on my difficult customer mask (turning down my rationality and patience module) to find out if the host can actually handle real-life customers (one of the things I find most important and that I don't want to find out once the server is already on fire). Most companies pass the test very well. Here's how LiquidWeb handles new customers:










    No further replies.

    Anyone know what's wrong with these people? Are they full, or do they only take on easy customers who need nothing?

    What is your ticket number and host name?
    Travis Stoliker
    Liquid Web - Dedicated Hosting with Heroic Support
    StormOnDemand - Flexible Cloud Hosting Infrastructure
    1-800-580-4985 | Twitter: @liquidweb | @StormOnDemand

  4. #4
    ouch...I'm in the process of getting a dedicated with them.

    As I posted here:
    http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showpo...0&postcount=23

    I think their main flaw (they would gain a lot by solving) is using the same resources (i.e support staff and ticket system) for $10/m customer and $1500/m customer. They don't differentiate.

    I'm new to them but it looks like the phone support is a lot better then email or their ticket system. Over the phone, I think it's easier for them to differentiate the 14 year old kid on a $15/month account from the business person managing a company.
    Last edited by webpan; 10-09-2009 at 08:41 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by yosmc View Post
    Anyone know what's wrong with these people? Are they full, or do they only take on easy customers who need nothing?
    Yeah, looks like they don't want to deal with you and honestly, I can't say that I blame them.

    Hopefully you can find a host that fits your needs.

    Sirius
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  6. #6
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    Sorry to hear about your bad experience.

    Hope you find the right provider.

    Cheers

  7. #7
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    I suggest hiring an employee or support company, as finding a server provider to do essentially the same thing is going to be very, very costly if you can even find one that meets your standard. Seems like you're at that critically lame moment in small business...where your workload is more than you can handle, but the income isn't allowing you to hire a full time employee. Tough spot to be in.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastServ View Post
    Seems like you're at that critically lame moment in small business...where your workload is more than you can handle, but the income isn't allowing you to hire a full time employee. Tough spot to be in.
    Yep, that's pretty much it. Currently I'm simply trying to find out what managed hosting *can* do for me. Even if I'm not getting it all, I still don't think there's any other approach for this than playing with open cards. Which is of course why a reply along the lines of "go elsewhere" isn't very helpful, because that's no info I can base a decision on.

    Quote Originally Posted by LiquidWebTravis View Post
    What is your ticket number and host name?
    Thanks for the reply - PM sent.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by yosmc View Post
    Anyone know what's wrong with these people? Are they full, or do they only take on easy customers who need nothing?
    By your own admission, you were being intentionally difficult with them. You also showed us that instead of asking direct and concise questions, you sent them a long-winded essay. Even though they gave a professional answer that was to the point, you decided to badmouth them at WHT, potentially costing them lost sales. Sorry, but that's really lame.

    Read their answer again: you need a web developer to deal with your content. The DC will not and should not do this. If you can even find a DC that will do this, the deal with most certainly be bad in comparison.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by webpan View Post
    ouch...I'm in the process of getting a dedicated with them.

    As I posted here:
    http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showpo...0&postcount=23

    I think their main flaw (they would gain a lot by solving) is using the same resources (i.e support staff and ticket system) for $10/m customer and $1500/m customer. They don't differentiate.

    I'm new to them but it looks like the phone support is a lot better then email or their ticket system. Over the phone, I think it's easier for them to differentiate the 14 year old kid on a $15/month account from the business person managing a company.
    That doesn't mean they can't prioritize?

  11. #11
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    When I was reading his first email my brain told me "Ok, you can stay here, but I'm leaving".

  12. #12
    Few top-end managed providers will offer application support, and that may be only for very popular web applications like WordPress. You expect everything, and in the ideal world you could actually pay a substantial amount of money and have a company help you out with all your requirements, but right now I can't think of any company that can fit your requirements, for any amount of money.

    You need to loosen the requirements or hire someone for the web side of things.
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  13. #13
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    There are companies that can handle this sort of thing, but at what I think I can safely assume would be at a cost significantly higher than what you're willing to pay (thousands per month for a fairly modest setup). You'll get a team of people assigned to your account (sysadmin, DBA, network architect, etc.) that are intimately familiar with your environment and application(s)--you're dealing with the same people day in and day out instead of the next available support tech in the ticket queue. This also requires a lot more client discipline than I typically see in small operations (the kind that's de rigueur in large companies)--you need to adhere to proper change management and version control, unit testing, etc. Any time you change your application, they'll work with you to document it, test it and validate it before putting into production. This is not the kind of service you get for a $250/mo "fully managed" server.

  14. #14
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    Your email is too long. You need to take a course on "writing for the web 101". No one reads on the web. People "scan" text on computer monitors. They don't read. So you write small paragraphs and be concise if you want them to read what you wrote.

    By the way I did read some of what you wrote in your first email. It sounds to me like you should spend on a larger more powerful server than you currently have. That should give you the additional capacity you need and prevent half the problems your having.

    BTW what is so tough about coming online once a day to check on your sites? Its a lot easier than going to work from 9-5.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Website themes View Post
    Your email is too long. You need to take a course on "writing for the web 101". No one reads on the web. People "scan" text on computer monitors. They don't read. So you write small paragraphs and be concise if you want them to read what you wrote.

    By the way I did read some of what you wrote in your first email. It sounds to me like you should spend on a larger more powerful server than you currently have. That should give you the additional capacity you need and prevent half the problems your having.

    BTW what is so tough about coming online once a day to check on your sites? Its a lot easier than going to work from 9-5.
    Quite true, but the purpose of his email was to test out the support.

    As for nearly everyone going on about "they shouldn't do application support", even the OP stated that that was the only question really ever answered... yet he had thrown out a good 5+ questions in that one email.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by yosmc View Post
    I'm currently considering a host change, so I'm putting out feelers to potential candidates. As always, I'm putting on my difficult customer mask (turning down my rationality and patience module) to find out if the host can actually handle real-life customers (one of the things I find most important and that I don't want to find out once the server is already on fire). Most companies pass the test very well. Here's how LiquidWeb handles new customers:

    ...

    No further replies.

    Anyone know what's wrong with these people? Are they full, or do they only take on easy customers who need nothing?
    Maybe they don't want customers that are more trouble than they're worth. I know I wouldn't.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirius View Post
    Yeah, looks like they don't want to deal with you and honestly, I can't say that I blame them.
    From a "server provider's" perspective, this is absolutely correct. Even a 'managed server provider' isn't going to do this for you.

    As explained previously, this doesn't mean that LiquidWeb isn't taking new customers, but that they weren't the company for you, and, quite frankly, no hosting company is. Even rackspace, with their "fanatical" support isn't going to be the right company for you, and here's why:

    Server Providers can not provide reliable 'managed servers', and you're starting to see why. A typical server provider uses ICMP (or ping) to check your ports and if they're up, that's all they look for. A proper monitoring technique is to check the response of that port and make sure it's the correct response. Examples:

    http sends out proper header codes if it's running.
    MTA's send out proper header codes if it's running.

    In addition, most 'managed server providers' won't actually monitor anything but http, so, like you said, with SQL, you're on your own.

    How to get around this? Get a decent server from a decent provider, hire a systems admin to monitor and administrate your server. More money, yes, but it allows you to take that time off that you want. Make sure that said administrator is someone you can trust to do the job, though.

    Keep in mind, as well, you're responsible for monitoring your own client's websites. Asking a server admin to keep an eye on 500 websites is just a bit much, unless you're paying them a good chunk of cash (and no, $250 is not a good chunk of cash) to do so.
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  18. #18
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    As for nearly everyone going on about "they shouldn't do application support", even the OP stated that that was the only question really ever answered... yet he had thrown out a good 5+ questions in that one email.
    Not true. There are 8 questions in total. Let us summarize:

    Introduction about situation: strong wish for application support

    Question 1: application support

    Question 2: application support (webserver, etc)

    Question 3: question about managed anti-DoS solutions

    Question 4: application support (database)

    Question 5: question about communication in case of outages/etc

    Question 6: application support (what to do if application support goes wrong)

    Question 7: application support (pre-emptive / against a fee)

    Question 8: application support (letting users trigger application support)

    So, except for questions 3 and 5, every wish that he expressed had to do with application support in one way or another. So, quite logically, the host apparently thinks "hey, this is a person who really really wants application support and we don't offer that; how about we tell him honestly that we don't offer that".

    What else do you expect them to tell you? They can't meet ~80% of your demands. Maybe this is important information, eh?

    But hey, maybe this is another one of those "tests"? Personally, I think trolls like these should leave the room with the imprint of a boot on their behind.

    Note to mods: perhaps the title of this thread can be changed so as to avoid unnecessary confusion.
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  19. #19
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    If I had a customer that sent big text's/tickets like you on sales I would try to advise him not to sign-up.


    Try to be a little more straight forward you know...

  20. #20
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    So, let's continue the analysis.

    The situation: LW explained TWICE that they don't do application support, yet the OP is not pleased with the answers. Now he makes the following complaints:

    - complaint 1: LW won't fix bugs in client's programs (you're expecting programmers to fix your bugs??)

    - complaint 2: expecting specialized host monitoring (you need an alert service, particularly since the resolution is application support)

    - complaint 3: complaint that LW won't fix mysql configuration even though it doesn't support that in the first place (once again, application support)

    - complaint 4: LW doesn't offer sub-accounts (seems to be tied to question about application support)

    - complaint 5: some talk about custom partitions not being possible (huh?), probably unanswered because it was buried in a question about application support

    - complaint 6: blaming LW for not explaining clearly enough they don't do application support

    - complaint 7: their answers are actually concise and to the point

    - observation: question no. 3 got answered by looking at their site

    Exactly what kind of response do you expect from them? You keep insisting you want application support from them, they keep telling you they don't offer it.

    At some point, they are rightly going to decide you're a troll (which, by your own admission, you are) and stop responding. This is not a matter of picking "easy" customers, it's a matter of picking sane ones.
    There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary and those who don't.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by webpan View Post
    I think their main flaw (they would gain a lot by solving) is using the same resources (i.e support staff and ticket system) for $10/m customer and $1500/m customer. They don't differentiate.
    Excuse me.. Every client deserves equal treatment.

  22. #22
    Talence, in my opinion you are way off base.
    All managed solutions include some level of "application support" so you can't just categorize that into its own thing and disregard it.
    Managed hosting can mean logging into the server and fixing Apache problems, or updating Wordpress and whatever have you.

    The OP may have some really strict requirements, but I can't blame the guy for asking, even though he was a bit obnoxious in the way he asked.
    There's a difference between a webmasters job and managed tech support, and that difference lies more in that tech support attends to proper running of services/daemons, more so than bug hunting in a php script like a webmaster does.

    The OP may have confused some of the issues, but not all.
    In fact he should get both managed solution AND a dedicated webmaster/server admin, and this will make sure every facet of his server is online and working.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by coax View Post
    Talence, in my opinion you are way off base.
    All managed solutions include some level of "application support" so you can't just categorize that into its own thing and disregard it.
    Managed hosting can mean logging into the server and fixing Apache problems, or updating Wordpress and whatever have you.
    No, Talence is correct. Application support for most dedicated providers is usually limited to:

    "Is apache running? Yes? Is MySQL running? Yes? I think we're done here."

    It doesn't mean "verify that MySQL is optimized for some off-the-wall 3rd party software application that the hosting provider has never seen or heard of, especially if it is some application that they specifically stated that they don't support."

    Also, Wordpress falls under the umbrella of 3rd party software, i.e., not installed or provided by the hosting company and not required for the server to be considered online. Even though *you* may consider it required for your site to be functional, the provider is only concerned about the base system (OS + hardware), not your content. You have to pay extra to find someone who will be concerned about your content. (A hosting provider's only concern is that they don't damage or delete it.) Therefore, Wordpress normally falls under the "unsupported" column. The most a provider *might* do is fix a small issue (e.g., ownership or permissions on a file), but upgrading Wordpress is a non-trivial process that could end up destroying your site if it isn't done properly and something goes wrong.

    You have to understand, when a dedicated provider has hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of servers to manage, they can't provide each server owner with that highly specific, deeply involved level of support (at least, not cheaply).

    Quote Originally Posted by coax View Post
    The OP may have some really strict requirements, but I can't blame the guy for asking, even though he was a bit obnoxious in the way he asked.
    The problem is that he asked for some services that can only be provided by someone who spends all their time studying the layout and configuration of his server. That person must know nearly everything about every web site and script that has been installed on that server. Otherwise, someone coming in on the tail end of things may or may not know how things are supposed to be working, what server loads are normal, what disk usage is normal, what processes need to be running, what is scheduled in cron, what management tools are already installed, etc. That is the kind of involvement that most (if not all) dedicated providers cannot provide. And then he decided to have an attitude about the entire issue causing negative press for a company that has not done anything wrong.

  24. #24
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    I think its harsh bad mouthing them here at WHT. According to your snotty emails
    I hadn't written such a long email because I'm bored
    its like you want them to bend down and kiss your feet. And now because they didn't kiss your feet you tarnish their reputation by making a pointless post. Just remember one thing: They don't owe you anything.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by yosmc
    So in a nutshell I'm trying to figure out if Liquid Web is the right hosting solution for me. Please let me know if your hosting philosophy meets me needs (and don't hesitate to let me know if it doesn't ).
    I think they might have been better off saying "No, it doesn't".

    You send them a wall of text and then come to WHT saying they're not accepting new customers, simply because you didn't get an essay back?

    Long messages are very hard to follow, especially when they get unprofessional (I would have stopped reading at "everything goes down the crapper")

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Dougy View Post
    Excuse me.. Every client deserves equal treatment.
    In that case the larger customers are subsidizing the smaller ones. Although I have no problem with that concept in certain sectors, I don't think it should ably to hosting services.

    Not every customer needs or wants the some treatment on both ends of the spectrum. For example for some of "my" sites on a HostGator reseller account I definitely do not want the same level of service then the dedicated server customers of that company. With Liquidweb, I have a dedicated server (just ordered) and would want the "Dedicated" level of support, since I will have more important sites on that server versus my hostgator reseller account.

    Another reason is that often the level of knowledge is different. Most dedicated server owners know what DNS, POP, SMTP, (firewall issues...etc...) while on shared hosting customers sometimes barely make the different between AOL and the web (that was more like a few years ago...) or "http versus https".


    ---
    Back to this threads topic. After really reading the initial post, it looks like yosmc had a bad experience somewhere else and was venting at liquiweb. Any company would have handled it just like Liquidweb did. Some might have even ignored the first email (they are real crazies out there).

    I don't think it was the "difficult customer mask", I think it was the "I need some love because I'm hurting mask" ;-) and liquidweb is not their for that.

    Again any one really interested in liquidweb should probably no only email but also get on the phone with them.
    Last edited by webpan; 10-09-2009 at 08:25 PM.

  27. #27
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    I don't agree with Talence's initial analysis.

    This is my thoughts in regards to your points/questions and their answer:

    - You pointed out that you expected something like MySQL issues to be managed by the provider. This would classify as an installed component.

    - You pointed out that if a fatal error with your site, such as a corrupted table, occured - you would expect this to be fixed. This would classify as a content issue rather than a component issue.

    - You pointed out that if you are DDoS'ed, you would expect the host to deal with that. I would either be a network issue or component related (configuring apache to limit the amount of requests per IP if it's a page request based attack eating up resources).

    - You pointed out previous issues with a large MySQL table and a small /tmp, and that you would expect the provider to addresss such an issue. This would fall under OS (setting up a larger tmp) or component (reconfiguring MySQL).
    I'll ignore the parts about being able to admit mistakes and such. I don't see how they'd need to answer any of that beyond what's mentioned in the link they provided.

    Now, when liquid web answered you, they said the following:

    Greetings,

    Thank you for contacting us. Liquid Web offers Heroic Support which covers the
    hardware, OS, and installed components.
    We will also monitor your server, and
    if a service fails one of our reps will log into your box and restart the
    service. We do not provide support for your content (including backups). If
    you are having a problem we will help you to troubleshoot the problem
    , however
    if the fault is in your content or scripts we will not be able to assist you
    with that.

    For more information on what your support covers please see our website at:
    http://liquidweb.com/services/heroicsupport.html

    If you have any further questions please let us know.
    In other words:

    - Yes, we will support MySQL as an installed component.
    - No, we do not support content related issues.
    - Yes, we will deal with network issues through our 100% SLA (mentioned via link) to the best of our ability if you are for an example victim of a flood attack, and we will support components such as apache in case this is not properly configured to deal with simpler forms of attacks.
    - Yes, we would fix issues related to MySQL and /tmp size - as this is an issue related to the configuration of the OS and/or an installed component.
    Furthermore the link they gave you clearly states such things as:

    Liquid Web's Heroic Support® provides 24/7/365 access to level 3 engineers by phone or email, state of the art infrastructure engineered for complete reliability, software hardening to protect the integrity of your server, proactive monitoring and service restoration, complete user level tools for monitoring the health of your server, and if anything was to go wrong - a 100% up-time SLA. Heroic Support® provides our clients confidence and peace of mind through complete reliability, engineer accessibility and proactive service restoration.
    In the event that an issue is identified, our Sonar Monitoring Team responds immediately, reducing downtime and repairing any issues proactively, in many cases before the client is even aware of the problem.
    Further answering your questions or demands of proactive monitoring and service restoration.

    They did not give you a lengthy answer breaking down your email point by point and feeding it to you with a spoon, but from what I can see they did in fact answer your questions (if they can be called that..) in an effective and concise manner. Believe it or not, but you are allowed to think yourself and draw the lines between what they will and will not support based on the points they listed and linked you to. If in doubt about any particular parts (such as whether MySQL table issues would fall under maintenance of the installed component or not) - you could merely have asked for further clarification on that.

    Instead you instantly jumped the guns and fired off a very rude email threatening to look elsewhere. To this they repeated that they will take care of server administration issues, but not content issues. This should be pretty plain and simple to understand, but instead you send them an even nastier sarcastic email.

    How you can be surprised they did not bother to honor that one with a reply is beyond me. I have to agree with others in that trying to give the company negative publicity by posting this here is very much uncalled for. As others pointed out; they do not owe you anything, and you brought this upon yourself through the way you acted. You cannot blame them for not wanting to deal with you further.

  28. #28
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    In my opinion several of the problems you highlighted and were looking for them to answer on how they would do it better are very reasonable and do not fall under "application support", almost all of them fall under just plain good management. There is only 2 which are extremely unreasonable to expect.

    So in order,


    - This *may* vary depending on where the slowness is and how it can practically be monitored, if it was not on common pages and was application specific (Such as logged in users and then calling remote sources) then obviously this is impractical to be monitored and you should not expect this to be detected from non-humans but I doubt this is the case anyway.

    - Simple string checks against the http page would detect this.

    - No brainer

    - Not application level, the provider should understand your requirements and set the system up in a correct manner, be it increasing the partition or simply defining the tmpdir for mySQL. This is basic administration.

    - This seems specific to mistakes the provider made which ultimately if the provider is making mistakes were they have to continually learn from then something else is wrong.

    - Same as above - something else is wrong and sounds more like just a useless provider.

    - This is unreasonable to expect your host who's staff simply cannot have indepth knowledge of your application outside of what is required to monitor and maintain it (server-side). This part has so many different situations that this is explicitly application/webmaster related and not server related.

    - The host is not there to reply to random people who will tell them something is wrong when it may not be or further debugging is required and then they are stuck in the situation of not being able to provide them information to your account while they have the expectation of doing so.


    That is my take at least, with the exception of 2 requirements you should not even be asking for the rest comes down to good management and monitoring. It's clear your last provider was useless just from what you said.

    As a last note the email is far too long, you are expecting a rep to read an essay on nothing more than a potential sale. On your second reply, "I hadn't written such a long email because I'm bored", I personally would have ended all further discussions there and insisted you go elsewhere.

    When you act the way you have labeled yourself (a difficult customer) then you should expect to be treated as such, a customer who is more bother than they are worth.

  29. #29
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    Okay, slightly more constructively...

    There is an overlap between the management the server company can do and what the web developer does. I suggest this: keep the management from the server company to a minimum. Let them provide you with OS updates and such, but nothing more.

    Let the web master/developer do any installs/tuning of mysql and other user-installed software. This person can have a "working model" in his/her head of how all the different components work and interact. So, in case of trouble, this person will be able to fix things very quickly.

    This person can then also talk to the server company in case there are issues. Things like abuse tickets usually need to be responded to within 12 hours.

    But, if done by someone clueful, it will not come cheap.
    There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary and those who don't.

  30. #30
    - Even if all my sites are down because your staff has misconfigured mysql to break under heavier traffic, or because one of the tables crashed, Liquid Web's staff will do nothing until notified because as long as the mysql service itself is up, you don't see any reason to intervene (if this is something you'd care about and fix, I'm sure you would have let me in on it by now). - EDIT: Or wait - you guys are installing mySQL but you're not configuring/tweaking it so it actually works for the client? Not sure, seems like I actually have to *guess* on that one
    This falls under the category of application tuning/support.

    What the OP is seeking is really "fully managed application hosting". There are hosts that do this, and you don't need support tickets, you pick up the phone and talk to your dedicated rep. Sometimes, they'll even take you to a football game or dinner.

    It costs more than $200 a month.
    edgedirector.com
    managed dns global failover and load balance (gslb)
    exactstate.com
    uptime report for webhostingtalk.com

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott.Mc View Post
    When you act the way you have labeled yourself (a difficult customer) then you should expect to be treated as such, a customer who is more bother than they are worth.
    Once you bend over, it's hard to stand up again

    Customers have to be treated consistently from the beginning of the relationship if expections are to be set at the right level.
    edgedirector.com
    managed dns global failover and load balance (gslb)
    exactstate.com
    uptime report for webhostingtalk.com

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott.Mc View Post
    - Simple string checks against the http page would detect this.
    A "simple string check" against the HTTP output is not something that is normally included with standard service monitoring from a hosting provider. In many cases, the most you will get is "HTTP is up and listening" because the server returned a status code of 2XX or 3XX. That is assuming that you get anything more than PING monitoring, and some providers don't even offer that. Many application errors will still return a valid HTTP status code (there are so many different ways for an application to "glitch out" gracefully), so normal monitoring systems wouldn't even pick up that type of problem. Again, this goes back to the provider having to know intimate details about your web sites and your server's setup, not to mention the fact that you could possibly be requiring that your provider check multiple web sites on your server for errors (what if you host a dozen blogs that all need to be monitored?). Remember, most providers will only guarantee that the apache/mysql/etc. is running. If you want to have your server's HTTP output parsed for a specific string, then you will need to either pay for an additional 3rd party monitoring solution or just configure your own (you can use one of the many free tools that are out there).

  33. #33
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    Wow, I didn't think this thread deserved a second or third page.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott.Mc View Post
    In my opinion several of the problems you highlighted and were looking for them to answer on how they would do it better are very reasonable and do not fall under "application support", almost all of them fall under just plain good management. There is only 2 which are extremely unreasonable to expect.

    So in order,


    - This *may* vary depending on where the slowness is and how it can practically be monitored, if it was not on common pages and was application specific (Such as logged in users and then calling remote sources) then obviously this is impractical to be monitored and you should not expect this to be detected from non-humans but I doubt this is the case anyway.

    - Simple string checks against the http page would detect this.

    - No brainer

    - Not application level, the provider should understand your requirements and set the system up in a correct manner, be it increasing the partition or simply defining the tmpdir for mySQL. This is basic administration.

    - This seems specific to mistakes the provider made which ultimately if the provider is making mistakes were they have to continually learn from then something else is wrong.

    - Same as above - something else is wrong and sounds more like just a useless provider.

    - This is unreasonable to expect your host who's staff simply cannot have indepth knowledge of your application outside of what is required to monitor and maintain it (server-side). This part has so many different situations that this is explicitly application/webmaster related and not server related.

    - The host is not there to reply to random people who will tell them something is wrong when it may not be or further debugging is required and then they are stuck in the situation of not being able to provide them information to your account while they have the expectation of doing so.


    That is my take at least, with the exception of 2 requirements you should not even be asking for the rest comes down to good management and monitoring. It's clear your last provider was useless just from what you said.

    As a last note the email is far too long, you are expecting a rep to read an essay on nothing more than a potential sale. On your second reply, "I hadn't written such a long email because I'm bored", I personally would have ended all further discussions there and insisted you go elsewhere.

    When you act the way you have labeled yourself (a difficult customer) then you should expect to be treated as such, a customer who is more bother than they are worth.
    This is the type of reply I would expect from a host. Makes perfect sense to me (and I even agree that I went overboard in my replies - but to be fair, those would have never been written if the conversation would have went differently). Ironically there are many in this thread who don't agree with your no-brainers, which is why as a collective, you guys are pretty much confirming that the issues at stake cannot be clarified by a canned link but need to be addressed personally.

    As for the "essay" - since switching to a new host is no small ordeal, I believe it is perfectly reasonable that the new host understands what the situation with the current host is/was. What the customer wants to know is whether or not a change will improve his hosting experience and get him more of what he needs. Since this isn't about buying a cheesburger but about a considerable recurring expense, I think the extra ten or fifteen minutes this may take are not too much asked for.

    For what it's worth, I find the comments that I'm bad-mouthing LW totally unwarranted. I've posted the conversation in full and given everyone ample opportunity to come to their own conclusions and call me a troll (which has been made full use of - enjoy! ). Sorry, but taking the fork I gave you and sticking it in my eye is rather lame imho.

    Keep enjoying the thread, I'm out of here.

  34. #34
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    - And if an issue does go beyond what can be expected from managed hosting, it would be the icing on the cake if the host could offer to fix it anyway, possibly against a fee. Such a situation could occur if a major site error is due to a broken script that was provided by the client. ("Looks like your script blah.php is causing the fatal error, we can look into it but this will likely take X hours and cost you Y USD.") Again, the ultimate goal for me is to be able to be offline for several weeks at a time, knowing that any major interruptions to my sites can be resolved without me.

    - I would also appreciate a system that will allow trusted site members to report issues - i.e. one where I can give users the ability to report problems without at the same time giving them the privilege to push any red buttons that may damage my site.
    I don't think there is a management company that will fix the bugs in your applications/scripts. You expect PROGRAMMERS to do that for you and not server management company. LW simply explained they DO NOT provide application support. They can't just fix all the bugs in all the scripts you wrote or installed. They may provide installation jobs but it is YOUR responsibility to keep your scripts up to date and fix whatever errors you have in your script.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by dexxtreme View Post
    A "simple string check" against the HTTP output is not something that is normally included with standard service monitoring from a hosting provider. In many cases, the most you will get is "HTTP is up and listening" because the server returned a status code of 2XX or 3XX. That is assuming that you get anything more than PING monitoring, and some providers don't even offer that. Many application errors will still return a valid HTTP status code (there are so many different ways for an application to "glitch out" gracefully), so normal monitoring systems wouldn't even pick up that type of problem. Again, this goes back to the provider having to know intimate details about your web sites and your server's setup, not to mention the fact that you could possibly be requiring that your provider check multiple web sites on your server for errors (what if you host a dozen blogs that all need to be monitored?). Remember, most providers will only guarantee that the apache/mysql/etc. is running. If you want to have your server's HTTP output parsed for a specific string, then you will need to either pay for an additional 3rd party monitoring solution or just configure your own (you can use one of the many free tools that are out there).
    I believe I covered what to expect such checks to cover and detect at point #1 however requiring an http string check is not an unusual request and should not be a problem for any management provider. You are right many offer poor monitoring coverage and this is exactly what the OP is trying to avoid if you read the context of his post. If you are only monitoring ICMP then you shouldn't even claim to be "managing" the users system.

    Quote Originally Posted by yosmc View Post
    Ironically there are many in this thread who don't agree with your no-brainers, which is why as a collective, you guys are pretty much confirming that the issues at stake cannot be clarified by a canned link but need to be addressed personally.
    I agree many of the replies are different because of the different expectations of what a management provider is.

    In my opinion however many of the things you have mentioned are what a management provider should be doing and I highlighted the only 2 which they should not and would be unreasonable to expect. The ones stating you should need a programmer to somehow deal with what is ultimately a misconfiguration of mySQL and to deal with when mySQL is having issues is nonsense, programmers are NOT system administrators - none of those 2 involve mySQL issues mentioned involve programming.

    What you can gather in summary of this thread and looking for a new provider is if they cannot provide you better monitoring (which is an absolute minimum anyway) and actually have staff capable of dealing with your issues then go elsewhere. That is the reality is what you are facing, poor monitoring coverage for your needs and dealing with inexperienced/plain useless administrators. Liquidweb may be that company for you but given your sales experience I can't imagine you will continue (even though in my opinion it is your own fault in that case for being unnecessarily difficult - again no rep wants to read an essay).

  36. #36
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    jej jej jej....I knew there was a reason I stopped hosting.

    that original essay mail has "please don't sign up and torture the life out of me" written all over it.

    i used to get long winded tickets from prospective clients and just thought "Why Me?"

    i just like an easy life.

    owm
    Last edited by Outlaw Web Master; 10-10-2009 at 10:48 AM.
    ‹(¿)›
    Life's what you make it.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by dexxtreme View Post
    No, Talence is correct. Application support for most dedicated providers is usually limited to:

    "Is apache running? Yes? Is MySQL running? Yes? I think we're done here."

    It doesn't mean "verify that MySQL is optimized for some off-the-wall 3rd party software application that the hosting provider has never seen or heard of, especially if it is some application that they specifically stated that they don't support."

    Also, Wordpress falls under the umbrella of 3rd party software, i.e., not installed or provided by the hosting company and not required for the server to be considered online. Even though *you* may consider it required for your site to be functional, the provider is only concerned about the base system (OS + hardware), not your content. You have to pay extra to find someone who will be concerned about your content. (A hosting provider's only concern is that they don't damage or delete it.) Therefore, Wordpress normally falls under the "unsupported" column. The most a provider *might* do is fix a small issue (e.g., ownership or permissions on a file), but upgrading Wordpress is a non-trivial process that could end up destroying your site if it isn't done properly and something goes wrong.

    You have to understand, when a dedicated provider has hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of servers to manage, they can't provide each server owner with that highly specific, deeply involved level of support (at least, not cheaply).


    The problem is that he asked for some services that can only be provided by someone who spends all their time studying the layout and configuration of his server. That person must know nearly everything about every web site and script that has been installed on that server. Otherwise, someone coming in on the tail end of things may or may not know how things are supposed to be working, what server loads are normal, what disk usage is normal, what processes need to be running, what is scheduled in cron, what management tools are already installed, etc. That is the kind of involvement that most (if not all) dedicated providers cannot provide. And then he decided to have an attitude about the entire issue causing negative press for a company that has not done anything wrong.

    Fair enough, but what happens if a service is down and it won't boot up easily?
    Does the management team just give up? I would assume they would have to get in there and actually find the problem, and if the problem was too big relay to the customer that he will need to pay for application support or someone else to do it.

    But I would assume in most cases they try to fix it themselves so to not overcomplicate the situation right?
    I've also run into companies who don't allow the user to have root, and in such cases the company would HAVE to do some decent application management.
    They didn't cost all that much either.

    Just take a look at this http://www.wiredtree.com/supportserv...management.php

    This kind of solution comes with all servers they offer.. So it can't be that unusual to offer decent app support.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by coax View Post
    Fair enough, but what happens if a service is down and it won't boot up easily?
    Does the management team just give up? I would assume they would have to get in there and actually find the problem, and if the problem was too big relay to the customer that he will need to pay for application support or someone else to do it.
    A failed service is not the same as an "un-tuned" service. Of course, if apache is down or mysql won't start then the provider should look into it and see why it is down, and fix it. What the OP was asking for was fine tuning a service (that was not down) to match a application (that was not supported).

    Quote Originally Posted by coax View Post
    But I would assume in most cases they try to fix it themselves so to not overcomplicate the situation right?
    I've also run into companies who don't allow the user to have root, and in such cases the company would HAVE to do some decent application management.
    They didn't cost all that much either.

    Just take a look at this http://www.wiredtree.com/supportserv...management.php

    This kind of solution comes with all servers they offer.. So it can't be that unusual to offer decent app support.
    Fully-managed services that don't provide the customer with root access would fall under a different product line. However, some of the same rules would apply, since a service like that would most likely be more "cookie-cutter" to ease the provider's management requirements (or tie into the provider's centralized management systems). In this situation, the fully-managed provider has to put in more work than with a normal dedicated provider (they are the only one managing the server so they have to know everything about all of the core software (not necessarily all the scripts, however) installed on the server) since the dedicated provider has the ability to off-load some of the management duties to the customer. Of course, due to the additional management requirements, these servers cost more than standard dedicated servers.

  39. #39
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    Which service would be down? Lighttpd? Rock solid. Mysqld? Rock solid. Memcached? Rock solid. On dozens of different servers, I have never seen any of these go down, except for when the box as a whole crashed.

    The only reason these services go down or become unresponsive is because they aren't properly matched for the application. You can optimize the hell out of mysql, but ultimately, the biggest gain is in optimizing the application, the actual source of the queries.

    Simple example... maybe you're showing some kind of "top list" on the front page that uses some complex query on some table that gets updated 50 times a second. Does the list need to be real time? Maybe once every 5 minutes? Important questions if you can cache the result for 10-300 seconds and make life easy for your DB.

    There are a lot of small companies that offer one sort of application management or another. Most of them are both cheap and clueless. I've seen one write on a forum about how he advised his client to get a very expensive server with 48GB of RAM. No failover whatsoever. This, because it was easier than actually optimizing the application (the bloke never heard of memcached).

    This must be stressed: never try to save money by hiring clueless people, you'll always end up paying way more.

    Second, coax, you grossly underestimate the difficulty of working with another person's code who may have an entirely different programming method. Good luck trying to find a bug in tens of thousands of lines of code that you're unfamiliar with. That is if the issue is even easily reproducible. Even with perfect documentation, it's far from trivial.

    Thus, again, I maintain that having a separate developer is the only reasonable solution. And, again, this is exactly what LW advised that unfortunately fell on dead ears with "Mr. Obnoxious on Purpose".
    Last edited by Talence; 10-10-2009 at 04:29 PM.
    There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary and those who don't.

  40. #40
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    Hi,

    Your wrong to expect application issues to be troubleshooted on a fully managed plan. Normally, We will troubleshoot an issue long enough to prove it's related to the software and if the technician is familiar with the language and it's a simple issue they try to fix it.

    The monitoring software that most providers use is fairly basic and only checks to see if it can establish a connection on the correct port. You need a proper monitoring solution and test cases to ensure your software is effectively monitored.

    Some server management companies also offer programming so you might want to see if you can would out a custom plan where a tech will pass a programming issue to a developer for a extra fee. http://bobcares.com/creatives.html/ is one of the management companies that does offer programming services as well.
    Common sense is not so common.

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