“Freedom2surf offers the very best in web hosting…”

In case you’ve been wondering why the blogs have been appearing and disappearing quite erratically over the last few weeks, then I’d just like to point out that it is all the fault of my shoddy hosting provider.

The Paste website has been hosted through them F2S for years, and they always used to be extremely reliable, but since they were bought out by Pipex last year, things have rapidly gone down the pan. The most recent problems have been with their database server, which was down for a full 59 hours last weekend, and most recently for the whole of last night. If the database server goes down, then so do the blogs, so that’s why you might have seen this page looking a bit empty recently.

According to some disgruntled fellow customers on the user support forum, the problem can be resolved by typing one command on the server, but as there’s no one in the F2S office outside of normal working hours, if it happens during the weekend or overnight it won’t get fixed until shortly after 9AM on the next working day. Which is pretty poor.

I’d think about changing hosts, but I’m not sure if I can take the hassle. If this goes on for much longer I might have no choice, though. Grr.

Of course if you can read this, then everything is working fine. For now…

UPDATE Monday 9th October: Just for my own future reference, here is a list of some of the database outages so far:
– the evening of Tuesday September 26th, to the morning of Wednesday September 27th
– the evening of Friday September 29th, to the morning of Monday October 2nd (i.e. the entire weekend)
– the evening of Monday October 4th, to the morning of Tuesday October 5th
– the morning of Monday October 9th, until about lunchtime.

Hmm, now that’s some quality service there. If anyone can recommend a reliable alternative host, then I’ll be over there in a shot, but I’m worried that anything else I pick would be just as unreliable (and even if you can find a reliable host, then there’s nothing to stop Pipex popping up and screwing things up again…)

8 thoughts on ““Freedom2surf offers the very best in web hosting…””

  1. Interesting – Bulldog have also just been taken over by Pipex and they are absolute, unmitigated shit.

  2. I can recommend Easyspace.com, who are owned by Iomart here in sunny Glasgow. I’m not sure about their database provision, but you seem to be able to bolt on just about anything to their custom packages. I now have several domains hosted there, and compared to our previous hosts (who were ultimately responsible for the demise of the chasanddave.com message board) they have been great – prompt phone support from people who know what they’re talking about.

    I know what you mean about the hassle of swapping hosts though, particularly migrating a database you’ve coded yourself.

    Good to see you and Sally in LA – sorry I was stressing about the speech. We got there in the end though…

  3. Looking at reviewcentre.com’s list of hosts, one that seems to do well is Streamline.net

    Most of the sites that score very highly (over about 6.5) in the ratings seem to have very few reviews. Given that most people reviewing a service have a bone to grind/axe to pick, an average of 6+ from over 150 reviews would seem to be a good thing…

    Right, must do some work

  4. Interesting. Thanks for the tips.

    On the one hand, I’m torn between wanting to switch out of principle because of the shitty service and support, and the complete lack of activity on F2S’s part in rectifying the problem, but on the other hand I’m not sure if I can face the potential hassle of switching. Moving the database should be fine (I can just export it from phpadmin and reimport it on the new one, I think), but I’m not sure how you go about porting the domain names across. It’s like switching current accounts–you know you should do it, but you just know they’re going to stuff up switching over all your direct debits…

    Another problem is that most of the hosts I’ve seen don’t include MySQL databases in their cheapest packages–although Paste doesn’t need much storage space (we’re using, like, 50MB or something), and our monthly bandwidth rarely breaches 1/2GB, I do need one MySQL database to run the blogs. One of the great things about F2S was that it was always reasonably priced, reliable, and included 10MB of database storage space for free.

    I’d also want to be pretty confident that the host I’m switching too is actually going to provide a better service–as you say, you have to take those review sites with a pinch of salt.

    Having said all that, though, as I spotted your comments and popped over to reply, there were the databases, down again. It couldn’t be much worse…

  5. I have been looking through blogs on this subject now for over 2 weeks and althought most of you have had outages of up to 3 days I have yet to find anyone to beat mine. I look after about 14 sites in total and most are stable and work well with the exception of 3. These are hosted with ANOTHER.COM don’t go there. First site went down for eight days yes 8 days guess what can’t call them, can’t email them, all that can be done is to use online form. I don’t mind that if I get a quick answer but no only automated reply. It was a friday that was the first problem never have anything go wrong on a friday, finaly got reply late friday to say that they were looking into it and that the site would be back up in a few hours fault due to DNS going down! OK Saturday still no site, no answer to any (6) calls, Sunday same. I don’t think they work at the weekends! Monday get answer but still no joy with site. All the week I tried to pester them don’t think it did much good though, I even asked for the reason for the outage and for the delay I am still waiting.Finaly on Friday the site was back and got what I suppose they think is an apology. THIS IS NOT THE END. Two weeks later on a friday same thing happened NOT the same site though this was another one, same thing going on now its tuesday again still waiting, not taking any odds on when it will be back. Just to ad to this trouble the third site (one of my own) was off and on, off and on it’s back up now but for how long is anybodys guess. I will be moving from ANOTHER.COM all three sites they will go to a much better host were most of my other sites reside the name you ask HOSTROUTE.COM. I have a resellers accout with them and although it is still online help I can get an answer within 10mins 24/7. If you wish to check them out read who some of their other clients are to see why they need good services.
    Hope I havn’t bored you all to much.

  6. Ironically I saw your comment (I get an email whenever anyone adds a comment to the blogs), but when I popped over to respond, oh joy of joys, it was down again…

    The database problem I was moaning about here does actually appear to have been fixed. It’s now the server itself that keeps going down, which means you can’t get to the site at all. Bugger.

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