It started with somebody saying they didn’t get my e-mail message. Weird, but the Internet isn’t perfect. Resent; problem solved.
But then it started happening more often. It was still only to one client of mine, though, so I passed it off as some weird incompatibility between their servers and my servers. It was annoying and something I intended to look into but it was easy enough to check via IM and confirm e-mail receipt when I didn’t hear back with an e-mail reply right away. And I was starting to be able to track that it really was only messages I would send, not ones I was expecting to receive.
Then in late October, the problem got bad enough that I was not receiving about 1 in every 5 e-mail messages sent. At least, that’s as far as I know because over the course of a couple of days I was told that how many messages needed to be resent. And confirmed that the sender wasn’t getting any notification of any problem. So on October 22 2015 I sent in a request to my ISP, Arvixe, to have them look into it. In the past, they had been pretty responsive to such things. Not so this time.
As it turned out, Arvixe had been doing some changes behind the scenes. The problems started for them with the company being bought by Endurance International Group (EIG) in October of 2014. And that acquisition apparently necessitated moving the Arvixe hosted accounts to servers that were in datacenters with EIG siblings. That makes sense from a corporate strategy standpoint – without merging resources, the only benefit to acquiring a competitor is having one less competitor. And the original intent wasn’t bad but as everyone came to learn the hard way, the execution was terribly flawed.
In the middle of Arvixe’s mess, I ended up losing a domain redirect on my site. Weird but easy to put back. Which I did on my own. I had submitted a support ticket but I didn’t hear back from them as soon as I had hoped and was able to figure out the problem on my own. At the time, not realizing just what kind of crisis was brewing at Arvixe, I didn’t think much of it.
Now here I am in late October, having solved my domain redirect problem on my own but not able to resolve my e-mail problem myself. And I’ve submitted a ticket which was completely ignored. I decided to try to use chat to get through to somebody. I waited an hour to be connected to somebody and it took me 30 minutes of interactive “chatting” to end up with the support person’s conclusion that the ticket had already been assigned to somebody so there was nothing he could do about it. I would just need to wait for that person to get to resolving my problem.
On October 29, I contacted Arvixe one last time and gave them an ultimatum:
I need this problem resolved ASAP. Today. I can’t wait any longer. This is a serious problem for my business and has already been costing me reputation and my business is based on reputation. Ergo, I’ve lost money because it is taking Arvixe so long to respond to this problem and resolve it.
I’m not going to try getting back into chat – that took an hour to connect and then a half hour of typing with him to learn that he wouldn’t be able to help me with my problem and that I should wait for the ticket. And obviously I’m not going to wait on the phone to hear the same non-response. So this message is my last recourse on the topic – please fix this problem now!
Unsurprisingly, there was no response that day.
So the next day I read reviews and checked with a friend who’s opinion I trust to find a new hosting service. He had used a hosting provider for a while that had been gobbled up by EIG and shortly thereafter, the hosting provider’s service plummeted. He had switched to Siteground and online reviews were pretty positive about Siteground. So I started the transition right then by ordering the appropriate service from Siteground. They were super-responsive and super-friendly and by the end of the day, I had my web site up and running and e-mail was coming through. And all the weird e-mail issues I’d been having ceased.
My Arvixe account has me paid through February but I’d rather overlap service anyway, and while 4 months is more overlap than I need, I’m happy to pay for the overlap to just have everything working again.
I should also mention that Siteground’s servers are super speedy. My web site loads in a blink now. Neat.
And a week later, I got an apology from Arvixe where they acknowledged that the service hadn’t been good and that they could see that I had transferred away. I am curious to know if I hadn’t transferred away would they have been picking up the ticket to work on it a week later? Or would it have been sooner or maybe even later? In other words, did my transfer away from Arvixe mean that they could take more time to reply to the ticket so they waited a few additional days to get around to writing the apology? Or did it actually mean that they could tackle the ticket sooner, close it, and count that towards closed tickets to improve their metrics where they wouldn’t have been able to close it if I was still dealing with lost e-mail.
To those who still have an account hosted by a provider owned by EIG (awesome compilation here) and who are thinking that the only reason they stay is because of the difficulty in moving, I can tell you that good services, such as Siteground, are extremely good about helping you transition to them. It’s obviously smart marketing for them to welcome people with speedy quality service. But I can also tell you that I don’t have any regrets about making the move. I won’t say that I wish I had done it sooner because I didn’t have a problem with Arvixe sooner – at least not one that I was aware of. But once you become aware of a problem at an EIG-owned hosting provider, and once you determine that your fix will not be immediate, there’s no need to suffer with them any longer – move to a reputable hosting provider and be sure it isn’t another owned by EIG (again, here’s the compilation to help ensure you avoid EIG).