What does web host support mean?

I’ve been harping on the fact that the reason I left Dreamhost wasn’t because they had some downtime, but because of how they handle tech support issues.

I’ve been having some trouble getting my C3 email today. It stopped working completely a little while ago, it’s past phone support hours so I sent in a support ticket to Pair.com. I clicked the “urgent” option since email being down completely does fall into that category.

What does acceptable tech support from a web host look like? Something like this:

2006-07-19 22:07:27 Communication from customer to pair.
2006-07-19 22:12:00 Reply from pair to customer.

4 minutes and 33 seconds from writing the ticket to getting an answer. ‘Dats what I’m talking about!

Two more back and forth emails (right in the window since the issue was email and I couldn’t check my email to find out why I couldn’t get my email)

2006-07-19 22:13:49 Communication from customer to pair.
2006-07-19 22:18:05 Reply from pair to customer.

I think I got the part of the mailbox that was causing the problem out, and have moved the mailbox file back in place. The mail that was there should come through now. Let me know if it doesn’t.

Problem solved. A little over 10 minutes from a downtime report to a closed ticket and happy customer. Dreamhost, are you listening?!? That is what you must aspire to after you recover from the latest crisis.

And for goodness sakes people, when a good portion of your customer base is offline and unhappy, don’t have this as the latest post on your official blog. Why web hosting is fun, indeed! When I’m upset about something and I call tech support, the last thing I want to hear is some happy recorded voice telling me about the great features I can get if I let myself be upsold. Forget that! I have a problem. I want it fixed. Now. After 20 minutes on hold listening to the happy sales pitch I’m furious by the time the human even gets on the line. That post on the Dreamhost blog sends the message that they couldn’t care less. Sad.


4 responses to “What does web host support mean?”

  1. I think the moral of the story is, “you get what you pay for.” How can Dreamhost provide good service at 10% the price (after discounts/promo codes)?

  2. Exactly, Clyde. And the point of my post is that Dreamhost has to think about improving support before implementing the next feature so they can keep the price down and remain competitive. Sure, they’ll get things under control and of course the best scenario is not to have the downtime. But that’s unrealistic. EVERY web site has a burp now and then. It happens. It’s a given. It’s like not getting a family doctor because your goal is to not get sick. Well yeah, but you get a doctor so when you DO get sick you have somewhere to go.

    Customers who are looking at web hosts should put support at a higher priority than price. I’ll not make that mistake again.

    The reality is that Dreamhost offers far more than most folks will ever use, so the difference between Dreamhost and MediaTemple or Pair is not as significant, price-for-feature wise.

  3. I’m using A Small Orange for hosting at the moment, and have a similar level of service. My former host rarely even responded to any of my emails!

    Service makes one hell of a difference in this day and age.