When I started this blog in May of 2008, I entrusted PhilHosting with my site in my foray into the world of self-hosted blogging. I foolishly chose their service because of their affordable rates, neglecting to research customer satisfaction online.
That, in retrospect, was the first mistake I made as a self-hosted blogger. Over the holidays, without prior notice, PhilHosting apparently restored their mySQL databases from ancient backups. That resulted to the loss of all the precious blog posts I had written after December 4, and a whole lot of annoyance and agony.
What’s more, soon after that, a bigger problem followed: the blog became inaccessible from my home Internet connection, making it impossible for me to mitigate the situation. This wasn’t my fault, I was sure, because I couldn’t even publish a post explaining why several of my blog posts had suddenly disappeared.
My first instinct, of course, was to contact their technical support service in the hope that they could at least give me back access to my blog. Well, turns out, these guys like to vacation, too. They announced this on their homepage:
12/23/2008: Philhosting is close on Christmas Holidays. All account and technical inquires/request will be process on January 5, 2009 when regular office day is resume. Thank you and Happy Holidays!
That’s an exact quote, copy-pasted from their homepage (in the bottom-left of the page, under the ‘News & Updates’ heading). Yes, their grammar was bad, albeit not half as stinky as their service.
So I had no choice but to wait for these guys to return from their hiatus before I could open a trouble ticket, which would then take days for them to process thanks to their snail-slow reaction time. With that in mind, I found it a fruitless effort to send a strongly-worded email to them (plus, it would corrode the spirit of the holidays I assumed), so I waited until January 7 to seek assistance from them (just to give them time to transition from vacation mode to help-my-client-with-his-site-problem mode).
They responded about 24 hours later, asking me to “please visit your site no [sic]” and advising me to provide them my cPanel login data so they could “check your back up if disabled”. I’d regained access to the site by this time, by the way. Okay, I thought, and obliged with their request for my login credentials.
I assumed they wanted my login info so they could go into the more technical corners of my cPanel to untick a checkbox that said “disable backup”. Instead, they followed up one day later saying that admin had actually “temporarily disabled the bak up [sic]”. They said that I had to request them to provide me a link with which I could download a full backup of my site. Sounds like a complete reversal of roles, with me having to request something from them, yes? Plus, couldn’t they just have provided me a link to the backup then and there instead of making me beg for it first? What, does their internal bureaucracy prevent them from assisting their customers?
Still, I decided that remaining calm and polite was still the best way to go. On January 9, I opened up a separate trouble ticket requesting for a full backup of my website. I have yet to hear from them. Big surprise.
Sick and fed up with PhailHosting, I decided to go ahead and purchase webspace from Page.Ph, another reputable Pinoy webhost. This blog is now hosted on my Page.Ph virtual server, and while it took them quite some time to process my account, everything’s been going smoothly so far. I hope Page is a better webhost than PhailHosting.
If you Google around, you’ll notice that I’m not the only unsatisfied PhailHosting customer out there. Here’s a short rant from two years ago at Fubar Genre (with what looks like a planted commenter making an appearance). Three days into the New Year, Aaron Roselo posted a rant about PhailHosting, as well. Ed Arevalo plurked his frustration with PhailHosting recently, too. Technogra.ph covered the story, and another rare satisfied PhilHosting customer praised the host in the comments section. (Ironically, I tried to visit said satisfied customer’s website and wasn’t able to access it, LOL.) There’s more where that came from, and hopefully a lot less to come.
So that’s it, my own PhilHosting horror story. *shivers in fear*
I’m assuming someone over at PhailHosting read this rant, because at noon today I received this message in my inbox. It was a reply to one of my trouble tickets.
If you click through the link, you’ll be taken to a page with a nifty bar graph that ranks PhailHosting as the number one webhost in the country by market share and total domains. I was amused. Obviously, it was their snarky, prideful way of saying “you’re wrong.” Uhm, you might have the biggest market share, but based on my experience, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you give all your clients the best service you can offer. (Sure, you might be accomodating to the big companies that host their sites on your servers, but you leave the little guys out in the cold. Way to go.)
And in response to their nonchalant “You have already stated that you friends can access it”, that’s true—my friends could access it. But I couldn’t. I checked my antivirus and firewall programs, and my website wasn’t blocked on any of them. I’d also been able to access my site for brief periods of time (and when I say brief, I mean three minutes brief). That means it’s most probably a problem on your end. Your unwillingness to fix it or even to give me suggestions on what to do to fix the problem just indicates the crappiness of the service you offer.
PhilHosting. Hosting fail. Customer service and satisfaction fail.