Monday, January 22, 2018

Lifetime hosting with Dragify / Ahead Hosting: a lifelong nightmare!

In October 2017 published a deal from a company called Dragify: they offered lifetime web hosting for up to 4 websites at $39.99.
It looked like a good deal, so I signed up to test the service for a few days.

After I signed up I discovered that Dragify would no provide this service directly. The webhosting they were selling would actually be provided by another company called Ahead Hosting, apparently from Spain.

Well, who cares? What's important is that it works... So I tested the service for a few days (not enough, I would discover lately) and it looked okay, so before the special offer ended, I signed up for a second account, this time paying for the "triple up" addon, which allowed up to 12 websites to be hosted on that account for $39.99 (as before) + $39.99 (for the "triple up" addon).

Since this is important, let's call them ACCOUNT A (4 websites) and ACCOUNT B (12 websites)

I then proceeded to move all my websites from my old hosting provider to these two new accounts... and that's when the nightmare started.
Downtime is the major issue here: the websites would be unreachable or show "Error 502 Bad Gateway" for long periods of time. I would write to Ahead Hosting's customer service but my emails would mostly go unanswered. On a few rare occasions I have received a reply to my emails, and they all consisted mainly on monosillables.

On December 20, while checking stats on my ACCOUNT B's cPanel, I discovered that some unknown third-party was sending spam using the SMTP of one of my domains hosted on this account. I immediately sent an email to the customer service to warn them that the server was misconfigured, since it allowed third parties to send spam, even though everything was set to avoid this. Of course, I have never received any reply.

In early January 2018, everything came crushing down: all the websites were unreachable, the cpanel would not allow me to login to any of my accounts ("user does not exist"). Of course, I immediately contacted the customer service and guess what? I have never received any reply.
Almost three full days later, the websites were up again and the cpanel would allow me to login again. Have I ever receive an explanation for this incident? Of course not.

Then, a few days later, without any forewarning nor any communications, my ACCOUNT A got suspended. The websites would show "This account has been suspended" and the cPanel would not allow me to login saying "this account has been suspended".
Of course I immediately contacted the customer service again, and this time (a few hours later) I received a reply that simply said that the account had been "suspended for spam".
Remember the problem with the SMTP server I tried warning them about? Well, it looks like they didn't give a damn about my warning, but they used it weeks later to suspend my ACCOUNT A, without any logical reason, considering that the domain which was used to send spam was hosted on ACCOUNT B!
In fact, my ACCOUNT B was still up and running and spammers were still using it to send spam!!

And it does not end here: while suspending my ACCOUNT A, they also decided to suspend my "triple up" plugin on ACCOUNT B. Why??? There was no logical reason at all, just utter incompetence! If the account causing problems was ACCOUNT B, why did they suspend ACCOUNT A? And then why did they suspend the "triple up" plugin on ACCOUNT B? Again, pure and simple incompetence.
At least, after contacting Dragify about this, they have canceled the suspension on the tripling up, and I have got my webspace and bandwidth allowance for 12 websites back.

Not that I intend to use this "lifetime" nightmare anymore. Immediately after the suspension I started moving all my websites to a different hosting provider, which hopefully will prove more professional than Ahead Hosting.

By the way, it looks like behind this so-called company Ahead Hosting lies a single person, who owns (or rents?) a single server: when my websites were down/unreachable, the "company's" website would be down/unreachable too. How professional is that?

In conclusion: as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. If you want reliable hosting, stay away from these "lifetime" offers.
And most of all, stay away from Ahead Hosting.