Webhost digitalinet – a review.

A kayaker runs the huge whitewater of the first of 5 Class V rapids on the Baker River, Patagonia, Chile.

hey Folks,

So whilst I’m locked down in the dungeon of Anchorage, waiting on the mechanics to tell me my van is fine, and any possible breakdowns were/will be my own doing, I’m dealing with another issue. My backpacking/guiding website, Expeditions Alaska was set up, with the help of a friend Bugsy, a fantastic artist from Atlanta (now in LA), years ago, and hosted, at the Bugs’ recommendation, on digitalinet.com. Well, it’s been an adventure, but digitalinet can go to he**.

Their website indicates 24/7 tech support, and toll free phone support. Their website fails to provide any phone # or contact information, other than a standard form to fill out, at all. Not even an email address. I did, via extensive Google searching, extract a few of phone numbers that were supposedly related to digitalinet.com .. 2 of them were no longer working, the other 2 both yielded immediate voice mail messages, and I couldn’t get anyone to return a single call from either of them. I’ve emailed them over 10 times in the last 10 days, and not one of my emails has been returned. Whilst this isn’t the norm, it’s not brand new either. A few of my emails to them over the past 6 months or so were not returned. Generally, though, they did reply, but not always promptly, and very rarely with any courtesy or helpful information.

It’s my own stupid fault for sticking with digitalinet as long as I did – they helped me solve one problem, early on in my tenure with them, with a cgi script – after that, I can’t think of a single issue I had with them where their help actually resolved anything. Generally, their “support” emails might go something like this:

“At this time we do not offer support on ….. You must complete this task via … You should contact someone who can help you. Google “telnet support

Thank you
Digitalinet Customer Service”.

I had email issues with the server a couple o years back, and their reply was:

“We are not having any mail server issues at this time.

Thank You,
Digitalinet Customer Service”

I think the best I can say about their “support” is that they did include “Thank you” in their signature. That was nice of them.

So now that I’ve moved the site from digitalinet.com to a new server, lunarpages.com, I’ve had a major mission of it thanks in no small part to their refusal to offer any support whatsoever. They wouldn’t provide me with any of the database stuff hosted on their server, which meant I couldn’t move stuff like my coppermine gallery and wordpress blogs over to the new server – I had to rebuild them manually, from scratch. The coppermine stuff I’ve done OK with, because it’s a relatively small gallery, but the blog, Ramblings, hosted threads and content that was definitely valuable to visitors to the site. I found, via more google time, some information on how to extract a database from a host via telnet. In doing so, I found out that anyone using telnet these days is not a good host, because it’s not a secure medium for data transfer. Digitalinet.com, of course, use telnet. So, with the help from a local Alaskan web master, I was able to create a dump file, download it, and upload it to the new host, an am in the process of learning how, if possible, to have the blog reflect the data from the old database, and hence, display the content I had previously posted on the blog.

I can’t describe how stark is the difference between the quality of service between, say, the new host, lunarpages, and the old host, digitalinet. Lunarpages have an excellent support team, 24 hour web support and extensive phone support (I might be needing to upgrade my cell phone plan to account for the surge in minutes used), and provide helpful, friendly and courteous service. Similarly, I was able to get very friendly and helpful assistance from the web master here in Alaska, who had no reason to help other than common courtesy when I described the problem to him. Yet I can’t even a reply via email from a company (digitalinet) whom I’ve paid hundreds of dollars to.

NB: Lunarpages suck. I wouldn’t recommend them at all after some time with them. Customer Service was pitiful to non-existent. I am now with inmotionhosting and also wpengine.

Customer Service gets on my nerves like few other issues in business today. We live in a world where if it’s cheaper, it’s better. Economic models be damned, I say – give me a community that nurtures and promotes respect and courtesy. Unfortunately, I think the massive and unrelenting marketing campaigns we’re all so inundated with on a daily basis instead foster a disregard for basic human nature. We’ve come to expect, and expect to tolerate, the kind of ridiculous service we so often in the economic marketplace – all because we’re told it yields a better bottom line. Well, it may take me a while, sometimes, but I’ll bring my bottom line to lunarpages and deal with folks who treat me like they appreciate me dealing with them.

Rather than rag on about digitalinet, I’ll leave it with this. They suck, and I wish them the worst.

Cheers

Carl

PS – this photo is my Aussie friend, Josh Waterson, heading into the first of 5 Class V rapids on the Baker River, Patagonia, Chile, last summer.

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8 thoughts on “Webhost digitalinet – a review.

  1. Ron Niebrugge

    Sorry to hear about all your web issues – they are no fun!

    Lunar Pages is great as long as you don’t have too much traffic. Once you start using more then your share of resources, you will get that nice, “move your site to a slow dedicated server for $100 plus per month within 14 days or have your site shut down” message – even if your bandwidth is well within their numbers. Well the message doesn’t exactly say that, but it should, and I’m not the only one – their forums had lots of users getting the boot. It is the only way they can over sell thier servers – having lots of small users. Hopefully you have better luck with them.

  2. Carl Donohue

    Hey Ron,

    It’s such a hassle, made all the worse by me complete lack of knowledge pertaining to such matters. I clearly garner my computer skillzzz from my dad. what makes it SO frustrating though, is that this stuff, for someone who knows what’s giong on, would be easy, and if digitalinet had given me even halfway reasonable service, (a), I wouldn’t have left, and (b) had I left, the switch would have been SO easy. As is, I still can’t get my other blog up.

    I remember your hassles with lunarpages. I’m hoping I never get to that. I have to wonder, though, what you did that made them so mad at you? šŸ™‚

    Is your site slower now with a dedicated server? I thought it would be faster, no?

    Cheers

    Carl

  3. Beth Lunsford

    You go boy!! Tell em” where to go!! Hey, my brother is a Physicist & computer specialist in Atlanta. If you need some advice, I’ll give you his e-mail address. He’s worked with many large companies around the country. He loves science and he loves computers. His articles have been published in several science publications. He’s a really nice guy. I bet your head was about to explode dealing with those jerks. Good luck!

  4. Ron Niebrugge

    “I remember your hassles with lunarpages. Iā€™m hoping I never get to that.”

    Actually, it is a good problem in a way!

    When Lunar Pages moved us to a dedicated server, it was on a very slow computer. They explained that their shared servers are much faster machines – so I then paid a bunch more money to get a bit faster one. We basically used their dedicated servers long enough to figure out what was going on and then left them – I haven’t had my site with LP in while. I now use the guys at lightboxphoto to manage it for me since I don’t have a clue to that stuff!

  5. Mark

    I know how much host problems can distrupt your life and add a lot of undue stress – I feel for ya brutha.

    Ron’s issue regarding Lunarpages also happened to me. Overall they have been pretty good, but I did experience some frustration when that excessive resources issue came up. Back and forth with their tech support was getting me nowhere, they all assumed you knew exactly how to reduce your resource loading, or you needed to move to a dedicated. Finally one tech gave me a very detailed list of things to check to diagnose the issue.

    You have to be a bit wary of PHP scripts like Coppermine and WordPress – they can become resource HOGS! Even if your bandwidth is within limits, most shared hosts also have fineprint where if you go over 1% of their CPU use (100 sites on one CPU for Lunarpages) – they can shut you down and require you to move to a dedicated. It isn’t only Lunarpages, but nearly all shared plans.

    What was happening to me is that I had Google and some sites in China pinging the heck out of the PHP scripts in my Coppermine gallery. So I updated my robots.txt file to tell Google to only look at certain areas of my Coppermine gallery, and I just totally IP blocked the China one. I also disabled a few WordPress scripts I had, and enabled WP Cache – which also is supposed to reduce CPU load. After all this – my usage dropped under again, and all was well with Lunarpages.

  6. Carl Donohue

    Hey Beth

    I’m still working on it all, thanks .. hopefully I can get it worked out soon enough. I appreciate the offer to have your brother help, thanks. I’ll send you an email if I get too stuck, thanks.

    Hey Ron,

    This will sound a little off the wall, but it seems Lunarpages perhaps are on a similar business plan as companies like State Farm – they offer a well-priced service, and good customer service, but they have a pretty narrow range on the bell curve of who they take and who they don’t .. which is fine for them, because most folks fit into the narrow part of a bell curve .. the ole 80/20 rule. If you fall into that ’20’ range, you’re outta luck .. and the cost to you becomes considerably more, not to mention the extra time it takes to deal with it all, and find someone who’ll offer you the appropriate service.

    That all said, it’s pretty lame that their shared servers are faster than the more expensive dedicated ones. Is your site hosted by lightboxphoto?

    Hey Mark,

    yeah, this kind of stuff stresses me out .. largely because I’m so ignorant of it all .. just the reading I’ve done in the last few days has been enough to weigh me down .. I get halfway through a page full of industry jargon and collapse on the floor in a heap.

    I wonder if, as more and more sites become dynamic sites and incorporate blogs and php scripting, those regulations for shared plans will change at all. Seems like they should.

    It’s also a shame they’re not more co-operative at helping you find a way to work within what they specify as requirements and get it sorted out.

    I’ve no idea where my usage sits, but I wonder that now I’ve added my backpacking site as an Addon domain if I get 2 allotments, or if both sites combined have to be under the allotted usage. I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that. šŸ™‚

    Cheers

    Carl

  7. Ron Niebrugge

    “Is your site hosted by lightboxphoto?”

    Basically yes.

    “it seems Lunarpages perhaps are on a similar business plan as companies like State Farm”

    True. The difference is, State Farm doesn’t claim to offer insurance to anyone despite their driving record. Lunar Pages makes promises of a bunch of storage and bandwidth, when in reality you would be dropped before ever coming close to taking advantage of the level of service they claim to offer.

    Stay warm!

    Ron

  8. Carl Donohue

    Hey Ron,

    Yeah, that’s quite a difference. I hope they do something about that before my site gets to that level. There’s something to be said for not being such a huge traffic website, I spose. šŸ™‚ I wonder if, as storage and CPU stuff improves, that will change.

    For now, I’m just glad to be done with digitalinet.com.

    Cheers

    Carl

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