PlusNet grief

I have used PlusNet as my ISP for nearly a year now and my disillusionment is now pretty much complete. At the time I moved over they came highly recommended and, unbelievably, their website is currently trumpeting that they were top of a customer satisfaction survey by uswitch.com.

So what is the reason for my discontent? I fork out £21.99 a month for their broadband PREMIER package because I was interested in the added extras: a static IP address, e-mail support and webspace with MySQL/PHP support. Now to give them their due, PlusNet’s broadband itself has been great. It is these extras that let them down.

Firstly, their ‘cgi platform’ is poorly supported. As you’ve probably noticed, this site tends to crawl along and when a few months ago one of their developers accidentally deleted all of the content, not only did they not contact me to apologise, but when I did complain they pointed me to the small print that indicates that they do not provide backups for this service. Fortunately the site was relatively new and the MySQL content still intact so the repair job wasn’t too bad (reminder to self – backup time).

Their e-mail service has also given us problems in the past with bizarre behaviour in the webmail interface and frequent lockouts. However, when I returned from our holiday to Iceland to discover one of these lockouts, their status pages revealed worse news. Whilst in the process of upgrading the mail platform, one of the engineers had accidentally deleted 700GB of mail, an action which was rapidly mirrored to their backup storage. Consequently, when they did restore service a day or two later, I was missing two weeks worth of e-mail and Christine the entirety of her IMAP folders.

They claim to have a specialist firm attempting to restore the data but a week and a half later there is still no sign of it. What really got me though was that they have moved the ensuing discussion on the PlusNet usergroup site to a forum that can only be read by registered users. And guess what? To register you have be accessing the site from a PlusNet connection. Fat lot of good that did me here in Norway!

Still trying to decide what course of action to take. Do I a) find a new ISP in disgust, b) find a new and competent mail and web hosting provider, c) get a virtual or dedicated server or d) setup a server at home? Any suggestions or recommendations welcome.

One Response to “PlusNet grief”

  1. David, I think it all depends on how much time and effort you’re prepared to invest. In my opinion, although it sounds like fun initially, running a server at home is costly and has easy potential for downtime. Unless you have a need for lots of special software, it’s more straightforward to let someone else handle that.

    Personally, I use PlusNet as my broadband provider only (for which, as you say, they are OK). My domain, new-destiny.co.uk (where I keep my blog, gallery, etc.) is hosted for me by Aconix. They are fully buzzword compliant – IMAP/Apache/PHP/MySQL/SSH/etc. I wouldn’t recommend them particularly (customer service not particularly responsive), but in principle this does work well – you can move broadband providers without moving hosting provider and vice-versa. I’ve heard good things about gradwell.com as a hosting provider. The one thing I wouldn’t do is stay with PlusNet for this – they sound totally incompetent.

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