Having now been involved with Web Design, hosting and Web application development for about 7 years I have had what I feel to be a considerable amount of experience with various types of hosting packages and providers and I thought it might be useful to share those experiences with you.
My initial foray into web hosting was with a company called Host Europe in Nottingham, all in all not a bad hosting company, or at least as it was in 2002. My first experience was using a shared hosting package, the name of which escapes me now, but to be fair it was pretty limited and offered limited user modifiable resources. The hosting package was running with a large number of other users websites on the good old reliable Cobalt Raq series of web servers, which were eventually snapped up and absorbed by Sun Microsystems, but then thats a story for another day.
Well, my hosting experiences with Host Europe were short lived as after having only been with them for about 18-24 months they were absorbed by Pipex and transmorphed into what we know today as 123-reg and WebFusion, and I found that even as a long standing customer, there was no longer a feeling of personal service as there had been in the Host Europe days and sadly, it was time to source another provider.
My own business activities had moved on and I was now working with a partner and from Host Europe we decided to go down the dedicated server route and found ourselves a local data centre, by the name of Node4 in Derby, to host our newly acquired and configured 1U rack mounted HP server, which we decided to install with SUSE Linux and the latest version of the Plesk Control Panel for which we purchased an unlimited domain licence Parallels which we found to be very intuitive and offered us an easy way to administer our web clients and their domains. Naturally any support issues were dealt with by ourselves and, where required, with the assistance of Parallels or SWSoft as they were then, and although we did have restricted access to our hardware, we were lucky to not experience any hardware failures and we managed to run with this system until 2007 when I separated from my business partner and decided to go in my own direction, and once again found myself needing to find a suitable web hosting company.
I found, what at the time appeared to be a good fit for my needs in a VPS offering from a hosting company by the name of Weycrest based somewhere in the South of the UK, with in their words, servers operating out of a London Docklands Data Centre, the price was fairly reasonable and I decided I had nothing to lose by giving the VPS idea a go. The solution that I decided on was a Virtual Server running on a Linux OS, and sporting the latest Plesk control panel, something that I was already familiar and happy with. The package that I opted for from Weycrest was superb, and offered everything that I needed, and also alleviated the need for me to be concerned about any hardware issues.
I setup all of my clients and migrated their domains to my new vps and everything appeared to be working fine. As my business grew and as I added more clients to the server, everything seemed fine, then I began to require support for minor little issues addressed by my clients and unfortunately this is where Weycrest did begin to let me down a little. Very often support requests would remain unanswered for between 24 and 48 hours and it became obvious to me that although the service in its offering was exactly what I required it was the support, or lack of ssatisfactory support that began to let the service down at those critical times.
So, yes, you guessed it, it was time to once again look for an alternative provider…
This was when, by pure chance, I stumbled upon EuroVPS, a company offering state of the art redundant high availability servers, networking and storage, based in a Netherlands data centre, with amazingly low prices for a fully managed service, no long term contractual tie in, all that was required was a simple monthly commitment. So I thought long and hard for about 90 seconds, and subscribed to one of their VPS Managed Serers which offered me an Intel Xeon Processor running at 2.5GHZ, with 20Gb of disk space and 1Gb of dedicated memory, running Red hat Enterprise Linux, and if memory serves me correctly, what I believe was the latest version of the Plesk control panel 8.0, all for €49.95 per month (exchange rate was better then too, about 1.5 Euros to the UK pound).
It was December 2007, I remember it well, because I was attending a 1 week IBM training course in Leeds when I purchased my first subscription one evening in the hotel room, and I was shocked when within 15 minutes I had received an email stating that my requested VPS had been set-up, immediately followed by an email detailing all of my required logins and passwords etc., etc.
Well I took advantage of being extremely bored in my hotel room to immediately begin to migrate several of my domains to the EuroVPS servers and to my surprise I actually did notice an increase in performance, and decided to take the opportunity to email my clients to inform them of the pending movement of their domains and that they may experience a slight glitch in their email and web services. Yes, I did give them a little notice and I waited until the following evening before I began to transfer my clients to the new server. The whole process took less than a couple of hours and everything was running perfectly. I remember there being a couple of minor issues such as plesk licensing issues and being sat in my hotel room at 23:00 hours at night I thought “Oh well, let’s log a support request and wait until tomorrow for a result…”
Well, I received an immediate response along the lines of:
Thank you for contacting us.
This is an automated response confirming the receipt of your ticket.
One of our agents will get back to you as soon as possible.
…and to my absolute amazement, no more than 10 minutes later I received another email with notification that the license had been updated and the issue I was having should now be resolved and I should try again.
I did…and it was !!!!
I have now been with EuroVPS for almost 3 years and in that time “EVERY” issue (not that there have been many) has been resolved almost immediately, no matter the time of day or night, their support team are ALWAYS on hand and willing to assist.
I have experienced 2 major critical issues during my time with EuroVPS, one involved a client deleting one of their websites by accident, this was reported to EuroVPS and within 30 minutes the clients site had been retrieved from backups and fully restored, my client was over the moon and I could not thank EuroVPS enough.
The 2nd incident wihich occured recently was a little more concerning and involved all of my clients sites… This occured when the RAID10 storage that hosted my VPS storage suffered 2 simultaneous disk failures which crashed my VPS completely. I reported this to EuroVPS and within 45 minutes my entire VPS had been restored to a mirrored system and was fully operational.
I work with Enterprise clients that pay huge amounts of money for disaster recovery services that cannot acheive that kind of DR failover, so believe me the service and support offered by EuroVPS is in my eyes exceptional, so let me say a big thank you to all the staff at EuroVPS for making my day to day life exceptionally easy and giving me the confidence to be able to sleep easy every night knowing that my clients websites are in safe hands.
Thank you EuroVPS