VPS Nightmares - HostV Experiences
Some years ago, and after some super poor performance from the shared hosting I was using back then, I started considering purchasing a VPS to move my sites to.
Around the same time, I had to host some shoutcast servers, so buying a managed VPS with cPanel in order to host everything there seemed like a sensible and cheap option.Back then, with absolutely no experience on this subject, finding a suitable managed VPS for both my sites and shoutcast server was nearly impossible. So, I asked for suggestions on a local forum, and someone recommended HostV. Their prices, and especially the unmetered traffic seemed almost too good to be true. But since someone I kinda knew had recommended them, and judging from the way they responded to all my presales questions, I decided to give them a shot, and buy a VPS package (OpenVZ, unclear CPU specs, 512 guaranteed ram, 768 burst, 50gigs storage, unmetered traffic).
This is the (painful) story of my experiences with HostV.
Things didn't really start so good from the start. First, my cPanel license was invalid. Submitted a ticket, and they fixed it quite quick. Then, the default OS config/image, needed quite some tweaks in order to work. All other managed VPSes I have tried to this day, where almost 100% ready "out of the box".As I started using the VPS in actual "production" circumstances, I started noticing lots of apparently random reboots. This went on for quite a long time, I didn't really know the expected behavior, and I opened a ticket to ask about it. The first reply said it was my fault, for going over the memory limit. This seemed quite strange to me, as I knew that a real computer with even less memory could easily handle 5 shoutcast servers and an apache server with 15 not really dynamic php sites, with less than 1000 daily visits in total.Still, back then I didn't really know what to expect, and actually believed the tech support reply and did my best to heavily tweak Apache, cPanel, and mySQL in order to reduce RAM usage. Note that in the Virtuozzo control panel there wheren't any RAM usage resource alerts.
After some months I updated most of my sites to new versions, based on the newest Joomla (1.7 was the current version back then), and noticed that most of the reboots went away. I new there were some big changes in the caching functions of Joomla with this version, but I still wasn't 100% sure what caused the reboots.
Meanwhile, I bought another, this time unmanaged VPS, in order to host a shoutcast server for a client with lots of listeners, and super high bitrate (320kbps mp3). Note that the supposed speed of all their VPS packages was 100mbit, with unmetered traffic.
Around 100 listeners (100x320kbps, do the math), connection timeouts and other weird behaviours started appearing. I opened a ticket, and the reply was, that you shouldnt go over 10mbit of bandwidth usage, because you share the node with other people, and QoS may kick in, and cause the timeouts etc. They fixed it, but asked to keep the bandwidth usage way lower than the 30mbits I was using at the time. This was a big disapointment. Also, I forgot to mention, that by the time I bought this second VPS they were out (?) of 32bit nodes, and they could only host 64bit VPSes. That, to this day, is a problem to anyone hosting shoutcast servers, since almost every site/player/directory involved in actual production situations, still works only with shoutcast 1.x, which only works with 32bit Linux. They also dont offer automated reinstalls of the OSes like most other hosts do.
I eventually gave up hosting this specific high load shoutast server on HostV.
Then, the original managed VPS, crashed. It stayed down, so I opened a ticket, the reply was quite quick but unclear, and they offered to move me to a new node in order to make it work again right away. Offcourse I agreed, and indeed they made the move relatively fast, within few hours. But when it completed, although the OS/files where exactly the same as I had before, with all the low RAM tweaked settings, the reboots were back.
So I opened another ticket, to ask about the reboots. This time another guy responded, with a reply that showed that he knew what he was talking about, and told me that he had tweaked the CPU throttle settings for my specific VPS, and that I should be good to go. Indeed he fixed it, but he probably unwillingly admitted that HostV has extreme CPU throttling, that causes random, "hard" reboots. Thats a very bad and unfair behaviour in my opinion, that to this day I didn't find in any other hosting company.
While I can't say I wasnt ever really satisfied with HostV, I actually renewed my package for a whole year, since more or less it was working, and I didnt want to spend any more time moving, reconfiguring etc. Everything went as planned for a few months, but then, suddenly my VPS died.
One Saturday morning it completely died. I tried to open a ticket, but the ticket system was down. I tried to write a mail, but noone replied. After a day of waiting, I posted a ticket through their parent company ticket system, and then someone replied. They said that now it should be working. Indeed, It was sometimes appearing as up, but 90% of the time it was unreachable. Also, when the VPS could be reached, it was extremely slow. I kept replying to the ticket I opened, and I was getting misc irrelevant replies. They said I had missconfigured DNS on my domains, which was not the issue. They blamed excessive FTP connections that also wasnt the issue. They also said "It should be fixed now" a lot of times, while nothing had changed. With all that, we reached Wednesday, and I had no sites/mails/services since Saturday. Then someone said the problems where cause by a hard disk failure, and that the servers would be down till a raid rebuild would be finished. Sites remained down for almost two days after that, and on early Friday morning, they posted an official statement on their twitter and forum, saying that some nodes where down and would remain down till the raid was rebuilded. That was probably the time when they did really start fixing it in my opinion.
On Sunday night, the VPS started becoming available, was still ridiculously slow, even doing a simple SSH login took 10 minutes. Note that untill then I had no access to my files, and couldnt take a backup in order to move to another VPS server. Still, I managed to take backups of everything after more than 8 hours of struggling, and then started the moving to another VPS as soon as possible.
But, counting the DNS propagations, mail identification records tha behave similiary to DNS propagation, and some minor reconfiguring that I had to do on peoples email clients, I had in total 10 or 11 days of downtime. Thankfully the new hosting company I chose hade the OS image properly configured from the beggining, From all this incident I lost 2 (of my less than 10) "clients", had to refund some others and people simply stopped trusting me.
I cancelled my account and indeed they refunded all the remaining time + the downtime to me very soon, but sadly, the damage done was irreversible, and not something 250$ could fix.
So, in conclusion, while HostV is a legit company, and not some kind of scammers, really stay away. Their tech support is (in the best case scenario, assuming they arent simply lazy liars) unqualified and almost non existent, and you could end up in a situation like mine.