Monday, 18 August 2008

Review of

I've been building a simple website for my art/craft job (I make painted folding wood screens and panels) and the time came to find a web hosting service. I thought, as it's my first go and I'm poor, I'll try a free site and signed up with They offer webspace free to all, then also a Premier paying service and I think, another more expensive one. They go through a process of seeing whether or not they want you and there is a bunch of complaints on the support forum about rejected applications. But I got okayed.
Then came the endless glitches and server problems. The support forum seems helpful at first glance, then you notice the barely veiled impatience with which people's questions are addressed. People are admonished for not doing a 'search' first, although the small Search button is difficult to spot among the highlighted, brighlty coloured text around and is, frankly, piss-poor. As a result of the impatience, people post apologetic questions. The support team actually keep a tally of how many times they are thanked! There's an atmosphere of 'tin-pot kingship' going on. I also wasn't impressed by their 'Novice' avatar which is of a stereotypical old lady (not an old man of course) which I find ageist as well as sexist.

After two weeks of trying to upload my site, with constant Error notices about the server and 'disk full' signs, I noticed lots of other people complaining. Free-space's response? We're working on it, have you though of going on our Premium (paying) service instead! It seemed to me that the 'Free' site was a bait to get people in, then as a result of poor service, get them to sign up for the paying option. They are a big business after all. I very much doubt if they suffer such 'problems' on the paying service or they'd be out of business! Here's my first and only comment I posted and their friendly reply:
Originally Posted by carrie

I'm a new client...rapidly turning into an old client waiting for the space to finish uploading my site. Cynical old me wonders if this is boosting Premium sales at all? Not that I'm ungrateful for the good support on here - just a tad frustrated....

Carrie, please find a new host ASAP. For you to make such comments is certainly uncalled for. People like you never take notice of the fantastic range of features and good reliability we offer for no cash, and instead moan and direct sarcastic comments at the service trying to help you. Please leave.
You certainly won't be missed.
We will not allow this kind of negative moaning by members. From now on we will delete, terminate and ban all members who show such attitude.Enough said.

That's from James, the owner who also sent me a rude e-mail.
Well, I must admit I laughed my socks off when I read his pompous response. And when I showed it to friends, they pissed themselves laughing too. But funnier still was when I tried to go back to the site to show them the complaints, I got this message:
You have been banned for the following reason : No reason was specified.
Date the ban will be lifted : Never

Needless to say, we laughed a lot more!
If I'd ever been able to manage to get my site uploaded in the first place, it might have been inconvenient to have to change webhosts. As it is, it's made me realise if I'm serious about getting a hassle-free site going, I'd better pay for it. By the way, might be ok for paying customers, I don't know but I personally wouldn't advise anyone to try their free service.

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