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I wasn’t going to say anything actually bad about JustHost. But seriously …

I wanted to avoid a disgruntled rant about JustHost, the company that (still for the time being) hosts the blog and is about to be deprived of its chance to host the new member site. It was enough to say JustHost was a bit slow, error-prone, and lacking in customer service. Enough to say that, since being acquired by some host-devouring conglomerate, it was getting a shocking number of bad reviews.

I wanted to be discreet. Polite. Didn’t want to come across as some crazed former customer, brimming with self-righteousness and out for revenge. You know the type. The weirdo who goes rampaging across Yelp, Angie’s List, F*c*b**k, and every other available venue, raging at fantastic lengths about slights, perceived or actual, committed by some hapless business. Assuming every decent reader is on his (or her) side. Assuming her (or his) side is the side of heaven’s most righteous avenging angels.

No. Did not want to be That Person. Anyhow, I chose JustHost in the first place. Its failings are at least partly my own doing. And as a general rule, I believe in giving benefit of doubt.

But seriously, JustHost. You guys are begging for that treatment.

Besides, what happened last night is kinda funny.


So yesterday afternoon (on Brad R’s recommendation), I signed on with HawkHost. I immediately put their customer service to the test. On a Friday night. Opening one help ticket for their sales department and another for their site-migration mavens. They offer free site migration, handled by them. And they mean it.

Both queries were answered within half an hour. And when it turned out the site-migration people couldn’t do their thing without the present host company first making a full cPanel backup*, we had a rapid dialog about that via trouble ticket. The HawkHost tech support people simply couldn’t have been better to deal with. If it’s always like this, I could fall in love with HawkHost.

But. It was then off to JustHost. Mark that name: JustHost. Which also claims to have 24/7 tech support. They got rid of their online support after being assimilated into the Borg. So it’s just phone and chat. But it’s 24/7. So they claim.

After allowing what I consider to be a dangerous number of scripts and cookies, I was able to open a JustHost chat window. I got this far:

Screenshot from 2016-08-26 20-07-55

Yes, you should be right with me, JustHost. But the reality did not quite live up to the promise.

There the alleged “chat” stood for 15 minutes. Figuring something was technically wrong, I switched browsers, opened another chat window. And got this far:

Screenshot from 2016-08-26 20-07-55

Yes. That far. Again. And I waited.

I eventually closed out one of the two chat windows. Forgetting the other was still open, I then pulled out the phone (invention of Satan) and called the alleged toll-free number (something that’s as useless as tits on a boar hog in this day of cellphones).

And I was entertained by a selection of ghastly music until I finally hung up.

So, I wondered, how am I going to reach them to ask them to make that backup? And worse, when it comes time to cancel the hosting account, how am I going to reach these people within the remaining moneyback time? Certified letter? Carrier pigeon?

Oh well, I thought. That’s not fair. It’s Friday night, after all. They’re probably on a skeleton staff. You’ll have better luck next time.



Or perhaps it was Boop!

But a little sound came from my computer. It was the forgotten chat line alerting me that somebody was ready to talk! Half an hour, or maybe 45 minutes, after I tried to open the chat, I heard from Pramod, who wrote (click if you need to embiggenate):


I responded with the requested information:


And I swear to you that this is the very next thing Pramod said to me. You can see by the time stamps I am not leaving one line out. This was what followed the beginning of our dialog:


Yes, Pramod said hi, then immediately announced his shift was over. Tough luck, baby. But no worries, ’cause it’ll just be a “sec” before the next wonderful, on-the-ball chat staffer steps in. …


And those, dear friends, were the last words ever spoken to me by JustHost tech support. I wished Pramod farewell, waited for his replacement, and the remainder of our “dialog” looked like this:


After that, the chat window entirely quit responding. It would accept no further input from me, but at the same time, it wouldn’t allow me to end the chat, other than by closing the browser window.

For a while, hoping somebody would turn up, I hung around and entertained myself:

Screenshot from 2016-08-26 20-11-08

Pink Floyd played in my head:

Screenshot from 2016-08-26 20-13-11

Lewis Carroll made more sense that Pramod, JustHost, and company:

Screenshot from 2016-08-26 20-19-03

Of course, none of this had any point, other than to amuse myself, because they weren’t accepting any of this as input from me. I was just typing and erasing as I sat around hoping against hope that something would happen.


And at that point, something did happen! The power blinked out. Desk light died. Router and modem went dark. Refrigerator quit humming. Freezer quit freezing.

So I shut the computer down, ascertained that the power outage wasn’t “just me,” and wandered into the street with a flashlight, where neighbors were conferring. Something was said about “smoke pouring from the substation on the old road.” This did not bode well for a quick power-up. So we discussed what to do if we needed to keep food frozen, whether we had sufficient lanterns and candles, and suchlike. Everyone was covered, one way or another.

Sometime in the late night, the good old PUD (which really is very good) restored power. But by early a.m. I’d already heard from Bill St. Clair (who knew about the situation from my posting in the forums-to-be, where three of us are alpha testing) that he’d handle site migration on his own.

Now the only question is: How do I reach those silent Friends of Pramod when it’s time to shake the dust of JustHost off my boots and demand that refund?


* JustHost customers can only make full cPanel backups for themselves if they first buy a software license: two years, $70. Bill later tried doing it by other means, but it proved impossible.


  1. Brad R
    Brad R August 27, 2016 12:57 pm

    JustHost customers can only make full cPanel backups for themselves if they first buy a software license: two years, $70.

    Okay, on *every* cPanel web host I’ve used — including the two we’re currently using — on the admin page there was a link for “Backup”, and on the backup page there was “Full Backup.” Is that the function to which you refer? Because I’ve *never* had to pay extra for that function. Some sites omit some cPanel options that other sites include, but full backup has always been there. This makes me think very poorly indeed of JustHost.

    Glad to hear HawkHost is treating you well so far.

  2. He Who Fakes It Well
    He Who Fakes It Well August 27, 2016 1:05 pm

    Claire, I’ve got what purports (and from file size, appears) to be the full cPanel backup. I’m uploading to Dropbox. Check your email for the download link.

  3. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty August 27, 2016 1:08 pm

    I’m not surprised… having attempted to access “customer service” at any number of businesses over the years, I’ve encountered the full range from good to insane. Since I couldn’t understand anything much over the telephone then, if the web site and email failed, I was pretty much out of luck. Resolved one by sending a snail mail… and received a fairly confused response a month later. They said, why didn’t you CALL? They evidently didn’t read much of my letter, since I took some pains to explain. Oh well… but we did eventually manage to work it out.

    I don’t understand the cPanel thing, however. I’ve transfered my website, then my blog a few times and never even thought of that. It certainly didn’t seem to matter. I don’t use the cPanel much at all myself, so that may be why. Really chickenS*** for the old host to extort any money for that, let alone so much.

    But look at the bright side (I think). Just imagine if google or fakebook had total control of hosting and so forth… At least now we do have a choice.

  4. Claire
    Claire August 27, 2016 1:37 pm

    Brad R — I doublechecked and there is no link for “Backup.” There is only a link for “Site Backup Pro,” which is the $70 product I mentioned.

    Apparently JustHost, in addition to having comical “customer service” is one of those hosts that brings people in with low hosting fees, then hits them with tons more. For example, while poking around in search of whatever site migration help they offered, I discovered that they charge their incoming customers $150 for migration — a service HawkHost and a lot of others provide at no extra charge.

  5. Claire
    Claire August 27, 2016 1:38 pm

    HWFIW — If you’ve been able to make a successful cPanel backup, I’m impressed! Haven’t received a Dropbox link yet, but will be in touch.

  6. Claire
    Claire August 27, 2016 1:52 pm

    Update for Brad — Apparently it may be possible to make a full cPanel backup on JH without paying the bridge trolls. HWFIW may have done it — by an extremely circuitous route filled with error messages he managed to circumvent.

  7. LibertyNews
    LibertyNews August 27, 2016 3:25 pm

    If I still did web hosting I’d offer to lend a hand, but these days I’ve scaled back to using static hosting via Amazon s3 and CloudFront for everything. Keeps things much simpler — but you lose the ability to handle comments.

  8. Claire
    Claire August 27, 2016 4:15 pm

    Thanks, LibertyNews. Nice thought.

    OMG, no comments! — impossible.

    Of course, on the site-to-be there won’t be any comments. Instead there will be a forum. Even better!

  9. Andrew
    Andrew August 27, 2016 6:48 pm

    Just stopping by to let you know I’m really looking forward to being able to create a user profile on whatever ends up being the new site! This is really welcome and long awaited news.

  10. Bill St. Clair
    Bill St. Clair August 27, 2016 6:53 pm

    My backups worked fine for restoring the new site on HawkHost. So speedy it is! I miss emacs and rsync, but scp works, which suffices.

  11. feralfae
    feralfae August 28, 2016 12:08 am

    Bravo! The Wiz!
    Way to go, Bill.

  12. Joat
    Joat August 29, 2016 9:16 am

    I think the 24/7 support means you have to wait between 24 hours and 7 days to get support.

  13. Claire
    Claire August 29, 2016 9:28 am

    LOL, Joat, I do believe you nailed it!

    FWIW, the move to HawkHost is going gloriously thanks to Bill, Bear, and really outstanding tech support from everybody I’ve had contact with at HawkHost.

    Right now, we’re moving only the site-to-be. The blog’s staying at JustHost. But despite having already paid for two years of hosting (now past the refundable point) for the blog site, I’m pretty sure we’ll be moving the blog in the near future, too.

  14. Claire
    Claire August 29, 2016 10:22 am

    I used JustHost chat to cancel the account — and this time they actually picked up in the five promised minutes and I got a very helpful agent (Samantha A). Now all that’s left is to see whether they refund everything properly. In addition to $90-something in hosting fees, I added $145 or so for a dedicated IP address and SSL certificate. Looks as if they’re supposed to refund it all. And that’ll be a relief!

    While the hosting plan at HawkHost costs twice as much (and is more than twice as much better), they offered a very inexpensive SSL certificate and did not require a dedicated IP address for it. Very, very happy with HawkHost so far. The site-to-be is now downright speedy and not yielding any error messages.

  15. Fred
    Fred August 29, 2016 11:04 am

    15 mins or so ago over multiple attemps to connect for about 10 mins.

    Why am I seeing this page?

    The server that your request has reached is acting as a gateway or proxy to fulfil the request made by your client.

    Web Browser => Web Front-End => Web Back-End

    This server (Web Front-End) received an invalid response from an upstream (Web Back-End) server it accessed to fulfil the request.

  16. Claire
    Claire August 29, 2016 2:47 pm

    Sorry, Fred. That has become a familiar error message. And it’s one of many reasons we will be moving away from the present host. But to avoid exploding brains, we need to wait until the second site is online and smoothly functioning first.

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