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My experience with WHN Hosting

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  • My experience with WHN Hosting

    I've been holding off posting this until I knew for certain whether or not I'd get the money I'm owed from - this is now looking very unlikely so I feel I have little to lose by posting my opinion of them here.

    Here's my review...

    I entrusted the hosting of my web site to WHN Hosting for 2 years. On the positive side, the uptime was exceptional and the servers always seemed to be very fast. My main complaint relates to the manner of the technical support staff. I found them to be arrogant and unhelpful. Whenever I posted a support ticket they would reply in the briefest way possible leaving questions unanswered - as a result it often became necessary to email them back to repeat my questions. I got the impression they felt they were doing me a favour by bothering to reply at all.

    If I couldn't get a reply via the help desk I would post messages on their support forum. If I dared to voice my displeasure, the posts were deleted or replaced with a sarcastic comment about the forums not being the place to make such complaints. Maybe if their support wasn't so dire they wouldn't have to worry about negative comments damaging their reputation. I can understand why a web host would have a separate system for user to user support and official technical support but that doesn't excuse the staff for being rude to paying customers, we are afterall paying their wages. In any case, what other option do we have but to post on the forum if our trouble tickets are ignored?

    Something else I noticed is that the technical support staff would offer the most obvious solutions to problems (as you would expect to begin with), but then if they didn't work they would totally ignore subsequent questions and comments. This suggests one of two things - they don't care about resolving user's problems or they don't have the technical know-how required to help. Either way it reflects badly on their hosting service.

    In reading posts from other WHN customers I found that their way of handling angry customers was to enrage them further by trying to insinuate that they were stupid for not following the correct support procedures or to shift the blame. Fair enough, we're not perfect, but there is no need for disrespect - the customer isn't always right but they should always be treated fairly and with the utmost level of professionalism - the emphasis should be on diffusing heated exchanges not throwing fuel on the fire.

    I read in an announcement at their forum that due to a hard drive crash fifteen customer sites had been lost, and as a result their contents would have to be re-uploaded by the customers themselves! There was no sign whatsoever of the merest hint of an apology!!!! I couldn't believe what I was reading and it futher defied belief that these sites weren't backed up to begin with. Luckily I wasn't affected, but what about those fifteen people who may have had dynamic content on their sites which wouldn't have been available to be re-uploaded? Lost forever I presume. The annoucement was so blase it wasn't real.

    On several occasions the technical staff made mistakes which led to my account being disabled. One time this was due to a billing problem - they sent me an email to say a renewal payment couldn't be processed because my bank account details were incorrect. In fact my credit card details hadn't changed at all - I only have one credit card and this was the same one I used to sign up with WHN Hosting to begin with. Because their system couldn't process the transaction my account was suspended. I emailed them to ask what was going on and they responded with a smart aleck remark about there being "no mystery" as to the fate of my account without even looking into my case. When I repeated the fact that my details hadn't changed they tried again to complete the transaction and after the sixth or so attempt it worked. They reinstated my account, but there was no way I was going to get an apology for what was undoubtedly their mistake even after I strongly hinted at there being a need for one. They actually seemed to think they were acting above and beyond the call of duty by resolving the problem.

    While my web site was down I thought I would take the opportunity to ditch them and change hosts for good - this would have been the perfect time since my current contract had ended so there would have been no need to request a refund for unused hosting. I emailed them to ask if they would grant me access to my account long enough to dump my vBulletin database so I could transfer it to another server. This polite request was totally ignored - instead they tried again to push through the payment so I would be lumbered with them for a further 12 months.

    Several weeks later I decided to change hosts. I planned the move precisely so I would not lose a whole month's worth of hosting. Three days before the next billing cycle I attempted to access my site via SSH in order to dump my vBulletin database, only to discover that SSH access had been disabled. When I first opened my account this was disabled by default so I had to request that it be enabled. When I asked why it had been disabled again, the administrator told me that SSH had always been an optional extra requiring a $10 set up fee. This was a blatent lie which can be clearly demonstrated by viewing cached versions of their hosting plans - when I signed up for their 'power' package, SSH was definitely included as standard.

    When I filled in their account cancellation form I was asked to explain why I wanted to end my contract with WHN Hosting. My comments were as follows...

    I could spend all day filling this out, but I'll *try* to keep it short for both our sakes. My biggest gripe is that I've wrongly had my account disabled twice through no fault of my own. On both occasions you wouldn't even admit you'd made a mistake, and worse still, you had no intention whatsoever of apologising. Last time this happened all I got were sarcastic, smug comments when I tried to explain what had happened regarding the billing problems which led to my account being cancelled. You made out you were doing me a favour by even replying to my emails. When I asked you to grant me access to my database just long enough for me to download it and change hosts you totally ignored that request and continued to try and process my credit card details to make sure I was stuck using a service I wasn't happy with for another year. The final straw came then and I would have been long gone had it not been for you ignoring that request.

    Over the last few days you have confirmed that I'm making the right decision in terminating my account. You have tried your hardest to make the move as difficult as possible... and this was *before* you knew I was planning to take my custom elsewhere, so all I can presume is that you consider that normal practice. If you're going to refuse to give people SSH access, the least you can do is to help with exporting customer's databases since they have no alternative but to do it this way (as I said earlier, but was ignored). Read some webhosting forums and you'll see that this is how web host admins who care about their clients do things. For the record, you *did* offer SSH access with your 'power' account when I signed up (this was before I downgraded to the personal one). I know this because I have access to cached versions of your site which date back as far as 1998. Fair enough, if it's not included with the personal package then there's no reason I should be allowed to keep it after downgrading, but the least you could do is help out with dumping people's databases when they can't do it themselves due to the restrictions you have placed on them.


    After being forced to renew my account simply to gain access to my forum database I set about cancelling it so I could move to a new host. I did this right at the end of the month so that I would be able to claim back the remaining months of unused hosting with minimal wastage. Early into the following month my account remained active and I had to email their technical support team several times to convince them to close it down. Either they are extremely incompetent or they were deliberately trying to bully me into forfeiting further hosting costs by keeping my account active for a few more days (only the cost of whole months worth of hosting are refunded as stated in their TOS agreement).

    I then emailed their technical support department again to request a refund for the cost of the remaining unused months worth of hosting I had pre-paid (11 months of a 12 month contract). I was told that the refund process takes up to 3 months and I should be patient. I actually waited 4 months before emailing them again to find out why my account still hadn't been credited. They played dumb and proceeded to inform me that their records showed I wasn't entitled to a refund of any kind. I provided evidence to the contrary by quoting their own billing system (which I am still able to login to despite no longer being a customer). A few exchanges later they are now ignoring me. See what you make of the emails...

    I cancelled my account on 28th May 2003, but don't recall seeing a refund from you appearing on my bank statement. Could you look into it for me please.

    My name


    Billing Department - wrote:
    > Hi
    > I show no refund was due for this account
    > Client Billing Site:
    > _________________________________________________________________
    > Thank you,
    > Bernadette Chaney - Billing Department
    > Web Hosting Network Billing -
    > Questions? email [email protected] or Visit
    >[*] Please keep all prior transmissions on the same e-mail & Include your domain name in all emails
    >[*] Need a Merchant Account? Instant Approvals & Low Rates *direct* with Web Hosting Network!!!


    I cancelled my account very shortly after renewing my subscription because I was dissatisfied with the service (I wouldn't have had to renew it at all if you hadn't deliberately delayed the cancellation). As I paid up front for the web space rather on a monthly basis I am owed the value of the remaining unused subscription. I have all the relevant emails saved to demonstrate this, but would much prefer it if I didn't have to dig them out, and you stopped messing me around and refunded my money.

    Soon after cancelling my account I emailed you to find out when my money would be refunded and you told me I'd have to wait three
    months for the details to be processed. Well three months have been and gone and there is still no sign of my money. I'm not going to be ripped off.

    I will review this account again to confirm if there is a refund or not. WHN policy states if a refund is given, it would be given
    within 60 days of cancelation and WHN reserves the right to withhold 70% of any prepaid months funds

    Client Billing Site:
    Thank you,
    Bernadette Chaney - Billing Department
    Web Hosting Network Billing -

    Questions? email [email protected] or Visit[*] Please keep all prior transmissions on the same e-mail & Include your domain name in all emails

    --------------------------------------------------------------[*] Need a Merchant Account? Instant Approvals & Low Rates *direct* with Web Hosting Network!!!

    Yes, well I'm working to the terms and conditions which were in place when I signed up, not the ones you feel like changing whenever it suits you. When the refund is given is your responsibility - I shouldn't have to chase you for it. As for this 70% retention nonsense - the deal is that I lose the value of unused hosting for the month in which I cancel my account and no more as stated in your TOS agreement.

    The renewal money was taken from my account despite my requests to close the account. I later closed it down on 28th May so am due a refund for the unused service from June onwards.

    I've given you over a week to reply. What's happening?


    I'm getting tired of being ignored. Maybe I should visit all the most influential web hosting review forums and post my experiences there. The bad publicity wouldn't be so easy to sidestep then.



    As stated in the past email's, I show no refund is due for this account. If you want me to continute to work on this, I will need you to fax me a copy the following

    1. Credit card statement showing charge
    2. Date of Cancelation

    In all faxes and emails, always include your domain name

    +-------------- W H N H O S T I N G . C O M ---------------------------+
    Billing Department Virtual Hosting Sales 703-286-2487
    [email protected] Dedicated Servers Fax 209-320-3502


    I've already provided these details. If you look at the attached web page you'll see when the money was paid. This was saved from your own billing system so you can log into it at your end if you want to make sure the details are accurate. I'm not going to trawl through months worth of bank statements just because you can't be bothered doing your job properly and I'm not wasting money on international faxes when it's completely unnecessary. I do have more important things to be getting on with.

    As for the date of cancellation, that was included in a previous email. It's actually mentioned further down this email if you scroll a bit (28th May 2003). I filled in one of your online secure forms to cancel my account. I followed the instructions to the letter so assuming you haven't screwed something up you will have all this information logged for your future reference.


    That's where we left it. I've not heard from them since. I hope this serves as a warning to anyone considering using their services.

  • #2
    I've just visited their vB forum and noticed that they do not have the Jelsoft copyright notice in place. I wonder if they have paid the extra fee to be able to remove this.


    • #3
      ugh..they sound HORRIBLE. im sorry you had to go through that.

      i clicked the link to the announcment abot the server crash, and this is what i got:

      "Until all issues are cleared with all servers, we are closing the Forums due to continued Rules violations by customers regarding requesting support in the forums area."

      heh. they sound like first class *******s. hope you find a better host.


      • #4


        • #5
          Doesn't sound like the WHN that I know... very odd. I use to do support over there, everything use to be top notch.

          I left Gary (the owner) a message on ICQ regarding this thread, hopefully he'll address everything.

          Hopefully everything will be all worked out!


          • #6
            Thanks, nirvanilla. I did manage to find a quality, reliable host in the end. I'm now with Solid Internet/Myacen and can't fault them. It sounds like they're still up to their old tricks - I'm sure in their world banning people from requesting support on an official support forum makes sense, lol. Maybe it's just the complicated questions they can't answer that throw them off balance - they either get ignored or removed completely along with any negative feedback posted.

            rockergrrl, thanks for the offer, but Gary is already aware of my complaints and isn't interested in the slightest - to this day I still haven't been refunded for the hosting I paid for and didn't receive. However he ducks and dives and dresses it up this is theft. When I started this thread I posted the same warning over on the Webhosting Talk foums. You can find the thread here. Gary made a fool of himself and in doing so backed up each of my points very succinctly. At least there is some satisfaction to be gained from knowing that other people who are considering signing up at WHN might read my comments and decide to steer well clear.


            • #7
              another WHN experience similar to Stryker's

              Reading Stryker's comments brought back some very unpleasant memories regarding WHN. I was with them for nearly two years, and I could deal with them shutting down support for moose hunting season (it's true!), but when I had a question regarding backups since I had lost an SQL database, it took me four days following the initial unhelpful reply to gain clarification. When I did get the reply (from Gary, the apparent director of WHN), a replied with what I thought was a polite criticism of the unresponsive support, and the message was simply:

              "Have a nice day"

              WHN then suspended my account without warning and our entire website was off the air. No amount of pleading would get them to re-enable it, although I had been a customer for two years and had just pre-paid for three months of service. The only comment that I got from anyone at WHN was that "Gary had suspended the account" and WHN can suspend accounts for any reason they wish. And all I had done is critcise the lack of support.

              WHN promised to refund my prepayment, which the did not and I had to dispute the charge with my credit card company, and they found in my favor.

              I should add that I posted a negative review in another web hosting forum, and someone claiming to be WHN replied to say that they had removed my account because I was "uploading warez and mp3s". Of course this was absolutely false and slanderous and I was incredulous that they would stoop so low. I thought my dreadful experience with WHN had ended, but it continued with this. I contacted the webmaster of the review site, provided them with details, and the comment was removed.

              In summary, dealing with WHN was one of the most unpleasant experiences I have ever had with any kind of service provider. Use caution.


              • #8
                I have been using for 2 years and have had the best expereince. Their support, control panel, and uptime is excellent. You should check them out.


                • #9
                  Just found this forum. Go to to see an unbelievable story of how bad this company really is. The trail continues. or is truly a terrible company.


                  • #10
                    Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and hopefully your next hosting experience is a lot better.


                    • #11
                      Nice how they hide the vBulletin Copyright 2 feet down the page. Their forums is rather out of date


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Zachery
                        Nice how they hide the vBulletin Copyright 2 feet down the page. Their forums is rather out of date
                        Nothing wrong with that. It is in place, complete and visible.


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