ShadowRider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
126
Hi all

I've been an Oceanhost customer for roughly a year or more. Last year a few friends and I decided to stop using Gameservers.com and host with a VPS.

First off let me also add that I have multiple VPSs with DigitalOcean and two JHB VPSs with Oceanhost. I have categorically never had support or technical trouble with my DigitalOcean Droplets and on the odd occasion I have used DigitalOcean's support they have been friendly and helped me out (Understanding that I'm a developer and a reasonably good system admin, but my knowledge is limited.) Lets also remember that while DO is far larger than Oceanhost both are consumer facing and you don't have to be a company to get a VPS from either.

After reading up and checking ISPs out, we eventually found Oceanhost. Their offerings back then were brilliant almost half the price of the ISPs and offering far more. We decided to give them a go with their 7-Day trial and things went very well. We got Minecraft up and running with McMyAdmin and a Teamspeak 3 servers, we were also very happy with their support (It reminded me a little of Site5.com) always friendly and willing to go just that extra mile even if technically they did not need to.

However this is where the honeymoon ended:

1st issue: OceanHost OnApp Environment Migration

Apparently OceanHost were having major issues with OnApp and though we had only experienced very minor outages due to routing issues, we were asked to move over to a new server, a few months after getting the OH VPS. I would not have brought this up, however, the method they requested us to migrate server was either rsync the old server to the new or re-install everything. Both had their pros and cons but ultimately it was a pain. The only good was that Oceanhost gave us that month for free.

2nd issue: OceanHost VPS sold to OpenByte
At first I was not concerned as this was suppose to only be a change in billing, yet quickly we discovered that contacting OpenByte support was like trying to tame a bloody dragon. They were abrasive, over reactive. As an example they almost issued a cancellation request after I complained about our server repeatedly being unreachable for hours over a 2 week period. They stated, "Clearly you are unhappy with the provided service I have issued a cancellation which will take effect at the end of the month." I had never asked for a cancellation & simply required an acknowledgement and a possible fix to the issue at hand.

As well as the above OpenByte made it very clear they did not in fact want to be consumer focused, yet they had just acquired a consumer VPS provider. "We acquired Oceanhost to use the infrastructure to complement our existing business for company hosting, not to compete with the cut-throat business of VPS hosting in South Africa." - 11/19/14

As a result contacting them with questions which a consumer may have were deemed immediately a user issue and that they did not need to help and that I should contact a professional centos administrator and pay them to manage my server, even when I was asking support why for instance I could not access my server via SSH?

3rd issue: OpenByte back to OceanHost

Apparently somebody at OpenByte finally realized they were not equipped to handle a consumer facing business and sold their VPS service back to OceanHost.

Initially I was was very happy, this meant that in future if I had a problem which presented itself as not fixable by the client, I would not have to tame another dragon.

Unfortunately I may have been incorrect. Recently we've had trouble with one of our VPSs, the day we received it it was getting thousands of failed login attempts. I contacted Oceanhost regarding this and was met by an unusually aggressive and defensive tone. I simply wanted to know if the VPS could have an alternative IP assigned to it and if not I would just beef up the servers security with Fail2Ban, port changes and disabling root. For the most part this worked.

4th issue: Filesystem Read-Only errors

Today I get a WhatsApp message regarding our VPS, "CSGO is down", I SSH into the server and holly balls. Console is showing errors after every command: "Filesystem Read-Only". I honestly have no idea where this could have come from, the server has been working fine for weeks, with CSGO and Teamspeak as the only major programs installed.

I decide I need to at least reboot the VPS and see if the errors continue. A little research while I wait:

"when the system enters a read-only state it does so to prevent damage to the system, make sure your HDD is working properly/backup your data before doing anything." - OK, this may be up to Oceanhost to fix, not me, let me email support and get their advice.

This is where OceanHost's new zero tolerance support team came to the rescue. Not!

  • Email 1: response
    "Unfortunately we do not offer OS/Software support on our VPS's. You will have to get a Linux expert to take a look. If you are unable to SSH into the server, please use VNC via O-Zone to connect to the VPS directly. This will enable you to resolve any issues. You can also re-install the OS via O-Zone." - Great not what I wanted to hear at all!

    This was during my lunch break so I let my client know I'm investigating and will report back by 7pm.

    I get home and try to SSH into the VPS, I can't. Operation timeout (Putty). But pings show server is up, yet both CSGO and Teamspeak 3 are also down.

    I decide I need to at least get into the server I use VNC via O-Zone and can get in. At this exact moment a Putty terminal decided, hey I can now connect.

    After logging in via SSH and updating CSGO via the following script I use. CSGO is back up and so is Teamspeak 3. YET I DID NOTHING!

    The Filesystem Read-Only errors are gone too.
    1
  • Email 2: response
    "You are welcome to move your business elsewhere if you feel that we are no longer the right fit, in fact it will probably be better for both parties involved. We own up to the OnApp mess and we own up if we are in the wrong but our environment currently is rock solid." - So how do I take this email?

Conclusion

OceanHost's reliability has gone down subtly since early last year. However, its their support attitude which has become a complete joke. So here is my take OceanHost. You provide a service to clients regardless of their knowledge, you provide a service to business and individuals. Therefore not every tech support request is going to know everything. Especially not when Stack Exchange states a problem may be internal and not something a client can solve.

If you don't want to provide adequate and friendly support, then STOP selling your service to individuals!

Oh and heaven help you if DigitalOcean ever deploys an SA region.

PS: Overall this actually saddens me as OceanHosts old support was great and overall their service is still the best in South Africa. But honestly if I can convince my friends and client to move over to DigitalOcean, I'm done with SA based hosting!

Emails:
  • OceanHost - 19/04/2015
  • OpenByte - 11/19/14 - I actaually called for support and in an earlier email mentioned in detail how OceanHost's site was superior to OpenByte's.
 
Last edited:

Oceanhost

Oceanhost representative
Company Rep
Joined
Apr 25, 2013
Messages
37
Hi. You obviously want to make sure that very selective information is pasted onto public forums to really try and add fuel to your story. Firstly, we find this type of post extremely unprofessional & one-sided. It is easy to try and discredited a company on public forums and we can hit back with some facts about your behavior as a client and the very inappropriate email you sent to Openbyte to spark their response as well as the responses from your end on our support system, but the truth is that it will only lead to unnecessary mudslinging on this forum which is not our style.

Our VPS's are unmanaged. Leaving your SSH port on 22 will always attract brute force attempts. Changing the IP on the server would not have made a difference as explained as attackers will use automated software to scan for vulnerabilities on an entire IP block. It is your responsibility to secure the server.

Your file system error issue - we monitor our physical servers and checked each individual disk on the host and informed you that there were no issues, again, the VPS is unmanaged and you need to investigate by checking logs etc. or getting someone in who knows Linux admin. We are sorry that you do not understand the product (unmanaged VPS) but we cannot selectively offer software support based on your lack of understanding. By ordering an unmanaged server, it is assumed that you know how to manage a server.

After reading all your inappropriate correspondence to Openbyte, your communication with us and threats of moving to Digital Ocean, we agreed that it will be best to part ways. This is sometimes necessary for both parties involved. This post on a public forum confirms that necessity.

All the best with your future provider.
 

ShadowRider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
126
Ok basically of course this is going to be biased and subjective, I'm your customer and I feel that if my only wrong has been to have asked too many questions to your support team then realistically I believe it is my right to both move as well as openly criticise your company.

Hiding behind the unmanaged clause is fine, but a the line between what is a customer (OS / Software) issue, will always be a grey one.

My own technical skills seem fine as I have plenty of VPS running happily even and even one of those is with your company. Your statement about leaving a server on port 22 is correct but it assumes my intention was to keep it on this port and only get an IP change not both.

My threat to leave your company is completely valid, I'm a customer and my business with yours should be valued above whether or not you perceive my support request as "annoying". If you feel that that we should leave simply to avoid me using your support then you have a massive conflict of interest providing your product to the open public.

--

On average I emailed them once a month and only ever when I could not connect to a VPS or if a problem presented itself as beyond what a user should be required to fix. This was always only done to get input from Oceanhost's side, I always continue to try and solve the problem my self.
 
Last edited:

Deadmanza

Honorary Master
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Messages
12,373
Ok basically of course this is going to be biased and subjective, I'm you customer and I feel that if my only wrong has ever to have asked too many questions to your support then realistically I believe it is my right to both threaten to move as well as openly criticise your company.

Hiding behind the unmanned clause is fine, but a the line between what is a customer (OS / Software) issue will always be a grey one.

My own technical skills seem fine as I have plenty of VPS running happily even and even one of those is with your company. Your statement about leaving a server on port 22 is correct but it assumes my intention was to keep it on this port and only get an IP change not both.

My threat to leave your company is completely valid, I'm a customer and my business with yours should be valued above whether or not you perceive my support request as "annoying". If you feel that that we should leave simply to avoid me using your support then you have a massive conflict of interest providing your product to the open public.

Your post is terribly one sided and as stated by OH rep you conveniently leave out your emails to them.
 

Oceanhost

Oceanhost representative
Company Rep
Joined
Apr 25, 2013
Messages
37
Ok basically of course this is going to be biased and subjective, I'm you customer and I feel that if my only wrong has ever to have asked too many questions to your support then realistically I believe it is my right to both threaten to move as well as openly criticise your company.

Hiding behind the unmanned clause is fine, but a the line between what is a customer (OS / Software) issue will always be a grey one.

My own technical skills seem fine as I have plenty of VPS running happily even and even one of those is with your company. Your statement about leaving a server on port 22 is correct but it assumes my intention was to keep it on this port and only get an IP change not both.

My threat to leave your company is completely valid, I'm a customer and my business with yours should be valued above whether or not you perceive my support request as "annoying". If you feel that that we should leave simply to avoid me using your support then you have a massive conflict of interest providing your product to the open public.

--

I will later today put together my support tickets so you can determine whether I abused Oceanhost support, on average I emailed them once a month and only ever when I could not connect to a VPS or if a problem presented itself as beyond what a user should be required to fix. This was always only done to get input from Oceanhost's side, I always continue to try and solve the problem my self.

We never said you were wrong in asking for support and we are not complaining at all about the frequency of logged tickets, in fact we have many clients who we support on a much more regular basis, mostly with our other services. We are however not able to assist with software issues on an unmanaged service so the best we can do is to advise which we did. It is not really a grey line, it is just a matter of understanding the product.
 

openbyte-sa

New Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
3
Jason from Openbyte here. Just thought i would give my 2 cents worth seen as I was named in the screen shot personally. This is the support ticket that was logged by this user, ShadowRider. This is the first dealing we had with this client and this was logged as an actionable call at 8:34pm. This is the only thing we will post and won't be replying to any backlash on this, as this really doesn't deserve justification of any sort on our side. I really don't see the point of the mybb forums as its just become a way for mud slinging and gamers/script kiddies to complain about things they don't understand. Our website has changed since this anyway due to the fact that we do not offer VPS anymore ( well we do but only to corporate ) but what we didn't understand is that the functionality was taken exactly from Oceanhost and everything was available. Have fun reading.

Dear OB

I want to be quite frank with the following, please take it as constructive criticism. Since moving to Openbyte, I was happy that the ozone area remained the same and was familiar compared to Oceanhsot. However, as for the openbyte.co.za site itself, it is quite honestly a pathetic joke.

If I was a new customer looking for a VPS today and found openbyte.co.za I would have completely written the company off. The website gives virtually no indication on prices, finding server specifications is tedious and links are hidden on obscure pages, which themselves are hard to find.

As an individual who has been designing sites for over 6 years the OB site makes me furious. Recently my brother started a multi-media degree and for his first web-design module had to build a very basic eCommerce site. Just from a design, navigation and user-friendliness point of view he designed something far superior to the mess which is openbyte.co.za

In your welcome email you mention the following:
"We don’t plan to be the biggest hosting provider by any means as we have seen many “large” companies go that route and fail when infrastructure becomes unstable as a result of having oversold their infrastructure."

This is a good point, however far, far too often South African businesses fall into designing ludicrously useless websites which require people to email in quotation requests or order forms. These sites are a travesty compared to international companies such Lenode or Digitalocean

The openbyte.co.za websites needs a major overhaul, its logo and design looks like Matric drop-out was commissioned to do the design. Just comparing OB logo to Oceanhost is depressing, considering how OH was actually quite nice and fitting. User-friendliness is key and currently the openbyte.co.za websites is far from welcoming or simple to understand, in this and only this regard, by god does Afrihost do a good job. Along with user-friendliness is simplicity right now it is not as simple to pay Openbyte as it should be!

It is time OB and OH start accepting PayPal, etc. South African companies are already so far behind international competitors don't handicap yourselves even more!
 

ShadowRider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
126
I will stand by all I have said about the Openbyte's website, in comparison to Oceanhost's. What you posted was exactly as I sent it and is word for word correct. (I don't appreciate you posting it without asking, but I can't change that, though I'm looking through your privacy policy.)

As for hosting VPS myself, here is the lowdown. I resell SA VPS which are in fact hosted by Oceanhost. Therefore, me criticising Oceanhost was only done because I felt I had a valid complaint. Not to "smear mud" at anyone. My International VPSs are Linode and DigitalOcean hosted. Trying to ruin Oceanhost's reputation will not help me, I need Oceanhost to be successful.

Sums it up nicely, really hope this post ensures no one takes a VPS solution from ShadowRider.
I resell Oceanhost, DigitalOcean and Linode, and was not here to promote that at all!

Another thread illustrating what companies should not do on public forums.
I agree, I did not intend for this to turn out like this. I was simply criticising a company's support.
 
Last edited:

Deadmanza

Honorary Master
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Messages
12,373
I will stand by all I have said about the Openbyte website. What you posted was exactly as I sent it and is word for word correct.

As for hosting VPS my self here is the lowdown. Our SA VPS are in fact hosted by Oceanhost so me criticising them was only done because I felt I had a valid complaint. Not to "smear mud" at anyone. And our International VPSs are Linode and DigitalOcean hosted.

I agree, I did not intend for this to turn out like this. I was simply cruising a company

The egg is laying firmly on your face though.
 

ChalkCheese

Active Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
73
I will stand by all I have said about the Openbyte website. What you posted was exactly as I sent it and is word for word correct.

If I was Openbyte and you logged a support ticket running your mouth about something that is really none of your business, my reply to you would have been much MUCH harsher and your server would have most likely been switched off.
 

Deadmanza

Honorary Master
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Messages
12,373
If I was Openbyte and you logged a support ticket running your mouth about something that is really none of your business, my reply to you would have been much MUCH harsher and your server would have most likely been switched off.

It is a good thing you are not running a business then.
 
Top