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Leaving MediaTemple

I’m finally moving my hosting away from MediaTemple.

They been a pretty good host in all, with a bunch of niggles of course. I think hosting is probably like FTP clients—you’re lucky if you find something half-decent, and you’ll never be satisfied.

The main reason for my dissatisfaction has been the slow server response times, which may be to do with the much-criticized Grid Service I’ve been on, but is probably also a lot to do with them being on the other side of the world. I’d been hankering to make the move closer to home (London) for a while. The straw that broke the camel’s back recently is a bit of blatantly terrible service that’s worth shouting about.

I wanted to upgrade to WordPress 3.2, a version which saw the minimum database requirements increase to MySQL 5.0. MT’s Grid Service was still running MySQL 4, so I had to go through a database upgrade migration. I lost one site in the process—the posts and comments tables got corrupted. Restoring from backups fixed that. I didn’t realize immediately that all the other sites had broken, too; they were visible, but the posts couldn’t be updated. Basically those tables were also corrupted, but not to the extent that you couldn’t read from them, as per the first site. So, it was restoring databases all round.

Now, MT did mention that the migration process wasn’t perfect, and all’s well that ends well—kind of. I would have preferred it if they had let me know before the process started exactly what the problems others had encountered were, and what the relevant fixes were. There were threads on their customer forums discussing this, and feeding this information back to prospective data migrants would have saved me (and probably others) a bit of panicked frenzy.

Now, I’ve been paying annually, but I thought I’d see if it was possible to get a refund because of my dissatisfaction with the service. But when I was in the support console, I noticed a thread from February titled “monthly billing”. I checked it and it all came back to me: when I was approaching the end of my billing cycle, I had requested to move from annual to monthly billing. I had written on 28/2/11:

My payment period for my Grid-Service is coming up. I’m ultra-busy now and don’t have time to assess matters, but I’m considering changing my hosting in some way in the near future.

Is it possible to pay for my GS month-to-month instead of a year in advance, so I can manage this transition soon but not now?

They responded:

Thank you for choosing (mt) Media Temple.

If you would like to change your service terms from annual renewal to monthly renewal, please respond to this support request with your written authorization to change your service terms to monthly renewal, and we will process your request immediately. Your monthly renewal fee with be reduced to $20.00 per month, due on the 7th day of each month. Should you require any further assistance, please feel free to contact us at any time. Once again, thank you for choosing (mt) Media Temple, and have a pleasant day

I responded:

Yes, please change my service terms to monthly renewal on my Grid-Service plan.

They didn’t respond.

Me, being busy and not in immediate need of migrating, forgot.

And on 7/3/11 they took $200 from my bank.

Now that’s impolite at the very best; at worst I’m sure it’s illegal. Robbery by incompetence, maybe.

Anyway, finding this out both sealed my will to leave MediaTemple, and gave me a way out with a refund.

Top of my list for consideration at the moment is Blacknight in Dublin. They sponsor WordCamp UK, which seems to be a good sign to me, a committed WordPress developer. And I’ve worked with a few clients hosted with them, without much trouble.

Any other recommendations for good WordPress hosting this side of the Atlantic?


UPDATE: Well, MT are certainly trying. About 20 minutes after posting this, I got this email from them:

I saw your tweet and blog post at https://sltaylor.co.uk/blog/leaving-mediatemple/.

Just for clarities sake, the reason this request was never completed was because you marked the support request as ‘Resolved’ after responding. When you mark a support request as ‘Resolved’ it is removed from our immediate queue. However, we are at fault for not making this immediately clear. A support representative never saw your request in the queue so this was never processed.

I’d like to offer my sincere apologies for the inconvenience, as well as for the other issues you’ve been experiencing which ultimately led up to your decision to leave. In your shoes, I’d absolutely be hosting at a company local to my region simply for the increased response time.

Either way, if you have any questions or concerns we are available 24/7.

I’m still leaving, but full marks to MT for a graceful parting of ways.

2 comments

  1. It hardly needs me to say it, but I definitely recommend Blacknight. They manage to combine affordability with quality and reliability (having posted that publicly, watch all my sites go down tonight!)

    Seriously though, I’ve had very very few niggles with them in the 4 years I’ve been using them, and in each of those few occasions they’ve been extremely prompt in responding to support requests and very diligent in keeping me up to date with whatever action they were taking.

    On top of that, on the occasions I’ve contacted them to ask questions which turned out to be answered in their extensive online documentation, they’ve always been polite and informative.

    I’m a big fan of their customised cPanel console and genuinely don’t have a bad thing to say about them.

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