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bigcaat 01-16-2011 05:37 PM

Monte Carlo Hosting
 
Name and URL of hosting company: Monte Carlo Hosting (www.montecarlohosting.net)
Hosted URL: No longer hosting with them.
Description of service used: Shared hosting (silver plan).
How long have you been using the service: Just over a year.
Detailed review:
I signed up with Monte Carlo Hosting having found them on another forum, where the owner, I now find, is a moderator. I specifically stated the need for phone support and was told that they just didn't 'advertise it', but sent their phone number to signed up customers. They did this: they gave me the owner's cell phone and home phone number, however, they continued to press for me to use the email support function, which for smaller problems, I did. The company appears to be run by just the owner and his wife. There appear to be no other employees.

Around August of 2010 I started noticing a lot of downtime, not only when I was trying to access my pages, but also through FTP, into the control panel and through WatchMouse reports. I was told it was because they found people using too many mods on their forums and they had 'taken care of it.' However, the downtime continued.

Then came a day when we weren't getting our email. I called the numbers provided, and the owner of the company was gone. His wife told us that they had done an audit, and found that we were on the wrong plan and that I now was over my disk usage limit, so without notice, they switched us back to the plan they initially recommended, which effectively cut off our email and my link to my clients. I don't know how long I was down.

She attempted to give tech support, but was clearly not a qualified technical support advisor, so I asked to speak with her husband. She said he was unavailable, and it appears if he is unavailable there just simply is no qualified tech support at all, since just he and she run the company.

I finally convinced her to raise my disk limit until I could get this resolved with her husband. I then, repeatedly, requested a call from her husband. I never got it. I wondered if he was waiting until after the holidays to deal with it, and then on Christmas Eve, they reversed it again, thereby shutting down my email, having never have given me the call which I had repeatedly requested. To reiterate, prior to my signing up with him, he swore up and down I would have phone support. We finally reached him when we found our email cut off on Christmas Eve. He presented the situation as if he had done some sort of grand favor to me by having had me on the wrong plan for a year, even though I was unaware of that fact. And to reiterate, when they discovered *their* error, they simply downgraded me without any kind of notification, which effectively cut off my email.

Both he and his wife however, were quick to tell me I needed to 'upgrade'. I've since seen a post elsewhere from someone saying how she 'quickly outgrew her disk space and was told she needed to upgrade.' I, myself, know that my disk space was virtually the same going in as when I left. (I had even showed him a screenshot of it when asking what plan I needed to be on before I signed up.) I also found it was very convenient that this 'audit' took place right after I had paid for an entire year.

The bottom line is that, prior to signing up, I showed the owner of the company how much disk space I used and asked what plan I needed to be on. Based on the information he told me, I signed up. He initially put me on the wrong plan, allocated with unlimited disk space, without my knowing he had done so. My disk usage never significantly changed from when I first signed up with him. I was not responsible for him putting me on the wrong plan and once he realized the mistake in his 'audit', I feel I should have been notified and offered the option to either upgrade, or leave with a pro-rated refund, instead of them just switching it to a lower plan which, certainly, they had to know would affect my email, which is the life blood to my clients, especially my international ones.

I am now out a year's worth of hosting because he refused to pro-rate my plan for the 11 remaining months, but that money is a small price to pay to get out of what I feel is a highly unprofessional host which showed no concern for the idea that my business was being affected due to the email problem, and one in which I'm not comfortable with the way in which this 'need to upgrade' came about. It doesn't sit right with me and I would not recommend this host to anyone.

Pros: Brief outline of company's positive characteristics.
-- You work directly with the owner of the company, if that's an important point to you.

Cons: Brief outline of company's negative characteristics.
-- Increasing downtime as of late, to which they take no responsibility
-- Servers don't appear to be adequate to handle allowing people to place mods on their forum (this is surmised between the things they have told me and reviews I've read about them elsewhere.)
-- Live chat was only staffed once out of all the times I tried to use it over the course of a year.
-- Phone support woefully inadequate, *if* you can get it.
-- They seem to promise anything just to get you to sign up.
-- Made un-reversable errors in migrating and merging a forum. (At least he said their irreversible, I'm not sure if that's true or he just didn't want to fix the problem.)
-- Unprofessional in handling a problem.

Would you recommend this company to your best friend?
-- Absolutely not.

webling 01-16-2011 05:58 PM

A man and his wife running their own hosting company isn't a bad thing and neither is it wrong, but if there is not enough expertise or they are unavailable then it can work against them. In my own situation I work alone but I carry a laptop and a cell phone when I am out of the office and I use a wireless connection so I can take care of customers where ever I am.

Mostly what you want is someone who is available. Small companies have to start out by doing things without help but it sounds like they got into this business because they just want to make money and not necessarily because they enjoy this kind of work and the people involved in it.

I would say that you need to host with a company that does not push you to upgrade or coerce you in something you aren't comfortable with. They need to understand the technical aspects of the servers they are working with. I know that when I am seeking an upstream provider I ask a few questions first. Many times they either have a contact form, email address or support ticket system you can use to communicate with them.

I will use either their contact form or support ticket system and see how well they respond to that before making a decision about securing a server with them. If I become interested and they want my business I will get on the phone with one of their sales reps and ask more questions.

Artashes 01-16-2011 06:14 PM

What a review, thank you for the effort in actually writing something that can be held to a higher standard to other reviews.

csn-uk 01-16-2011 06:22 PM

Certainly a nice and thorough review of your experience with your hosting provider, it is a shame as always that another user has had the unfortunate experience with another of the many hosts that let the side down for the industry.

I always surpasses me how small one or two member teams hope to offer phone, live and ticket support on a 24/7 basis, even on shift this would be an increasingly difficult task, let alone other commitments within a company that size.

I find it interesting how you have highlighted that you noticed the staff's levels of interest during your experience and that you consider consulting the owner/CEO directly an advantage, I have always somewhat noticed that clients (some) find this a tad intimidating (just me?), however must agree that an interest in not just hosting, design development and the web in general is essential.

As for the future I can only reiterate webling, research and testing are your most powerful tools :)

bigcaat 01-16-2011 06:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by webling (Post 137397)
A man and his wife running their own hosting company isn't a bad thing and neither is it wrong, but if there is not enough expertise or they are unavailable then it can work against them.

Mostly what you want is someone who is available. Small companies have to start out by doing things without help but it sounds like they got into this business because they just want to make money and not necessarily because they enjoy this kind of work and the people involved in it.

Agreed. I think it can be an advantage to having personalized attention but, as you say, the people need to be in it because they love what they do, not for the money. Of course, that goes for anything. ;)

bigcaat 01-16-2011 06:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Artashes (Post 137398)
What a review, thank you for the effort in actually writing something that can be held to a higher standard to other reviews.

Thanks. :D You guys have been a big help. It was worth the effort. :)

Caat

bigcaat 01-16-2011 06:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by csn-uk (Post 137399)
As to support, there are as ever the good and the bad but It still surpasses me how a two man/woman team could hope to offer phone, live and ticket support for more than a small number of clients, let alone on a 24/7 basis.

Agreed. I'm guessing it was just the fact that he wanted my business and I reiterated that phone support was a requirement. I'm happy with my current host, but I would think I will be much more cautious about taking someone's word for it in the future, even if it is the owner.

Caat

Hostigation 01-16-2011 07:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigcaat (Post 137400)
Agreed. I think it can be an advantage to having personalized attention but, as you say, the people need to be in it because they love what they do, not for the money. Of course, that goes for anything. ;)

While I agree you need to be in the business for the love of it, why can't it be about the money as well? I love what I do, but need money to pay for food and shelter like anyone else. I would question anyone doing this and not having any care about the money unless they were truly a micro enterprise, or associates pooling together. Without a reasonable profit, how long before the love becomes not worth the aggravation for little/no reward.

bigcaat 01-16-2011 08:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hostigation (Post 137404)
While I agree you need to be in the business for the love of it, why can't it be about the money as well? I love what I do, but need money to pay for food and shelter like anyone else. I would question anyone doing this and not having any care about the money unless they were truly a micro enterprise, or associates pooling together. Without a reasonable profit, how long before the love becomes not worth the aggravation for little/no reward.

Of course people have to make money, they have to live. But if that's the *only* reason they're doing it, or when money becomes such a prime focus that you forget how to treat your customers, then that's not a good thing. That's what I was saying.

SenseiSteve 01-17-2011 09:22 AM

Thanks for the thorough review. It's a shame that you had to jump through hoops for support though. Unfortunately, there are a lot of providers out there just like this. Good luck with your current host. :D

CrocWeb 01-18-2011 02:48 AM

Thanks for sharing it with us, good luck with your new host.

xester 02-26-2011 03:52 PM

thanks for your review, its bad you had on that situation but please, only one its not all of, so you will find better.

HostMantis 02-27-2011 03:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigcaat (Post 137402)
Agreed. I'm guessing it was just the fact that he wanted my business and I reiterated that phone support was a requirement. I'm happy with my current host, but I would think I will be much more cautious about taking someone's word for it in the future, even if it is the owner.

Caat

Would you mind telling us who you are now hosting with?

bigcaat 02-27-2011 11:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HostMantis (Post 138736)
Would you mind telling us who you are now hosting with?

Based on a lot of the reviews on this forum, I chose HostGator.

Caat

HostMantis 02-28-2011 07:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigcaat (Post 138745)
Based on a lot of the reviews on this forum, I chose HostGator.

Caat

Good choice, you should be happy with them.


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