Slicebox.net Review: A Server Nightmare

About six months ago, I signed up for a dedicated server with slicebox.net.  The servers are hosted at he.net which has a good reputation.  And the price at that time was very attractive, $99/month for their 2-processor 64-bit server with centOS.  They set up the machine quickly.  But from there it just went downhill.

Over the next three months, the server and slicebox's rdns server was subjected to multiple downtimes.  I went through setting up a dozen sites and configuring/tuning postfix, contacting mail providers like comcast, aol, yahoo, etc, configuring feedback loops for the email, to resolve the bad IP history and get email properly delivered.

Then slicebox.net (which has the paypal address support [at] infopathsolutions [dot] com) raised the fee to $129 per month and began billing me this new amount.  If I had not already spent so much time configuring and addressing the email deliverability of the IP, I would have switched immediately to another provider.  I raised the issue through their support ticket system that it was not proper to raise the fee for current customers (bait and switch).  Their response: as you know this is monthly plans, so are subjected to changes, the term that you pay, your price is locked. say you pay for a year your price is locked for entire year

In order to keep the same price, I was forced to switch to their $299 3-month payments, which would still be about the same price to me monthly.

Fast forward one month to last Thursday at 7am PST, I was sent the following email from slicebox: 

hello everybody.  Continue reading if your server has IP in 65.49.6.x range.

1.  We are in the process of shifting our servers within He.net datacenters to streamline our network.  Please note that only servers with 65.49.6.x  range is under this move.

2. We are expecting this move to be completed within 4 to 6hrs during next 48hrs based on the availability of tech at the Data center.

Once completed we shall open a support ticket with new KVM login Information as well as replacement IP range. At this point we could not restore the actual range and sorry about that. When you have received the support email with new IP info , you will need to reconfigure the IP on your server with new allocation and your server will be online through KVM

You can open a support ticket in case of clarifications.

Because I am in Hawaii, I didn't read the mail until several hours later.  I was shocked that a hosting provider would be so abusive to its clients.  They planned to force me to change IPs, force me to have 4-6 hours of downtime, and to do it on short notice without even announcing the exact time of the outage so I could inform the users of my sites and take action to at least change the IP temporarily and put up a "maintenance" page.  I finally realized the reason that slicebox.net had no phone number listed - they had no concern for their customers in the first place.  I sent back a polite explanation and requested that they at the very least give more notice of the outage, or preferably just cancel the move entirely.  I sent that at 12:09 PST.

At 15:41 PST I still had not received a response, and I wrote again asking if they were seriously planning the move.

At 17:04 PST I received the following response, accoding to their system from Rama Ketineni, the same person who always does their support:

The process is going to start in the next 1hr.

And five minutes after that, my server was unplugged.

I called another server company, and they had another server ready for me four hours later.  I backed up some of my sites from offsite backup and then transfered over the rest within the following 24 hours.  The server at slicebox.net was online again about 8 hours after it was unplugged, but all I needed was a few of the latest database snaps and a few files, because I already had backups elsewhere. 

And when after that I requested a refund for the remainder of the 3-month service, not suprisingly, "Rama Ketineni" wrote back, "we do not issue any refunds"  -- showing just how much faith a customer can put in their  "99.9% Uptime Guarantee"  Just think, if they had only refunded the $200 they legitimately owed me for the rest of the 3-month block, at least it would say here in this post that they had done so.  Or if they at least apologized for the inconvenience and dozens of hours of lost time they caused, it would say that here.  But it doesn't say any of those things, because, sadly, they did none of them.

Never again will I get any services with a fly-by-night internet company.  I hope I learned my lesson.