My domains were hosted on my VPS at Arvixe for almost five years. I used to love their support, knowledge etc. But about a week ago, I migrated to InMotion VPS. The main reason for the move is the story of just one ticket at Arvixe.
But now that I have moved, I’m just amazed at the speed and responsiveness of my blogs and sites, as well as the support staff at InMotion. And I’m proud of supporting an employee-owned company. Here I’m making the assumption that “employee-owned” doesn’t mean that the CEO and the senior management owns the whole show.
While on Arvixe VPS, my main blog response was so poor that I wrote a caching plugin (called Easy Cache) myself, since I wasn’t happy with the popular behemoths like WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. On InMotion VPS, I find that I don’t need any caching plugin at all! In fact, I don’t even need my Amazon Cloudfront CDN. But I will reinstate the CDNs to keep website speed monitors like Pingdom happy, with the help of a simple plugin I am planning to write (called, surprise surprise, Easy CDN). If you would like to move to InMotion VPS, which I highly recommend, please use one of the affiliate links on this page.
Enough of my post-purchase euphoria. Getting back to the immediate cause of my move, here is the story of the infamous support ticket on Arvixe. Sometime in November 2015, I decided that I needed to move to nginx and php-fpm to improve the responsiveness of my blogs. I already had a reverse proxy set up (where nginx, listening to the standard port 80, will handle all the static file serving) and forward any PHP calls to apache running on port 81. This worked reasonably well. But I thought a full nginx solution might a bit better. For this setup, I needed to upgrade my CentOS from the ancient version 5.11. So I raised a ticket on the 18th of November and expected it to be done in a couple of days, mainly because the support staff Justin V told me right away that they would be happy to do it. But no, here is what happened. (All the names are fictitious).
18-Nov-2015: Requested CentOS update on my VPS.
25-Nov-2015: Pat S transfered the ticket to the Provisioning team.
27/29-Nov, 3-Dec-2015: Requested status update. No reply.
4-Dec-2015 7:35AM: Ramyadevi A (on chat) promised action “within hours.” And scolded me for asking for updates to often. But no action or updates after that.
7-Dec-2015 12:30PM: Nithin A (on chat) told me that a “senior admin” is working on the ticket right at that moment, and will update “soon,” but cannot promise any ETA. No further action.
9-Dec-2015 12:00PM: Shailendra K (on chat) said there was a “sudden influx of tickets,” but a senior admin would reply soon. No further updates.
11-Dec-2015 8:20AM: Prajwal K (on chat) promised action “within hours.” No further update. I asked him if there was any technical reason this issue could not be resolved. He assured me that there was none.
16-Dec-2015 9:45AM: Pooja M tells me that I will be updated “soon.” And that there is no way to escalate a ticket.
23-Dec-2015 9:30AM: Adam B tells me that I needed to actually order a new VPS and get it provisioned with the right OS version. (In other words, I needed to pay for two VPSs!)
I didn’t actually see the last response because I had actually ordered a new VPS, albeit on InMotion. So I asked Arvixe to cancel my VPS. And the saga of the second ticket started. This cancellation request was raised on the 28th of December. They said the VPS would be cancelled within 24 hours. But due to the peculiar time dilation in the Arvixe frame of reference, it hasn’t been 24 hours four days later. Although it is costing me about a buck and a half a day, I don’t mind too much because my billing cycle is coming to an end within a week. But I can imagine the frustration a normal user (with a longer horizon to the end of their billing cycle) would feel.
To be fair, Arvixe was pretty good a few years ago. I hear that they got bought out by another company a year ago, and the new parent company has a shady history of this kind of behavior. But for now, my advice would be to avoid Arvixe like the plague. And go with InMotion VPS, if you are in the market for a hosting provider. Especially if you are looking for a VPS. I say this even though Arvixe offers a much higher referral commission.