1and1 Web Hosting - Bad Technical Support and Customer Service

Update: This is an old rant about bad experiences with web hosting with 1and1.  We no longer use 1and1 and have no intention of ever using them. We still get contacts from people who simply can't believe how bad 1and1 support is. Basically you can be with 1and1 for years and things appear rock solid - but as soon as something does go wrong you are left stranded, sometimes for weeks at a time.

We now provide web hosting services of our own. If you want reliable hosting with good support - especially for a Joomla powered website then head on over to our Joomla web hosting pages.

Okay, so you are looking for web hosting and you may have seen a little outfit called 1and1 or OneAndOne - they are one of the world's largest web hosts. I signed up for a 'professional' account: described by their marketing blurb in the following terms: '1&1 Professional is the ultimate Linux shared hosting solution, containing all you need to create a Blue Chip web presence.'

For six months or more the web hosting has been solid and reliable over multiple domains - so recently I moved a large domain that I operate over to this professional package. Again for a month or two all was well. Out of the blue I was unable to upload a single file up to my webspace, so I contacted technical support - there my adventure begins...

I signed up for 1and1's 'professional' account last year - here is the package as it currently stands: £21.61 per month:

  •     10 .co.uk domains
  •     10 GB web space
  •     3,000 1 GB POP3/IMAP accounts
  •     80 GB monthly traffic
  •     Linux based
  •     3,000 sub domains
  •     15xMySQL databases
  •     Free CGIs
  •     Dedicated SSL certificate included (QuickSSL Premium)
  •     SSH Secure Shell
  •     24/7 0800 Emergency Support

Now lets look at that: 10GB web space, 80GB monthly traffic, and 10 FREE domain names - how could you not go for that.  Now please also note that this is an account for hosting multiple domains and comes with  24/7 support.

As I said in my pre-amble, for months all was well, I have to say I have been more than impressed with the stability and reliability and up-time of their web hosting.  In fact for a while I actively promoted 1and1's hosting to others - although I stopped doing so when their tracking software showed I had sent no traffic to them even when I know for a fact that I had - but that is another story.

Here is what happened in all its glorious detail - and I hereby publicly challenge 1and1 to put their side of this story, contact me in writing and I will post your communication in all of its full un-edited glory.

I had another domain hosted elsewhere but over time it became apparent that I needed more disk space. For six months I hosted a collection of files that on my Windows PC number around 400,000 and take around 3GB of disk space. These files are text (actually html) files (not binaries) and nothing illegal or remotely illicit. It took a long time to upload them to the 1and1 webspace but I have broadband and I was in no rush.  Whenever a file was required by the other webhost it was requested from 1and1 and then processed and printed to the user's browser.

My 1and1 control panel told me I had used 7 GB of my 10GB allowance and 1.25Million of my 2.6 Million files quota

Okay, so no problem there and all is in order - I would just draw your attention to the quota on the number of files - I am at this point well within the quota so you may wonder why I am drawing it to your attention.  Well, like you I don't see any file quota listed above in the marketing blurb, but It doesn't seem unreasonable that there is a quota and it is in proportion with the total web space so no problem there.

And so it remained for 5 or 6 months. In fact I was so happy with 1and1 and so annoyed with the other hosting company as their service deteriorated,  I decided to stop paying a second hosting company. I transferred the domain to 1and1 in its entirety. And I was still happy with 1and1, and for three months all was really good - in fact the transferred domain soared in Search Engines and revenue from the site went up approximately 7 fold - presumably through 1and1's more reliable servers. As I said, I was happy.

I acquired a couple more customers, registered domains for them and uploaded files. Then a day or two later I wanted to add one extra file to one of the domains - I received an error message.
Server Error 550 - Disk quota exceeded

Now it begins.

I know I am nowhere near either of the two limits mentioned earlier. I have uploaded less than 10MB in additional files since viewing that report. I have a few scripts that create temporary cache files as part of their normal operation but nothing that can take me anywhere near those limits.
Obviously I check my hosts control panel

And there it is in glorious technicolour
1.25 Million files used
   250,000 file quota
-990,000 files remaining

Yes, there it is, there is a quota that doesn't allow me to upload a single file while I am over the quota, but somehow I managed to go 900,000+ files over the limit. This is obviously a mistake I told myself, and I initiated contact with 1and1 support department - remember that 24 / 7 tech support - well it was after 1 am but hey 24 / 7.


Support Call One

I was held in a queue for 10 minutes plus, but no problem it was an 0800 (freephone) number.
I eventually got through to a tech-support person and I explained the situation and that perhaps someone had been tweaking the file number quota and they lost a digit - how else could the limit be 1 / 10th of my previous recollection.
The support person who was in the US was not aware of the UK quotas and put me back on hold for 10 minutes while he checked.
He came back on the line and told me he was unable to confirm the quotas and was going to speak with 'Sales', whereupon I was placed upon hold for a further 5 or more minutes. The support person came back on the line said hello Mr Marshall and the call was terminated. Had he hung up or had I hit a 30 minutes automatic cut off - your guess is as good as mine.

Support Call Two

Unperturbed by the outcome of the first call, and somewhat annoyed, but perhaps prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt I decided to try again. At 02:00 I dialled. I got the automated you are in a queue stuff, but relatively quickly this was replaced by a ringing. Wow I thought - only 5 minutes that time. Well the call was not answered, I allowed it to ring for somewhere over 5 minutes but nothing.

So much for 24 / 7 support I thought. Anyway, in the morning I would have more chance of speaking to someone in the UK who would be more familiar with the UK offering of this company, and who would perhaps be familiar with whatever changes had been made.


Support Call Three


Saturday, late morning maybe early afternoon, and I make the call. It was answered by the automated system but the ringing quickly signified I was being passed on to a human. I have to admit I was terse with the support person - not angry or swearing or anything but perhaps a little direct or abrupt.  He asked me to wait while he checked something, then to wait while he spoke with someone. He was polite but informed me that he would have to go away and look into the matter. He committed himself to sending me an e-mail within the next two hours updating me of his findings and any action to be taken.

I was dubious, but faced with such a faithful promise I could not argue. I thanked the support person and went about my business. I checked my e-mail every 15 minutes or so (as you do when you are expectant of an important communication) for the next 3 or 4 hours.

Support Call Four

With hindsight I don't quite know how to categorise this conversation - at the time I was both relieved to get an answer, but annoyed that it was the 'wrong' answer. The support person - I have a name for this one, but I won't post it here - started off by telling me that the limit of 250,000 files was correct and had always been in effect.

Well obviously I knew that this was not the case. I of course informed him that he was 'mistaken' and that I could prove the point.

Firstly, my current control panel report showed that I have almost 1Million files MORE than the limit - given that you can not upload files when you are over the limit I MUST have been under the limit when I uploaded the files - therefore the limit MUST have been higher.

Secondly, and purely as a final nail in the coffin of the 'always been in effect' argument here is an image from 1and1's own help documentation that shows numbers in accord with my own earlier experience.

Now you don't have to be a logician to see who has the stronger argument. The support person, tried to hold the company line for the next 10 minutes a valiant effort (and quite indicative of the company's deceptive practises) but not being a fool he had to concede the point. He then told me that he had raised the issue with management previously and was looking for support for his position. He stated that he too was a customer of 1and1, and was likely to be affected by the recent change.  He encouraged me to e-mail a complaints@ address and assured me that turnaround time from e-mails sent to this address was rapid (but not on weekends).

As an aside he did ask a rather interesting, although I must confess obvious, question that I had failed to ask myself.

Why the HELL did I have so many files?
I explained what three or four hundred thousand files were for and that I had scripts that between them referenced a further 50 thousand files.
There are also some heavily trafficked scripts spread over 2 or 3 domains that cache each new result. (It didn't occur to me that the number being cited was more than double what my actual known usage should amount to.)

I terminated the call at that, determined to give the complaints@ address a go.

In the meantime I thought I would seek further info on the limits - remember this is an unadvertised limit:

E-mail 1: to Sales


Sat 01/04/2006 02:27

Hi,

I am looking at your linux hosting 'professional' account and note the 10GB disk space limits.
I wondered whether there was a limit on the number of files as well as total disk space?

Can you provide any details as this is currently an issue with my current hosts.

Dean Marshall
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


E-mail to complaints address - Monday

Email 2: to 1and1 complaints
Sent to:      This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Time sent:     Mon 03/04/2006 13:38

FAO: One And One Complaints Department

Account Number: 5004560
Contract Number: 6509444

Sir / Madam,

I write to you to stress my unease at recent events with regard to my account.

Out of the blue I find that I am significantly in excess of a file quota on the above account. I have a significant number of files on my account,  1.25 Million at present, and have taken care to stay within the limit, some 2.6 Million files, as communicated by your Control Panel. I have screenshots that show this 2.6 million files limit, and I note that your own help files still show a similar screen.

Details:

Number of Files
Used files         1,240,155
Total file allowance      262,144
Available files         -978,011

Your system will not let me upload a single file whilst I am over this limit, yet I am over 900,000 files over the limit - this can obviously only have occurred by the sudden, unannounced and *drastic* slashing of the file limit to 1/10th of its previous limit.


Further down this page I will detail my difficulties in communicating with 1and1.

Later on Saturday I spoke with a very helpful chap who informed me that he was under the impression that the limit is 250,000 files.
I communicated my *strong* displeasure at what I can only see as a retrospective change in contract terms and the imposition of a limit that is not advertised in ANY of your marketing literature. I now find that the 'Professional' package that I have been using happily for quite some time is suddenly of no use to me with my main website.

I strongly urge 1and1 to reset the file quota limit to its original value for existing customers.
If you want to change the terms for new customers then that is obviously your right and you should take steps to clearly communicate this limit.
What I take exception to, and what I cannot accept, is the apparent retrospective changes to my contract.
I am now left unable to upload a single new file to any of 22 domains.



I am also displeased with the handling of my attempts to communicate with 1and1 over this issue. I first sent an email via the control panel late last week. Having received no response other than the 'due to increased support traffic there is a delay' I attempted to contact 1and1 late on Friday night. Having spent approaching 30 minutes on the phone I was told that the support personnel had no problem uploading further files via ftp.

Subsequently the call was disconnected, just as the support person came back to me - did he hang up, or does your system have a cut off after a set time interval? Either way I am unhappy.

I tried calling back, after the long period on hold I heard the ringing tone and thought I was about to be connected to someone, but the ringing continued unanswered for an inordinate period - over 5 minutes.

Eventually, on Saturday I spoke with someone I believed to be UK based who said he would e-mail a response to me shortly - well that never happened.

So in addition to one worried and perplexed customer, you now have a very annoyed customer on your hands.

I am attempting to seek two things with this communication:
1. Reinstatement of the former limit - or favourable terms on a package more suited to my needs
2. An explanation of how I have been treated, ignored, cut off, lied to, and so on.

Dean Marshall BBA(hons) - PC and Internet Consultant
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
http://www.deanmarshall.co.uk/

Email 3: to One and One Complaints and Support

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Tue 04/04/2006 15:06
Any chance of a response to this message sent to the complaints@ address over 24 hours ago?
>>> Snip: verbatim copy of previous days e-mail here.

Dean Marshall
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
http://www.deanmarshall.co.uk/
Tel: (01524) 61356

 End of My E-mail 

A REPLY FROM 1and1

From: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]
 Sent: 04 April 2006 19:55
 To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 Subject: C48647908 - 1&1 Internet Support Re: Limits on
 number of file?
 
 Dear Dean Marshall,
 
 Thank you for contacting us.
 
 There is a limit of 262,144 files on all of our shared
 packages.
 
 If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to
 contact us.
 
 --
 Sincerely,
 Micah Magruder
 Technical Support
 1&1 Internet


Email 4: follow-up to 1and1's reply to email 1

To: ' This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '
Sent: Tue 04/04/2006 21:54
RE: C48647908  - 1&1 Internet Support Re: Limits on number of file?

Dear Micah (or whoever receives this),

Do you think that this should be stated UP FRONT on your marketing info?
How long has this limit been in place?

I already have an account with you and have suddenly been hit with this limitation (Wednesday or Thursday of last week).  As someone with 1,250,000 files already on the system I am severely impacted by this CHANGE in your conditions. I have documented evidence in support of my position that the limit was previously higher, and even have screen shots of your own help documentation that show the limit was previously 2,560,000 files.

I find myself severely impacted by this change - in fact presently I am unable to upload a single file to my account, and I am having to investigate alternative hosting arrangements. Obviously OneAndOne's 'professional' package is NOT suitable for my needs and I have 'been sold a dud'.

I am EXTREMELY annoyed at what I perceive to be a material change in terms of this account.

Does 1and1 have another account more suited to my needs? As I am being inconvenienced by this, is there anyone there who can discuss favourable terms on a package upgrade?

Dean Marshall - PC and Internet Consultant
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
http://www.deanmarshall.co.uk/

1and1's Reply to Email Four

From: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]
Sent: 04 April 2006 22:27
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Subject: RE: C48647908 - 1&1 Internet Support Re: Limits on number of file?

Dear Dean Marshall,

Thank you for contacting us.

All shared packages have this limitation. If you require additional file space, then you will need to purchase a dedicated server so that this limitation does not exist.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,
Micah Magruder
Technical Support
1&1 Internet

Wow look at that - a response in just over half an hour.
And look how thoroughly my points have been addressed.
They have not - come on Micah you have to do better than that. I have paid for 24/7 support on a 'professional' package.

Email 5 - follow-up to 1and1's Reply

Sent:    Tue 04/04/2006 23:01

I repeat my earlier questions seeing as you chose not to answer them:

> Do you think that this should be stated UP FRONT on your
> marketing info?
> How long has this limit been in place?
>  

You say:
All shared packages have this limitation.

Well I can prove that this is a recent development, and one that frankly I am very, very unhappy about. This is an unannounced and material change in the terms of the hosting package that you are contracted to provide to me.  I have documentary evidence to support my claim - including the fact that I somehow managed to place, onto your server, 5 times the number of files your *limit* specifies. Additionally your own help files (which I have copied) tally with my previous experiences.

You said:
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

That frankly is a joke - it has take almost a week to contact you.
4 or 5 phone calls some of which cut off after extended periods, either automatically or by staff hanging up. I pay for a 'professional' package and expect professional treatment - part of which is sticking to the terms as originally agreed and as have been provided for over six months.

Please re-instate the original limits or pass this 'up the line' to someone who can.

I am *very* annoyed at this move, and at my treatment by your organisation.

Dean Marshall - PC and Internet Consultant
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
http://www.deanmarshall.co.uk/

1and1 Reply to email 5

From: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]
Sent: 05 April 2006 01:12
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Subject: C48777765 - 1&1 Internet Support RE: C48647908 - 1&1 Internet Support Re: Limits on number of file?

Dear Dean Marshall, (Customer ID: 5004650)

Thank you for contacting us.

The linux file system has a limited number of inodes that are available for use on the server.  The fact is, you can't just write how ever many files you want on any file system anywhere.  So, this being said, because you are on a shared hosting server, you are allocated a portion of this limit.  This is not only an industry standard, but a simple fact of filesystems.  If you want to write this many files to your webspace, you are going to have to get a dedicated server.  The limits have always existed, as can be seen in our databases since the company was founded.  If these limits did not exist, someone could write millions of 0 byte files and render a server useless.  This is a simple security precaution that in no way violates the contract agreement.  You are also not bound by this contract to continue to use this service if it does not suit your needs.  I am afraid we cannot make any changes at this time to accommodate your need for this many files on our shared hosting packages.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

--
Sincerely,
Tom MacKenzie
Technical Support
1&1 Internet

Why does this guy think I want to write an unlimited number of files?
And he wants to explain 'industry standard' to me - how patronising is this?
'The limits have always existed'  - so how did my excess files get there? - come on man, engage your brain!
'as can be seen in our database' - how can I see what is in your database. And as you control what is in your database what would it prove? I have a screenshot or two that show different - and they are screenshots from your site. In fact I can still show you a live image on your site that backs up my position.

1and1 quota 

Notice how he skirts the issue somewhat - he says there have always been limits - he doesn't mention whether they have always been the same.

Email 6 following up Tom MacKenzie's reply

Wed 05/04/2006 09:24

Hi Tom,

I appreciate that any file system has limits, I am in no way disputing this, and obviously it acts as a basic security precaution.

You said:
 If you want to write this many files to your web-space, you are going to have to get a dedicated server.  The limits have always existed, as can be seen in our databases since the company was founded.

I am sorry, but this is simply incorrect.

Yes, since I joined 1and1 there has been a limit, but this limit was, as I stated previously 2,560,000.  Perhaps you can explain how I managed to achieve my current status of 900,000 files over the limit. Yes that's right, I have 1,250,000 files on the system, and when I did so I had used about half of the limit. There is a graphic on a 1and1 support page that clearly shows the same limit.

Obviously 1and1 no longer suits my present needs - although I have been more than happy with reliability, performance, etc.

Dean Marshall

Now obviously this account with its current crippled limit is no longer fully suitable for my high capacity needs. Having just ditched one host to move the high capacity domain to 1and1 what is a guy supposed to do. Also given that I have 22 domains, including client domains hosted here, and given the size of the domain in question moving hosts is not going to be an overnight process.

Another dilemma is that the 'problem domain' is earning like it hasn't earned in 18 months. It is a tricky one. I am offended that a support bod has decided effectively to tell me to take my business elsewhere, but no matter how annoyed I am at the bad treatment (hung up phone calls, promised e-mails, selective question answering, and apparent lying on the part of support staff) this is a business decision and the money is coming in - probably due to 1and1's reliability.

Now apart from the content of the messages - obviously the message so far is not what I want to hear, but look at the turnaround time on these e-mails
Tue 04 April 2006 19:55 and Wed 05 April 2006 01:12 I had three replies in this 'thread'.

So what about email 2 and the follow-up (email 3) sent 24 hours later?

So now I am getting really annoyed, I have taken steps to reduce my files on the system, I have set up a server at home to temporarily host the bulk of my files (the 300,000+ files ) and amended scripts to work with the new setup. I have scoured through the folders and sub-folders associated with the domains I host and I have removed all redundant / older files, flushed caches and generally tidied up. Yet I am still MASSIVELY OVER the NEW quota.

I am convinced there is something wrong with 1and1's server - but I don't have the tools to prove it. The file/folder management utility in the control panel is bloody awful. It can delete a file or upload a file, but anything more is garbage. It frequently experiences errors and locks up forcing the page to require closing.

So I try again with support. I am a patient man, and I have spent many hours reconfiguring my scripts to work despite no file write access, and no caching ability.

Email 7 - to support@ and complaints@ 

Sent: Sat 08/04/2006 04:39
Account Number     5004650
Contract Number     6509444
Package     Professional

Hi,

Further to my previous - still unresolved - issues with 1and1 and your File Number Quotas, I have removed what I believe to be the biggest sections of the sites I have hosted with you and my stats, according to your control panel are:

Number of Files
===============
Used files     917,745
Total file allowance    262,144
Available files    -655,601


Well, I have no way to prove this - as you don't provide any useful tools for recursively analysing where disk space is allocated - but I believe that your stats are in error.  I just don't see where these hundreds of thousands of files are located.

Can you show me where these files are?

I have gone to a great deal of trouble to reduce the number of files I have on your system - following your recent reduction of allowed files from 2.6 million down to 250,000 - but I have no clue as to where these 'misplaced' files are.

Dean Marshall

And I wait for a reply, and I wait, and I wait.
I consider phoning, but realise I will be fobbed off, or put on hold indefinitely, or have the phone put down on me, or perhaps I would be given an email address that either doesn't exist or isn't answered.

Remember this is 24 7 support springing into action - professional service, from a professional organisation, working in a professional capacity for professionals.

Am I sounding bitter, twisted and cynical yet. Perhaps I am coming across as a whiney tw*t. Frustration will do that to you. Sign up with One and One if you don't believe me.

Reply from 1and1 - replying to email 7

Mon 17/04/2006 20:23

Dear Dean Marshall, (Customer ID: 5004650)

Thank you for contacting us.
You can use the "du" command via SSH to recursively determine disk usage.
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

--
Sincerely,
Shawn Moore
Technical Support
1&1 Internet

Now look at this - I told you I was patient - actually I had given up on them. I am in the active information seeking stage of finding a new host.

Email 7 - to support@ and complaints@ Sent: Sat 08/04/2006 04:39
Reply from 1and1 - replying to email 7 Received: Mon 17/04/2006 20:23

Look at those dates 9days and 16hours to compile a one line answer (sandwiched between 'thank you for contacting' and 'do not hesitate to contact us'.

To some extent I resent being asked to do their job for them. I told tech support that they were over stating the quantity of files on the server by HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS - and they took 10 days to ask me to look into it! Did my question to support not ask THEM TO SHOW ME where these files are. Who has the burden of proof here. They are penalising me - removed ability to upload files, removed ability to transact my business - I tell them I suspect their system is at fault and ask THEM to look into it. Am I being unreasonable? There is a running theme through all of 1and1's answers - they are selective about what they do, what they look into and which points they choose to answer. But anyway - on with the adventure...

I gave their 'solution' a fair go.

I installed software, learnt new commands, researched switches for those commands not supplied in the reply ( I am NOT a unix / linux expert, although I have dabbled used unix systems in the past, I have never maintained or carried out support or tech work on one). I have supported scripts web scripts that run on unix, configured web servers and php scripting language, perl settings, and MySQL databases. BUT THIS IS NOT MY TERRITORY.

For anyone not familiar with it - and I was not - the du command referred to in their reply is a 'Disk Usage' reporting tool. It reports the aggregate size of all files within folders. It can be set to match a pattern.

I ran the du command from the 'root' folder of my account - memory exhausted - terminated.
So I had to run the command on each domain's folder within my account.
I did find some folders that were larger than I had anticipated, but not significant in terms of the hundreds of thousands of 'misplaced files'.

I believed the out of memory error to be the result of process limits imposed on the server - well you would. Whenever I tried to retrieve info on multiple domains it caused the error.  Eventually I found the folder causing the problem. It was a folder with one subfolder - both of which had been cleared months ago via FTP but which stubbornly refused to be deleted. This didn't seem to be a big issue - an unused, empty folder won't delete - live with it.

Anyway, I was connected using a secure connection and had greater permissions than FTP. I forced the deletion of the folder and sub-folder.
The deletion was immediate - and immediately 500,000 or more files were removed from the control panel's QUOTA report.
Now this folder NEVER contained more than a few hundred (maybe 1,000 or so) files even when in use. I suspected some form of file system corruption.

I was still 50,000 files over the limit, according to the control panel, so I continued my quest to find excess files. But I could not.

Now here is my reply - I took my time to consider my position - But I do start off a bit flippant; wouldn't you after 10 days?

Email 8 to support and complaints

Sent: Tue 18/04/2006 21:13

Hi,

When I signed up and they said that support was 24 7 I didn't think it would mean that it would be 247 hours between asking and receiving the initial fob off answer ;)

Initially that 247 hours line was a flippant remark - but ever the clever clogs I have just "done the maths"
    Query sent:     08 April 2006 04:39
    Reply received:     17 April 2006 20:23
    ======================================
At approximately 9 days and 16 hours that is 232 hours (near enough 247 for me)

How many of your users actually get as far as SSH?

Why does your windows hosting boast recursive directory info for its control panel based file manager?
I am sure you are aware of this, but du is no good for telling me THE NUMBER OF FILES it details file space (disk usage).
Obviously the total disk space gives a clue but is no good where files are buried deep within file structures that are three or four levels deep.

Now, given that the number of files involved was supposedly approaching 1 Million, and that you have memory limits that kill any process of any size how do you expect me, on the remote end of the connection to be able to carry out any meaningful investigation into these mystery files.

 

Oh how I laughed. I have just identified an 'issue' there was a folder called deanmarshall.co.uk.old with one empty (as far as I could tell) sub-folder with-in it. Whenever I tried to do du -sh on that folder I got an out of memory error. I deleted that (unused) folder and reduce my file usage by 500,000 files. Still over your ludicrously reduced limits but only by 50,000 now.

Now one day later, after laboriously ploughing through each domain and its sub-folders and removing more files here are the current stats for my web space:

$ du -sh *
8.0k    anagram-solver.co.uk
4.0k    buyforher.co.uk
1.1M   buyforhim.co.uk
24M    deanmarshall.co.uk
4.0k    joomlamonkey.com
316k    another-customer.co.uk
209M    logs
59M    volunteer-group
482M    my-big-domain.co.uk
4.0k    shop-for-erotica.co.uk
4.0k    shop-for-gadgets.co.uk
4.0k    www.shop-for-her.co.uk
4.0k    www.shop-for-him.co.uk
4.0k    shop-for-toys.co.uk
21M    another-customers-domain
0    test-thesolver.co.uk.txt
5.6M    the-solver.co.uk
28M    a-customers-domain.co.uk
============
825MB   approx - please confirm.

Your Control Panel is Showing:

Storage Space:

Used storage space     2,076.77 MB
Total storage space    10,000.00 MB
Available storage space     7,923.23 MB

Number of Files:
Used files             284,160
Total file allowance    262,144
Available files        -22,016

Why does your control Panel show 2GB used yet du only shows 825MB??
What does your control panel include that is not within my folder /kunden/homepages/0/d123923866/  ???

I suspect that there is file system corruption on this disk.
My Reasoning is the previously mentioned 'stubborn' folder that was empty but that caused 'out of memory' errors for the du command.
It was a folder that didn't have more than a few thousand files in it even before they were deleted some months yet 'number of files' dropped 500,000 in your control panel after the deletion.

The current anomaly is similarly 'mysterious' - I respectfully suggest that unless you can show me where ALL of these files are that you reset or recalculate your files used figures and run a disk integrity utility over your hardware.

Dean Marshall
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

PS: how long before your 'complaints' people who received the same e-mail reply?
The complaints@ address was provided by one of your support people so please don't tell me that there is no such address or no such department.

 Reply to Email 8 - Success - sort of:

Wed 19/04/2006 15:28
Dear Dean Marshall, (Customer ID: 5004650)

Thank you for contacting us.

I apologize for the inconvenience. The script that calculates your webspace was not functioning correctly, this configuration has been updated. The quota is now displayed correctly in the control panel:

Storage Space Used storage space 656.36 MB  
Total storage space 10,000.00 MB  
Available storage space 9,343.64 MB  
Number of Files Used files  40,538
Total file allowance 262,144
Available files 221,606

That is the total htdocs usage of 882172 KB, minus the 210168 KB for the logs directory.
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

--
Sincerely,
Jay Dhanoa
Technical Support
1&1 Internet

Now look at this -

  • They admit that I was right, there was an error on their end.
  • They apologize (sic) for the inconvenience
  • They provide a brief explanation
  • They recap the current position.

BUT, you knew there was going to be a but right:
Look how many of my points in that last e-mail remain unanswered - let me iterate over them for a second.

24 7 technical support taking 247 hours to reply
Windows hosting having a web based file manager that displays recursive disk and file usage
Even on the command line the suggested tool 'du' is no good for the job
The empty folder and empty sub-folder that accounted for 500,000 files in their disk quota.
What about the complaints@ address and the lack of response.

The apology whilst welcome, comes from a tier 1 support person - first line of contact (as far as I know) - and frankly is not sufficient for the level of work I have had to do chasing 1and1, the disconnected calls, the unsent e-mails, the farce of the complaints@ e-mail address.

I still maintain that the files that I did have on the system - by my ready reckoning 350,000 files at most - were well within previously allowed limits.
The help graphic is still there.  There is the possibility that I was reading incorrect limits in the control panel that were caused by the same issue as the over-count of files, but this has not been communicated to me, and THE HELP GRAPHIC and SUPPORT STAFF agree with my recollection.

1and1 quota

I want 1and1 to consider that  I moved hundreds of thousands of files, and a domain, from another host to them on the basis of the information they provided. Whether they have reduced the limit - perhaps as a reaction to an apparent over-usage (caused by over-reporting software) - or the software erroneously indicated I was within limits, I obviously cannot be sure. Hell of a coincidence though THAT HELP GRAPHIC showing the same limit I was shown.

Do 1and1 not think they owe me some leeway?
What about all MY WORK in tracking down their server issue - where do I send the bill?
What about my inconvenience - they admit I have been inconvenienced - although they make no mention of the extent.
What about my treatment by support staff.
What about potential issues of deception.

Whilst writing this summary - I received an email from 1and1  

Email from 1and1

Tue 18/04/2006 22:01

Dear Mr. Marshall,

On 17.04.2006 you, or one of your colleagues, contacted our technical support department.
 
We are constantly striving to improve our service performance and your opinion is greatly appreciated.  
You can help us by evaluating our service at:

http://survey.1and1.co.uk/survey.php?survey=33731&pl=1&case=48795934

This will only take a minute or two of your time.

Sincerely
1&1 Internet Ltd.

I decided to channel my frustration - I filled in their four question and 'any other comments' survey.
For some inexplicable reason it took me a bit longer than 'a minute or two'.

I have, as I mentioned earlier - sent 1and1 an e-mail pointing them in the direction of this 'rant', and inviting them to comment and to attempt a bit of 'service recovery'.

I received an automated response:

This is an automated response just to let you know we have received your e-mail and that we expect to answer your query within the next 12 to 24 working hours.
 

Now how long is 24 working hours? We will see. 

 

Wrapping up:


Email 1: to  Sales  Sat 01/04/2006 02:27
Email 2: to 1and1 complaints     Mon 03/04/2006 13:38
Email 3: to One and One Complaints and Support  Tue 04/04/2006 15:06

Reply from 1and1 - to Email 1 Tue 04 April 2006 19:55

Email 4: to support - follow-up to 1and1's reply to email 1 : Tue 04/04/2006 21:54  RE: C48647908  - 1&1 Internet Support Re: Limits on number of file?
1and1's Reply to Email Four  Tue 04 April 2006 22:27

Email 5 - follow-up to 1and1's Reply  Sent    Tue 04/04/2006 23:01
1and1 Reply to email 5  Wed 05 April 2006 01:12


Email 6 following up Tom macKenzie's reply     Wed 05/04/2006 09:24

Email 7 - to support@ and complaints@   Sent: Sat 08/04/2006 04:39
Reply from 1and1 - replying to email 7  Mon 17/04/2006 20:23

Email 8 to support  -  Sent: Tue 18/04/2006 21:13
>>>  Reply to Email 8 - Success - sort of: <<<  Wed 19/04/2006 15:28


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