ChicagoVPS Impressions (3 Months)

I’ve “used” ChicagoVPS (CVPS) for slightly more than 3 months now. That is a quarter of a year so I guess this will be a rather fair gauge of their services. CVPS is a web host provider; their main attraction is their insanely low price (even in the low end budget hosts market). Looking at the prices I’m paying for my previous host and comparing that to the prices offered by CVPS, I’ve decided to switch despite the mixed reviews from people.

They had an outbreak a few months back pertaining to an intrusion and hack. Many people lost their data and information. The way they handled it was not very professional, but despite that they are back stronger than before. Why not? People make mistakes. It is perfectly fine as long as they learn from it.

Everything was fine. Promised resources were fulfilled and the server was generally very responsive. I’ve run a few synthetic benchmarks and simulations to see how well the new server would perform. Needless the say, the VPS have much more resources than my previous shared hosting. Load tests proved that very point by showing a huge increase in efficiency when a simulated load is running on the server.

That was until the recent downtime caused by an abuse of a control panel exploit. My server went down for days. Support then was practically a robot that was under heavy load. Their replies were robotic and tired. I must imagine they have a huge customer base to handle (and rightfully so if you do the economics right). Fine, no one would have expected such an exploit to be found so suddenly and cause such a chaos. Heck, it should be the software developer’s fault. Now, I’m not blaming CVPS for the intrusion. Rather I’m disappointed at how they handled the situation.

The lack of communication with their customer base is appalling. For such a huge intrusion and long downtime, I would expect them to be a little more caring for their customers. Their mass updates were lacking, leaving people sitting on the edge of their chairs not knowing what on earth is happening. I understand that they are really busy trying to recover all the data and rebuild everything back to normal. Despite that, how difficult it is to do a quarter day update. Perhaps there are no updates. Nevertheless, I, as a customer, would love to be reassured that they are working on something, especially when the downtime hits more than 24 hours. Perhaps a twitter feed or some kind of live feed would be fantastic.

Their customer service and support is absolutely horrendous. For the price and service I’m paying for, I’m generally supposed to expect little to no support unless it concerns the provider themselves at their end and their hardware (that’s unmanaged VPS for you). This time around, the downtime is at their end. So yes, I would like some support. Their responses were vague and generalized. I specifically asked them about my service and phrased my questions in such a way that if they answered, it would mean that yes, YOUR service is so and so.

Remembering they saying something about automated backups at their end (in their offer when I signed up), I asked if they had a backup for my server. They, as usual, gave a general reply. Reading other frantic customers complaining about the lack of backups and how they didn’t even set up their “automated backup” for some nodes I panicked and asked again. Heck here is the full conversation:

horrible customer service

For goodness sake, if you do not have a backup tell me already! Don’t go beating around the bush and giving false hope to me! This enraged me even further due to the fact that my server was practically down for another week because of my army commitments (not at home during the weekdays). If they’ve told me straight off that my backups weren’t even enabled (or perhaps “corrupted”), I could’ve and would’ve restored my own backup (which was quite dated resulting in me hoping that they had a more recent one). The blessing in disguise was that people in the forums are complaining that their backups were dated months back, probably as old if not older than my own backup.

So there you go! Cheap prices, good server performance (at least during the time I was using it) but in times of trouble, they have horrendous support/customer service. If you do not need any support or help I would gladly recommend them hands down. However, you do need support when such unfortunate events happen and when you do need support and help, be prepared to be pushed aside, ignored and eventually frustrated. This isn’t their first time facing such an obstacle; I would expect them to do much better.

If you’re wondering where Swift World is now, it is definitely not with CVPS. Oh and I’ve started using my NAS for my own trusted automated backups. Shame on me to start doing my own backups so late.

Here are some other performance benchmarks that I’ve run on the server:

Great performance eh? Shame though, can’t really trust them anymore. Probably use it for some test box or something. Yeah why the hell not. Should be really useful when I’m doing my video tutorials.

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