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Provider Trustworthiness
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Provider Trustworthiness

Hi All,

Long(-ish) time reader, first time caller.

I was wondering how you all determine provider trustworthiness - that is, how you decide that you're comfortable using a specific company's servers for personal/proprietary/business data, compared to, say, letting it idle, or using it as a non-descript development testbed.

I'd be interested to hear your opinions!

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Comments

  • jarjar Member, Patron Provider

    This is absolutely key for me in trusting providers. Here's what I look for signs of:

    1. Willingness to learn and improve.
    2. Pride in their service.
    3. Powerful response to problems.

    To me, these three things are indications of their trustworthiness. Someone who has pride in their service and values improving themselves is someone who I propose is not going to throw it away.

    Thanked by 2vRozenSch00n 4n0nx
  • @Jar Interesting - all three of the items that you mentioned either require a representative to be active in a forum that you frequent or can easily find, or that you're already a customer that has given them a sort of trial period (e.g. had things go wrong, and saw their response to it).

    To the first point, it shows the importance of providers being active in the community. How, then, do you proceed when there is no overwhelmingly positive or negative info out there on the web - maybe a few reviews, but nothing more?

  • jarjar Member, Patron Provider

    Good point. If I don't have much to go on from their public actions I typically would not consider myself able to form much of an opinion. But then that's just by my personal criteria.

    I suppose, if pressed, if it were obvious that they had a lot of customers and the negative reviews were either within what I considered acceptable parameters, or were few in number, this would encourage my conclusion they may be trustworthy. I struggle to add weight to positive reviews, it's just so hard to know what's legit.

  • Jar said: it's just so hard to know what's legit

    Come on, I can tell by a mile. People who write good fake reviews are expensive, they wont be hired here and providers which make extra accounts for "testimonials" lack the ability most of the time.

    Thanked by 1HostNun
  • Try them out with something non crticial or buy the cheapest plan for testing.

  • IkoulaIkoula Member, Host Rep

    Hello,

    The point is you can trust a provider when the service offered meets your expectations.
    If you buy a vm instead of physical server the vm could be great you'll be disapointed.
    My advice is to think on your needs before buying and choose one provider according to what he is good at.
    I think this is why some of you have multiple providers.

  • 8420PR8420PR Member
    edited December 2014

    What I look for:
    (1) real address (not just a mailbox).
    (2) for UK companies I check the accounts at companies house.
    (3) some form of history / reviews.

    The above applies to all suppliers (and sometimes customers), unless they are a known name (e.g. namecheap). Ideally I am looking for reassurance that the supplier is real and sticking around.

    However if the offer is really good, then all the above goes out the window. For example, I've had a delimiter server for 9 months and the service has been great. However basically they are anonymous and fail the above 3 tests..... I only use them for non-business critical things (mostly testing) though.

    I apply these 3 tests to my own business (ecommerce), even when I was operating from home the address was stated on the website.

    P.S. does anyone know how to get the registration information on US LLC's? Something similar to Company House in the UK.

  • @8420PR said:
    What I look for:
    (1) real address (not just a mailbox).

    See http://lowendtalk.com/discussion/comment/805541/#Comment_805541

  • wychwych Member
    edited December 2014

    @8420PR said:

    P.S. does anyone know how to get the registration information on US LLC's? Something similar to Company House in the UK.

    Check directory of state its registered in?

    Don't think they have one for national like companies house is however.

    • The provider's website - relevant information or FAQ is available, clear and consistent. It gives a better idea of the provider and products.

    • Response to pre-sales questions and questions via forums, support chat, social networks - provider is responsive and courteous, takes the time to read the question fully and answer accordingly. Support is always accessible if ever needed. A good support system and optionally representation on industry forums (with a non-problematic history) gives the impression of being established and hopefully they will be around for the foreseeable future.

    • Past responses to problems - provider monitors the network, takes action quickly if something goes down and informs their customers. Measures the provider took to be better prepared or prevent a problem from happening again.

  • geekalotgeekalot Member
    edited December 2014

    @linuxthefish said:
    Try them out with something non crticial or buy the cheapest plan for testing.

    ^^ This, after this:

    • Read ToS, AUP, Privacy Policy -- if too shady, don't bother
    • Check business registration info/length of time in business
    • Check website for overall presentation/accuracy, etc
    • Check reputable sources for reviews/feedback
    • Check their IPs to see if they are blacklisted
    • Send sales some detailed questions and see how long it takes, and how well they respond

    EDIT: Not too many individual items above are themselves show stoppers, but they contribute to a "confidence score" that helps to make a decision if it is worth the effort to do business with them IMHO.

  • MaouniqueMaounique Member
    edited December 2014

    @geekalot said:
    EDIT: Not too many individual items above are themselves show stoppers, but they contribute to a "confidence score" that helps to make a decision if it is worth the effort to do business with them IMHO.

    Well, in spite of all those demands there are some people which do not need all, so there will always be some customers for small providers which do not have managed products and cannot have 24/7 live support for example, otherwise almost nobody here would have any customers :)

  • Word of mouth is best. Here for example, do a search for the providers on LEB if they have offers there there will be comments, same on LET. If there are issues they will be aired very openly.

    You will not have an issue going with providers such as Ramnode, Prometeus, BuyVM, MiniVPS and others. You may have issues going with CVPS, you will have issues going with GVH.

    It's not really hard to quickly get to know who you can trust, who to take a punt on and who to avoid.

  • @Maounique said:
    Well, in spite of all those demands there are some people which do not need all, so there will always be some customers for small providers which do not have managed products and cannot have 24/7 live support for example, otherwise almost nobody here would have any customers :)

    You do know I was responding specifically to the OP's statement: "how you decide that you're comfortable using a specific company's servers for personal/proprietary/business data, compared to, say, letting it idle, or using it as a non-descript development testbed.", right?

    For less important stuff, of course you can decide to be less stringent.

    What I listed is particularly useful (IMHO) for dedicated servers and colo's.

  • SpeedyKVMSpeedyKVM Banned, Member

    Longevity, how long has the host been around? The hosts that don't have their processes defined, profits sorted, etc wont survive. It's really easy to run a business at a loss for 3 years while you get going, making a profit is the tough part.

    "8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months"
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericwagner/2013/09/12/five-reasons-8-out-of-10-businesses-fail/

    Personally I wouldn't use a host that was less than 3-5 years old, unless they had massive backing like digitalocean etc.

  • @Incero said:
    Longevity, how long has the host been around? The hosts that don't have their processes defined, profits sorted, etc wont survive.

    Sure, but this thread is about trustworthiness. When considering whether or not one can trust a host, what does 'profitability' have to do with it? i.e. how do potential clients and customers gain access to that data? I don't see any hosts posting their income/revenue/profits to the public, do you?

    Otherwise, if anyone followed your 3-5 year rule, not a single host on this forum would have ever had any business.

    Thanked by 1geekalot
  • vRozenSch00nvRozenSch00n Member
    edited December 2014

    @jemaltz by testing it:
    1. Reinstall your OS at least once a day for 2 ~ 4 weeks (this is to replicate noob sysadmin in action), see how they response (most likely you will get suspended if they don't have good infrastructure).
    2. If they promise daily backup, try to run rm -rf / and ask them to restore yesterday's backup (most likely you will be banned) if you found out they just bullshitting around.
    3. Use the machine to host something unimportant, and take a benchmark once in a month for 6 month. In a new node you will have good performance. Usually it will decrease within 3 months (when all slots have been provisioned), That's when your machine would be stable.

    However, I like to take different approach. If you know the tech/owner and you are able to have good communication with them, that's the one you can trust :) look at the last quarterly poll.

    The providers I listed there are among those that I can trust :) Among the tech (in LET) I trust: Ernie, DustinC, RyanArp, Jar, Nyr, Maounique, Infinity, Ishaq, and several others.

    Thanked by 2jar Maounique
  • Great info, everyone! It's interesting to hear the various opinions here, and overall it sounds like the best way to determine trust is simply word of mouth...

  • MaouniqueMaounique Member
    edited December 2014

    jemaltz said: the best way to determine trust is simply word of mouth...

    Yes, and you can get that in an honest forum where even weird opinions are tolerated. Of all those I know, this is the most liberal.

    HostNun said: Otherwise, if anyone followed your 3-5 year rule, not a single host on this forum would have ever had any business.

    Not really, many people had a hosting business before and joined the VPS market or the le market later and some only as a hobby. Prometeus is in business from 1997, but it is true not in the vps (first was shared hosting until the unlimited BS came out) then for companies only and almost exclusively in italy (first had mostly an US presence for the shared hosting) only in 2010 started up to offer VPSes for the masses, 13 years since being in hosting business. Not to mention Salvatore had own software business since he was 18.

  • Maounique said: Not to mention Salvatore had own software business since he was 18.

    So how is uncle Sal now? Is he in good shape?

  • @jemaltz said:
    Great info, everyone! It's interesting to hear the various opinions here, and overall it sounds like the best way to determine trust is simply word of mouth...

    You're right. My first ever host was a recommendation from a mentor hehe

  • @Maounique I meant in general, not necessarily in terms of starting out on this forum. As in, so much for the 'entrepreneurial spirit' or whatever you want to call it if you're going to discourage people from trusting any host who hasn't been around for at least 3 years!

    1. How many years are on the business.
    2. How many clients they have.
    3. Alexa should be considered also
    4. Reviews should be considered also.
  • @HostNun said:
    Maounique I meant in general, not necessarily in terms of starting out on this forum. As in, so much for the 'entrepreneurial spirit' or whatever you want to call it if you're going to discourage people from trusting any host who hasn't been around for at least 3 years!

    Yep, that is kind of what I was thinking when I posted...how can one trust a new provider? On the one hand, they don't necessarily have a track record, but on the other hand, it's not their fault.

    I also think that when it comes to trustworthiness, word of mouth and longevity only goes so far - you can know that people are happy with the service that they've received, and that a company has been around for a few years, but how does that translate into them keeping your data safe?

  • HostNunHostNun Member
    edited December 2014

    I like to experiment with 'the unknown' when it comes to providers. How would it be any fun or exciting otherwise? My needs are never really 'mission critical', though. If yours are, perhaps you'll want to be looking for more expensive solutions than what this forum is generally capable of?

    When in doubt,

    "Let us descend into the blind world now," the poet, who was deathly pale, began; "I shall go first and you will follow me."

  • It is easy, let others test them, read reviews, go with them for non essential/bacup servers (not necesarily the backup storage part, the fail-over too), then after a yer of good service, you can trust with some primary backed up elsewhere service.

    The main reason to go for cheap unmanaged service is to make your own RACP (Redundant Array of Cheap Providers) which cost less and tolerate fault much better than an expensive single-homed solution even with a great provider, even microsoft and google have outages not to mention it can also serve as a CDN of sorts if done right.

    If you do have critical business data and a big budget, you will go with the providers which have a lot of certifications and set your testbed on a RACP.

    Thanked by 2FrankZ geekalot
  • FrankZFrankZ Member
    edited December 2014

    Maounique said: The main reason to go for cheap unmanaged service is to make your own RACP (Redundant Array of Cheap Providers) which cost less and tolerate fault much better than an expensive single-homed solution even with a great provider,

    Very well said.... Trust yourself.

  • Trust is very complex. It is not clearly defined here.

    • Do you trust that your VPS provider will stay in business for the next month? year? decade?
    • Do you trust that your VPS will maintain a certain level of performance?
    • Do you trust that your provider will give a certain level of service and support?
    • Do you trust your provider not to peek at your files or your running VPS, such as its network communications?
    • Do you trust that your provider is deleting logs in a timely manner (whatever that means)?
    • Do you trust that your provider is not collaborating with an agency of your government (or another government)?
    • etc. The list of trust questions is endless.

    I gave simple yes or no questions above. I could have easily phrased them as, "How much do you trust your provider to ..." which makes a complex issue even more complex.

    Thanked by 1HostNun
  • @emg said:
    Trust is very complex. It is not clearly defined here.

    • Do you trust that your VPS provider will stay in business for the next month? year? decade?
    • Do you trust that your VPS will maintain a certain level of performance?
    • Do you trust that your provider will give a certain level of service and support?
    • Do you trust your provider not to peek at your files or your running VPS, such as its network communications?
    • Do you trust that your provider is deleting logs in a timely manner (whatever that means)?
    • Do you trust that your provider is not collaborating with an agency of your government (or another government)?
    • etc. The list of trust questions is endless.

    I gave simple yes or no questions above. I could have easily phrased them as, "How much do you trust your provider to ..." which makes a complex issue even more complex.

    I wonder how much business would be lost if providers were required to openly state if they are employing police officers or government agents and/or to post the government agencies they're collaborating with (don't worry, not even asking for private military). For the tragicomedy option, web hosts should also be required to explain why they're involved in web hosting in a context of governmentality.

    At the very least there should be a thread for it. If approached with sincerity and candor rather than tight-lipped business casual, the thread could demythify 50% of the trust issues on the forum!

  • @HostNun said:
    At the very least there should be a thread for it. If approached with sincerity and candor rather than tight-lipped business casual, the thread could demythify 50% of the trust issues on the forum!

    What the heck did you just say?! lol I'll admit, I want to know if a web hosting company is working WITH the government in any way as if they are, that means my data can be snooped upon at any time by people I don't trust... So, yea, I get what you're saying, but who hires cops? lol I'd hire ex-military as I am pro-military and possibly EX cops, but that's about all. No current Government or Cops would be working for me.

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