I have a customer that has a large auto dismantling business. They provide an online car part search function (that I created) on the site based on a third-party database. Periodically I reload the database with refreshed data. That data comes to me as a Microsoft SQL Server database backup. I crack that file open by purchasing a Windows Server VPS with the developer suite.

My VPS vendor of choice for this task has been Historically, they can rent me a VPS for around $50 for a month, although all I need is a day or two to restore the database and export certain tables in a text format. In the past it’s been fairly easy: place the order and they spin up a VPS in three hours or so.

However, this time around it was nothing but a tale of annoyance and irritation. First thing Monday morning, I went to log into my old account. While I hadn’t been back since September, that shouldn’t have been a big deal. But I found I was locked out of my old account.

I contacted customer support and was told that I couldn’t have my old account unlocked. Instead I was to create a new one. That seemed kind of stupid but I did so and placed the order. Shortly thereafter I received a phone call asking if I had indeed ordered a VPS, which I said I had. Nothing unusual, that’s just their procedure from the past and I was expecting the call.

About eight hours later, having not received any emails about the VPS creation, I logged into the backend panel to check on the VPS status. I saw that there was a VPS in a “ready” state. However, I couldn’t log in. So I waited. The next morning – more than 24 hours later – I was still unable to log in to the VPS. So I contacted support again. They gave me some vague excuse that it was in a “long running” operation state. And to wait. So I did.

At the end of the business day, I received several emails. The first was that my VPS was ready. The next was that my order was on hold and I should contact customer support. So I called – again. The rep was clearly confused as to why the account was on hold. However, I still couldn’t log into the VPS. At this point I was getting pretty annoyed.

The next day – more than 48 hours after placing my order – I received yet another email telling me that my VPS was ready. But I STILL couldn’t log in. So I called customer support AGAIN. The rep opened another yet another support ticket. Several more hours were wasted in email exchanges with technical support. I had told the rep on the phone that I couldn’t log in because my password wouldn’t work. In creating the ticket, the rep implied in the message that I couldn’t access the VPS, so the responding rep replied back with a telnet log showing that the VPS was accessible. I had to reply back and beg for a password reset because I couldn’t log in.

Finally, some 52 hours after placing my order, I was finally able to log into the VPS.

What the hell guys? You’ve gone from an easy three-hour process to one that took more than two days. I wound up contacting their customer support team more than half a dozen times. During those days when I didn’t have the VPS I was scouring the Internet evaluating other possible vendors for the next time around. Nice job taking something that worked very well and screwing it all up…

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