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Why you shouldn't use 3iX to host your photography website





bjwok
Hi all, I wanted to share my experience with http://www.3ix.org/. I've been hosting my site with them for over a year now, then at random I received an email as follows:

Hello,
The account http://bjwok.com/ is terminated due to violation of AUP.
Please refund remaining fees for period unused (subject to a minimum charge of 1 month service).
Don't hesitate to contact us if you need any further assistance.
Regards
Anne
3iX Support Center
Email: tech.support@3ix.org


I straight away replied with:

Hi Anne,

Could you please explain this to me as this is my business website and as it's no longer on line I'm running at a loss.

Cheers,
Benon


They came back with:

Dear Benon Koebsch (Photography by BJWOK),

ACCOUNT DEEMED TO BE AGAINST AUP - REFUND (ICT-774043)
DO NOT UNSUSPEND THIS ACCOUNT!! - ACCOUNT DEEMED TO BE AGAINST AUP - Admin has reviewed the activity of this account and deemed the account to be in violation of our AUP, this decision is final and CANNOT BE REVERSED. Action: Accounts violating AUP do not qualify for Money back guarantee; however on this occasion we will refund the remaining fees for period unused (subject to a minimum charge of 1 month service). DO NOT UNSUSPEND THIS ACCOUNT!!

AUP extract: Shared Web Hosting accounts are not to be used for the purposes of distributing software and multimedia products. Multimedia Files: Multimedia files are defined as any graphics, audio, and video files. Web Hosting accounts are not to be used for the purposes of distributing and storing unusual amount of multimedia files. Any Web site whose disk space usage for storing the multimedia files exceed 70% of its total usage, either in terms of total size or number of files, will be deemed to be using unusual amount of multimedia files.

Please note that this termination has been done by our Technical Support, Don't hesitate to contact us if you need any further assistance.
Regards
Jan
Supervisor
3iX - 'Your friend in the business'


My reply:

Hi Jan,

There must be some confusion. I'm a photographer, the multimedia files are my work uploaded for my clients to proof. The bulk of my site is photographs as that is my business!!

Im very concerned there has been no discussion with me prior to this happening!

I've had two clients already call me asking where their photos are! Please address this issue immediately!!

Cheers,
Benon


Their reply:

Hello,

Admin has reviewed the activity of this account and deemed the account to be in violation of our AUP. Also we have already refunded the remaining fees for period unused.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you need any further assistance.

Regards
Charles
3iX Support Center


Feeling completely frustrated and totally annoyed, I jumped on their live chat and had this rather fruitless exchange with their tech guys:

Please wait for an operator to respond.
You are now connected.

Live-Chat: Welcome to 3iX live chat, my name is Jane, please hold for a moment, I am reviewing your question.
Live-Chat: yes your account was terminated due to violation of AUP


benon Koebsch: yes i know this from the email. but my question remains: how can it be a breach if i am hosting a photography site? of course the majority of my files are going to be photos!

Live-Chat: AUP extract: Shared Web Hosting accounts are not to be used for the purposes of distributing software and multimedia products. Multimedia Files: Multimedia files are defined as any graphics, audio, and video files. Web Hosting accounts are not to be used for the purposes of distributing and storing unusual amount of multimedia files. Any Web site whose disk space usage for storing the multimedia files exceed 70% of its total usage, either in terms of total size or number of files, will be deemed to be using unusual amount of multimedia files.

benon Koebsch: i know this from the email. but how does having a photography site sit with this? i mean aside from the coding, the far majority of my files are client proofs. i have clients now asking me where their files are!

Live-Chat: we do not alloow the above mentioned files

benon Koebsch: what files? they are photos!

Live-Chat: Please contact our billing department

benon Koebsch: i just spoke to them and they said talk to technical!!
benon Koebsch: where is my site that i am PAYING for and my clients files!
benon Koebsch: everything in my site is a photo! i am a photographer!!!
benon Koebsch: hello?


Live-Chat: our admin view activity of the account against AUP
Live-Chat: and asked for terminating


benon Koebsch: i keep telling you: my site is my business. i am a photographer. my site is photo based. all my clients proofs plus high res files are on my site for their access. it's what i pay you people for. and you have deleted the lot without any prior notice? what kind of a business are you running there?

Live-Chat: your account will not be activated again

benon Koebsch: ??? you have to be kidding me? you call this a professional hosting service?
benon Koebsch: i feel as if i am being punished for using a service i AM PAYING for
benon Koebsch: can you please put me through to someone above yourself?
benon Koebsch: ??


Live-Chat: System Message: To ensure that your issue receives fast and accurate support a Supervisor is now monitoring this chat.
Live-Chat: Hello benon


benon Koebsch: hi

Live-Chat: your account is termianted and it will not be activated again

benon Koebsch: i'm not at all impressed with this service. i don't understand the position you are taking here. i am a paying customer. i use my site for my business as a photographer and of course the majority of my files are photos. it's what i do!
benon Koebsch: you've terminated my account without the slightest notice to me?
benon Koebsch: what kind of service is that?
benon Koebsch: "your friend in the business"? that is your catch line. sounds like you have set out to make an enemy with me!
benon Koebsch: where is the customer service?
benon Koebsch: hello?
benon Koebsch: is there anyone there who can explain your stance on this matter. i mean i am a paying customer.


Live-Chat: We told you you have used large amount of multimedia files

benon Koebsch: i've told you repeatedly: I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER!!! those are my clients high res tiff files for printing!!!! as long as i don't exceed my bandwidth or go over my data limit i fail to see how this is a problem for A PAID hosting plan!!!

Live-Chat: Our admin told us to terminate the account
Live-Chat: agaionst AUP


benon Koebsch: i understand all that, but what kind of business are you running when you have not even contacted me!! this is my business we are talking about!

Live-Chat: Please contact billing for further quries

benon Koebsch: they've TOLD ME TO CONTACT TECHNICAL!!!
benon Koebsch: i'd suggest you have admin rethink their decision and reinstate my site!


Live-Chat: okay
Live-Chat: Please reconnect to chat after 30 min
Live-Chat: admin is not available at the momnet


benon Koebsch: no, that's not good enough. i have clients waiting on their proofs NOW!
benon Koebsch: i have to leave for a shoot. i expect my PAID site to be back online within 1hr.


Safe to say my site was not re-activated, I had to re host my clients files on a temporary server and now am searching for another hosting provider.

I would HIGHLY recommend avoiding 3iX if you are a photographer as their customer service is clearly woeful. The fact there was no discussion before they deleted my site is an APPALLING way to treat paying customers. The fact they are not willing to budge on their AUP when we are talking about a photography website is a clear indication for any photographers thinking of hosting with them to steer WELL clear.

Interestingly, it has been two days since this has happened and I have yet to see that refund they are talking about... Will keep you posted.
bjwok
So it's been 3 days since then and still nothing in my account.

I've since found new hosting and uploaded my site, however when it came to my wordpress blog i realised the entire thing is stored on the 3ix servers, so i logged into their LiveHelp and had this (fruitless) conversation:

Please wait for an operator to respond.
All operators are currently assisting others. Thanks for your patience. An operator will be with you shortly.
You are now connected.

LiveHelp: Welcome to 3iX live chat, my name is Vanessa, please hold for a moment, I am reviewing your question.
LiveHelp: Hello


benon Koebsch: hi

LiveHelp: Please hold for a moment
LiveHelp: We do not provide backups for accounts terminated with AUP
(I'd previously asked for my database to be emailed to me)
LiveHelp: Our admins will be available after 7 hours
LiveHelp: You can open the chat session after 7 hours
LiveHelp: and ask for backups
LiveHelp: Is there anything else I can help you with?


benon Koebsch: that seems a bit odd? i wasn't even notified. i have my entire database on your servers?
benon Koebsch: 7 hours?


LiveHelp: Yes

benon Koebsch: are you kidding me? this is 24/7 live help

LiveHelp: Admins will be available after specified time frame

benon Koebsch: HELLO???? 24/7???
benon Koebsch: can you put me through to someone who can actually help me?


LiveHelp: We techs are here 24 * 7
LiveHelp: and not the admins
LiveHelp: They will be here after 7 hours
LiveHelp: Is there anything else I can help you with?


benon Koebsch: yes, well as a tech i believe you are the person who can help!

LiveHelp: These issues are handled by admins and not by techs

benon Koebsch: i cannot believe the sincere lack of customer support you people have. i was a paying customer of yours and WITHOUT ANY notice at all you wiped my entire site, my blog and ALL my data. stating something stupid like "too many multimedia files". well, HELLOOOOO i am a photographer!!! OF COURSE MY SITE IS GOING TO CONTAIN PHOTOS!!!!! but no, no discussion from you people, you simply WIPE my site. i've lost 3 days of potential work due to this and now i have asked you to at least give me access to my database and you are giving me this 7 hour wait rubbish. GET SERIOUS!!!

LiveHelp: Your query will be checked by our admins
LiveHelp: Is there anything else I can help you with?
LiveHelp: Thank you for using our 24x7 Live Chat Service, if you would like a copy of this chat, please click the 'Close' button and enter your email address.
LiveHelp: You will also be able to rate our service and make any comments you think would help us to improve, your opinion is important to us.
LiveHelp: Thank you for chatting. Good-bye.


I'm absolutely fuming about this!! And feel compelled to make this warning again:
DO NOT USE 3iX TO HOST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY SITE!!!
THEY WILL AT RANDOM DELETE YOUR ENTIRE SITE WITH NO NOTICE TO YOU!!!
Parkour_Jarrod
I recommend using Y! Webhosting, i have had no troubles with them even though it is a UK based host and i am Australian, of course your line of work would entail that Frihost's Disk space is too small for such a business.

What they have done is wrong, they should give you 7 days to save everything before terminating your account, the fact you are a photographer and that you have lost work days is something that you can call legal ramifications on and are able to call for compensation. i suggest talking to your local magistrate and/or a solicitor in this situation.
bjwok
thanks buddy. i'll keep that in mind should i need hosting later. in the meantime i've found crazy domains to be just what i was looking for. signed up for 5 years (get 5 free), 10 years of hosting and nothing to worry about again!! sounds perfect!

yeah frihost is too small for my needs, but i do use frihost for another site of mine and it's perfect Smile

as for the legal ramifications, it would be a struggle not worthy of my time i feel. i just wish they had've given me time to backup my blog data!
Magicman
That is absolutely terrible. I hate when costumer service is not actually there to help you an will only quote bits of things you have already seen and then say they can do nothing about it. I'm glad to see your site is back online, and I guess this goes to show that you should always make timely backups of your site in case something like this happens. I hope you have better luck with your new hosting company.
Bondings
@bjwok, a lot of paid web hosting providers nowadays go with the unlimited everything (or close to, just like the specs of your previous host).

The actual limits are then in the TOS, by restricting websites types and heavy resource usage (cpu). Things like proxies, image hosting, file hosting and the like are definitely not allowed. Sometimes there is also a maximum on the number of files. No backup purpose. These kind of things.

What does make me wonder is that your kind of website is usually the example of pretty much the only thing being allowed and actually able to reach a high bandwidth and disk usage. The other type of websites that are allowed won't ever come close to that much disk space and bandwidth.

Although I have to say that they were consistent in the responses. They don't allow it according to the rule they quote. Of course they should have warned you about it and given you the backup option immediately. It's not like you did something completely against the TOS like hosting a warez website.

Their prices also seem to be rather low. For that budget you can't get a lot I guess.

My advice would be to consider a few big hosts like Dreamhost, who offer a lot of bandwidth/disk space since I guess you need it a lot. And then check the TOS for these kind of clauses and actually ask the support about it with your data and type of website. Like: I have a photography website with about X0,000 pictures and average bandwidth usage and disk space ...
bjwok
thanks for the comments guys Smile much appreciated.

yep, bondings totally agree mate. i'm using my site to host all my images PLUS high res tiffs for clients printing. i have the entire site backed up obviously, but stupidly as my word press blog was hosted on their server i never got around to making a local copy = my own stupidity!

from here on i am in the process of setting up a blogger account that will hopefully be similar in feel to the last one and i'll be super careful with backups! haha!

have also set up a nice little photography forum in the meantime:

http://www.friendlyphotographyforums.com/ take a squizz Smile
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