1and1 Doesn't Do Knowledgeable Customer Service

1and1.com is really getting under my skin. As I'm inside the admin area of my website http://jeejeebhoy.ca, having done absolutely nothing except look at various admin options, my site suddenly has a 500 internal server error. It's been a long, long time since I've had this error and couldn't remember how to fix it myself. I called 1and1.com. What a mistake.

Apparently, it was because I didn't have PHP 5. OK. So. I haven't changed the installation; I haven't changed any options; I haven't updated anything. But all of a sudden my website decides it doesn't have PHP 5 and gives me a 500 error? The illogic of it escapes the slow-speaking, not-listening support person. She refuses to pass me on to a supervisor until I say I'm going to tweet about this if you don't. Wow, instant response. But, uh, no wait. I hear this disembodied male voice for awhile. And then support person comes on and says supervisor is at lunch. Why do I not believe her? I'm boiling mad at this point and hang up before I blow a geyser. Bad me.

I noodle my brain, search the web, and remember that I just have to replace a file with an old copy. It works. The really weird thing was that while I couldn't see my site on my computer, I could on my iPod Touch.

I wrote this post because 1and1.com sent me an e-mail saying:
Thank you for contacting us.

Regarding the conversation that we had, please be advised to use php version 5. You can refer to the link below:

If you still have any issue, please let us know.

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

Please be advised that this is a well-known problem with 1and1.com and not just with WordPress (do a search and you'll see). For whatever reason the .htaccess rewrites itself and needs to be set back to include the line:

AddType x-mapp-php5 .php

My other website, using the exact same WordPress installation, using the exact same PHP, had no problems at the same time as my main website spontaneously had the 500 error. Stop blaming your customers for a problem at your end. I will be looking for alternatives as this is a recurring issue that I have then have to remember how to resolve myself because only once have you guys been able to do it. I have also tweeted on this. I expect the usual nothing from you guys.
I'm starting to think that instead of paying 1and1.com for a site that works most of the time but with poor customer service when it completely, suddenly craps out, I should pay for something like Squarespace.


James Bow said…
I dropped 1and1 long ago. They were okay for a while, but seemed to grow too large too fast, and the quality of their tech support collapsed.

I now use Hostgator, and have for years. They're a Texan company, but their tech support is in house, and quite good. Case in point: I'd had a problem with comment spammers blasting my Movable Type installation with form spam, effectively rendering my internal search engine useless. When this happened while I was with GoDaddy, GoDaddy's response was to shut down my entire site and lock me out. I had to practically beg them for access to my databases before I could get what I needed and slink away.

The same problem happened at Hostgator, late on a Sunday night. Although my site was shut down, a call to their tech support line got me a human being who identified the specific program that was the problem. That program was disabled and the site restored within 20 minutes.

Oh, and since this problem has recurred, Hostgator has learnt to identify the specific program within an installation and disable it without collapsing the whole site.

Their rates are reasonable, and their uptime is excellent. I recommend a switch. Tell them I sent you.
I remember your GoDaddy nightmare. What a contrast with Hostgator.

Thank you for the recommendation. I've had several, which once again proves to me people on the web are truly kind! I'm going to consider my options and make a decision, cause it really is time to do something.
Anonymous said…
I've been with 1and1 for 3 years just as a registrar. No problems. Then a bunch of problems pointing domains and tech support is terrible. No resolution after a month. Now I'm transferring my domains out to another registrar.