Hey all, Tyler here.
The outage is over. Things are stable. The server is no longer on fire. So what the heck happened?
Let’s Start At The Beginning; cPanel
You may have noticed that we have been very against cPanel as of late, and there’s a very good reason for this; they nearly killed DoRoyal.
Sure, that may be a tad overly dramatic, but it’s not entirely untrue. The pricing of cPanel has changed over the years, to a point where some hosting companies (not us) were forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in cPanel licensing fees each and every month. And, that’s just for a single server, too.
In fact, cPanel’s pricing model is so disastrously bad, there isn’t even a known limit to the amount that they could charge you! Like, seriously. One minute we’re paying $35, and then quite literally overnight, we could be paying over $20,000. From $35 to $20000. If that isn’t absolutely ridiculous to you, then I’m fearful to find out what it is you’d consider to be truly ridiculous.
Oh, and of course, that price isn’t fixed. It quite literally changes depending on how many accounts you have on a server. Plus, obviously, if you don’t keep on top of things, and you happen to get a huge wave of new customers? Yeah, you’re stuck. cPanel will quite literally cut you off and prevent any new accounts from being made… until you pay up. And no, they won’t notify you. You just have to hope and pray that your current license is good enough to handle some new customers.
But Wait, There’s More! We Partnered With A Very Untrustworthy Company
Yes, yes. I know, this makes us sound bad. However, sounding bad, and being true, sometimes go hand in hand. We, DoRoyal, partnered with a server management company to manage and operate our web servers. They were being paid to update our servers, install important software, and troubleshoot for when things just so happened to break.
Pretty normal stuff for any hosting provider, really.
This company told us that they were based out of the United States of America (false), that they had over twenty years of management experience (potentially true), and that they offered some of the best prices in the hosting and server management industry (totally true).
So, what went wrong?
We bought our cPanel license from them, and their promise of proactive support, was an absolute lie. We even told them to automatically upgrade our cPanel license if we were getting close to reaching our account limits. To just upgrade, and invoice us the difference. Simple enough, right? Sure, insanely expensive, but simple enough. Except, they never did that.
In fact, not only did they not proactively manage our server and licensing, they even argued with us. Insulted us. Belittled us. They did everything in their power to make sure that they didn’t have to do any kind of real work. It was always our fault when things went wrong, never theirs.
And then magically, with zero warning, they increased their prices of cPanel. Now, to be fair to them, cPanel themselves raised their rates. However, we didn’t actually find out about these increases until after it quite literally bled our PayPal dry. For the first time in our 11 year history, DoRoyal couldn’t pay the bills. And it was entirely, without question or doubt, because of this shady, lying, company.
First, they weren’t based in America. They were based out of China.
Second, they claimed to have been around since 2003, and while we did indeed find records to back up this claim, their company virtually went dark for a short period of time. While this is purely speculation, we suspect that their original company was indeed based out of America, but then a Chinese company ended up buying them out, turning them into a shell of what they once were.
Third, they claimed to offer proactive support, but failed to provide proactive support. Ever. Not even a single time. They couldn’t even proactively monitor the stuff we requested for them to monitor. So this was a falsely advertised claim.
Fourth, they were indeed very inexpensive.
The Result? They Held Our Server Hostage Until We Agreed To Pay
Spoiler alert: we didn’t pay them. This is ultimately what triggered our emergency migration away from cPanel, and over to DirectAdmin. We didn’t really have a choice, and as a result of our lack of a choice, we had to rush our new server online, and begin transferring immediately.
Now, the initial transfer process? Yeah, it didn’t go so great. Stuff kept breaking. Things were crashing. The server was very unhappy with us.
However, as mentioned, we didn’t have a choice. We had to go through with the migration. And that’s exactly what we did. Was it smooth? No, definitely not. Did we lose some accounts in the process? Yeah, we did. Have we received cancellation requests, due to us losing customer data? Absolutely.
But again, we didn’t have a choice.
Oh, and that shady company? No, we won’t mention their name. However, despite telling us that they would keep our account active, they ended up going back on their word, and suspending us entirely. So, we lost not only our cPanel license, but also our Cloudlinux license (prepaid for 3 months), our KernelCare license (prepaid for 3 months), and at least one additional license. They told us that we’d still have access to those. That we could keep using them. But in the end, that was a lie. They closed our account with zero warning. They went back on their word with zero warning. They stole our licenses for products that are, even now, still theoretically active.
And worst yet, they had access to our new DirectAdmin admin server…
The Second Miniature Outage
The fact that our server could have been accessed at any time, was not only a massive breach of trust, but a major security risk. As a direct result of this, we were forced to completely wipe our entire server, and restore a clean backup. This entire process took approximately 24 hours, but once again… we didn’t have a choice.
The Final Result And Moving Forward
This has been an absolute nightmare for us to deal with, on multiple fronts. Our ultimate goal has always been to provide the best website hosting experiences imaginable, and we’ve been doing a darn good job at exactly that! Sure, we had an outage. No, we won’t try and downplay its significance. But, I mean, we’ve been around for 11 years, and this was only our second major outage, ever.
Two big outages. That’s it. So despite everything, the simple fact that we’ve only ever had two major outages in our entire history of existing? We’ve got a pretty good track record, all things considered.
And I really, truly hope, that our track record and history will convince our current customers to stick with us. However, simply saying “we’ve been around a long time and are super duper reliable” isn’t enough, as our history is ultimately just that; history. We need to prove ourselves again.
So Here’s What We’re Gonna Do
We’re going to be handling compensation a bit differently, depending on which web hosting account you have with us. Here’s a short overview of what we are doing, for each account.
Eternal: We are doubling your disk space and bandwidth so that you will now receive 6GB of disk space, and 200GB of monthly bandwidth. If you paid for an upgraded account, we will be doubling your storage and bandwidth for that, too. So if you have 9GB, you will now have 18GB.
Basic: You are entitled to six months of free hosting.
Starter: You are entitled to six months of free hosting.
Jesters: You are entitled to three months of free hosting.
Kings: You are entitled to three months of free hosting.
Royal: You are entitled to three months of free hosting, plus a free ServerTent upgrade.
If you are hosting on our Eternal plan, your upgrade has already been applied. If you are hosting on any of our other plans, you will need to reach out for us to apply your free months of hosting. This cannot be done automatically (we don’t have the ability to automate this) so you’ll need to send a ticket into our Billing Department.
Moving Forward; The Future of DoRoyal
For starters, we are never going back to cPanel. They’re simply too expensive nowadays, and there is far too much risk involved with them. Too many uncertainties. (though if you desperately need to run on cPanel, you can buy a cPanel license yourself, and get a basic VPS from ServerTent)
We are also never going to work with a “seems too good to be true” server management company, just because they had great reviews back in 2008 on the WHT forums. From here on out, DoRoyal is fully independent. Though, if we do ever hire a new management company, they will only handle the management of the server itself. They won’t sell us any additional licenses, or anything that could give them too much power and control over our business, and how we operate.
DoRoyal is an independent provider. Now, and forever.
Of course, we’re always happy to help! Feel free to reach out at any time, and we’ll answer anything you can throw our way.