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Sherweb: worst hosting experience

Posted by EngineSmith on September 30, 2010

IT is hard, getting email/calendar right is super painful, especially for a startup. Lessons learned.

Sherweb, who claims to be the largest Exchange hosting company, dropped its pants completely. After a whole weekend’s of outage and zero explanation, our corporate communication is close to death. With 68 people waiting, we jumped to Google Apps. Not surprisingly, there are not many complaints about their lame service (I guess they shut-up most voices), and their network status is always everything is fine.

  • You can never reach any human on their support phone line
  • You never get any kind of ahead of time notice, or explanation
  • You have tell their customer support that things are not working for you. Oh, you need to provide them a test account yourself to verify that
  • Every Friday night they have a 2-hour maintenance window
  • A 10+ hour outage to them is just, whatever

Luckily we moved away from them. Don’t ever trust them!

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15 Responses to “Sherweb: worst hosting experience”

  1. As SherWeb’s Marketing Director, I am very sorry to hear that our Exchange service and customer support have not been living up to your expectations. We take pride in offering great products and technical support to nearly 100,000 Exchange users, and we sure don’t like to have an unsatisfied customer, which is why I thought it was important to get back to you promptly myself.

    From what I can understand, you are referring to last Friday’s monthly maintenance. For the first time in the past 12 months or so, our maintenance has taken longer than scheduled after we experienced an unexpected situation. I understand that this situation might have been critical for your business and I wish to address you with my deepest apologies. Even with the best preparation, some outstanding problems can occur that need to be solved live during the maintenance, hence some exceptional extension of the planed duration of said maintenance.

    I’d be more than happy to discuss with you over the phone about this situation. Please feel free to contact me personally and leave your name and phone number. I’ll make it my duty to call you back and show you how much we care about our clients.

    Pierre-Olivier Descoteaux, Marketing and Communications Director

  2. EngineSmith said

    Oh, it is much worse that a simple maintenance:

    – 9/24 Friday 2-4 PM PDT, outage. No explanation.
    – Fri. 8PM – Sat.6AM, maintenance outage. Customer support doesn’t care
    – Since then until Sunday night, no IMAP/Webmail access for our account.
    – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday …. Everyday several periodic outage of Exchange. I lost count already.

    Worst is: during all those time, your network status is showing: EVERYTHING IS GREAT!

    We were running a campaign during that weekend and expecting partners to contact us. This is just too much.

    • Ryan Flynn said

      We have had the exact same experience. Their customer service was at one point tolerable, but now it’s just plane non-existent. As we speak we are on hour two of a outage. I called when the outage initially occurred , and was basically told that it must be on our end even though I told her I can get to cnn and google, but can’t get to the webmail, or Outlook to connect. 20 minutes later, I try calling, and no-one would answer. I initiate a chat, and tell them to update their network status which still said everything was “OK.” instead of an answer, the technician abruptly ends the chat and puts up a generic message. I’m now being told that it is an internet service outage. Here’s my issue. I am the IT Manager of a small law firm. We have an automatic fail-over secondary provider (FIOS) in addition to our T1. Why would the self proclaimed “Largest Hosting Provider” not have a fail-over? This is after spending three days two weeks ago trying to get them to fix an issue where a POP account was upgraded to an Exchange mailbox, and the account got screwed up. Migrating as soon as possible. Anyone have any recommendations for a new provider?

  3. Let me make amends for the inconvenience caused by this unfortunate situation.

    Where we did indeed go wrong is with the Network Status Update. The message intended to inform our clients that the maintenance would last a little longer on Saturday morning was not post correctly and have not been made visible to our users. For that, we address you with our deepest apologies.

    Still, I thank you for your candid feedback for those can only make us better.

    Sincerely,

    Pierre-Olivier Descoteaux, Marketing and Communications Director

  4. darvin said

    Hi EngineSmith

    I’m moving a client from Sherweb to Google Apps, however I can’t find the right parameter to migrate the emails, contacts and calendar to Google Apps, they sen me some parameters however it does’t works

    I would need some parameter like these:

    Sherwed MS Exchange Server:
    — Hostname or ip address

    Sherwed IMAP Server:
    — Hostname or ip address
    — IMAP Security
    — IMAP Port

    I would be grateful with your assistance

    regards

  5. Adi said

    For what it’s worth, I’ve had a pretty good experience with Sherweb for my company, but since I haven’t used other Exchange Hosting service providers (used Bluehost for a long time), I’m not in a position to compare.

    Just wish they’d update us on how to migrate from Exchange 2007 to 2010!!

  6. I’m using Sherweb for now 3 years at the main office and some branch offices and I’m please with the uptime. Never see major issue, so far so good.

    As well, maintnance dont affect our business needs. We have also migrated to Exchange 2010 and it rock.

    Jack

  7. SuperTech said

    We are in the IT business and we have been using and recommending Sherweb’s Hosted exchange services for many years now. We have many satisfied clients on their service. Keep in mind that they are a Canadian based company and the hosting rules are much stricter / safe in Canada compared to U.S. hosting laws.

    Nothing is 100% online and perfect and you should expect some problems and maintenance issues. In regards to EngineSmith’s posting… It sounds like he’s twisting a truth. Sherweb’s support is excellent and usually they answer right away. They do maintenance a couple of times a year and it is usually late at night on a weekend.

    We just migrated an office of 20 users this May 2011 form 2007 to 2010 and all went very well. (yes, there is no automated tool which is more work for us IT support people).

    Also, they had a major outage on their 2007 exchange services this week (May 18-20).

    Overall, I think Sherweb is very competitively priced for their shared hosting services and the product value is excellent.

  8. SuperTech said

    PS. google apps is NOT the same as Sherweb’s Hosted Exchange product. Sherweb is using Microsoft Exchange 2007/2010 server products.

  9. SuperTech said

    We have been a number of clients with Sherweb for many years and over the last 6 months the service has been awful. The customer service, tech support,and management were even worst. We have had a number of clients bail on the service as there are way too many problems with their servers now.

    The problems below are over a number of different clients at different locations

    – too many outages
    – too many scheduled maintenance which have caused even more problems
    – attempting to sending a file bigger than 5MB is next to impossible
    – always causing outlook to freeze to due exchange not being able to communicate
    – emails going into thin air
    – too many excuses from customer service.

    I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a hosted exchange solution to stay far far far away from these guys. This company has no accountability and has lost all credibility to us and many other users over the last few months.

  10. Pascal said

    Well, for what my opinion is worth.

    We are using sherweb exchange 2010 hosting. And yes, I had a few issue over the last few month. In particular Outlook freezing to due exchange not being able to communicate, wich is near impossible to support when your sales departement is always on the road and it does generate a form of hatred from your team to your it dept.

    But,

    overall, if I put in the equation our cost save in : a part of our too old infrastructure, 1 full time IT exchange specialist and many many less problem to care about as all our egg arent in the same bag anymore.

    I find it pay back.

    I mean, can anyone say they have NO problem with ANYTHING hosted online? I mean, Iweb, Godaddy, nameit. after a while, they all do big mistake and win and loose and often bring client on the verge of knocking at their door with a bazooka, while the rest of us are like : hey, everything is fine no?

    sorry for my broken english. French Canadian, haha.

  11. Travis said

    I must say that our experience with Sherweb has been great. We have been a reseller and client of theirs and have always had clients thank us for sending them their way. In our 3 years of using them we have not experienced any outages / SPAM or issues at all. The tech support has generally been responsive. Sure is hasn’t been flawless but pretty darn close. Anyway I wouldn’t say this is the end all be all of Sherweb. I’m a fan, our clients are fans, but as always your experience may differ.

  12. Erich Stephens said

    I have used Sherweb for two different companies, one using hosted Exchange 2007 the other 2010, for about two years. Generally their service has been acceptable. Nothing great, but good enough. They do have more and longer outages than I was used to when I worked for a company that maintained their own Exchange servers.

    Until this past Saturday, when Sherweb went from acceptable to horrible and unusable. I have been unable to send emails using either 2007 or 2010 hosted exchange for THREE DAYS! It is now the end of the third day, and the tech who was supposedly leading their so-called “highest priority” effort to resolve the issue, and his supervisor, have gone home for the day, leaving no notes behind as to progress. I hope they sleep well…I will not.

    I find it particularly galling that through the whole outage their status page indicates everything is okay with both 2010 and 2007 systems. They did this even though they themselves acknowledged that they were getting many calls from others with the same issue. In short, they are lying about their system status. I see from earlier posts that this dishonesty on their part is part of their standard business practice. When I asked why the status page wasn’t changed, they gave me one of the most BS responses I have ever heard: They wanted their technicians focused on resolving the problem, not updating the status page. Please…do you practice that line in the mirror so that you can deliver it with a straight face?

    When I first called about the problem, the technician had the attitude that the problem could only be on my end– no thought to “hey, could this be a problem on our end…am I making the easy assumption here, so that I can get this guy to go away?”. Never mind that I was having the same issue on two totally separate systems, and the only common denominator was that the exchange for both was hosted by Sherweb. He assured me with confidence that everything was totally fine on their end, and had me re-create the profiles (which of course did nothing but waste my time…not his, since they just email you directions). When that didn’t work, I was told, basically “Yeah, tough luck, you’re on your own”. The insinuation was that I must be very incompetent, or use computers full of viruses, or use some inferior ISP. I spent a couple hours trying different things on my end (running antivirus scans, trying different ISPs, etc etc) and could only conclude that the problem was on their end. So I called back…only to be told “Yeah, we’ve been getting a lot of calls with that issue.” Oh, really? Funny how in 2-3 hours I go from being the only person on the planet with the problem, to one of many.

    Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt that I was the very first person to call on the issue. Even so, they couldn’t find some way to inform those that had called earlier that the problem was in fact on their end? Like maybe, oh, I don’t know…updating the status page might have been one very easy way.

    You would think at this point, when they themselves had acknowledged getting a lot of calls on the issue, they would put someone to focus on resolving it ASAP. Maybe they could send around an email to their entire tech support crew so that everyone would know that the issue was identified and that they were working on it, which after all would save themselves time as well. Perhaps they could even give some updates as they made progress, or went home for the day, so that us lowly paying customers would know that something was being done. (Did I mention that they could have updated their status page?) But no, they did NONE of these things. And this was after I was told that resolving this issue was of the “highest priority” and that they were working “tirelessly” to resolve it. If this is the best they can do for a high priority issue, good luck if you ever have a low-priority issue with them.

    SherWeb is looking more and more like a SureLoser.

  13. Erich Stephens said

    This is an update to my post of June 4, regarding problems with SherWeb. In summary:

    1) SherWeb did eventually fix the problem, but I was left me without functioning email for over three days, on two entirely separate accounts (i.e. six “outage days” in my book).

    2) It took me over a day to just convince SherWeb that the problem was on their end, and during that time the tech support staff’s attitude was to just have me do some standard stuff on my end and when that didn’t work, well, then tough luck, I was told I was on my own (literally). When I asked that the issue be elevated to a higher level to be sure it wasn’t their problem, I was told on no uncertain terms that they would not do that.

    3) Even after they acknowledged the problem was on their end (because of my persistent phone calls), I received no updates on what they were doing to fix it, they repeatedly asked me for the same information (leaving me with the impression that they weren’t at all focused on solving the problem), and they defended themselves by making statements that clearly were not true or didn’t mean much if true (like it was a “top priority” to fix within the company, but yet when I talked to another staff person in the morning he said there was no notes that anything at all was going on with regard to the case and he was unaware of the issue).

    4) During the entire outage, their website showed all systems were A-OK for Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2007. When I first asked about this, I got a silly response that they didn’t want to take the time to update the website so they could focus on resolution. When I later asked a supervisor about this, I was told that the outage “only” affected 30 customers, and so they didn’t really consider it a problem worth posting. Their reasoning was that more people would call about the problem that didn’t have it, than people who did have it would see the website. This at least makes sense and they were honest about their reason, although I find it a somewhat disingenuous policy. If there was only 30 affected customers, couldn’t they have emailed around updates, at least? How many affected customers, exactly, until SherWeb considers it worth showing a problem on their website?

    5) Bottom line is that I got zero satisfaction that they were taking the issue seriously during the outage, and I am convinced the only reason it got fixed when it finally did is because I insisted on speaking to a supervisor, and explained to him (as calmly as I could given how ticked off I was) just how lousy their service was and my plans should they be unable to fix the outage by the following morning. By their own admission, they never put a single person or team on resolving the issue ASAP, rather one tech just sort of worked on it when he could, apparently. This explains why that tech would ask me for the same information more than once– he apparently forgot where he had left off in researching the problem. He was also, based on follow-up questions, too distracted or harried to read my email responses in full.

    6) Interestingly, the same day the outage was resolved there was a notice of a maintenance outage for the upcoming weekend. I have no idea if this was related, but it did underscore to me just how many “maintenance outages” SherWeb seems to have, and I have to wonder if they realized they had a bigger problem than they were letting on.

    Given all this, if you are a small user, you might want to think twice about using SherWeb. They are apparently of a scale where an outage affecting “only” 30 customers really isn’t a big deal to them, and (from my experience/observation), an outage “only” affecting 30 customers could fall through the cracks for a while. So unless you are a particularly big customer, should you happen to be one of those 30, you likely will not be satisfied with their attention to your problem should things go wrong. To SherWeb’s credit, I was always able to speak to a real person after a reasonable wait, although more often than not the previous technician had not updated the notes on the trouble ticket, so it was essentially like starting over each time (see # and #5, above). I was also able to speak to a supervisor, which I am convinced was critical to getting the problem solved, but I was transferred to him only after my stubbornly insisting on it (I was at first told there were no supervisors, that it wasn’t possible to ‘t connect me, etc etc the usual baloney.)

    I’ve decided to stay with SherWeb for now, mostly because that’s the easier course at this point. But if there’s another hint of a similar problem I will most likely focus on finding a new hosted Exchange provider rather than plan on three days+ to resolve the problem with SherWeb.

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