Friday, 9 January 2009

Plusnet or Minusnet?

After coming back from New York in September, I uploaded my pictures to my personal web site. Nothing unusual for me there, except this time I realised I was nearly hitting the space limit my ISP enforces for my web space. At the time I figured all would be fine so I set about contacting them for a space increase. Now given I've been a customer for many years and always used their premium services (to get better speeds, more usage allowance and no traffic shaping) and the fact disk space is cheap (especially when talking in terms of MB) I even thought they'd probably give me more space at no charge. I hold Plusnet in reasonably high regard, customer service is great, network speeds are OK and things just seem reliable and work well, on this occasion though I was wrong. The conversation between me and Plusnet follows:

Is it possible to increase my Web Space quota beyond 250MB?
My current usage is reported as 241MB, 96.4%. I use the web space primarily for my personal photographs which I resize to a small size and use JPEG compression so I'm not abusing the space. However, it seems after 8 years or so I'm now approaching 250MB.
Many thanks in advance for the information.

Dear Mr White,
I am afraid it is not possible to increase the webspace allowance on accounts at the present time.
Kind regards

That's really very unfortunate. Is there really no option to increase the 250MB quota, even if some charge were involved? I even pay a premium for the Your Way Pro service.
I'm a long-standing plusnet customer and one of the reasons I originally chose plusnet was for the web space and hosting of PHP+MySQL sites.
Are plusnet prepared to lose customers based on something this simple? If so, I'll have no choice but to re-evaluate my web hosting solution in which I will take into account my ADSL provider.
Hoping you can reconsider this decision or policy.

Dear Mr White,
Thank you for getting back to us. Unfortunately it is not possible to change the webspace allowance unless you were to move to our top business account. Our system does not allow us to add additional webspace and although we intend to offer this in the future we have no firm plans at present.
Kind regards

I find it hard to come to terms with the fact "their system" must be so terrible and essentially equate the response to the Little Brittain sketch "computer says no!".

This was all going on at the same time Roo was becoming frustrated with Plusnet as well. I can definitely sympathise with many of Roo's points and Plusnet have left me considering my options as well.

The reason I still maintain a web site is purely legacy. There once was a time when the likes of Flickr simply didn't exist and if you wanted to share photos on-line, you had to do it yourself. I'd quite happily move over to Flickr for hosting my pictures, it would be more convenient in a number of ways and sort of removes the need for hosting my own web site and therefore my tie to Plusnet.

It's got me thinking again recently, what services do I use/need and how much am I willing to pay for them. Currently my broadband is nearly £20 per month, with other providers I could get broadband, phone and television for that amount!!! Unfortunately, I don't live in an area catered for by cable services so I have to use ADSL broadband and non-cable phone/television.

If anybody has some good experiences or recommendations, do let me know as I start to look around now.

Edit #1
Since writing Plusnet have phoned me at home to discuss my requirements, another indication of their really excellent customer service. If I do decide to move away from them it will certainly be hard and with regret. Basically, I want something a bit cheaper with no speed restrictions and a sensible download limit if any. Plusnet offer only one service with no speed restrictions, the one I'm using already.
End Edit

Edit #2
As Roo pointed out in his post, Plusnet are using Twitter and search for people talking about Plusnet. They contacted me through Twitter to point out a relatively recent announcement about changes in their web hosting service which are currently under trial. Great stuff, weird how I only find this out through Twitter though, rather than through the formal methods of their helpdesk, through their community web site or by talking with them on the phone all of which I've done recently.
End Edit


shawdm said...

If you still want the hosting, I've been using for a few years and never had any problems.

They do 'unlimited' bandwidth/storage for about $10/month

Graham White said...

@shawdm one of the things the guy from Plusnet said on the phone was I could opt to use their hosting at PAYH which could feasibly be a good option. I need to decide if web hosting is still a need for me if I'm to use Flickr more. So it's more a case of whether I can get a decent usage limit with no speed restrictions for less than 20 quid per month.

Jon Combe said...

I switched from a couple of years ago after the email fiasco where the webmail got hacked and all the addresses stolen as I got stupid amounts of spam after that. That was the final straw for me after they changed there charges to per GB rather than unlimited. They lost there way once taken over by BT IMHO.

Graham White said...

Hi JC, long time no speak, nice to hear from you.

I agree, the old scheme of unlimited usage, even with fair usage policies applied, was better than the current per GB thing. Fortunately, I don't use their e-mail so wasn't too bothered about that fiasco, although it does mean I wouldn't consider using their e-mail now either.

Just out of interest, who did you switch to or who are you using now? And are they any good?

Roo Reynolds said...

Yep, you can't fault the customer service can you (sounds like the underlying problem is a stupid and technical one). I'm not regretting the jump to O2, which I'm finding faster, cheaper and just as reliable. Let us know what you do.

Jon Combe said...

I use Virgin Media these days. The web hosting is terrible though (but I use a hosting account for that instead) but I've found the connection to be very reliable. Only gone down once - with it was went down about once every 3 months (but to be fair it was often BT at fault). Although they do have some sort of fair usage policy it just results in your speed being cut for a short period, rather than extra charges. I can't say as I've never noticed it happen to me (I don't download a lot). They don't block my work VPN connection (as did). If you have a Virgin phone line (I do) support is free (but I've never needed to use it). It's also cheap IMHO. I pay just under £20 a month for broadband (2MB), telephone (with free weekend calls) and the basic TV service (basically Freeview with a couple of extra channels plus TV on demand) which is a lot less than I was playing with (when you include the BT line rental). Plus you get things like BBC I-player on the TV so no need to watch on a tiny PC screen (but good to see I-player now works on Linux).