(repost 8/24/08) Avoid free web hosting. Avoid yourfavorite.com and finitesite.com

Or, why you should talk to me about certain things before you do them.

The answer to the above question? Because “free” web hosting invariably ends up costing more than “paid” web hosting. They charge for support….charge for name services and requests….then hold your name for ransom when you finally try to leave!

A couple years ago, one of my favorite clients set up a free web site using http://www.finitesite.com who is also http://www.yourfavorite.com.

At first, things were fine. And free.

Then she realized that her site was all built in FrontPage, and the finitesite tools would not let her transfer her ready-to-go web site onto their server. No Frontpage extensions, No FTP access, all files must be uploaded via their “custom” file browser application. There were a few hundred files. Nice looking site, but we weren’t able to do anything with it.
We got her site moved onto fluidhosting, moved the DNS name servers, and life was good. She was able to publish her site using ftp or FrontPage extensions. Fluidhosting has a super DNS control panel, and her site was up and stable. Very stable.

Some time goes by. We tried a couple times (and failed) to migrate name service to DynDNS (who are also top-notch). Then one day, website monitoring pages me.

BZZZZT

Message from ActiveXperts Network Monitor on LILBRO, 07/29/2008 1:33:41 PMItem:www.xxxxxxxxxxxxx.net - HTTP(s)Result:Failure

Explanation: Unable to read data, query for data size failed

So I do some looking, and her site is now redirecting to a page from “yourfavorite.com” saying we’d been “turned off for abuse.”

I logged a support ticket with YourFavorite.com (avoid them) at about 1:30pm, 7/29.

FROM: Yourfavorite.com Support [support4@support.yourfavorite.com]TO: Greg C

Tue 7/29/2008 2:37 PM

Subject: [yourfavorite.com ######] xxxxxx.net - Past Due Domain Registration

Hello,Thanks for your call. Please note, domain registratin, as an internetproduct, has internet support only. Phone support is not available. If

you have questions, simply reply to this message.Your domain name registration is one year past due. We sent notice to

you about this several weeks ago, but it was returned as your email on

file is not valid. Please find the email below this message. Failure

to maintain a valid email in file is a violation of the terms of service.Your domain name has been suspended for non payment.To begin the re-activation process, please download the reinstatement

form, complete it, and submit it with your payment by fax or mail. The

form is located at the following URL: http://yourfavorite.net/forms/domreg.doc or

http://yourfavorite.net/forms/domreg.pdf

Your issue has been marked as resolved, however, if youhave any additional questions or concerns, simply reply to

this message and your ticket will automatically be re-opened

and assigned a priority status.

Sincerely,

Technical Support

****************************************

Dear Customer,

Thank you for choosing yourfavorite.com to register your domain, **********.

We do not have valid payment on file to renew your registration. Please

contact us immediately to avoid interruption of service for your domain

name. Payment must be received within 7 days of this notice to avoid

interruption of service.

Please renew your domain name for 2 years or more online at the following

URL:  http://www.yourfavorite.com/whois/renew.htm

Please note, your name renewal was processed in AUGUST 2007 without your

payment, as a courtsey. If payment is not received promptly, service to

your name will be suspended. After suspention is processed a $10 late fee

and $100 restoral fee are required to reactivate your account.

If you prefer you may fax your payment information to 671-249-0850.

Feel free to contact billing@yourfavorite.com with any questions, I look

forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

billing@yourfavorite.com

So…they tried sending ONE e-mail that bounced even though her secondary Comcast e-mail address was working fine.They let the account slide for a year even though she hadn’t paid, as a courtsey [sic] and were blocking the transfer away from their service without any input or feedback.Then they shut off the domain without trying to make any further contact attempts. They had her phone number, mailing address, and secondary e-mail addresses.Now they’re demanding a king’s ransom to reactivate service. This time they say they’ll restart things for only $110.


FROM: Greg CTO:  Yourfavorite.com Support [support4@support.yourfavorite.com]

Tue 7/29/2008 2:48 PMSubject: Re: [yourfavorite.com ######] xxxxxx.net - Past Due Domain Registration

We have been trying for MONTHS to get this name transferred away from your service.What is the minimum that we need to pay and do to complete a transfer of registrar?Please let me know which e-mail address you had sent this to a few weeks ago, as well.-Greg CCharland Graphics

FROM: Yourfavorite.com Support [support4@support.yourfavorite.com]TO: Greg C

Tue 7/29/2008 3:13 PM

Subject: [yourfavorite.com ######] xxxxxx.net - Past Due Domain RegistrationHello,Thanks for your note.The email was sent to your email on file, xxxxxxxxxxxx@comcast.net.When you disable an email, you must update it in the control panel to receive domain messages.As listed in the form that we sent you the link to download, the minimum

reactivation charge is $160. Because your domain is 11 months past due,the only way to reactivate it is through the faxable form. Please

return the form promptly for best results.Your issue has been marked as resolved, however, if you

have any additional questions or concerns, simply reply tothis message and your ticket will automatically be re-opened

and assigned a priority status.Sincerely,

Technical Support

My customer FAXed over the completed reinstatement form before the end of the business day on 7/29.


FROM: Greg CTO: Yourfavorite.com Support [support4@support.yourfavorite.com]Tue 7/30/2008 8:54 AM

Subject: [yourfavorite.com ######] xxxxxx.net - Past Due Domain Registration

While you’re processing Diane’s FAXed request, please set the TTL for domain xxxxxx.net as low as possible so that we can restore her service quickly.Thanks,Greg Charland

FROM: Yourfavorite.com Support [support4@support.yourfavorite.com]TO: Greg C Tue 7/30/2008 9:19 AMSubject: [yourfavorite.com ######] xxxxxx.net - Past Due Domain RegistrationHello,Thanks for contacting support about transferring your domain name.Please see the following URL for how to obtain an authorization code:

http://www.yourfavorite.com/whois/help/nspaid2.htm

Your issue has been marked as resolved, however, if you

have any additional questions or concerns, simply reply tothis message and your ticket will automatically be re-opened

and assigned a priority status.Sincerely,

Technical Support

FROM: Greg C
TO: Yourfavorite.com Support [support4@support.yourfavorite.com]
Tue 7/31/2008 8:51 AMSubject: [yourfavorite.com ######] xxxxxx.net - Past Due Domain RegistrationWhen I asked "What is the minimum that we need to pay and do to complete a transfer of registrar?"You answered "As listed in the form that we sent you the link to download, the minimum reactivation charge is $160. Because your domain is 11 months past due, the only way to reactivate it is through the faxable form. Please return the form promptly for best results"

I looked on your link for an AUTH code request and there's mention of an additional $70 fee for that.Would you please waive this fee? You failed to make any effort to contact this customer after her domain expired (excepting a single bounced e-mail.) Her site remains down  three days despite a FAXed reinstatement request on day 1.Thanks in advance,

Greg Charland

Charland Graphics

FROM: Yourfavorite.com Support [support4@support.yourfavorite.com]TO: Greg C

Tue 7/31/2008 12:33 PMSubject: [yourfavorite.com ######] xxxxxx.net - Past Due Domain Registration

Hello,

Thank you for your request to waive fees on your delinquent domain

name. Once the name is reinstated, if you require an authorization

code to transfer to a new registrar, you must pay the fee to receive

this.

We can only process an AuthCode request once an order number is

generated. Some registrars do not require an AuthCode, and if this is

the case, we do not charge a fee. There is no fee for registrar

transfer, only if you require an AuthCode to be generated.

We cannot waive any fees under any circumstances.

Your issue has been marked as resolved, however, if you

have any additional questions or concerns, simply reply to

this message and your ticket will automatically be re-opened

and assigned a priority status.

Sincerely,

Sarah Neighbor

Technical Support

Service for the site was finally restored on 7/31 afternoon. $220 later. If she had set this up with me in the first place it would have cost $45 for three years’ of name service.


FROM: DynDNS Support [support@dyndns.com]TO: Greg CTue 8/7/2008 1:01 AMSubject: Transfer of xxxxxx.net CompleteDear Valued Customer,

The transfer of your domain, xxxxxxxx.net has been completed. You can now

view your domain at:https://www.dyndns.com/+domains/xxxxxx.net

Please note that some registrars do not allow domains to be modified for a

period of time following a transfer.

Please also note that your nameservers are not changed during a transfer.

If you are looking to use our Custom DNS service, and were not using it

prior to the transfer, you will need to go to the URL above and click the

"Edit" link next to your current nameservers, and then click the "Delegate

to DynDNS Nameservers" button on the resulting page to properly set up your

domain for Custom DNS. If you want to continue using the nameservers you

were previously using, you do not need to do anything.

A receipt for your purchase of one (1) .net transfer follows......

So, life goes on. My customer paid $220 for “free” web hosting and name registration. Dynamic Network Services (dyndns.com — great folks!) charges $15/year for a name registrat,ion.Where was the savings?

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