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netfirms hosting and cgi concurrency limits — 12 Comments

  1. Sounds a bit wobbly. I moved hosts from iWeb to JustHost early this year.

    iWeb, which had a decent package, p155ed me totally off when my sites (on a shared server) were hacked, and their response when I asked for advice on how to stop it happening (I fixed it, it was hacked again about twice) was – to go and find stuff out myself.

    Fair enough, goodbye, was my answer.

    SO FAR (and it’s been just over six months) I’ve been really happy with JustHost. They (apparently) don’t have any limits (though I’m sure they do really of course), and their support has been excellent and friendly.

    Worth a look.

    (No, this isn’t a sponsored post or anything!! lol)

  2. I am one of those “… less less technical people” who finds this hosting thing quite confusing. I am glad you shared with us your “hosting” experience. As I am currently looking around for a web host for my blog, your discussion has given me some some points to consider in my choice.


  3. Hi! I am Dan Kershaw the new General Manager at Netfirms. I wanted to first say thank you for posting your concerns to the web – I am always looking to meet our firm’s customers and want unfiltered feedback. Your posted raised a number of concerns and I have taken the weekend to get some real answers from the development team and sys admins that keep the Netfirms Data Center humming along year round.

    First off, you raise a number of questions about share hosting in general – we have taken a unique approach to share hosting versus our peers in the industry so the limitations are not as dire as they appear in your post. I had another website ask similar questions of Netfirms and I got back to them as well (http://hosting-website.biz/2009/07/qa-with-dan-kershaw-of-netfirms/).

    Secondly, thank you for selecting Netfirms – I reviewed your questions and have some specific answers for you.
    – We were unaware (until your post) that concurrency limits were causing problems – I have had them doubled effective November 14th.
    – I have organized a brigade of staff members that are regularly upgrading all of our One Click apps, and adding new ones regularly. Since late August were are running the most current versions.
    – We have always felt tying ourselves to Cpanel or other Control Panel would limit our clients. We are regularly adding, updating and fine tuning the Control based on direct requests from our clients.
    – We saw the delays as well and since this summer all DNS updates take only about 5 minutes.
    – Your support response is not the standard I am grooming inside the company – we are investing heavily in training, hiring, and turnaround time to concerns like yours.
    – Email me your specific information on the Forum – to generalmanager at netfirms.com – I will see if one of my Tier 3 Support wizards can help you move it if you are still interested.
    – There were a number of serious Denial of Service (DOS) Attacks during the summer that did affect you. We have added over $100,000 in new routing equipment to address this issue.
    – In a word – Yes – we should have moved quicker on the new data center. The scope of work to move 1.2 million websites and the associated data to an brand new million dollar infrastructure is not a small task – I’d prefer to take the time to do it right than rush and hope.
    – Your CGI concerns should be addressed now with the Concurrency limit changes on your existing hosting plan.
    – We are weeks away from launching our own VPS Beta system using Plesk – to address clients requests for more flexibility and control – if you’d like to be a Beta Client – drop me a email!

    Thanks again Luigi, Frank and Mike (not sure which of you made this post)

    Dan Kershaw
    General Manager
    Netfirms, Inc.

  4. Hi Dan (this is Luigi),

    Thanks for replying (and more importantly, doubling the CGI concurrency limit).

    Its unfortunate that it took a post in a moderately popular blog (like this one), before any meaningful changes were made.

    The past CGI limits were the equivalent of putting a motorcycle engine into a large truck: it can be done, but its not worth it.

    At least now, I feel like my site has room to grow some more, before I need to look at a VPS solution. Thanks.

    I can’t begin to imagine the difficulty in seamlessly moving over 1 million websites to a different datacenter, so congratulations on that front.

    I understand that DOS and DDOS attacks can be a big problem for hosting companies, so its good to see you are working to minimise the problem.

    Thanks for the VPS Beta offer, but at this stage, I’d like to avoid any potential problems.

    I must say that the correctly working clustered hosting solution is probably worth more than what you are charging… If you can address the many major issues facing netfirms, then I’d be happy to pay more (50% to 100% more) for quality clustered hosting, with good service, and room for expansion. I’m sure there are others in a similar situation as mine, who need a middle ground (price-wise and performance-wise) between shared hosting and VPS.

  5. Hi Luigi
    The sad part of working on the Internet is I never get to meet most of my customers – so I look for blogs like this to try and better understand the challenges we may be able to better address.

    If you’d like to email me directly, I’d love some further insight on what specific issues you refer too that we haven’t touched on?

    I am driving the company to focused on providing solid reliable web hosting for people like you and direct feedback is always welcome.

    Dan Kershaw
    General Manager
    Netfirms, Inc.

  6. Got a surprise today – I havent even widely publicized by website yet and I have very few visitors but now, its showing:

    “Maximum CGI processes concurrency limit of 20 exceeded.Currently serving the following requests:
    If you are the owner of this website, you may need to upgrade to a more advanced plan.”

    I dont even use formmail. From what I read above, this is caused by other websites that happen to be hosted on the server where my domain is hosted?

    What is this?!? Theres nothing about “concurrent CGI” in the Packages. Just disk space and bandwidth. And I have a whole lot of that unused under my Advantage Plan.

  7. Netfirms has actually gotten worse recently. We have been having almost daily problems keeping our site visible on their Business hosting. When you contact support, its always a matter of starting from scratch, since they have NO support ticket history in their proprietary Control Panel.

    They just started a blog and a forum, which might help introduce some ‘transparency’ in their interaction with customers.

    If you have a dynamic website, you will have problems on their shared hosting, even with low usage.

  8. We have used Netfirms for a number of years. I have the Enterprise 1 package and we have had various issues in the past that are usually resolved within 24hrs. Recently we started seeing major problems with our main site. It started with slow performance, then CGI concurrency limit messages and now the site is more or less offline completely. We reported the problem three days ago and it’s still not resolved. Netfirms initially indentified some issues but have never provided any detailed information on the issue and how it was going to be fixed.

    Customer service is an oxymoron to Netfirms. I started to email their support organisation to request a status and ETA on a fix with no success. When I telephones them to enquire about the status of the problem, they initially refused to acknowledge any issue. When I finally convinced the engineer to review my account in more detail he found a case open on our issues. He then simply mentioned the problem was being worked on but there is no indication on the issue would be fixed. We operate a charity music competition and festival and the problems are occurred during our yearly festival week. This means people cannot check schedules, book tickets, or find out general information. In essence, it’s a catastrophic event for us.

    We have tried emailing their customer support manager Pamela Harding, their CEO Thomas Savundra and various other billing and sales divisions with no success. I would suggest to anyone thinking of opening an account with Netfirms to seriously consider an alternative. They may have competitive rates but if you experience technical issues you may find them lacking in the service department.

  9. Moved our site from Netfirms to HostGator. All issues we had on Netfirms went away. Any new support tickets are answered in minutes by HostGator.

  10. Ah, I see that as of about 3 months ago, Dan Kershaw was no longer part of Netfirms.

    About 3 weeks ago, my websites stats (awstats) stopped being updated.

    I sent a support ticket about 1 week ago, and as usual, no reply.

    And today, my awstats are suddenly being updated again… an obvious netfirms stuffup.

    Since it looks like netfirms are going back to the “bad old days”, and my hosting expires in November, I’ll be migrating elsewhere, and quickly!

  11. Pingback:Goodbye Netfirms, Hello Hostgator « ITS Web