Mikkel Høgh

A warning about (mt) Media Temple

Tuesday, 19th of December, A.D. 2006

Well, I do not do these kind of things very often, but I feel compelled to warn you to stay away from (mt) Media Temple and their much touted (gs) Grid Server service.

I read about their service on the web somewhere and decided to try it out. It sounded too good to be true (and it was): 100 GB of storage, 1 TB of traffic, 100 individual sites.

I talked my boss into doing a test with it, and I ran with it. I eventually set up some smaller sites over there. For the few months I’ve used the service, there’s been a lot of stability issues, but after their recent systems upgrade, they seemed to have straightened their systems out. So I decided to try it with a larger site I’d wanted better hosting for for a while.

Being a Drupal-based site, it should not be too hard on server resources. I moved it to my shiny gridserver somewhere around Thursday, and for a short while, everything was good.

Fast forward to Saturday night. I’m attending a Christmas party elsewhere. Then a friend calls, complaining that our site looks “odd”.

From his explanations, I understand that his browser for some reason isn’t loading our style sheets. Not a big problem. I find my laptop, but when I try to load the site, I only get a blank HTML file (html and body tags and a comment). Disappointed, I connect to the server to find my files as I left them. Puzzled, I start looking for explanations, and in the root of my files, i find a small file, .suspended

So I check my mail, wondering if something untoward has happened, but there’s nothing there. I check my Grid Server control panel to see if I’ve exceeded my limit or something similarly implausible. I had generated about 3 gigs of traffic this month. Should not be a problem for someone bragging about a 1 TB limit and “Limitless scalability” (if there was ever such a thing).

I go to their support page to submit a ticket, asking for an explanation. I get this back:

We attempted to contact you directly and the phone number on file was incomplete. Please provide us with the full number and we can discuss this situation.

I check the phone number recorded on my file. Yep, it’s mine. All eight digits. Probably the sysadmin in question didn’t think to add the international prefix for Denmark (my profile in their system clearly states that I’m from Denmark). No big deal, but I still find it odd that whatever guy that disabled my site didn’t think to fire off an email when he couldn’t figure out how to dial my number…

So I respond kindly, implying that they might have forgotten the international prefix, and even giving an alternate number for my current location (at a party in Roskilde).

They never respond. I fire off another follow-up e-mail. No answer. Now it’s Tuesday and all my sites are still disabled. Still no answers. I can’t even access PHPMyAdmin.

So I’d just like to take the opportunity to warn you. Do not trust these guys with anything. They do not seem to care a great deal about customers. Every word of their marketing is just exaggerated hyperbole.

I’m still waiting for my refund…

Mikkel Høgh

My name is Mikkel Høgh, I've worked with web tech for the last 20 years. These days, I work with e-commerce in Central Switzerland.