back to article UK webhosts in champagne throwing cat fight

Get your popcorn. It's time for the UK webhost cat fight to end all UK webhost cat fights. Earlier this week, according to the forum dwellers at WebHosting Talk, the UK hosting outfit PoundHost sent a routine marketing email to a group of its customers - and forgot to hide their addresses in the BCC field. At which point, one …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Rapidly Switched

    I am so pleased that I managed to get on the Poundhost offer. Server was up in 2 hours. no problems at all aside from a small teething problem of getting some IPs assigned.

    Ever since they moved my server to their new site its been problem after a problem. I am left wondering if I was hosted on a tower server in a shed. Since when has it been ok to spam anyone’s customers like that? Bit low eh

    Paris because: Rapidswitch has been going down more than Paris over the last two days

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hoist by one's own petard.

    Title says it all really.

  3. Tim Brown 1

    I happened to get lucky

    I was checking out Rapidswitch as a possible supplier of a new dedicated server when their site went down, and stayed down... so I did some research found the thread referred to in this article and got in on the Poundhost offer :)

  4. Andrew 105


    Some of RapidSwitch's servers are actually tower servers. The one I had last year was, anyway.

    I will just say that I've used both companies and been very happy with both. PoundHost made a minor fuckup which can be excused - though an apology would be nice - but RapidSwitch have seriously gone down in my estimation after that spamming stunt by one of their sales guys.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Spamming bastards

    Harvesting email addresses for spamming like this is a blatant violation of the DPA, not to mention egregious network abuse. Looking forward to their prosecution.

  6. PHPonSnails

    Poundhost grovel better, too

    Poundhost did actually apologise for the cockup with the email addresses, and promised to take steps to ensure it never happens again as well as disciplining the errant member of staff responsible. RapidSwitch, on the other hand, seem to think that breaking the law on unsolicited commercial email is entirely justified and not something to apologise for.

  7. Greg J Preece

    I wouldn't go with RapidSwitch now...

    ...simply because they appear to be illiterate. Is there a single quote from them in this article that actually equates to English? If you can't even write, I'm not trusting you with shit.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Customers did receive the emails, but in some cases only hours after they were sent, because they were queued on one of RapidSwitch's mail servers (presumably because of their connectivity problems). I received 4 emails at 19:15 on 25 Sep, the earliest of which claimed to have been sent at 13:55.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Let the fur fly

    I'm currently a customer of RapidSwitch, I have a single server colocated there. While they were good at first, their network has been steadily deteriorating over the past month, lots of downtime and packet loss.

    I am a recepient of PoundHost's newsletter (despite not being a customer there, but I opted for it) and as a result my email was part of the accidental leak. I was somewhat annoyed at them for this, but it happens. However, when RapidSwitch sent a targeted email to those leaked addresses, that's just unacceptable. I sent an angry email off to RapidSwitch to complain, and the reply I received just said that they took full legal advice before doing so, completely missing the point. Due to that, I decided to colo no more servers with them.

    Then, this downtime came along (karma?), RapidSwitch's response to this has been far from acceptable and has affected thousands of servers and customers. I've now decided to switch to PoundHost, who have even offered to go and collect the server for me, saving a trip down to Maidenhead.

    And as for RapidSwitch’s update in the main article that their control panel was never down, absolute rubbish. You will find many others over on Web Hosting Talk who will confirm this.

    Goodbye RapidSwitch, you will not be missed.

  10. Ben 5

    Recommend Poundhost

    As an existing customer, I got the Poundhost email.

    Poundhost made a mistake. It was followed up with an apology and they have changed their procedures to make sure it doesn't happen again. I actually believe that has happened as I've met Mathew a few times and I know that where they find they have an issue with something, they do actually fix it. They once had an issue with their support phone service - they changed systems and it hasn't happened again. They respond to tickets so fast that you don't need to call anyway.

    I don't know much about RapidSwitch other than by reputation; they are probably a similar firm in a lot of ways. However they did send an unsolicited email to a list of addresses obtained by dubious means, some of which are likely to be personal email addresses (rather than business ones). Under UK law that is a clear and knowing breach of the Electronic Privacy and Communcations Act. The fact that they have not apologised or withdrawn their offer indicates to me that this was officially sanctioned at the highest level. I would therefore think twice about doing business with RapidSwitch.

  11. marvin28

    Karma in action

    I was using the RapidSwitch portal extensively throughout Friday 25th and it was indeed up and down, as was RapidSwitch's own website and their telephones.

    Who do you believe? The man whose company unscrupulously spammed Poundhost's mailing list in flagrant contravention of privacy regulations, or the customers who have been affected by the epic fail?

  12. David Knell

    Been there, not going back

    We hosted with RapidSwitch for a while. They managed to find motherboards whose on-board Ethernet wasn't well-supported by Linux (driver locked up under heavy load), denied it at first, then ended up charging us for KVM attachments to allow us to fix the problem which was down to their hardware in the first place.

    We're now with CoreIX, who have been absolutely top notch, and I'd recommend them without reservation.


  13. David Knell


    One other thing which I should have spotted - RapidSwitch may be in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations if any of those e-mails were sent to personal addresses. Not that the ICO's likely to actually do anything about it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maidenhead datacentre eh?

    I could be wrong, but the major datacentre I know about in Maidenhead is owned and operated by BlueSquare Data who also own and operate Poundhost.

    Bit of a suprise then that RapidSwitch's servers suddenly go down after spamming Poundhosts list.

    Maybe Karma had a little helping hand?

  15. veg

    Mr Butler should be more careful

    Proving Mr Butler wrong is going to be surprisingly easy for those of us that kept pinglogs during the disgraceful outages. The portal *was* up and down frequently during the two day outages. Their entire network was *frequently* completely unavailable during this period.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    still better than FarseHosts

    Would still choose either of these companies over FastHosts. The worlds worst hosting company ever.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Anonymous Coward Posted Saturday 26th September 2009 15:20 GMT

    Actually, no. Ed & co have moved all/most of their kit away from BSQ their own facility in one of the *ahem* nicer parts of Maidenhead.

    Apparently, if you have colo there, you can't even get access after 8pm as the gate is locked. Lovely.

    *Note: sarcasm

  18. MarcoN

    Rapidswich, Ed Butler, Rackspace & UKFast

    We have a server with Rapidswitch and I can confirm we did NOT get an email warning of scheduled maintenance.

    I personally spoke with Ed Butler about the Rapidswitch network and he presented a very good case why his network was better that all others in the hosting industry. It just goes to show you that actions speak louder than words. Since doing some deeper digging they story other people tell about them, is very different to the song they sing.

    Fancy not having spare equipment?

    They were not available by telephone, and when I eventually did get through to someone via email , I was told that they would be announcing information on the outage at a later date.

    What sort of business is this? They were so rude about their competitors when I first spoke with their salesperson prior to joining. Hence the reason I asked to speak with their MD. He was equally as damming of businesses like Rackspace and UKFast, who I now am in talks with.

    I have to say the people I have spoken with at both Rackspace and UKFast this weekend come across as über professional, I wish I had done deeper digging when we moved in the first place.

  19. Anonymous Coward


    Probably was up throughout.. tehnically speaking. Shame it wasn't accessible to the rest of the Internet eh?

    "I don't understand, it works fine for me here in the office..."

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hmm, AnonCoward knocking FastHosts, yes their shared hosting is awful, but their dedicated servers are fantastic (4 years experinece, very very reliable).

  21. Reinhard Schu

    100% SLA

    Next time you are offered a "100% SLA", check the small print to see if "scheduled or emergency maintenance" downtime is excluded. Chances are it is. Every single time I review bespoke SLA (with my lawyer's hat on) I pick up on this point and then have to explain to the provider that 99.99% means 99.99% and that they have to do their maintenance during the 0.001%.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Knell

    "They managed to find motherboards whose on-board Ethernet wasn't well-supported by Linux (driver locked up under heavy load)"

    Wrong way round - they found motherboards whose manufacturers didn't support Linux.

    Like HP printers 'not supporting Vista', it was down to HP to produce Vista drivers if they wanted their products used, not MS.

  23. MarcoN
    Thumb Up

    Server online in less than 2 hours!

    Not with rapidswitch though.

    I chose ukfast after a healthy discussion with md Lawrence Jones who took my call at the weekend as I refused to sign the paperwork with senior management reassurance.

    He called me back whilst in the garden with his family, so I even have his mobile phone details should I have a problem. I figured they don't come any senior than that.

    I'd already committed by the time Rackspace returned my call.

    I have the unenviable task of getting out of my contract which I am told I am locked into. I was offered free RAM and a bigger hard drive.

    Isn't that like offering someone more petrol to an already broken down car?

  24. Hombre sin nombre

    Perhaps the reaons some customers didn't get the email

    was because RapidSwitch tried to send them through their own downed mail server?

    Wouldn't be too surprising.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    With this sudden RapidLoss of customers good job Ed sold the company for £5.5M in May. Now that's what I call a RapidBuck.

  26. Benny
    Thumb Up

    A few of the tech guys

    drink in my local, now Im not stuckin inside being ill, I'll take a wander down there and ask what the inside scoop is...

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Rapid Switch

    Is anyone collecting for legal action? I would Like to contribute.

    Harvesting is not permission to spam. EU legislations States Marketing Communications must be on an opt in basis OR to existing customers only.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Reliable? 4 years? Are you joking? or a Fasthosts employee?

    Lets see.. (although not their fault, but still, no excuses).

    You get the idea.. and I could paste more.

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