We interrupt this blog…with a message about a horrible ISP – Canada Web Hosting/Synergy Web Services

For those of you who have tried to access something on edtechpost over the last few days but have got error messages, my sincere apologies, but oh what a week I’ve had. All the more frustrating because of the number of posts I’ve wanted to write, which I will return to shortly, but before that, a brief digression…

Complaining about web hosts is dull, but for the record, I have left Canada web hosting (who also operate the site Synergy web services) because of the absolutely atrocious service I have suffered at their hands. The irony is that I had made the decision to leave about a month ago after suffering through yet another technology change on their part, one that not only degraded the services the offered, but in the process of the change over wiped out 2 weeks of blog entries. (For this I was told it was “my fault”.)

Unfortunately, I did not make the site live on the new host quickly enough, and last weekend the sys admins at Canada web hosting felt they were justified in taking down everything in my home directory because of one apparently mis-behaving PMwiki script. When I got back from being away, I promptly called them, apologized for any difficulty with that script and assured them that they could remove it from the server. 3 days passed (and over 6 hours of being on hold with their help desk) and they never did remove the scripts. And never returned any calls. The only solution they offered me was a backup of my database (which took 4 days to happen). The site still remains totally unavailable to web traffic, even for simple static HTML pages. No discussion, no attempt to problem solve. No refund (they basically are claiming as theirs the last 4 months of payments on my hosting contract). I never even got to talk to anyone who had a clue of why the service had been yanked or how to restore it – their 1st level call centre folks had neither technical ability nor access, and they refused to pass me through to the “senior systems administrators” who had mysteriously made this judgement.

Live and learn, I guess. I chose them because they were a B.C.-based company who offered what seemed to be at the time an inexpensive hosting solution for my blog and other web apps. And really, I should have jumped ship a long time ago. Having done it now, I realize it is not that hard to do and wouldn’t have put it off nearly this long. The other lesson – to not rely on any hosting companies backup solution for my sites, because they still own the backup. My site is my site, and even if you are going to kick me off your server, you have no right to keep it hostage for 5 days. End of rant. Sorry. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming… – SWL

We interrupt this blog…with a message about a horrible ISP – Canada Web Hosting/Synergy Web Services

31 thoughts on “We interrupt this blog…with a message about a horrible ISP – Canada Web Hosting/Synergy Web Services

  1. As bad as Canada Web Hosting is, their (unfortunately very similarly named) neighbours Canadian Web Hosting (note the _ian) are fracking amazing. I know you’re already moving to them, but it’s probably worth noting the confusing similarness of their names.

    Canada Web Hosting sucks monkey scrota.

    Canadian Web Hosting is the best web hosting company I’ve ever dealt with.

    What a difference 2 letters makes…


  2. Buddy says:

    We’re in the same boat – CWH told us that it was an ‘upgrade’, not that our account was sold to a company that is unable to deliver – our database continues to collect information that we may not be able to ‘have’ – terrible.


  3. Greg says:

    I had 30 sites running on Canada Web Hosting and aside from the occasional hiccup, everything was just fine. Then….on March 14th of this year….the day of their “upgrade”….every single site went down. Only one of the 30 sites was ever restored and in operation until I realized they restored the site with files from TWO YEARS AGO!!! What the…! Anyway, I tried relentlessly to get the problem resolved. Canada Web Hosting could have cared less, and dealing with Synergy??!!! I might as well as spoken to a house plant for as much as good as it did….man, what a debacle!!!!

    I have since moved all my sites to another host, and rebuilt my ASP apps as PHP, which took 3 weeks….and still haven’t heard back from Synergy. In fact, I don’t even think they have realized that I have canceled my accounts and moved my domains.

    The lesson here….NEVER deal with Canada Web Hosting or Synergy Web Services. Spread the word!


  4. Greg, AMEN! Wow, you make me feel glad I only had the one blog and a few wikis blow up when they did their upgrade. That was what prompted me to switch hosts, this final outrage being the kick in the pants I needed to actually switch the DNS and get the new site running. Spread the word indeed – I tried to explain to them on the phone that I planned to use the resources at my disposal to tell folks about their horrible service. They didn’t seem to care. Oh well.


  5. unnamed technician says:

    Backstory incase anyone is interested. CWH has grown incredibly quickly over the last few years and is completely refocusing on enterprise level dedicated / managed hosting services. Thus the shared hosting side of things had begun to slip with less and less company resources maintaining it or improving it.

    It eventually became clear that the shared hosting side of things was costing the company more in support than it was worth so a decision was made to sell the shared hosting (Synergy) services to Hostopia. It was poorly labeled as an “upgrade” and the migration went terribly.

    CWH is a top shelf when it comes to dedicated / managed services – but for those of you who got burnt in the selling of the shared services I understand your frustration. I don’t know why the execs with the company didn’t make the decision to be completely honest with what was happening but I suspect it had to do with deal they had in place with hostopia.


  6. Greg says:

    Scott – you’re right. They just don’t care.

    Whether they were losing money on shared hosting or just wanting to focus on enterprise….any respectable business would have treated long term customers with more respect. The funny thing is, most of my sites were on shared hosting…..but I have 3 clients that have dedicated servers on CWH…fairly large clients….and since the whole debacle I have started steps to move those 3 clients to a dedicated server on MediaTemple…..so CWH really shot them selves in the foot because they are losing on both ends. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had clients on both services.

    I’m over it, my sites are back up and running perfectly with another host.

    CWH/Synergy…they blow.


  7. Dear Unnamed Technician, thanks for your comment. I expect your description of what went on is actually quite accurate, that a company had an arm of its business which it found unprofitable and so first degraded its services (e.g. took away shell access) and then finally sold it up to an even lower quality company who then both disrupted and degraded services even further. But, as you say, it was handled terribly. So in addition to Canada Web Hosting loosing my personal business, they will, just like Greg says above, loose all of the commercial and co-location business I would have referred them over the years. That’s the cost of treating customers like revenue sources. And you’ve added another company, Hostopia (http://www.hostopia.com/) to the list of culprits to stay FAR away from. I know they don’t care. Consider my fist shaken. But also know that every chance I get (on every ISP rating board that I stumble across online) I will continue to express my opinion on their atrocious service, and refer people to the much better alternatives.


  8. Greg says:

    You won’t believe the latest.

    Two of my clients, who have canceled accounts with CWH/Synergy have just been charged the full years hosting! They are trying to dance around saying that they have no record of any cancellation. They are frigging thieves!!!


  9. Chris K says:


    The same thing just happened to me. I sent them a cancel request, that night the billed my card for a full year. I’ve been told they are going to refund it…. let’s see.


  10. If you are looking for a professional hosting package, try LCWSoft ( Canada web hosting ). They offer service from $4.95 a month, including cPanel, PHP and MySQL. Unlike CWH, they focus completely on the client.


  11. greg says:

    recently there were a bunch of posts on WebHostingTalk.com regarding Canada Web Hosting. Hundreds of replies and gripes about CWH and/or Synergy. All of a sudden, they have all disappeared! What is going on? Did CWH threaten a lawsuit for everyone revealing how crappy they are?


  12. Ahhh, sweet justice. A colleague from another province just asked me about CWH to host their project. Can you guess what kind of reference I gave them? They pissed on my $100/year account, now let’s see how many 10’s of thousands of dollars of business that will cost them. Ha!


  13. Even better – I referred he to canadianwebhosting.com, the new host with whom I am *very* pleased with, and they are jumping to get a quote for her right now. So there is a moral order to the universe, some times.


  14. Fred says:

    You complainers have little to complain about getting shared web hosting for a full month for less than the cost of a cup of Starbucks. Big business has fianally taken over the web hosting by price killing the resellers and small web hosts off… then as their master plan takes effect, the prices will increase to a more sane level on par with your cell phones and internet connections where you get NO SUPPORT and if you do it will take 24-48 hours to get any kind of support. You are forwarned!


  15. Fred, thanks for your insight. Somehow, though, I managed to leave this specific terrible host, Canada Web Hosting (which I’m wondering Fred, are you affiliated with, since you’re in Kelowna?) for another small but MUCH BETTER host, one that actually cares about its customers. At a better price. This isn’t about smal or large companies, it’s about one company, Canada Web Hosting, treating its customers with utmost disdain.


  16. Fred says:

    No I am no longer affiliated with CWH as they have pawned off their shared web hosting (and my accounts as I am a reseller) to the Hostopia group of companies (Toronto Stock Exchange) of which Synergy is one of a few companies that are part of them. With 260,000 end user customers and over 340 service providers in telecommunications and the Internet service industry, their server systems are HUGH but with it comes the pain of having to deal with many levels of support. The upside is that they have the resources to be on top of the web industry with new web features. Hostopia (35M$ sales) has been bought out by deluxe.com a 1.5B$ sales company. Hostopia has aquired the clients of other large companies… tucows.com, register.com uplinkearth, Bell and a host of other Telcos, registrars and hosts lately and the trend is not stopping… the writing is on the wall.
    I am afraid the multinationals are on a buying spree and will soon squeeze out the small hosts as it did myself so moving to “one that cares” web host may soon be replaced with “send in a support ticket” host very soon. Be prepared to move on a moments notice.
    My time at CWH was excellent as I was able to get personal with their support which I doubt I will find with other hosts that are in the process of selling out. The industry is changing quickly, with web hosting a SaaS service for the price of a coffee. (unlimited refills are extra).


  17. Canadian Website Hosting says:

    It is hard finding a good web host. There are numerous companies to choose from but the best places to really get a good deal at are through word of mouth. You know if a lot of people are using 1 specific web host there is probably a reason for it. Don’t go for something just cause a cheap price or a fancy throw in from the company. Ask other web masters who they use and you can get a pretty good consensus of what are the good web hosts out there.


  18. Another Unhappy Client says:

    Canada Web Hosting is the worst company. We just checked after cancelling our server, and we had created over 215 support tickets in just a couple years with them, all dealing with technical problems.

    It is too tiring to write out the specifics regarding the problems, as I have had to explain it to too many people at Canada Web Hosting while trying to get my money back and trying to get out of my three year contract.

    There are so many hosting companies out there, do yourself a favour, do NOT go with Canada Web Hosting.

    I am trying to save others the frustration I have experienced with Canada Web Hosting and it looks like many, many, many, many, many, many others have experienced the same frustrations.

    Canada Web Hosting sucks.


  19. Response to Fred says:

    And in regards to Fred’s points above:

    “You complainers have little to complain about getting shared web hosting for a full month for less than the cost of a cup of Starbucks.”

    We are a business clients, spending literally over $600 a month for our 2 servers. Although I disagree with you, and think anyone paying for a service can complain, you are totally wrong and most likely work for Canada Web Hosting.

    Canada Web Hosting is the worst company I have ever dealt with every. Not just over the internet, I mean in my entire life. We all deal with dozens of companies a day, hundreds and hudreds a year, and thousands of companies in our lifetime. Canada Web Hosting is the worst company I have dealt with in my entire life.

    How is that for a testimonial?


  20. No I do not work for them, but while they were providing me services I considered their phone support some of the best I have had in the 10 years in this business…and with a recession brewing, if you think “shared” web hosting support is going to get better paying less than a cup of coffee? Dream on… Domain name registration is starting to increase in price already, next will be other web services. Once the major buyers buy up everyone they can, they will dictate the price levels for web hosting. I do agree however that for $600/mo for servers, support should be there…. heck for $600/mo. I provide cell phone service 24/7!!


  21. I wish that I had found this post earlier. It would have been nice to have some company during what turned out to be a very traumatic few months at the hands of Canada Web Hosting and Synergy Web Services. I experienced everything mentioned above and more. The worst of it came down while I was on vacation with my family and then again at a critical time for one of my client’s websites. And my WordPress blog was out of commission for months. The cost in terms of lost time and damage to my professional reputation was huge. If I ever get time, I will sue CWH and maybe Synergy as well.


  22. Novak, thansk, and following the tried and true maxim that if I do what D’Arcy does, I won’t go far wrong, I switched over to Canadian Web Hosting about 6 months ago, and have never looked back. Awesome uptime, and very responsive whenever there has been a problem. True to my word, I actually steered a large hosting client AWAY from Canada Web Hosting and TOO Canadian Web Hosting. Proving the addage that there is no such thing as an unimportant customer.


  23. Arnold Pasture says:

    Baremetal.com is really no nonsense. They are professional and worth contacting if you have any real work that needs to get done.


  24. Our account was sold by Aplus.net to Hostopia without our knowledge. Since then, we have faced so many problems and issues trying to keep our website up and running. Hostopia’s customer service center is staffed with generic call screeners who will issue you a work number, then never get back to you. Occasionally your issues get resolved, but they don’t bother to check back with you to see. No idea how many hours we have wasted on the phone trying to fix the problems Hostopia and Aplus.net created. Now we are trying to get an explanation on a bill they sent us, but no one there seems to know what it is for.

    I would recommend you avoid them both.


  25. Keith – Please reach out to me at marketing (at) aplus.net with your account information and I will escalate your billing issue. I apologize for the trouble you have had.


  26. Sonia says:

    CANADIAN WEB HOSTING has the MOST apathetic tech support people I’ve ever dealt with. When I call for support they act as if I am bothering them and have a monotone voice that screams LEAVE ME ALONE PESKY CLIENT!

    Searching for good reliable host now, good riddance to Apathy Web Hosting.


  27. Sonia, sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience with these folks but it definitely does not match mine. Indeed yesterday, I had an issue/question about why an ftp account would work through a client but not through a terminal, and while the immediate tech could not answer the question, it was routed to a sys admin who cleared up the problem in under 30 minutes. I know the experience of other friends who have started using http://www.canadianwebhosting.com/ is similarly good. I guess maybe you got unlucky.


  28. henrylow says:

    The Center for Media Research has released a study by Vertical Response that shows just where many of these ‘Main Street’ players are going with their online dollars. The big winners: e-mail and social media. With only 3.8% of small business folks NOT planning on using e-mail marketing and with social media carrying the perception of being free (which they so rudely discover it is far from free) this should make some in the banner and search crowd a little wary.



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