Sunday, May 12, 2013

IPower email hell … are they falling from grace? **Update–only a little …

I host my email and web on IPower and have been happy with them for many years. And suddenly, over the last 4 weeks I have begun having email system dropouts. They take the shape of me seeing absolutely nothing on my email account for up to 30 hours and then it suddenly working again.

It acts like a Denial of Service attack. And it is coming from inside.

I have had a ticket open with them and the extent of their investigation has been to send me an email and confirm that it is working again. This is wee three, but it has failed twice this weekend. And I have been updating the ticket after reopening it. Their response has been the unbelievably obtuse “it is working” … and so I am getting more aggressive and asking them to engage level 3 development support. I am called in a consultant quite often to perform this function for customers with serious issues and have done so in other companies, so I know that senior technical resources do in fact get called in in every company.

So far, they came back with “you are exceeding your quota” …


That’s the problem. I saw it myself today … the quota is changing and they seem to no longer allow me – THE OWNER AND ADMINISTRATOR FOR MY EMAIL ACCOUNTS – to reset quotas and get the email working again.

WTF has happened to IPower?

Here is today’s chat with a nice person who clearly was out of her depth from the word go. I changed her name for obvious reasons. All I asked was how to administer my own email ….

You are now chatting with 'IPower'

IPower: Hi Kim.  My name is xxxxxxxxx, how are you today?
kim: I need to know how to reset a quota on a mailbox. Your web site has dropped my quotas and made my email accounts stop working.
kim: I have a long running escalation that is going nowhere. I need this fixed now.
kim: I cannot find how to reset an individual mailbox quota. I am sure I used to be able to do that.
IPower: We are sincerely sorry for the issue you are facing with   email.
IPower: There is already a ticket #11133609    placed regarding this.
IPower: One of our higher technical specialists is working on it.
IPower: You should be hearing from them soon.
kim: are you saying that I am unable as the owner and administrator of this account to adjust the quota back to where it should be?
kim: when did these rules change?
kim: I was able to do this before
kim: I have always had essentially unlimited resources on ipower
kim: and I was not informed that quotas have been drastically reduced
kim: what is going on?
IPower: Our higher technical specialists will update about this and provide the information in detail.
kim: well, they have done a very poor job of investigating so far
IPower: I understand this is time-critical. I am working hard to find a speedy resolution for your issue.

I am going to stop here, because I can think of nothing positive to say about IPower right now. I will update this if they actually come up with some kind of fix. Or if I migrate my entire account to another hosting service. God forbid.

Update: I just found this in their user guide area. It is a new restriction that completely changes the way the email system works.

Manage the Email in Your IPOWER Mailbox

IPOWER hosting accounts include an unlimited number of mailboxes. However, each individual mailbox has a storage capacity of 250MB or 10,000 emails, whichever comes first. Once a mailbox has reached capacity, subsequent messages will "bounce," or return to sender, until old emails have been deleted or downloaded from a mailbox. These limits ensure that mail performance is fast and reliable not only to you, but for all users of our shared mail platform.

You have got to be kidding me! I have had a 5GB inbox for a decade.

Resolution: I had to go through and change the settings on my Outlook to be much more aggressive about leaving things on the server. I have it wiping out any email older than 28 days for now. This has fixed the issue and in fact it performs very well now, but I remain disappointed in how long it took for their support people to stumble about enough to give me the necessary clues to figure out that this was the issue at play.

They never once hinted at the reduction until they finally said I was over my mailbox limit. It apparently never occurred to them to wonder how I got to 1500MB+ when the limit is officially 250MB (and mine is now set peculiarly at 500MB.)

Anyway … I am not impressed, but I cannot imagine anyone else being any better in this era of “cut cut cut until your team almost bleeds out and then declare another profit growth quarter” :-)