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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Is it me or them?

    I'm by no means an expert on hosting -- design and coding are my things. So forgive me if I ask a Hosting for Dummies question.

    I'm working with a Host Not to Be Named to host my client's pages. I've gone through other hosts and the process is dirt-simple: pay for the hosting, get the domain transferred, get the FTP login info, upload the pages via Filezilla, and Bob's your uncle. Never used this host before, but I wanted more bandwidth etc than the hosts I've worked with in the past for this client.

    This host won't give me or the client the FTP login/password info. Instead, it says I either need to pay some monthly fee for cPanel access or install some incredibly complex Linux-based software to handle the issue.

    I don't need an explanation as to why cPanel access is a good thing. My question is simple: is it a necessary thing to merely upload files etc? If not, as it has never been with a number of other hosts before now, then why am I getting all this reluctance over the FTP login/pw info?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Max View Post
    This host won't give me or the client the FTP login/password info. Instead, it says I either need to pay some monthly fee for cPanel access or install some incredibly complex Linux-based software to handle the issue.
    I have some sites at a hosting company with some pretty strange attitudes, but that's a new one on me. I'm not an expert on hosting either, but surely the hosting company will have to give you the password/log-in info, whether you're going to upload via FTP or via SSH or whatever it is?

    Short answer: I think it's them.
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  3. #3
    Barefoot on the Moon! silver trophy Force Flow's Avatar
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    It sounds very peculiar.

    I'd find another host if I were you.

    What are your requirements?
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  4. #4
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    Them! What's the point of having a host without FTP access?

    CPanel comes out of the box with most decent hosting providers. FTP Access comes with ALL hosting providers, unless it's some kind of GeoCities like service.

    Hope this helps.
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  5. #5
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    Having no FTP access is ridiculous. If you can, switch.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    The weird thing is, I did a lot of research into good, reliable "mid-tier" hosts, and these guys topped out my results (including strong favorable reviews in this forum!). FF, the requirements are plain-vanilla Apache/Linux VPS hosting, nothing fancy, just more bandwidth and storage space than the usual cheapies.

    To make matters worse, I get one email response a day no matter how many requests or questions I send. (I can't call during business hours because I'm at work, and they recommend email as the best contact method.) On weekends, all I get is autobot responses that open up ticket after ticket with no human response. First host I've ever seen that works only during regular business hours.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Mentor silver trophybronze trophy

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    From what you said it sounds like a one-man business. Not particularly bad, but when that one-man neglects to do they job properly then it's fairly easy to go down a disappointed path. Reviews and testimonials can be faked and I've seen a dozen or so websites to prove this. I think you should switch host if possible, and wherever you do, don't register a domain name through them. I had a similar problem with a host of mine and eventually switched to a better more pricier host.

    Hope this helps.
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Nice to know that it isn't my ignorance causing the problem. I didn't think so, but it's nice to have it confirmed Thanks, all.

    Addendum: Called customer support. After being on hold for almost 10 mins, got an automessage saying all reps are busy and please leave a message. I left a message, all right.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Agh. I did get a response. The CEO told me that because it is a VPS that runs with SSH (no FTP access), I must have either the cPanel/WHM, which comes at a monthly fee, or I have to use a Linux-based operating shell (can't do that, as I don't run a Linux box). Does this sound right, guys?

  10. #10
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    Normally even the very basic providers give FTP access, SSH is a more secure method if I remember correctly. You should still be able to access your files with SSH.
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  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Sega, I agree. What I'm being told is that I can only have SSH access, and that either through cPanel/WHM (at a monthly fee) or through a very complex Linux server control panel I install on my end. This doesn't sound right to me whatsoever.

  12. #12
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    Sounds really wrong. So let us get this right, you can only access your files storage to upload your files with SSH which can only be accessed via CPanel, incurring an additional charge? Why would you have this service in the first place? What is the reason for using this host? My recommendation is to switch host.
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    I've given them until EOB tomorrow to resolve this. It's their job to make it so I can access my client's hosting space without difficulty. Let's see what they do.

    Edit: The only reason I don't switch hosts is because I don't want the additional delay for my client's site to be uploaded and live. But that consideration is rapidly running its course.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Now they're telling me I need to use Putty to upload files. !!!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Max View Post
    the requirements are plain-vanilla Apache/Linux VPS hosting, nothing fancy
    That signaled a bit of a warning for me. There are two kinds of VPS—managed and unmanaged. Because server management is beyond my ken, I go for a managed VPS with CPanel and WHM. That's a great setup. I have no idea how I'd do anything without CPanel and WHM. (I guess I'd still expect FTP access, though.) Is this a managed or unmanaged VPS?

    Honestly, unless you are planning to run lots of sites on this account, I'd probably be looking at shared hosting with a bigger storage/bandwidth limit.
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  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Well, the client wants to run more sites than just the one, so the host and I decided that VPS would be the best option for them. I had no idea that this was an "unmanaged" VPS, no one bothered to impart that information. Now they're telling me to use PuTTY. I don't freaking think so. Had I been informed of this ahead of time, I'd have gone ahead and let them set up the cPanel, but I didn't know and they didn't tell me. Server management is beyond my ken as well, so I depend on the host to tell me these things.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Next question: is a $10/month cPanel fee reasonable?

    Edit: I looked at the service fees for a year of cPanel access through cPanel.net. Staggering.

  18. #18
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    If you have ssh you can connect a file transfer client like winscp, and this will operate like most ftp clients you would be familiar with.

    Unmanaged vps hosting services are only really suitable for people with linux command line and systems administration experience, they are deliberately minimal in software and support to provide value for experienced users.

    On an unmanaged vps, it's not unusual for there to be no control panel software like cpanel installed. On a shared host, the cost of a single cpanel licence is shared across hundreds of sites, however this isn't necessarily the case on a vps - you'll generally pay the full price of a licence.
    Unmanaged vps will also generally have the absolute bare minimum of software installed, as there are memory limitations, and users are expected to have sufficient knowledge to start from a clean slate to install what they need. Most unmanaged vps I have used don't have a ftp service running by default, in many cases they don't even have a web server running.

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    I should add, you can use filezilla to connect via ssh - in site manager -> advanced, select server type: sftp-ssh file transfer protocol, and make sure your port number is correct (normally 22 for ssh)

  20. #20
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    Most unmanaged vps packages you will also only get very limited support - in most cases support is -only- applicable if the server is entirely unconnected over ssh, everything else is outside the remit. You certainly won't get any hand holding for software installations, or typical hosting questions e.g how do I add email, domains etc. It may seem harsh, but in this case I'd say that given the product details, it's a case that you have chosen the wrong product, and the host are acting within expectations.

  21. #21
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    As @EastCoast ; [quite accurately and eloquently] stated, with SSH access you can use SCP to transfer files.
    Actually, you would be doing your client a big service. I have stopped using simple FTP for any file transfer because it is not very secure.

    With SSH access - using an RSA key file - you can run with NO PASSWORDs and keep the site quite secure from hackers. That is the methodology I have been using for several years now (after getting stung by a very ugly attack on a client site).
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  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys. I may end up switching to a shared hosting plan; my client wants to be able to upload some herself, and this whole cPanel thing really confuses her.

  23. #23
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Max View Post
    Next question: is a $10/month cPanel fee reasonable?
    A bit expensive. $5-7 is what I've paid in the US in the past (for a managed VPS).
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  24. #24
    SitePoint Mentor silver trophybronze trophy

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    In my humble opinion this amount is a little high. I recommend you have your own re seller hosting account and put all your clients on there. Dealing with 3rd party hosting companies is a nightmare, and the amount of time you've send trying to deal with this situation is something which could have been avoided. After all, time is money! Clients have their own host to some respects is asking for trouble. Hope this helps. From experience any client with their own host ended up leaving me as they felt it was easier to do so.
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  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy ldcdc's Avatar
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    The CEO told me that because it is a VPS that runs with SSH (no FTP access), I must have either the cPanel/WHM, which comes at a monthly fee, or I have to use a Linux-based operating shell (can't do that, as I don't run a Linux box). Does this sound right, guys?
    This sounds like an unmanaged VPS service. While I would expect FTP to be already installed on such a VPS, it's not absolutely necessary to be so. You certainly have root access via SSH, which means you/your client could install an FTP server at any time, if you have the necessary skills.

    That being said, it sounds to me like shared hosting would indeed be a much straight forward option. An unmanaged VPS, whether it comes with cPanel or not, requires the TLC of a skilled server admin.
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