A fairy tale.
For the past 4 years I used to host this site on a VPS with server4you but last month I dedcided to get a dedicated root server with them. Mainly as the VPS was causing issues with open file handles which I could narrow down (maybe down to the the virtualization technology they use) and being more of control of the HW. As an existing customer you can upgrade your existing server / contract without bigger hassle. For a small fee they even offer you the option to transfer all your data to the new server. You just have to mention it on the upgrade form which you should request after you ordered it.
As I was quite happy with them I ordered the smallest root entry server for 18,99 Euro a month. The provision is just a matter of a few hours and you get your credentials through their administration panel. Moving the data wasn’t a problem as the daily offsite backups came in handy to setup most of the new server. As you have 30days to for the move I wasn’t too much in rush and wanted to have a closer look at the configuration. At this point almost everything was done and only a final sync of my mails and settings the DNS entries was left.
So I was looking through their administration panel to find the option for the PTR but couldn’t spot it. I recalled they offered a PremiumReverse option, which allows you to set it yourself but you have to pay for it – 5 Euro monthly. As you don’t set your reverse DNS on a weekly basis (at least I don’t tend to) I didn’t bother to order it.
My thinking was that you have to use the less convenient way through their support, which could take a bit longer but once set it’s done. Hence a quick mail to their support with the request to set the PTR. They responded quite quickly saying that PTR is only available with PremiumReverse. Um… Just to be sure that I got it right I emailed them, asking if I have to pay 5Euro monthly to set a PTR records once. As the reply seemed to take a bit longer I also rang up their 24×7 hotline. Which actually confirmed the statement in their support email.
Having a dedicated server which you want to use for sending emails too but without a correct PTR is a quite bad idea. Of course it’s possible but most MTAs reject emails if domain and PTR don’t match. Unwilling to pay additional 5 Euro a month I send a polite email to their support explaining my understanding of the additional package. Considering that the VPS had the possibility to set PTR for free and you pay less I found this a bit cheeky to charge me for it.
I didn’t expect an answer straight away so I looked a bit around for alternatives in the same price range. I have to admit there are not many who offer similar low prices for dedicated server but one which looked quite promising was www.serverbidding.com . It’s a site where Hetzner sells old servers for a low price. Obviously the HW is not the latest one and you have to be quick to get a good deal. Definitely worth a look.
This story wouldn’t be a fairy tale without a happy end. Two days later I received a mail from their support saying that I am not charged for the addOn PremiumReverse and I get it for free. Not sure if my 4yrs relationship with server4you or my points in the email made the difference.
Anyway I would like to say that it should be stated clearer or at least explicitly mentioned in the options for PremiumReverse that it is not available at all. As I am sure I am not the only one who had this problem. The brand server4you is obviously positioned in the lower hosting segment compared to the other brands of the PlusServer AG. But first time customers might get a bad impression if they have to pay for IMO basic features or have “hidden” fees.
To be sure my praise and the critics receive them I will drop by at their stand on the Cebit 2013.