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tsoHost pulls plug on Gridhost service with just 45 days' notice

Company claims to have emailed customers repeatedly, but many say they didn't receive any

Exclusive UK hosting outfit tsoHost has shut down its Gridhost platform amid stinging criticism from customers about the 45-day notice period and general way it was handled.

The complaints are that not enough time was given for many to complete a successful migration to another host, reports of technical issues during the notice period, and annoyance that tsoHost's technical support system was completely overwhelmed by users desperate for assistance.

tsoHost, now part of the GoDaddy group, posted a notice in its online knowledge base stating that it would close the Gridhost platform on the November 10, 2022. It warned that customers' cloud control panels would be inaccessible after this date, and advised them to "complete all your actions at least 10 days before the final date."

Customer websites and emails were likewise no longer accessible after November 10.

The company claims that customers were emailed regarding these changes on multiple dates, starting on September 26, then October 11, October 27, November 3, and November 9.

It told us that the email contained advice to help users manage this transition, and that guidance was also made available from September 26 on the tsoHost status and control panel pages.

tsoHost states on its online FAQ that it is retiring Gridhost to focus resources on providing the best products and services for customers. In order to do so, it says that it has had to "cut back on products that, although once pioneering, are becoming obsolete as alternatives become available."

"We understand that the decision to retire the Gridhost platform will be disappointing and tsoHost is working closely with customers to support migrations," a GoDaddy spokesperson told us.

However, The Register was contacted by multiple readers who said that they did not receive any such emails from the company, and only discovered the Gridhost shutdown plans from others on social media.

One user said: "It seems very apparent that customers didn't get any emails telling them about this shutdown. I know I didn't get any. There was no documentation, no support capacity for the increased demand."

There were similar complaints on social media, with one irate customer, Ben Cooper, posting on Twitter to ask tsoHost: "Have you really just turned off an entire hosting platform with no notification? Several of my sites have vanished, so I googled it."

"Yeah, I know you claim to have sent emails – none were received. Now wondering if you'll also do this with my business site."

Another user on Reddit posted that they had been active on the Gridhost platform with a reseller account since 2012, and had 298 websites in operation. They complained that 45 days was not a reasonable length of time in which to complete a migration.

Other customers talked of a chaotic customer support situation, with hours-long waits to even talk to a member of staff on live chat. At least one user complained on Twitter that after hours of waiting, they were simply dropped from the queue. Another said that they filed a support ticket and still hadn't had any contact a week later.

The situation was perhaps compounded by the fact that tsoHost ceased to offer telephone support in July, which we discovered when we attempted to contact them by phone and were greeted by a terse recorded message to this effect.

tsoHost's online FAQ advises customers that if they wish to keep their site content and emails with the company, they need to choose a suitable plan and order it via the website, then follow a series of steps to migrate it from Gridhost to the new platform.

Alternatively, customers are advised to contact the tsoHost support team for advice on how to migrate their site and emails to another hosting company.

According to the company, customers who requested a migration before November 10 have had this successfully completed. "tsohost can confirm that those customers who requested a migration before 10th November have successfully migrated," the GoDaddy spokesperson told us.

"We advise those customers who have not yet backed up or migrated their information, to raise a support ticket and our teams will provide details on downloading content from the platform."

The spokesperson also warned: "Currently, we are experiencing longer than usual wait times as our support teams work through individual cases."

Perhaps tsoHost had decided it had experienced too many issues with Gridhost. At the start of this year, it was reported that websites which had names starting with the letter B were experiencing problems loading.

Last year, an incident sparked user complaints that the host's client area was inaccessible and that their websites were down. The year before it was issues with email, and in 2019 customers suffered a week of disruption after some dodgy code was somehow injected into tsoHost's servers. ®

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