Domain hosting

David Marsh drmarsh
Sat Aug 14 02:22:28 BST 1999

On 13-Aug-99, Wood, Richard wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Jose Marques [mailto:noway at]
>> Sent: 12 August 1999 11:16
>> Are Force9 any good?  

I'll chip in too, as I've recently switched from Zetnet (who are, sadly,
becoming increasingly "vanilla") to F9 (the new name for Force9)..

> Up until a month or so ago, F9 had a _very_ bad problem with usenet spam
> (they were one of the top5 originating sites for spam), but appear to
> have worked out how to install cleanfeed and aren't as much of a problem
> anymore

I wasn't aware of that, but I can concur with what Richard said about the
poor attitude of Insight (F9's adopted parent company) regarding email
spamming, although I'm pleased to say <touch wood> that I haven't been
affected. AFAIK, Insight haven't done a bulk-mail for a while, and F9 are
still getting the stick from existing customers the last time it happened.

I can only hope things are getting a bit better (having dozens of "their"
own customers publicly stating that they'll de-recommend Insight to
everybody they know hopefully won't do their business much good).

> Their 0800 access offering is evidently a farce, they refuse to give you
> the number, pointing you at a portal site which was(is?) broken and won't
> give you the number.

It took me over a month to get onto the 0800 access scheme (F9 say they're
only gradually adding customers as Telewest claim not to be able to add
enough lines to deal with all the expected demand at once), but 0800 access
(weekends only) has worked fine for me (under FreeBSD, naturlich ;-) and
although initially F9 were going to issue a new number each week, it
appears to have settled on two, so I just put them both into a calling loop
in ppp.conf.

The 'portal' account management site was badly broken when first created
(just like M$, F9 decided to use the whole userbase as beta testers.. :-( )
but has gone through about 4 incarnations since and seems to work fine now!
I will give them credit for that!

> Their technical support was a joke when I had an account (although this
> may have improved).

Tech support is for wimps ;-)

Let's face it, we can't really expect any ISP to be able to answer Unix
questions. Be nice if they would, though :-)

In their favour, F9 offer what I believe to be the best range of services
on a generic 'home user' account: cgi-space, shell access, subdomains,
individually passworded mailboxes (if requested), static IP (if requested),
fax2email, 0800 access at weekends, mailing list servers..

Unfortunately, their news-server does seem to be a bit iffy (and their
active list contains *every* possible misspelling, bogus and 'local'
hierarchy imagineable), but they have at least one techie guy who does seem
_good_ and knowledgeable, and he's also recently taken over as Newsmaster,
so hopefully that aspect will improve.

> Basically, avoid them like the plague.

Well, I think they're generally fine (although I've only been there for
about 3 months) in terms of services offered, and although a number of
customers have complained about assorted outages recently, everything has
seemed to work fine for me (although they really could do with sorting the
news-server), and Insight's attitude does suck, but hopefully the
spam-doesn't-pay message is getting through as their own customerbase keep
reminding them of this!

F9 have created two services: the paid-for Premier service with all of the
features above, and the generic (Freeserve-alike) Free service, so you can
always sign up for a freebie account to check them out for a while before
making a decision (slightly annoying that the freebies get to use the same
servers and bandwidth as the rest of that, that part is the same so offers
a good comparison, I guess).


David Marsh,drmarsh at  |         |
Glasgow/Glaschu, Scotland.       | If urgent, phone: +44  77-121-848-90  |
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