Sonic no longer supports hosting users

Web hosting discussion, programming, and shared and dedicated servers.
6 posts Page 1 of 1
by tikvah » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:04 pm
Sonic used to be the premier place for web hosting.

Not some fly by night cheapie site, but a solid, well-maintained, ISP that I trusted with all my websites. At this point I have six, each with a domain name, and all hosted by Sonic (some sites double up but I own multiple user accounts.

But now you're "hands off" (this is what one of your techs told me).

It is not reasonable to expect users who want to use Wordpress to have to log into their shell account (can't telnet anymore and haven't done that for years anyway) and edit the .htaccess file in a way I have to look up each time and hope I get right. Do that for every single site. Then repeat the process every few months when there's a new PHP out.

I can't skip the Wordpress upgrades because then my sites will be vulnerable to hackers. This happened once (I was a couple months overdue for upgrading a plugin or two) and Sonic techs read me the riot act, blaming me for my "irresponsible behavior" that allowed hackers access (roll eyes, but yeah, they did that). Now there are some themes/plugins I can't upgrade anymore because my version of Wordpress is too old. It's too old because I have an older PHP and can't upgrade Wordpress.

Then I also need SSL certificates since Google decided "nonsecure" sites are evil (even if we don't take credit cards) and require them. Nearly ever other ISP has a setup with Let's Encrypt (a free and well regarded SSL provider) where you set it up once and all updates are processed automatically. Sonic could do this easily. But no. Instead we have to install the certificate manually (times the number of domain names we have) and then repeat the process every 3 months or so when the certificates expire. Oh and for the privilege of being allowed to do this, we have to upgrade to hosting accounts that cost 2-3 times what we're already paying. Why? No particular reason. It's not costing Sonic anything if we install SSL certificates.

I get that your focus is on internet access. That this is where you're putting all your energy. But I've also been an internet access customer with Sonic for decades. Starting with DSL, moving to Fusion, and now with FTTN (with dreams of Fiber eventually). Is it too much to ask that my hosting is in the same place?

Why does this mean that hosting users have to be second class? Why cut services? You won't even email us invoices anymore. Something that costs you nothing to do (because you did it for years). Why not keep the underlying software like PHP updated (like you used to)? Why not allow people to have automatic renewals on SSL certificates? I'd gladly pay a reasonable one-time setup fee for that.

I don't want to bail on Sonic. I was about to open a 7th account but nixed those plans. I had bragged to friends about how awesome Sonic is, how up-to-date they are with security. And now I'm embarrassed I said anything, because no SSL access is a dealbreaker for my tech-savvy friends.

I can't even have a functioning website at this point. All I have is an old outdated Wordpress with hacker vulnerability and a blaring message telling my visitors it's not secure. How is this helping Sonic in any way? It's not really saving you money. It's not making your customers happy. It's not validating your reputation as a place that is safe and secure for users.

What's going on and will you please fix it?
by murals » Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:37 am
I agree completely. I have been with Sonic for 22 years and am completely baffled by this situation
by kcfphoto » Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:06 am
I just posted my Hosting issue and lack of support from Sonic on a different thread but completely agree with OP on this. I have been with Sonic since 1995 and hate the idea of having to switch to another host.
by mollyf » Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:49 am

Sonic customer since 1996 or so. Hi Dane.
by rtroy » Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:27 pm
Back in 1997, I started similarly to the OP with The Diamond Lane, based in Hayward by a Ma and Pa shop whose primary business was a machine shop (and Sonic wasn't even an option then). BUT, even The Diamond Lane supported the same kind of hosting the OP described, arguably better.

Importantly, I made the decision to support my own sites myself and now have some 50+ domain names and a roughly equal number of sites, hosted primarily (aside from a couple for myself) for "family and friends" for no money. But, I run them on my own hardware. . . I understand the allure of having someone else host your sites off their bandwidth, but I also understood, even then, the risks; all I need is the network connectivity, and all the software issues are my own.

And this, by the way, highlights the fundamental risk to ALL who out-source their computing, especially, in my view, those who do "cloud computing" and "virtual hosting" on other people's hardware; YOUR priorities and THEIR priorities are not always going to be in alignment and when they are not, YOUR enterprise is going to be at risk. ...The original poster's comments make it clear why nobody should do this; support your own computing!
by dct » Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:57 am
I started in 2007, and at that point in time, hosting wasn't supported.

We've always been encouraged to provide whatever amount of support and expertise as we can: some people have hosting as part of their skillset, while others don't, and the margin of those who do grows ever smaller, at least in technical support. The lines between system admin, web master, web developer, and technical support did not blur, but became more pronounced.

Most technical support representatives should be able to provide general assistance with hosting, or point you in the right direction, but creating an .htaccess file is outside of that scope.

In terms of updating your sites, FileZilla, or a similar FTP program, should allow you to do most of what you're looking to do in terms of uploading/modifying content and code. In terms of WordPress and PHP, we do provide routine updates for new installations, but we don't update your sites - it has a habit of breaking things going from version to version both for PHP and WordPress, as most templates/plugins are designed for a singular release. Long term support is provided by the web administrator, which in this case, is the user.

The amount of resources and expertise required to create and maintain a modern website has increased dramatically. I remember being able to host a plain HTML site, make a few tweaks with .htaccess for site specific behavior, and it was good. Nowadays, people need SSL certs. They need advanced php functionality, jquery, shopping carts, content management systems, plugins, dynamic content, etc.

Sonic has always provided web hosting for power users, it's just that power users skillsets have increased in scope exponentially over the years. Platforms like Shopify, SquareSpace, Wix etc.. have become very popular for that reason; unless you're a web professional, it's become increasingly difficult to administrate and maintain a site.

That said, we have a great community, and if you run into issues administrating your website, getting it updated, post a question here and ask! It might not be a Sonic representative responding, but more often than not someone with expertise will be able to assist.
Dan T.
Community & Escalations Manager
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