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Old 5-2-12, 05:20 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Users cannot send/receive, 2 weeks

I've been dealing with this issue for 2 weeks. Back and forth with PowWeb "support". I am extremely frustrated at the level of support they offer. I cannot talk to anyone who actually knows anything other than "make sure you're using pop.powweb.com".

PowWeb email never worked 100%. Previously we experience 90% uptime. We wouldn't get mail instantaneously (or nearly), sometimes mails would be delayed 4 hours for unknown reasons. Late mail is better than no mail we figured.

Starting two weeks ago at least 8 of my users couldn't access their email via Outlook. We would get this message:


I promptly put in a ticket and followed up with a phone call. The tech made sure we were using the correct information (pop.powweb.com, smtp.powweb.com, 110, 587, no SSL/SPA). I verified this. The thing is, I would understand if 8 users, at the same time, during the middle of the workday, for no reason at all, decided to all synchronize themselves to change these settings and break Outlook. That is highly improbable, especially since our business relies heavily on email and we lose business if we cannot promptly respond to email. All joking aside, this didn't happen. We just couldn't send/receive email.

I verified everything with the tech. No problems found. Issue still exists. They said they would look into it. No call back that day, nor the next day. I had to call them back. Same thing ("Let's verify your Outlook settings.") I asked for a manager or a supervisor, but none were available. Last week, Thursday, I was told I would get a call back by the end of the day. No one called.

We tried different operating systems. Newly installed systems. Different versions of Outlook. Different Service Pack levels. Nothing worked. Users would get mail rarely. It has become "normal" for us to having numerous emails sitting in our Outbox and just letting it run like that until PowWeb comes back "up".

I called Monday, requested a call back since no supervisors were available at that time. I talked to Christian, he apologized that they were unable to fix the issue. It's Wednesday, and no call back.

I'd like to add that they closed my service ticket twice to "Resolved" without notifying me. I had to re-open the ticket manually.

I am pleading to anyone here who might be able to fix or confirm they are also having issues with PowWeb. I'm at the end of my rope here. I'm losing email and it's directly translating into lost money. PowWeb support is completely incompetent. Whatever we pay for in "service" pales in comparison to the thousands of dollars we miss out on when we cannot send quotes out.
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Old 5-2-12, 05:35 PM   #2
Jim M
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From what you describe, this does not seem to be a server-side issue. If that was the case, PowWeb would be getting a lot more reports of this being an issue, and that simply isn't happening. It also seems that support have not been able to reproduce the issue: that not only makes troubleshooting very difficult, but also strongly suggests the cause of the issue is outside of PowWeb's networks and services.

Based on what you describe, I would presume all the affected computers share the same Internet connection, so that's where I would recommend looking, as that appears to be the common factor. Firewalls, anti-virus software, or something at the router level may be interfering with the connectivity. I'd recommend trying a telnet test to PowWeb's servers the next time an outage occurs, to see if you can make a connection: if not, that would tend to confirm this diagnosis.

Unfortunately, we can only help with issues which result from our systems, and the evidence that this is the case here, seems very limited.

Originally Posted by sbcanthony View Post
Whatever we pay for in "service" pales in comparison to the thousands of dollars we miss out on when we cannot send quotes out.
With all due respect, if this is truly the case, then you should probably think about spending more than 30 cents a day on your email provider. A shared hosting environment is really not the best location for mission-critical services.
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Old 5-2-12, 08:05 PM   #3
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Thanks Mr. Jim M. for your response. I find it on-par with PowWeb's image.

PowWeb sells itself as the "Perfect hosting solution". If PowWeb is unable to handle email, it should not market itself as a "Perfect" solution.

Frankly I'm insulted. How can you possibly assign fault on me for using PowWeb as an email host? Are you saying because we may pay 30 cents a day that losing email and having prolonged service outages comes with the territory?


Mr. M., I dug further into the issue and found that our resolved mail exchange is leaving a "half open" connection. If you are versed with deciphering packet captures, I'll give you the latest packet capture. It shows that is failing to establish a TCP handshake and merely sends a RST packet which drops the connection. I cannot definitively say that it's the remote/PowWeb mail server's fault since I don't know what's happening on the far end. But it does show that the local client is trying to establish a connection and that the mail server merely responds with a RST packet.

I would like to work with you so that we get our 30-cents-a-day's worth of support. Thanks in advance.
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Old 5-3-12, 01:15 PM   #4
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Honestly, if my business depended on e-mail, I would not depend on a shared host. Because e-mail comes from the same IP as individuals who sign-up for a cheap account and then send SPAM quick before they get caught. Several times I have run into the case where my mail wasn't getting through because the IP had been black listed. I have run into other cases where it was getting blocked because of the way that PowWeb routes e-mail internally and adds extra headers.
If you are insistant on staying with PowWeb, you might want to at least check into their exchange solution.
It never fails to amaze me when people's businesses and income depends on a website and/or e-mail service and they put their faith in a discount host. Just like a real storefront should be in a good neighborhood and a delivery truck should at least be presentable when it pull sup to a delivery location, a website you depend on should be in a good neighborhood and be presentable.
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Old 5-3-12, 02:58 PM   #5
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Some common errors with e-mail occur, have you checked the following?
Have you checked that the domain name is still valid? (If only a few users are suffering then that can't be the problem)
Have you checked that the users mailboxes aren't full? (You can do this via OPS - you only get a quota of 250Mb and it is easy for a busy e-mail account to exceed this, especially if attachments are frequently sent)
Have you checked that there aren't a large number of files in the inbox/subfolders? (The software that Powweb uses starts to get overloaded if over 2500 e-mails sit on the account.)

But most importantly, check for alternate dedicated e-mail providers. You can use gmail accounts with your domain name and get 7GB of storage. Powweb doesn't advertise itself as a premier e-mail provider. It is a web-hosting solution that also provides e-mail!
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Old 5-3-12, 04:49 PM   #6
Jim M
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Please contact support if you require further help with this issue, and wish to provide specific details showing the issue is on our side. This forum is not the place to supply the account specific information necessary to troubleshoot this further. As a result, this topic is now closed.
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