Web Hosting Woes: A Letter to my Readers and Network Solutions

I have had bad issues with Network Solutions over the past 6 months dealing with security and their ability (or willingness) to take whatever steps nessecary to insure security. I have never said a bad word of them in public, I’ve given them second and third and fourth chances.

Yesterday my static portfolio website got compromised AGAIN, and I am finally speaking up in the HOPES that maybe my someone at Network Solutions will listen up and step up their game on making sure this site can stay secure for me and my clients and for all of you!

I’d love if any of you want to send them a Twitter message and let them know we are counting on them to help this site stay safe! (@netsolcares) by sure to mention me, @cmdshiftdesign in your message!

Yesterday I contacted them via Twitter and got some good talk from the customer service rep. I asked that a server support agent CALL ME within a day and they agreed to arrange that.

When my site was flagged by Google this morning, I DM’d @netsolcares again about it and within a couple hours someone called me. Great! Except, this was not a server specialist, this was another customer service rep. (No hate to you Customer Service people, I’ve been you before – you guys deserve love when you do your job well!) I was frustrated that I couldnt talk to someone who could really discuss the issue with me.

The rep told me she was going to put in a request for their technicians to scan my site for malicious code, I told “I have done this already myself – and removed the injected problem. What I would like you to request please is for your technicians to examine the server my files are on to make sure it is up to date with all security patches, and to let me know why this breach happened and what they have done specifically to assure it will not happen again.” She agreed to this and we hung up. It’s now 10:30 at night, Google has finally rescanned my site and the blockade has been lifted! But… I guess we’ll see tomorrow when I hear from Network Solutions.

<3 you guys! Thank you for all the Tweets of concern and support today about the site being down – I do appologize and I am doing all I can to make sure this won’t happen again!


  1. I’ve had to deal with Network Solutions on a number of occasions for various clients and I’ve never been particularly impressed with their responsiveness. They strike me as just too big and corporate. Have you ever considered alternative hosting providers? I’ve personally been with Media Temple for 3+ years and have always been impressed with their responsiveness (both from customer service reps and support staff).

    1. @Tom – yes! a client of mine uses Media Temple and I love them!! Ive also gotten referals to BlueHost. At this stage, NetSol has dropped the ball too many times and i should move – my concerns are:

      1. Im paid up through 2011
      2. I gotta deal with moving the blog (UHG!)

  2. I had the same thing happen at IX Webhost a few years back. After 6-7 years of great, uninterrupted, attack-free service, all of a sudden an injection script got turned loose on the server. I had to move a lot of sites. It was a nightmare – I feel your pain.

    I have been using Hostmonster recently and they are working really well for me, should you want to give them a try. Of course, hit me up for my affiliate link if you do! ;)

    Seriously, if you need help moving your blog, I would be happy to assist. I have done quite a few WordPress server moves so it’s pretty simple for me where it used to be a daunting task. Feel free to drop me a line if you need any help or want me to do it for you.

    Good luck!

  3. I’ve only dealt with netsol for domains, and it had never been a great experience. Moving the site shouldn’t be too much work. If you’re not already, consider using Google Apps for Your Domain to host your email. Makes switching much easier, I’ve found.

  4. Glad the site’s back up and running. I did see it was down yesterday and thought “uh oh, didn’t this happen not too long ago?” Glad it’s all straightened out for now.

  5. Network Solutions has some questionable policies and I’ve had problems with them in the past. I’d run from them. As already mentioned in your comments Media Temple and Blue Host are good alternatives.

  6. I hope they step up and take responsibility Liz, I’ve had the same problems with my host and after multiple emails, calls, etc. they finally did something.

    Moving and setting up hosting again is a pain, I never want to do it gain.

  7. Hey Liz and folks commenting here,

    I work for Network Solutions. The technical and security team is investigating since the first time Liz sent us the issue. We have taken proactive prevention steps. Since we are still investigating anything I say will be pure speculation. The support team will get back to you Liz as soon as we finish investigating. Not trying to defend anything but these are tough issues and many hosts have to work with the users to help fix these individually. The team has been working round the colck on this .



    1. @Shashi – Thanks for reaching out to me and i do appreciate the work your team is putting into finding the issues and solving them. I’m afraid as the minutes tick on and i think more and more about how my businesses reputation is being compromised by all this, i’m thinking more and more that the efforts might be too little too late. But, I am waiting to hear from you guys and we’ll see how it goes and what the best solution for CMD+Shift Design is.

  8. The difficult part of all this then may be getting Network Solutions to refund me some cash for the year + of service I have paid for and in queue with them. Gonna keep close eye on my files, and wait to hear from their team – see if they can assure this won’t reoccur. If they can’t – I’ll have no choice to find a new home. :/

    @Brian – Wow, thanks, that is an amazing offer and i just might take you up on that!

    @Kyle – yea, i don’t use Network Solutions for any of my email, but they do house my domain, so i’d have to transfer that.

    @Laura – last time it happened was right at the end of December, isn’t that ridiculous? I know people who have websites they don’t update or monitor for months at a time, I should be reduced to having to scour my code everyday, seriously!

    @James – its going to be one of those 2 when i move, i think.

    @Jason – moving isnt something I want to do – but i’ve already giving NetSol a few chances and this keeps happening. My reputation is going to suffer, and that isnt acceptable. Moving does sound like such a pain, but now I’m finding out I have some awesome people in my network who are willing to lend me a hand at migrating the blog, and everything else is pretty easy.

  9. Network Solutions has been catastrophic for Visionary Dance, completely broken and Network Solutions is unable to support the website. As we work on getting it moved and fixed, the developer with almost 20 years of experience has said “you’re suffering from a shitty hosting provider. While virtualization is common in the world of IT and hosting, doing it half-assed and charging for it is also as common. You get what you pay for. In this case, the client is paying for sub-standard hosting on sub-standard hardware in a sub-standard virtualized server environment. Those never add up to acceptable performance IMHO.”
    I guess we all learn the hard way.

  10. @Kristine, that is awful! It’s sad that the company has completely squandered their once high reputation! For the first year and a half I’d been with them there was never one issue, but these last 6 months have been a total nightmare!

  11. I’ve used dreamhost for years and been happy with them. Decent tech support. I also use media temple for client sites as well. At work we use the sorta expensive rackspace cloud that has 24/7 tech support. Just depends on what your needs are.

    Ive also heard good things about firehost from @chriswallace and @kylesteed

    1. @Niki – Yes, Dreamhost is on my short list right now too. Bluehost, Hostmonster, MediaTemple, Firehost.

      One thing I really like about MediaTemple is their Twitter presence, but with Blue host I have used their websites livechat and they were SO responsive! Does Dreamhost have any online tech support other than email help tickets?

  12. Thanks Liz. Also wanted to see if I could help Kristine who commented above . The best email to reach the social media listening team is listen at network solutions .com



  13. I skimmed this article quickly, so please forgive any redundancy…

    While I would never, ever defend Network Solutions (clients have never had a good experience with them), it seems like the problem lies in the security of your WordPress installation rather than your host’s server.

    With this in mind, you may want to make your next hosting decision based on whether or not they cater to accounts on a per-application (or per-platform) level. These hosts will take extra steps to provide a more secure environment built with your specific applicaiton in mind (in your case, WordPress).

    First Google turned up: http://www.firehost.com/secure-hosting/wordpress (haven’t used them or researched much, but seems like a good example).

    You’re going to want to look for web-layer security, such as mentions of mod_security, XSS/Injection prevention, etc.

    Either that, or get a host that allows you to access your mod_security settings (I know hosts that offer cPanel have this built-in at times, but there are others I assume) and have somebody come in and set it up for you.

    For more on this (and to understand more about how these attacks happen), here’s a nice paper: http://blogsecurity.net/wordpress/modsecurity-and-wordpress-defense-in-depth

    Okay this is turning into a novel, but to get back to the point: You shouldn’t rely on your webhost to fix these problems, and they can’t/won’t always be able to or even want to keep up with all the WordPress vulnerabilities. While I do suggest switching hosts, keep in mind that their offerings of the security stuff I mentioned earlier are every bit as important (if not more important) as their customer service.

    Feel free to email me or DM @wuori if I can help with anything, and good luck with the move.

    1. Wuori – my WordPress install wasnt touched, it was my static portfolio site (that isnt in WordPress)

  14. I’ve also had similar nightmarish problems with 3shost, never go with them!

    I recently moved everything over from 3shost to Media Temple, and even though Media Temple recently had some security issues, they’ve been on the ball about notifying their customers about changes to ensure that such problems do not arise again!

    and even though it was only one day, I missed your blog! ;)

  15. Just a note that I’m on Dreamhost – no big sites, but haven’t really had much downtime. There are horror stories out there, but they’ve been good for me. I think a lot of it stems from having so many customers – there’s bound to be some cracked eggs, but overall they do a decent job.

  16. I’m glad the site is backup! It’s frustrating when a user wants to come a site and can’t. I see how this event can affect your business. As far as hosts are concerned, give This* a try: http://www.thiswebhost.com/ I’ve been with them for less than a year but I’m very happy with them. Their support is fast! I’ve decided to move all the sites I host to This*.

    Btw, why does your blog look different?

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