ūüĆö Kimsufi suddenly deleted my server

How it started

8 years ago I came across a¬†low-budget server provider Kimsufi (by¬†OVH) with extremely low prices for¬†dedicated servers, starting as¬†low as¬†5‚ā¨/month. Five. Euros. Per¬†month! For¬†a¬†dedicated server! Sure, they were selling those servers like hotcakes and¬†it was hard to¬†order one as¬†they ran out in¬†minutes. I had to¬†set up an¬†automatic page refresh in¬†my Google Chrome to¬†catch the¬†free server. Those Intel Atom-based 5-euro-servers weren‚Äôt blazing fast, but¬†their performance was enough to¬†host some simple projects and¬†even run virtual machines. So I moved all my sites and¬†projects to¬†this new server.

How it was going

A¬†couple of¬†years later, I ordered a¬†much more powerful Kimsufi Intel Core i5 server for¬†16¬†‚ā¨/month. And¬†it worked very well since then. It hosted my page, this blog, my ownCloud, some bots for¬†Telegram messenger, my university project with up to¬†2000 visitors per¬†month, sites for¬†my friends, and¬†more...

How it ended

To¬†keep a¬†Kimsufi server working, a¬†user must pay for¬†the¬†server upfront. I was doing this all 8 years, every month. Sure, sometimes I paid with delay for¬†several days for¬†some unexpected reasons¬†‚Äď and¬†these days server was offline. Not¬†pleasant, but¬†quite tolerable for¬†me since I didn‚Äôt host any commercial projects on my server.

In¬†October, I have trouble getting paid for¬†reasons beyond my control. While I awaited my money transfer, I haven‚Äôt chances to¬†pay for¬†the¬†server. The¬†server was offline this time. I was quite sure that the¬†server is ‚Äúsafely disconnected‚ÄĚ from the¬†global network, as¬†many times previously... But¬†it was not¬†there. On October, 11, I received this ‚Äėchain letter‚Äô, that my server has been deleted by¬†my request (very interesting wording¬†‚Äď of¬†course, I didn‚Äôt request the¬†server deletion. They just didn‚Äôt bother to¬†make a¬†different notification for¬†that):

To be understood, I received 2 notifications:

  • 4th of¬†October¬†‚Äď payday,
  • 11th of¬†October¬†‚Äď postfactum notification about server deletion.

Between these days¬†‚Äď 0 notifications, including last-time warnings, that server, and¬†all its data are about to¬†be wiped. Thus, I can suppose, that the¬†payment grace period is 7 days or¬†so. And¬†yes, this information was not¬†transparent at¬†all¬†‚Äď at¬†least, it can‚Äôt be found either in¬†the¬†previous messages or¬†in¬†the¬†account interface.

Is it my mistake?

It depends. Sure, as a customer, I must pay for services in a clear time frame. But what is this time frame? Was it clear? I’m not sure. Should a hosting provider warn before destroying the server with all data? Probably, yes. Looks like it’s a common courtesy to provide service with transparent terms.

By comparison, this is how many warning messages I got from Vultr since the last invoice that couldn’t be paid automatically:

How many messages did I get between payday and¬†server deletion by¬†Kimsufi? Saying it again¬†‚Äď zero.

This approach sucks even if you provide low-budget solutions

I have a¬†bad feeling, that this behavior is not¬†a¬†product mistake. Kimsufi is positioned as¬†a¬†super-low-budget solution in¬†opposition to¬†the¬†parent company¬†‚Äď OVH or¬†even So You Start provider. I can‚Äôt be 100% sure, though, since I never tried these providers and¬†will never do it now. But¬†this is the¬†only logic I can use to¬†logically explain everything here:

You want friendly service? Oh, sorry¬†‚Äď friendly service is not¬†included in¬†our low-budget solution. You could probably try our more expensive servers to¬†get a¬†better experience

Kimsufi was my friend for more than 8 years. As it turned out, the price of our friendship is 16 euros overdue by 7 days.

What I learned

Make backups. Always. Regularly. Your data does not belong to you until you host it on your own server in your own data center.
Unfortunately, some of¬†my backups were too old. Others were missed. But¬†I restored this blog and¬†my personal page, and¬†now I‚Äôm going to¬†restore my university project and¬†my friend‚Äôs sites. This will be an¬†interesting and¬†thorny journey, but¬†this time Internet Archive, old backups, and¬†forgotten experience with setting up old CMS will be my friends. ūüöÄ

¬†136¬†  2022   failure story