A church that uses my church management software has web and email hosting through SiteGround (no link for them, I’m not helping their PageRank). Church users have not been receiving emails from the system (e.g., password reset emails). I had users check their spam folders but the message was not showing up at all. I was, however, able to send an email directly with a temporary password. I thought that was odd and put a note on my to-do list.
Today when I tried to reply to a message from someone at the church, I got back this:
SMTP error from remote server after RCPT command:
host thespecificchurchdomainhere.com [ip addy]:
550-Verification failed for <firstname.lastname@example.org> 550-unrouteable mail domain “ardentdev.com”
550 SITEGROUND sender verify FAILED
So now I cannot send mail to this church from ardentdev.com (which goes through 1&1) or from the churchradius.com server (though it seems to work from Gmail / Google Apps for churchradius.com). [For the technically minded, I used to have an SPF record for churchradius.com and mail was still not getting through to this church. I temporarily removed the SPF record to ensure that wasn’t causing a problem itself.]
Considering how many other places I send mail, I’m making the fair assumption that there is something weird going on at SiteGround. So I try to call them so I can work it out. When you call you can talk to pre-sales or report abuse. Those are your choices. If you need tech support, you’re directed to their web site where you have to be a customer to login to their help desk / ticketing system. There is no email address to contact. So I tried talking to a pre-sales person. He says I have to use the ticketing system. He suggested I ask the church for their user name and password so I can log a ticket on their behalf!!!
So I try the report abuse option and got a “nobody is available right now” message. (Hopefully the abuse is not too serious.)
I tried the live chat on the web site but it too is pre-sales and I was directed to the web site where you need to login to access the help desk. The live chat rep also suggested I ask the church for their username and password and submit a ticket on their behalf. He says there is absolutely no other way.
Wow, what an awful system. I love good process, but when something falls outside of the normal process, your company still has to react. There were no channels for me to deal with. There was no “business-to-business” number to call. There was no email address to try. And frankly I am appalled that they would suggest that a software vendor ask a customer for the username and password to their system.
If you are going to host email for somebody, you have a responsibility not only to protect customers from spam but to ensure they receive legitimate emails. I know the spammers make this harder everyday, but that’s a challenge you take on when you agree to host email for somebody. SiteGround’s procedures and the demeanour of its frontline staff shows that it does not put sufficient value on the second part of that responsibility.
If you are looking for web and email hosting, I would avoid SiteGround.