What is it with ISPs? Allow 72 hours for a reply?

We don’t actively write about our vendors or business suppliers. It isn’t good business practice and it isn’t professional. Yet today, I felt compelled to post something about traditional ISPs and how customer service can be a world apart from that of us web hosts.


The background

We use Kingston Communications/KCOM/KC (this is one and the same but after recent name changes, I’m not sure which is technically correct) for our primary office connectivity in the UK. Kcom are one of the better business broadband ISPs and have a fast and mostly stable network. We like working with them. We have backup wireless (wifi) and wireless (mobile) connections meshed in to give us redundancy and it keeps us online around the clock.

We’re expanding our office in the UK to help accommodate and fuel future growth. As part of that expansion, we contacted Kcom to discuss additional connectivity/bandwidth options. After an initial phone call to discuss our requirements, several emails were exchanged while KCOM conducted a feasibility assessment with a view to coming back with us with some options. Today, I sent a follow up email asking for an update on the assessment and our options to be met with

Thanks you for getting in touch with the KC Business Care Team, Due to the high volume of emails, we endeavour to get back to your enquiry within 72 working hours.

Making sure you’re happy with the service we deliver is really important to us. If you would like to talk to a member of our team in the meantime give us a call on 0800 915 5777 which is a free number from your KC landline or why not use our Help & Support http://www.kcbusiness.co.uk/contact

section on the KC website you may find the answers you’re looking for here.

72 hours? That’s 3 days! Can you imagine waiting 3 days for a response to a sales enquiry or technical support enquiry to us? As a company that strives for 20 minute response times to all emails and tickets, 3 days seems like an eternity.

I feel bad for singling KCOM out here. They are definitely one of the better ISPs and we’ve mostly been happy with their service. This post is mostly to highlight the big gaps between leading web hosts and the service they provide versus traditional, older ISPs.

Stay tuned for pisc of our office expansion



Why SEO hosting is bad and why you should avoid it

We often get asked if we provide ‘SEO hosting’ and the answer is no. And we have our reasons. But in a short pre-sales call or live chat, it’s often difficult to explain why we do not and why SEO hosting is a myth that is best avoided. So to elaborate on SEO hosting and the detrimental impact it can have on organic search marketing, I’ve written the following blog post. Hopefully this will let you make an educated decision if you really wish to use one of these SEO hosting services.


A quick history lesson

SEO hosting came about through many black hat marketers wanting to completely separate out their websites on different IP C classes. The term ‘C class’ itself is actually obsolete and has been for some time, thanks to the not-so-recent introduction of CIDR (classless inter domain routing). The term ‘C class’ has stuck despite the origins of CIDR being back in 1993 but the correct way to describe the separate networks that these marketers want would be separate /24s. But to keep things simple and to clarify for those unfamiliar with the terminology, a request for this separation looks like:

Site A on

Site B on

This is obviously just an example and I’ve used it to show you a different /24 (or C class, using incorrect terminology).

Now that we’ve cleared up the language, let’s look at the traditional reasoning a marketer will use when wanting to separate out the sites.


Common myths associated with SEO hosting

SEOs will give many reasons for wanting sites on different IP addresses. I do agree that it is a good idea to separate websites between different servers and perhaps different locations as servers will inevitable face problems from time to time. Yes, even cloud servers – just look at how big an outage is when one of the major cloud providers goes down. The outages are generally measured in hours and days. But I don’t agree with using any of the following as the sole reason to separate out websites:

  • Separating sites out on to separate IPs in separate /24s will make Google think the site has a different owner
  • Linking from sites in a separate /24 will give a link more value
  • If I’m building a link farm (don’t, please) then using different IPs will hide it better
  • Any other boost that SEO hosting supposedly gives in organic search rankings

In fact, my argument is that using any type of SEO hosting service will do more bad than good. Let me explain.


SEO hosting does more harm than good

Think about the type of person that will actively use SEO hosting. These are hardcore SEO guys, and their techniques and methods may be entirely white hat, but I’d warrant a guess that most have tried techniques in varying shades of grey (and maybe more than 50?). Some of these methods will have fallen foul of Google guidelines, resulting in domain names and IP addresses being tarnished. And many of these SEOs will have opted for SEO hosting to power these websites. So think for a moment about any reputation that these SEO IPs will have. We have a lot of visibility into what IP  reputation does in the spam/anti-spam arena and how IP reputation hugely influences email delivery. So it is a safe assumption that Google and Bing maintain similar private databases for web  and SEO spam.

So consider the two main types of SEO hosting available:

1) Shared IP SEO Hosting – you get 10, 20 or more shared IPs that you can create an account on. These IPs are shared with other SEO hosting customers who also create sites on the same IPs. Any one particular IP may have several hundred websites or more hosted on it. And what happens if just one of those websites does something black hat that results in an IP reputation drop or even gets the IP black listed? It’s impossible to accurately measure the damage of how much of a lasting impact this may have. But it’s very easy to see that SEO IPs are at much higher risk of this happening than a traditional shared server IP addresses or non-SEO hosting.

2) Dedicated IP SEO Hosting – you get a number of IPs in different /24 ranges. The other IPs in these different /24 ranges will be in use by other SEO hosting customers. Google is undoubtedly aware of the ranges in use by the SEO hosting companies. Other IPs in the range may bet blacklisted or have a poor reputation probably, and this spreads to the other IPs in the range and possible in every range. So as a customer, you are faced with the same problem I outline in point 1.

Neither of the above examples are desirable. You want an IP address that is clean, that has been used normally and won’t have a detrimental or negative impact on your site. And consider:

  • Google can link site ownership via Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Adwords, Adsense, Chrome sign-ins and more
  • Google can link site ownership from whois information and nameserver records

So my question is – is it really worth attempting to separate your sites in such a way just for them to be tarnished by a low reputation IP address? Not in my book.


You should separate your sites

It is good practice to separate your websites and spread them between different IP addresses, different servers and different locations. But not just for SEO reasons, and not with a SEO hosting company. Servers are computers so they can and will have issues. We spend many thousands of pounds / dollars on each of our servers and house them in a truly redundant environment, but issues can occur. And even if the issue is just a 10 minute issue, if all of your sites are on one server, that means all of your sites will be affected by that one issue. This hurts your business and may also hurt your Google rankings.

So spread the load and don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Put your sites on different servers. Jolt customers enjoy a choice of different servers in one location, different servers spread across multiple locations and even different continents. By having servers in NYC, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix and the UK, we’re able to offer a very diverse set of locations (and yes, IP locations), although we don’t condone any blackhat marketing. And rest in the knowledge that your neighbours on the same IP or adjacent IPs are well behaved and not hurting your efforts.



I initially posted this back in February of 2013. Everything in my initial post remains true, and we’ve noticed that some of the so-called SEO hosting companies have simply disappeared. We expect this is because customers of these services were experience issues getting ranked in Google due to the dirty IP addresses, making these businesses unviable.

Additionally, Google has come down hard on a number of substantial link networks in the past 18 months. Many of these link networks used SEO hosting and have tarnished the IP and server reputations for others on these services. We do advocate you practice good, white-hat SEO that falls within Google’s Webmaster guidelines. But do be aware of your hosting environment and make sure this isn’t holding your rankings back.

More than ever, trying to game Google with SEO hosting and link farms is bad. Don’t do it!


Introducing our new UK dedicated servers

How better to start 2013 than announcing our new UK based dedicated servers? The following are available immediately in our Midlands datacentre.

  • Intel Xeon E3-1220
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB SATA Enteprise HDD
  • 5000GB Bandwidth
  • £99 / month

The following upgrades are available:

  • Upgrade to Xeon E5-2407 CPU | + £100 / month
  • Upgrade to XeoN E5–2620 CPU | + £200 / month
  • Add 4GB RAM | + £30 / month
  • Add 500GB Hard Drive | + £30 / month
  • Add 1000GB Hard Drive | + £50 / month
  • Add 5000GB Bandwidth | + £150 / month
  • Add cPanel control panel | + £20 / month
  • Add Full Server Management | + £50 / month

To order please email sales@jolt.co.uk. Turnaround time is 24-48 hours depending on stock levels.

These will be available on our website when the new design launches in 2 weeks time.


– prices exclude VAT @ 20%

– Xeon E3 based systems support 16GB RAM max

– Xeon E5 based systems support 64GB RAM max

– all systems support 4 hard drives maximum

– custom specifications are available. please contact sales to discuss

A customer visit to our UK datacentre

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of showing some of our customers around our new UK datacentre. A couple of us had cameras in tow and we thought it would be nice to show you some of the faces, the places and the infrastructure behind www.jolt.co.uk.

So firstly, a big thank you to www.TheLincolnite.co.uk and www.SpiralMedia.co.uk who came on the datacentre tour, who posed for some pictures and who inspected their servers. Both of these clients are based in Lincoln, about 20 miles away from the datacentre in the heart of Nottinghamshire.

Let’s re-wind 6 months to talk about. Jolt was looking to expand in the UK and add to our already international presence (Atlanta, NYC, Phoenix, Dallas, Amsterdam). We had a strict criteria on the type of datacentre we were looking to use based on our 10 years experience of doing business in the US and worldwide. In particular, we were looking for a facility that:

  • Was rated Tier 3 or higher by the uptime institute. A Tier 3 facility meets important standards for reliability and redundancy of all service affecting systems (power, network, security, hvac).
  • Was staffed 24×7 and could offer us the right type of onsite support contract for anything we can’t do remotely as we don’t maintain a large office presence in the UK. We can do almost everything remotely other than swap hard drives, swap out RAM modules and do any network cabling as each and every device we put online has IPMI/ILO/DRAC or out of band serial access when it comes to core switches.
  • Had room for expansion. We decided against a London-based facility because many of these have quickly run out of space or had power density restrictions that wouldn’t fit our needs.
  • Had excellent network connectivity across the UK, Europe and Worldwide.

In the end we chose the Timico datacentre located in Nottinghamshire. With 10Gbit connectivity to London and Manchester and a sub <2 millisecond journey time, the facility offers great performance UK-wide. Timico’s extensive peering with many UK broadband providers, along with its own broadband network, means access is phenomenally quick. Timico’s network actually won best business broadband in the UK (awarded by ISPA) in 2011.

Back to the tour itself. The four of us met at the datacentre and the tour commenced. Both TheLincolnite and SpiralMedia are dedicated server customers and some of our first dedicated customers in the UK. I’ll largely let the pictures do the talking for the rest of the tour.

UK datacentre
Phil of Spiral Media, Tref of Timico, Matt of Jolt, Daniel of TheLincolnite
Datacentre network operations centre
Timico datacentre NOC
Datacentre hall 1 where Jolt racks reside
Datacentre cold aisle
Matt of Jolt stood in the dc cold aisle
Dedicated servers in the rack
Some HP/Supermicro servers in one of our racks
UPS power
Power room for data hall 1 (redundant power)


FM200 fire suppression
FM200 gas used in the unlikely event of a fire


For those interested, all of our shared/reseller/vps hosting accounts are now provisioned in our UK datacentre. We’re offering custom dedicated servers (just get in touch using sales@jolt.co.uk) and we’ll launch mass market UK dedicated servers with the launch of our new Jolt site.


Our new UK datacentre is live!

I’m very pleased to announce that our new UK-based datacentre, located in the heart of the country in the East Midlands, is fully live. People signing up to our shared and reseller hosting services are now being provisioned on HP servers in our new facility, and VPS / Dedicated offerings will be available there very shortly.

Datacentre Specs:

  • 4000 sq ft raised floor in phase one (phase two has 30,000+ sq ft)
  • Built to Tier 3 standards with fully redundant power, climate control and networking
  • Hot/cold aisle setup with cold aisle containment
  • Free air cooling
  • 1.3MVA dedicated substation with N+N generators and N+N UPS systems
  • FM200 fire suppression system

We all know that pictures are worth 1000 words, so here are a few pictures of the facility.

WebHostingBuzz UK datacentre

Datacentre airconditioning

Dual UPS systems

More pictures to follow…

We will be updating our range of dedicated hosting options from the UK shortly and these will appear on www.jolt.co.uk. We also have a new site design going live in the near future so stay tuned! In the mean time, please contact sales@jolt.co.uk for any UK hosting services enquiries.