Angel Networkz sucks!

Back in May of this year I moved my various sites to a new hosting provider and a new dedicated server.  The hosting provider was Angel Networkz, a small company which had a good reputation in the web hosting space.  Their prices were reasonable, they had good dedicated server packages available, and I had a friend using them who had good things to say about their service.  Seemed like a simple decision at that point…

I placed an order for a dedicated server on May 19.  I was told the very same day that my order and payment had been received and that the server would be up within 24 hours.

Two days later, on May 21, I sent an e-mail asking about the server as I'd not heard back from them and it had been more than 24 hours.  This should have been an indication to me that things were not going to go well, but I simply thought that it was a one-time glitch.  The owner of the company, Donna, responded to me the same day with the following e-mail.

It'll be up today, my apologies for not emailiing [sic] but I only got ahold [sic] of my tech there last night (actually about 3 AM this moring [sic]). Turns out he built it and installed it but it developed a weird overheating glitch where it would switch itself off after a couple hours (yes we test them for that long :P). He didn't have all the parts he needed to build a new one from scratch so he stopped at the supplier on his way in this afternoon to pick them up and he's just installing and testing it now.


Sounded reasonable, right?  So I waited.

The next day, May 22, I finally received notice that the server was ready.  At this point I was becoming suspicious of Angel Networkz, but I ignored my concerns because, again, I thought the explanation was reasonable enough — they had problems with the first server and needed to build and test a new one.

I began setting up the server and moving my sites.  By May 26, I had most of the sites moved and requested some reverse DNS entries be made.  I was told the same day that they were complete and would take up to 72 hours to propagate.  As I was familiar with how DNS worked, I knew that was true.

The same day, May 26, I began having problems with e-mail delivery on the server.  The mail server software, Exim (a true piece of shit), was failing and wouldn't restart.  I requested assistance from Angel Networkz on May 27.

I received a response on May 28 indicating that the problem would be "fixed shortly."

E-mail messages were piling up on the server as Exim could not deliver them.  By May 28 there were more than 200 messages queued on the server.  I once again contacted support and requested an update.  I was again told that they were "working on this now."

On June 1 I noticed that one of the eight IP addresses assigned to the server was no longer available.  I couldn't assign it to any sites and it didn't show up in the available addresses list.  I sent a request to Angel Networkz to have the address made available for assignment.  Here's the response I received the very same day.

For future ref… we won't answer or even see support requests without

Root pass

As too much time is being spend looking up servers based on email addresses and what not we need to start getting clients to help by providing the info we need to fix things rather than us spending 50% of our time having to look it up.

I'll look into this as soon as I can run down the hall and look up your root password to log in.


Well, that seemed a bit rude.  Was there no automation in place to allow rapid mapping between inbound support requests and actual servers/sites?  Apparently not, and they were taking their lack of technology out on me as if it was my fault.

Before I could even respond to that, I received another message from Rachel that was even better, again received on June 1.

Yet another reason why support emails without the info won't be accepted….
your root pass has been changed and we waste another 10% of our time with emails like this to ask what the new one is.


OK, I'll admit I had changed the root password on the server.  There was no notice in any of my sign-up communications or on Angel Networkz's site indicating that changing the root password was something they needed to be notified of.  In fact, changing the password was done through the web interface for the server, and that interface had no notice indicating that they needed to be informed if you actually performed a password change.

At this point I responded to Rachel (and copied Donna) that they had never informed me of that requirement but that I could certainly provide them with the information.  I included the new password in my response while also berating Rachel for her unprofessional attitude and taking Donna to task about the lack of professionalism and support.

Donna responded with a long diatribe about how Rachel was just doing her job, how they were frustrated with customers who didn't provide the correct information when requesting support, and how it was actually my fault that Rachel had responded in such a way.

Now I was getting mad.  I responded back to Donna that her approach to business was a poor excuse for customer service.  I told her that they had never notified me of the disclosure requirement for root password changes (didn't they setup a root-equivalent account when they setup the server?) and that I was not going to be blamed for their apparent lack of preparation and inability to correlate e-mail service requests with the appropriate servers.  I also mentioned she should look at self-service help desk applications since they didn't have a very good handle on the e-mail support system they were using.

She proceeded to tell me that it was still my fault.  She explained I had sent attachments in my e-mail and that they don't accept attachments.  Funny that, again, this information was news to me.  I even checked their site to make sure it wasn't mentioned there, and it wasn't.

Donna again berated me for being a problem client and for causing them such a headache.

I responded to her and once again took her to task over her attitude and what she was trying to blame on me.

Donna then responded to tell me that the password disclosure requirement was new due to the new backup software they were using.  That's why it wasn't in the welcome e-mail I received from them, yet it had been my fault that they didn' have it.  The rest of her e-mail was a whining, self-gratifying pity party that once again blamed their customers (including me specifically) for the trouble they were having trying to support their clients.

I was completely disgusted at this point and decided not to respond to her.  It wasn' doing any good anyway.

On June 8, a full week later, I realized that the reverse DNS, IP address and Exim problems were all still in play and that no progress had been made in solving any of them.  I sent a request asking for updates on all of these issues.

I received responses back indicating that all three of the problems were being addressed.  Later that day, I was told that the Exim and reverse DNS problems had been corrected.  Sadly, the Exim problem had actually gotten worse — inbound mail was now failing.  I reported this fact to them and was told they' have to get the vendor involved since the Exim service wouldn' stay up at all.

On June 19 (a full 11 days later and a full 24 days after the problem had originally been reported), I still had no e-mail delivery for any of my sites.  I requested another update from Angel Networkz and explained that this problem was unacceptable in that no one was doing anything about it despite them having said they were.

Here' the response I received.

*ahem* something you should have told us was that you enabled WHM's SMTP security tweak. Disabled it and now mail should be fine.

Problem is the SMTP tweak never has worked as it should and tends to cause problems like what you've had.


Now I' really had it.  Again I utilized a tool they provided to increase security on the server, and their explanation was that (a) I should have told them I had used it and (b) that it was causing the e-mail problems.

To ensure that I fully understood how disorganized they were, I received another response from Angel Networkz just a few hours later on the same problem.  Here's that response.

It's fixed, do not use the WHM SMTP tweak, it's about as reliable as most of cpanel's "security" features.


At this point I was more than furious.  I had reached my limit with arguing with them, though, so I didn't respond.  I realized by then that it did no good to point out how rude, unprofessional and idiotic they were being and how stupid these responses were since they're blaming customers for the server problems caused by tools they were providing.  My frustration was reaching critical mass by this time, so I began contemplating another move.  The fact that they didn't even know who was working on the problem and that it had already been "fixed" by Kevin indicated a severe lack of business sense and organization on their part.

On June 21, I ran across another Exim problem.  This time it had stopped routing to all real accounts on the server.  It would still route to virtual users on each site, but user accounts on the server were unable to receive e-mail (they could still send, however).  So I reported this fresh new hell to Angel Networkz.

This was their response.

Best is just to make an email account called as cpanel is touchy with that stuff and current versions are probably messed up.


That was the most absurd thing I'd heard in a long time.  The address in question was a user account and couldn't also be mapped to a virtual user.  Not only that, but their response was one of the clearest indications of a lack of interest and a lack of effort.  They were brushing the problem off so they didn't have to deal with it — basically putting the problem back on the customer to solve.

By now, as you can imagine, I was pissed.  Just to be sure they couldn't argue, I tested that and made sure that it wouldn't work (which it didn't) and responded back to them with what I had found.  I requested they look into the issue and try to find a solution.  This is the response they sent back.

I think it's just a cpanel bug


It was evident to me then that Angel Networkz had no interest in trying to solve the problem.  I decided it was time to start looking for a different host, but it wouldn't be long before Angel Networkz provided me with the perfect opportunity to move without having to find another provider.

I received the following e-mail from Angel Networkz's owner, Donna, on August 16.

I'll try to make this short, but I figured you all should know what's been going on lately. I will stress this is to be kept off the forums, I don't want this discussed publicy [sic] so I hope you will all respect my wishes.

A little over a month ago we started losing some of our management clients. Wasn't a big deal as sometimes some go and more sign up. We had 5000 servers we were managing for people so it wasn't expected to be a problem. But it seems some staff members have been working overtime, in the last month someone or some people in this company have been working out deals with management clients to get them to leave us and go to other companies (yes we know which companies). When it came time for renewal most people never bothered to pay their bills or respond, others cancelled [sic]. Out of 5000 servers we were managing 30 days ago there are only about 600 left.

With no way to find out who has been doing this I've been forced to fire 90% of the local staff, only the long time friends and trusted core staff remain at this time. This is the reason for a lot of the delays around here and for this you have my sincerest apologies.

Unfortunately this has also created another problem. Due to the sudden loss of about $400,000 income from these clients that decided to go elsewhere to save a few bucks and others still with overdue payments it's creating a financial bind. Luckily we have credit etc but I obviously cannot use it all up and let things slide. I've covered most expenses already however there are a few other things that need to be taken care of. Since the management clients have been reduced and so has the staff that saves a lot of our future expenses but I want to make sure we can still cover everything.

Here's where you all can help.

For the next few months I'll need to suspend all buy one get one free contracts. At this time if you could all make one months payment we can avoid any problems. Continueing [sic] to pay monthly for the next 2-3 months will also allow us to build up a decent profit margin where we can then honour the buy one get one free contracts while avoiding any financial issues. All accounts will be credited with the extra time, plus a bit more for your help in resolving this matter. I've worked hard the last 2 years to build this company and I'd hate to see it come crashing down on my head just when we were finally starting to get somewhere.

I'd also like to hire a few more new staff and get responses and resolutions to problems back to the lightening fast speed they used to be.

At this point we need at least a few thousand tonight to avoid any service issues and to resolve the cpanel issues on some servers (my apologies to those with cpanel license problems as well, I thought I'd paid all those bills but it seems a few were buried a half dozen pages back and I wasn't aware of it). After that we have a little time but will still need funds coming in to make sure we stay within the lines of our financing. If even half of you can pay one month on your servers this will not only cover these needs but pay off all outstanding bills completely and build up a decent profit margin in short order for us to keep going and improve things. It will also allow us to take care of all upgrades etc that are outstanding, although we initially paid for them to the suppliers it seems nobody there has a record of it so we'll need to pay for them again for now to get them taken care of quickly. We can look up the old paypal receipts for that later.

Thank you all for your time and understanding and I look forward to hearing from you all. For those that don't have it my email is, and the paypal email is


Donna Mercer
Angel Networkz

After I read this message, I knew someone was up to no good.  To ensure my server didn't drop off the face of the planet before I could get it moved, I went ahead and sent another month's payment to Angel Networkz on August 16 (the same day I received that message).

I continued to look for a new hosting provider but, given that I already had so much going on in my life at the time, I wasn't getting very far in my search.

On September 2, I received a different message from Angel Networkz.  This time it was far more desperate.  As I later discovered, they were so far in the financial hole that many of there services had already been terminated by the providers, negatively impacting their customers in California and Texas.  By the message they sent out (below), I realized the company was using extortion to get more money — money to cover the funds they had obviously misused, misappropriated, or flat out stolen.

Here's the message I received on September 2.

We need to hear from all of you. When you email please send your email to (only reponses [sic] to our email, he cannot help with anything else you may have trouble with). Also remember to include your IP address and name as well as any specific instructions as per the sections.

Please read this all to be clear, emails not responded to properly will be filtered out so we can gather the info and get servers back online as fast as possible starting a few hours from now. Do not CC it to other email addresses, it just adds to the junk mail we already have and ensures legit emails will not get responded to (IE [sic] sales and billing etc).

Note: those that sent payment to should have your money back soon to act accordingly.

Cancelling [sic]? please see bottom sections.

California ( location)

For those staying

Issues between and AN have been resolved, once the below requirements are met there will be no further issues and your server(s) will be online again Thursday.

Send an email to with the subject line "Staying". Include your IP(s) and name and company.

You will need to send one months payment to to get your server back up (this is the same whether you stay with us or switch to managed directly). Since people have seen fit to tie up our regular account set up this account on our behalf and payments for servers made to this address will be taken out directly by, not us, to cover your server.

Those who want to switch to directly.

Send an email to with the subject line "switch to managed". Include your IP(s) and name and company.

You will need to send one months payment to to get your server back up (this is the same whether you stay with us or switch to managed directly). Since people have seen fit to tie up our regular account set up this account on our behalf and payments for servers made to this address will be taken out directly by, not us, to cover your server.

Texas. We are not seriously in arrears and overdue there but to ensure we don't end up that way and also to assure them they will get their money payments will be sent directly to them.

For those staying

Send an email to with the subject line "Staying in Texas". Include your IP(s) and name and company.

You will need to send one months payment to

Those who want to switch to TMS directly.

Send an email to with the subject line "switch to TMS". Include your IP(s) and name and company.

You may need to send one months payment to Jose will take this up with you each individually if need be.

Please keep your replies to your IP's and decisions etc, do not ask questions in the email as Kevin cannot and will not answer them, his job is to compile the list so we can have things taken care of accordingly. Do not CC other addresses as it just makes for more email for us to go through and most likely it will get deleted.

If you are cancelling [sic] outright and want your data.

You will need to pay one month regardless (if your server is offline) to get it turned back on.

If you are cancelling [sic] and do not want your data: see Refunds below.

Prepaid months: Will be honoured as we can honour them, same as free months, but only a few people at a time while we ensure the stability of this company. Once this current issue is behind us there should be no further problems.


Those cancelling [sic] and entitled to refunds please send an email to Kevin with the subject line of “cancel”. These will be noted and a list put together and refunds you are entitled to will be handled as we have the funds to send them to you. Refunds will be processed on a first come first server basis.

Those refusing to cancel PayPal disputes will have them cancelled [sic]out by paypal themselves since you are filing under false pretenses (the dispute process is for shipped goods, not the use of a server which comes under the heading of a service, not shipped good). PayPal disputes only delay our ability to refund people and those refusing to cancel them on their own will only delay their own refunds as we will not be able to access the funds needed to process your refund. Those who co-operate will be refunded from a seperate [sic] account.

For those canceling [sic], time is of the essence. If your server is down (at managed) you will need to pay one month to get it back up. This is not our choice but we have no say in that anymore. Note that neither managed nor ourselves guarantee your data. This is out of our hands so we can do nothing to help you recover data if you do not co-operate [sic] with us and the agreement we've been able to make.

I'm going to see if I can work out an extra clause for that but to ensure the safety of your data we need your co-operation [sic] and speedy response.

Further information will be sent in the days to come for those that will require it etc but the faster the responses and payments the faster your server can be put back online.


Angel Networkz

It seemed obvious to me by this that I would not be getting a refund from Angel Networkz for the month I had just paid them and the month I would have to pay to TMS in order to keep my server online.  The issue of not filing a complaint with PayPal seemed to make that clear.

So I did what was easiest — I had Angel Networkz release me as a client so I could transfer to TMS (especially since they were the service provider Angel Networkz was leasing my server and services from in order to sell to me).  The transfer was completed within a day and, happily, my costs went down since the middle-man had been cut out of the deal.

In the meantime, the drama over Angel Networkz continues.  There are plenty of threads on Web Hosting Talk forums which indicate that plenty of people got screwed by Angel Networkz (see this post or this post or this post or… well, you get the point).  There are also clear indications that fraud complaints against Angel Networkz are being filed in Canada and the US.

Oh, and about that PayPal dispute thing they tried to protect themselves from — PayPal reopened all previously closed disputes against Angel Networkz and accepted all disputes submitted in the last two weeks as part of an investigation into the company.  Needless to say, I'm disputing my last payment to them.

As of today, TMS has shutdown all of Angel Networkz's servers in the Dallas datacenter.  I can only guess that the same has happened in California for the same reasons — Angel Networkz didn't pay the bills again.

Donna Mercer, Rachel Marsden, Kevin Johstone, Kevin (no last name), Amanda (no last name), and all of the other personalities of Angel Networkz have vanished.  It's possible that many of those names are false and that there was only one or two people behind the Angel Networkz banner.  Their company web site was down for a while but has since been moved to a different provider.  That won't last long.

I'm just happy to have been able to get out of there without any disruptions or problems.  Jose at TMS (Tailor Made Servers) was very helpful with the transition and proved to be quite responsive even when dealing with the problems created by Angel Networkz).

All I can say is stay far away from Angel Networkz.  They are dangerous thieves who wish nothing more than to steal your money while leaving you on the street.

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