Here is an honest review of the hostiso / cloudamo service.
I’ll say it right off the bat: My experience with them is pretty bad. But I don’t want to to rant. Instead I want to give you the real, factual reasons for why, and you can make up your own mind.
I should also mention that even though I have found their service to be quite poor overall, they aren’t completely useless, they are appropriate for some use cases. More about this in the conclusion.
Before I begin I also want to make it clear that this is not some random thoughts after trying their service for a few days. I have been a customer of theirs for three years. Only now have I decided to switch, mostly because I couldn’t be bothered before.
There’s two types of speed: the network speed, and the speed of the server itself.
The network speed is totally decent. Not great, but decent. Although I rarely have gotten my full Internet speed, the download speed was not significantly slower than other services that don’t have local mirrors in my country. I didn’t keep track of hard numbers, so this is more of a subjective experience, but let’s say I could easily download a 20MB file in seconds.
The speed of the server itself is another matter. By this speed I mean the time that the server takes to process a request, to fetch the required data, and then give your computer an answer. This is slow. Exceptionally slow. When using the desktop agent you can feel this as a really slow reaction to file changes. It has not been uncommon for this to take 20 to 30 seconds. My new provider does the same thing in 2 or 3 seconds, so we’re talking a 10x slower processing speed. Once the download/upload has started, it is reasonably fast though, as indicated in the previous paragraph.
This also affects the web interface. Navigating folders can easily take between 5 seconds up to a minute to open each one. In photo folders generating previews is so slow that it sometimes times out and fails altogether. The folders don’t even have to be that big. It has been common for me to see a folder with just 10 pictures in it take between 30 seconds to a minute to load. To me the web interface thus became useful only for emergencies, when I had no other way. It was never pleasant to go there and browse my files.
The service has extremely poor uptime. It has varied a lot how bad it has been; in some periods it’s not bad at all; but relatively frequently they’ve been having downtime which has lasted several hours almost every week.
My worst experience was an outage that lasted for four consecutive days. During this time I got no message from them whatsoever, and in fact they did not reinstate service until I contacted their support and told them about it. To me this indicated that they are not monitoring the service very closely.
So why did I call this a “review of the hostiso / cloudamo service”, and not just one of them?
Well, I wish I knew. I signed up for hostiso, originally. One day, that server was just gone (or maybe I couldn’t log in, I don’t remember exactly since it’s a while back). There was no message from them whatsoever, and my thoughts ranged from thinking they had been hacked, to thinking they had taken my money and run.
After digging around on forums, I realized that they had, without saying a word about it, switched the server to cloudamo. From the looks of it, it’s a different service, but apparently there is a connection between the two services, though to me this connection is not clear. To this day I have kept on paying hostiso, while the server is cloudamo, and they have never told me why. Only through forum posts was I able to figure out that there was a link.
Once I switched all my accounts over, and synced, it started working again, so it all worked out, but the communication was extremely lacking.
This is a general trait with them, they do not communicate anything to their users, and since I signed up, I have never, not a single time, gotten an email from them about downtime, upgrades or anything like that. Do not expect to be told about such things.
My experience with their support was positive… sort of. You’ll see what I mean.
First of all, I only contacted their support three times. You could perhaps say that given the frequent outages, I should have contacted them more times, but I’m lazy, and maybe unreasonably tolerant of their service issues, if it means I have to do work to get it addressed.
In all cases, the replies were both quick and helpful, and they resolved/answered my issue in all cases. Which is great, I count this as a plus!
I said “sort of” however, because the tone of the responses was… not rude exactly, but kind of un-professional, very short, often consisting only of two or three words. I don’t want it to count too negatively, especially since the sample size is small, but I would have expected something like “we are sorry to hear that. Can you try X”, instead of their typical response, which consisted entirely of the two words “Try X”.
If you don’t believe my claim in the last section about “un-professional answers”, you can actually see it for yourself. Check out this forum post for example. It’s not exactly bad, and maybe some people would disagree with me, but the tone of the reply makes it seem like the user is just an annoyance to them, he did something wrong, and I don’t get the impression they really want to be helpful.
And then there’s this post. Instead of trying to address real concerns that are raised in that thread, they just dumped their sales pitch in there.
Cloudamo / hostiso is cheaper than many other alternatives, though not by enough to justify the many shortcomings. But if you are less bothered by the uptime and performance issues I’ve listed above, and are just looking for a background service to handle your backups, then Cloudamo / Hostiso will work just fine, and the price makes it an attractive choice for this purpose.
When I cancelled my subscription with them, I got a confirmation in their usual short style, with an email that simply said “Done”. Alright, that was done then, I put it out of my mind and moved on.
Except it wasn’t over. About a month later I found out that they were still charging me! Even after my account was deleted!
Once again their support was quick, and they took care of the issue right away, but I find it quite bad that I had to go through the trouble of contacting them at all. It points to a general lack of good procedures, and makes me wonder how safe their servers really are.
So to recap:
- Fast support
- Exceptionally poor server/UI performance
- Poor uptime
- No communication about upcoming or ongoing disruptions
My assessment of Hostiso / Cloudamo as a service would be:
- Good for: Background backups, where instant access is not a concern, and where price matters
- Bad for: Everything else