Have you ever bought some eggs from the supermarket only to find one is broken when you arrive home? If you didn’t check the eggs over before purchasing,  you can’t really be sure that you wasn’t sold a broken one, though if you go back to the supermarket they will probably replace the eggs for you anyway.

QiQ don’t sell eggs but our approach to support for our customers is not too dissimilar, as I am about to explain for you below.

A web host sells space on a server, and when you purchase that space it can be used for a variety of purposes – subject to T and C’s – with email and website hosting being the most common. The primary responsibility of a web host is to ensure their server is up and working as intended for their customers, and should the server go down or not behave as it should then the web host fixes it.  

Where things can become a little less clear or grey is when a customer’s third party program, application or script that talks to the server is not working as intended. When this occurs, a web host will typically verify the server is fully operational by trying to replicate any issue their customer is experiencing, and if the issue is seen to be replicated on the server, it will be fixed.
However, sometimes an issue can not be replicated, and if the server is proven to be working as intended the customer may need to seek assistance elsewhere, such as, for example, from a program developer, a webmaster or third party IT services. 

One example encountered could be that a customer’s email service is not working as it should because their local computer can not ‘see’ the web server via email management software – also known as an ’email client’ – such as Outlook or Mac Mail.  If the web host’s dedicated support service verifies that the server is functioning correctly, and concludes that it is likely to be antivirus software on the customer’s desktop computer preventing the connection, then the customer would need to resolve the issue with the assistance of the antivirus software provider. 

Similarly, with email, a web host can only be expected to provide the generic configuration settings and maybe a general email configuration guide for email setup in various third party email clients such as Outlook or Mac Mail etc.  Given the various different computer operating systems, configurations, mobile devices and tablets available today, and even more email client software options, a web host simply can not assist with the practical configuration of email, they can only really advise at best.
If a customer, after receiving the configuration settings, is unable to get their email working properly, and it is verified the email server is working, they should then consider contacting the provider of the email software program they are using, or their operating system provider instead. The two most common providers of such software – Microsoft and Apple – offer online guidance and telephone support for such eventualities. Other third party email management software providers such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Opera Mail for example, usually offer FAQ’s, configuration guides and generic help through forums.

When a customer requires a third party program or script to be installed in their hosting space on a server, such as WordPress for example, then it is the customer’s responsibility to install, manage, and maintain stability by updating the software at regular intervals.  However, we do acknowledge that third party software issues may be experienced from time to time, and if the server is running as expected, QiQ support will be happy offer guidance of a general nature.

I mentioned in my opening paragraph that a supermarket will often replace broken eggs even if they can’t establish whether the eggs were broken before or after purchase. They do this as a gesture of goodwill and trust that will ensure customers are happy enough to return to their store to buy more eggs and other goods. QiQ has similar broken egg policy! If something outside the scope of our support responsibility is not working, we will do our best to help and advise you.
We call this type of support our ‘best effort’ support, meaning that if any problem that you may encounter is not related to server issues, if we can help you we will, and if not, we will try to point you in the direction of someone who can assist you to find a satisfactory resolution.  For instance, if a script is not working as it should, we may be able to point you in the right direction to find where the problem is occurring. If an email application is throwing a strange error or is failing to connect, we may be able to help interpret just what the problem is.
At QiQ, we are always happy to help you and you can be assured you’re in good hands.