A headsup about german provider policies

YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer
edited May 27 in General

This still being relevant, I'll post it here, too:

Since the same threads happen to pop up over and over again, I decided to put this post mainly in regard of Netcup, Hetzner, Contabo, PHP Friends, All-Inkl and other German providers as they are quite popular among this community.

Before you get tempted by their awesome prices read this:

German providers tend to hold you accountable for the contract you signed.

German providers tend to have old-fashioned 30 days cancellation policies and oddly long/complex billing terms (hello Netcup; although they lately appear to offer monthly terms on their internationally facing website), as well as tend to ask for manual identity verification. It is, however often accepted if you blur out some parts of your ID as I was told by some users iirc(leaving your name visible ofc).

German providers will not tolerate abuse (intentional or unintentional) as long as OVH/Online/Kimsufi/SYS might do.
They are certainly not lenient on this kinda stuff and will drop you like a hot potato.

Germany is a non-torrent friendly country. You are probably better off doing this kinda stuff in NL, Spain, Switzerland, Romania @cociu if you expect to get DMCA requests or shutdown notices.

If you - for whatever reason - end up in late payment or forgot to cancel your contract with a German provider and want to use them ever again: Suck it up and pay it (if it is a legit claim that was made regarding you forgetting to cancel or smth similar). Debt collectors also are a thing here.

That being said... Germany providers are still a great choice if you are intending to run a legit operation (I didn't say shady, illegal or semi-legal; I said legit):

German consumer protection laws usually are on point and often rule in favour of the consumers.

German Providers have to take lots of security measures required by law in order to protect their clients. We also love paperwork (not really).

German Providers tend to offer awesome bang for the buck deals (Netcup, Hetzner, Contabo, PHP Friends..)

German Providers tend to be very stable and we like efficency.

German Providers tend to be privacy friendly (legit privacy that is) and are probably a good pick for hosting websites of journalists that would be persecuted elsewhere.

German Providers are in big trouble if they hand out your data without a legit claim. Never forget that.

Enjoy!

Kind regards,
Ympker

Comments

  • Appreciate your efforts to clear things up! Good stuff.

    Maybe this should be a series for various countries?

    Thanked by (2)Ympker vyas
  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer

    @benj0x said:
    Appreciate your efforts to clear things up! Good stuff.

    Maybe this should be a series for various countries?

    Thanks :)
    I can't think of another country I can cover but there is @AnthonySmith for UK and @vyas for NL possibly.

    Thanked by (2)vyas benj0x
  • vyasvyas OGContent Writer
    edited May 27
  • I would say pretty much every point you made can be said about Swedish providers as well, take it from a native Swede that have lived and worked in Germany.
    We are very similar when it comes to consumer protection, the customers have a lot of protection and rights against the provider.
    Both German and Swedish businesses will go through hell and high water to collect a debt from a customer, so don't try to run from your contract.
    GDPR and privacy are strong and regulated by law. If you keep legit and don't do anything shady, a provider will never share your information with anybody. If you do something illegal, they will have to share your information if requested by the correct authorities and with proper jurisdiction. If they do not follow the proper protocol and your information is leaked, they will be held accountable for it.

    I'd say that both Germany and Sweden would be a great place to host stuff, with the exception that hosting in Sweden is generally expensive, we simply don't have many (if any) lowend providers here.

    Thanked by (1)Ympker
  • edited May 27

    USA is easy = zero consumer rights. ;)
    Italy = send you someone else's bill. :astonished:

    Where's the ignore setting?

  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer

    @rcy026 said:
    I would say pretty much every point you made can be said about Swedish providers as well, take it from a native Swede that have lived and worked in Germany.
    We are very similar when it comes to consumer protection, the customers have a lot of protection and rights against the provider.
    Both German and Swedish businesses will go through hell and high water to collect a debt from a customer, so don't try to run from your contract.
    GDPR and privacy are strong and regulated by law. If you keep legit and don't do anything shady, a provider will never share your information with anybody. If you do something illegal, they will have to share your information if requested by the correct authorities and with proper jurisdiction. If they do not follow the proper protocol and your information is leaked, they will be held accountable for it.

    I'd say that both Germany and Sweden would be a great place to host stuff, with the exception that hosting in Sweden is generally expensive, we simply don't have many (if any) lowend providers here.

    Nice writeup. Thanks :D

  • @Ympker Nice one, just to add something useful:
    Most German providers will have tolerance on payment date.
    Netcup and Hetzner both have an invoice day and you have to pay it in a logical time window, they will not shut down the server for a day or even a week. If you delay the payment too much (two weeks or so) they will send you an email that ask you to pay the invoice or else the server will be suspended and a fee (25-20 euros or more) will be added to unsuspend the service.
    Contabo does have a strict due date with several notifications via email even 15 days before the due date, but will suspend immediately after due date and ask for late fee to resume the service.
    Both policies are absolute legit, but the first one is really flexible and with tolerance.

    Thanked by (2)Ympker AlwaysSkint

    • If a program actually fits in memory and has enough disk space, it is guaranteed to crash.
    • If such a program has not crashed yet, it is waiting for a critical moment before it crashes.

  • vyasvyas OGContent Writer
    edited May 27

    @jvnadr said:

    Contabo does have a strict due date with several notifications via email even 15 days before the due date, but will suspend immediately after due date and ask for late fee to resume the service.
    Both policies are absolute legit, but the first one is really flexible and with tolerance.

    All that VC money needs ROI.

    (Not questioning policy and its legitimacy )

  • I ended up not paying Hetzner for over a month (31 days to be exact) - I don't usually do that, but my employer was late on my payments as well - and they were very lenient and didn't cancel my server. Funnily enough, they send me the second invoice (for the month I was currently in). Although I would not recommend anyone doing that, because they might not be as good as me. Even if I ended up cancelling the server, I payed everything I owed them since I'd like to make business with them again and they were in the right side.

    Great advice, I wish these were available earlier for me! hahaha

    Thanked by (2)Ympker Hetzner_OL
  • NyrNyr OG

    @rcy026 said: I'd say that both Germany and Sweden would be a great place to host stuff, with the exception that hosting in Sweden is generally expensive, we simply don't have many (if any) lowend providers here.

    Germany is the worst EU country to host user-generated content. German law enforcement will easily raid servers from a legitimate company if their customers did something illegal. Also free speech has significant restrictions in Germany compared to other Western countries, same happens with political content and pornography.

    For hosting "vanilla" content, Germany is indeed cheap, well connected and has lots of reliable providers.

    There are some low end providers in Sweden, by the way:

    • Sweden Dedicated
    • Yourserver.se (Latvian company)
    • HostHatch (US company)

    @benj0x said: Maybe this should be a series for various countries?

    Most countries are not very interesting/special in that regard, at least in my opinion.

    Russia would be a great candidate for something like this, considering their very particular hosting industry. I could try to do it, but a Russian could of course do it better. I could also do Spain, but it is not very interesting in my opinion.

    Thanked by (3)benj0x Anon dosai
  • @Ympker said:
    German providers tend to hold you accountable for the contract you signed.

    Contract? Oh, you mean those links accompanied by check boxes that causes us all to lie? ("I have read and agree to link to yada yada ...") :# ;)

    German providers tend to have old-fashioned 30 days cancellation policies and oddly long/complex billing terms

    I experienced this with an otherwise excellent provider, @UltraVPS ...

    I had never even heard about having to pay for a next term as long as I cancelled before the service expired. But with them I ended up not being able to cancel the next year, because with their policies that would have had to be done one month prior to expiry.

    So they literally forced me/them to endure 3 or 4 invoice overdue notices/invoices, adding extra fees and everything, before finally cancelling the VPS.

    ... Instead if just cancelling the service at once.

    Makes no sense to me. And, if I ever want to use them again, I'm being punished. I will have to pay them for the service they wouldn't let me cancel, but forced me to let expire.

    I really don't get why this makes sense business wise. Trying to discourage customers from returning? Even customers that paid every invoice for every service utilized (but just never noticed the weird 30 day prior for cancellation clause/policy).

    Most American and UK providers are much easier to deal with. They even give you grace periods and try to encourage you to stay or come back. German logic seems to be that one should be punished for breaking rules, even those that makes no sense, and that this is more important than keeping customers happy.

    I loved the quality of the service, though, and wouldn't mind coming back as a customer. But I won't pay for some old service that I tried to cancel long before it expired. :#

    Thanked by (1)Ympker
  • @flips said:

    @Ympker said:
    German providers tend to hold you accountable for the contract you signed.

    Contract? Oh, you mean those links accompanied by check boxes that causes us all to lie? ("I have read and agree to link to yada yada ...") :# ;)

    German providers tend to have old-fashioned 30 days cancellation policies and oddly long/complex billing terms

    I experienced this with an otherwise excellent provider, @UltraVPS ...

    I had never even heard about having to pay for a next term as long as I cancelled before the service expired. But with them I ended up not being able to cancel the next year, because with their policies that would have had to be done one month prior to expiry.

    So they literally forced me/them to endure 3 or 4 invoice overdue notices/invoices, adding extra fees and everything, before finally cancelling the VPS.

    ... Instead if just cancelling the service at once.

    Makes no sense to me. And, if I ever want to use them again, I'm being punished. I will have to pay them for the service they wouldn't let me cancel, but forced me to let expire.

    I really don't get why this makes sense business wise. Trying to discourage customers from returning? Even customers that paid every invoice for every service utilized (but just never noticed the weird 30 day prior for cancellation clause/policy).

    Most American and UK providers are much easier to deal with. They even give you grace periods and try to encourage you to stay or come back. German logic seems to be that one should be punished for breaking rules, even those that makes no sense, and that this is more important than keeping customers happy.

    I loved the quality of the service, though, and wouldn't mind coming back as a customer. But I won't pay for some old service that I tried to cancel long before it expired. :#

    Well, if the cancellation policy is stated in the contract and you have agreed to that contract, most people in Germany (or Europe as a whole I would imagine) would consider it your own fault for agreeing to it.
    We simply hate people that try to change the rules after agreeing to them, and most businesses does not want that kind of customer so they will do absolutely nothing to try to get you back, or even go as far as to actively discourage you from coming back.
    I know that the American way is that every customer is important and the customer is always right, but a lot of people in Europe does not agree to that. If the customer is wrong he is wrong, even though they will probably not say it to your face.
    If both provider and customer follow the rules agreed upon, you will get excellent service and the provider will probably do everything they can to deliver what you pay for. Break the rules as a customer, and the provider will probably want nothing to do with you.

    Short answer is yes, the logic is that people that break rules should be punished. Kind of makes sense, generally speaking, not just here.

  • @flips said:

    @Ympker said:
    German providers tend to hold you accountable for the contract you signed.

    Contract? Oh, you mean those links accompanied by check boxes that causes us all to lie? ("I have read and agree to link to yada yada ...") :# ;)

    Well, if you chose to agree upon a contract you haven't even read, that is your choice, but don't assume that everyone is equally stupid.

  • edited May 28

    @rcy026 said:
    Short answer is yes, the logic is that people that break rules should be punished. Kind of makes sense, generally speaking, not just here.

    Not if your surname's Cummings, seemingly (topical). :confused:

    Where's the ignore setting?

  • don't assume that everyone is equally stupid

    Well, I love you, too, @rcy026 <3 :p

    30 days cancellation notice makes absolutely no sense to me, at least not for a small VPS.
    If the customer doesn't pay, just cancel the contract, don't make it harder for no good reason.
    (And the provider in my case even changed the billing period after year one, so expiration was now almost a full month before my original purchase date.)

    I'm European myself, but Germany is somewhat weird to us, people care so much for the rules.

    I think you summed it up well:

    (...) We simply hate people (...)

    :#

    (Just kidding, probably no point debating this. I might be the only idiot that's not reading all the weird details of policies/contracts links before buying some cheap BF VPS. Or maybe not.)

  • edited May 28

    @flips said:

    don't assume that everyone is equally stupid

    Well, I love you, too, @rcy026 <3 :p

    30 days cancellation notice makes absolutely no sense to me, at least not for a small VPS.
    If the customer doesn't pay, just cancel the contract, don't make it harder for no good reason.
    (And the provider in my case even changed the billing period after year one, so expiration was now almost a full month before my original purchase date.)

    I'm European myself, but Germany is somewhat weird to us, people care so much for the rules.

    I think you summed it up well:

    (...) We simply hate people (...)

    :#

    (Just kidding, probably no point debating this. I might be the only idiot that's not reading all the weird details of policies/contracts links before buying some cheap BF VPS. Or maybe not.)

    Oh no, you are by far not the only idiot, there are plenty of you out there. ;)
    I'm glad you took my comment the right way, now that I read it again I realize that it might have sounded a far bit harsher then intended. I apologize even if I sense that it is not needed. :smiley:

    What I was trying to say was that it does not really matter if it makes sense to you or not, if the provider clearly states it in the contract and you agree to it, then that is what is agreed upon. Trying to change the terms after agreeing to them does usually not land well with most people.
    Basically, if you do not want 30 days cancellation notice, then don't agree to it. I personally very much dislike yearly contracts or prior cancellation notices, so I simply stay away from the providers that dictate this in their terms. I hold no grudge against them for this, it's their choice, just like it is my choice not to use them.

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  • @rcy026 said:
    Oh no, you are by far not the only idiot, there are plenty of you out there. ;)
    I'm glad you took my comment the right way, now that I read it again I realize that it might have sounded a far bit harsher then intended. I apologize even if I sense that it is not needed. :smiley:

    What I was trying to say was (...)

    No offense taken. =) How sweet, to be an idiot ... ;) (Think that's a song.)
    We probably agree quite a bit.

    I do think businesses benefit from graceful contracts/policies, like MXroute and many others. Even if you messed up something with payments, they gracefully invite you back. (I don't think I have ever paid any hosting related invoice late, BTW. The german VPS was the first time I ever heard of not being able to cancel until expiry date ...)

  • Traditional German-style cancellation conditions aren't for everyone, so precisely for this reason, it helps to be aware of them.

    Thanked by (2)flips Ympker

    "A single swap file or partition may be up to 128 MB in size. [...] [I]f you need 256 MB of swap, you can create two 128-MB swap partitions." (M. Welsh & L. Kaufman, Running Linux, 2e, 1996, p. 49)

  • Hetzner_OLHetzner_OL Hosting ProviderOG

    I think the German cancellation tendencies are a cultural difference. And, I think like some cultural differences, they can be frustrating. We have expectations, and when our expectations and reality don't match, it's confusing/overwhelming/embarrassing.
    It's like going on a vacation to a foreign country the second time around. Your expectations change, you adapt, and things go more smoothly.
    I have German friends and colleagues who will still get really angry about feeling "cheated" at restaurants on their first US vacation because the tax wasn't on menus and they were expected to tip more. (It usually wasn't that the food or service was bad; the thing that really upset them was that their food budget was off, and that was stressing them out.)
    However, we realized that some of our customers were confused about the 30 days to the end of the month policy, so we put this wiki article together. Do you think it's helpful? --Katie

    Thanked by (2)bikegremlin Ympker

    We're Katie and Helena and we'll do our best to answer questions you have about Hetzner Online. We and not our employer are responsible for any horrible puns and dated cultural references.

  • @Hetzner_OL said: I have German friends and colleagues who will still get really angry about feeling "cheated" at restaurants on their first US vacation because the tax wasn't on menus and they were expected to tip more. (It usually wasn't that the food or service was bad; the thing that really upset them was that their food budget was off, and that was stressing them out.)

    Another (less self-centered) criticism is that when a 20% tip is expected, the customer suspects that they're covering a part of the waiter or waitress's salary that the employer should be covering.

    "A single swap file or partition may be up to 128 MB in size. [...] [I]f you need 256 MB of swap, you can create two 128-MB swap partitions." (M. Welsh & L. Kaufman, Running Linux, 2e, 1996, p. 49)

  • edited May 29

    A wiki explaining the policy doesn't make the policy acceptable. ;)
    Agreed: 'merican 'tipping' is a farce, along with frequent hidden charges.

    Thanked by (1)Ympker

    Where's the ignore setting?

  • @AlwaysSkint said:
    A wiki explaining the policy doesn't make the policy acceptable. ;)

    It makes it clear - so you can decide whether it is fine with you, or not.
    Very nicely and clearly explained - idiot friendly explanation. :)

    Thanked by (1)Hetzner_OL

    Mostly harmless ™
    I/O Gremlin

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