I read through lot of stuff before switching to Dreamhost. And the following article aptly describe my current feelings too.
I think the thing that initially drew me to DreamHost was the low price, at the time I was looking for a cheap host without too many restrictions.
However, I have stayed at DreamHost because I like the way things work around here. It is true that things have not been perfect, but during the bad times DreamHost have done their best to keep their customers informed and get things fixed as quickly as possible. Downtime sucks, but it doesn’t suck as much if you know steps are being taken to rectify things.
Luckily, overall downtime for my sites has been minor since I started hosting here, except for that dreadful period a month or so ago, when everything just seemed to fall apart.
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I agree completely. I have been a DreamHost customer since January of this year, and have been completely satisfied, both with support and the quality of service that DreamHost offers. Granted, there have been some bumpy times, like the “perfect storm” of events last month that led to extended downtime.
However, what really made me feel good about being a DreamHost customer was this post on the DreamHost blog. Very few CEOs would have gone into such excruciating detail about what had happened as Josh did. He selflessly offered up details that could have been, and probably were valuable to competitors. It truly made me feel good being a DreamHost customer.
Combined with the unconditional honesty exhibited in the above blog posting, the unbeatable offerings, and the excellent customer support (and the newsletters ) I will be a DreamHost customer as long as DreamHost exists.
My sites are down for 15min or 20min or so, every day it seems. The last time that I got an explanation, (yesterday or the day before) the server was rebooted. So, I assume that’s usually what’s happening. So, it seems like the server is being rebooted frequently. That’s inconvienent when I’m working on a site. It’s worse when people are using my sites.
It used to be mail that was down a lot. But, mail has been better lately.
I’m more sensitive to downtime now that I have a website where people spend time using it.
My sites were down just now, and now they are back up. That was probably about 15min… That’s why I stopped by the forum to see if others were discussing all the downtime. Doesn’t look like it, so maybe it’s just my server or something.
Terry (on the server alexander)
well i like the fact of aving a shell rather than only cpanel or similar… though i think dreamhost controlpanel is a bit tricky to use… i think a OS solution like siteworx or cpanel coulb be used instead… they have a lot more development on them IMHO.
Some hosting companies dont give you a shell acount. that does not make any sense… what the heck would i need a place only to store my files…
So far i am enjoying dreamhost, i must confess i came because of the cheap bw and space deal. But ssh and a linux acount is great… though i need to figure out beter what can/cant i install or run. I guess the sapce is not ment to be strctly for web serving. or is it?
I signed up for Dreamhost about a week ago and canceled soon after. I’m now back to give them an honest shot at serving my pages, all thanks one of the support people, Michael S, who hangs out over at Web Hosting Talk. I’ll not put him as a number in the list, but he made all the difference in the world in my being here so it goes without saying that he is an important part of Dreamhost for me.
Outside of Michael’s awesome customer outreach aura, here are some of the things that drew me to Dreamhost to begin with, and they aren’t actually in their true order, looking back over them… but I see no real point in re-editing.
The organically human, anti-corporate Dreamhost Blog. If more companies would communicate with their customers in such a non-condescending, human to human manner, the whole world would be much better off. I also really dig the blog logo, it touches my psyche in some very deep ways. It makes me feel as if there is far more to Dreamhost than just web hosting. I just dig the overall feel of Dreamhost, the aura.
The relaxed restriction policies. Firstly, I have never had any of my web sites suspended anywhere, nor do I intend to begin here, but to have a hard limit that shuts your site down, no questions asked, is a bit republican for my tastes. That type of setup doesn’t allow for anomalies, temporary spikes, the flux and tao of web usage. As long as everything overall is working out within the shared environment and the users rarely, if ever actually conflict with each other significantly, I would rather enjoy the piece of mind that comes with not having to constantly worry about rigid limits. At a certain point it becomes likened unto stopping at being forced to stop at a redlight at 3am when there is no traffic present. The goal of the light is to prevent accidents, but you’ll get a ticket even when no traffic conflicts are even possible to occur. Well, ok, sort of likened, but you should be able to get my point.
Michael made a comment to me, addressing my concernes about the Dreamhost system, about the people who design and maintain the server system that really made me feel them… I don’t know how to describe this, now that I’ve gotten started, so it’s cool if this one doesn’t make much sense, but I empathize a deep respect for these guys and I trust them, deeply, to be the kind of people who will bust their asses to get things working again in the event of disaster, which brings me to the next point…
The disaster is actually a GOOD thing! Think about this… many hosts have had their systems up and running with very little real event, and they have probably become complacent to some degree. Despite the fact that YOU wanted your sites back up during the Great Calamity, I would be willing to bet that nobody wanted them back up more than Dreamhost. For many of us, our sites are our living… but guess what… our sites are THEIR living too! I would bet that no-one was sweating more than the Dreamhost staff, and I would imagine that they have really put some serious effort and research into robusifying things in ways that other hosts may still be lax about. In other words, they are probably more safe to be hosted with now than at any previous part of their history as they’ve now gone through a complete disaster and been forced to take a much harder look into their setup.
Aw, come on, let me mention that blog one more time! I REALLY dig what they’re doing there, and it tells a LOT about the people behind it. The article about Overselling really helped me to see clearly beyond the negative hype, and certain parts of that article made me feel comfortable that these guys have some really cool policies. The manner in which they handle the mixing of heavy users around the servers without simply suspending and even banishing them as is common with most hosts really made a lot of sense and displays a more calm and mature way of overall being. These are level headed people with a great demeaner, it would appear.
The article exposing the web hosting review scam was awesome beyond description… it took guts, balls and humanity to write that and I am glad to have that kind of people at my site’s backs.
I have learned to really like the Dreamhost control panel. I don’t know how to explain it to anyone, but I can just feel the inspiration and genius that went into it’s creation. I think it makes Cpanel look clunky and anti-elegant, in both function and appearance. To me, there is something about some good ol’ fashioned, home brew UNIX that makes everything feel alright in the world. When I am in my Dreamhost controls I feel like I’m at home in The Universe. I often just leave myself signed in with the tab in the background just to soak in as much of that feeling as I can. Sure, sounds ridiculous, but that’s how I feel and in case you can’t tell by now, feeling means a lot to me.
Re-hash a bit: Organic Humans. Have I told you how much I love being able to interact and do my business with genuine, organic human beings without the massive walls of pretention and condescention? Yep… really does mean a lot to me.
Because one of the most highly regarded hosts on the web really let me down in ways that go against all honesty, integrity (yeah, there’s a suble difference) and humanity. Touted from the mountaintops about their AMAZING support, yet their support did nothing but pass bucks and unnecessarily waste my time because they would rather play their video games than actually think about my issue or put any real effort into looking into what was happening to prevent me from being able to do one of the most rudimentary functions of web hosting, FTP.
One more shoutout to Michael S and the Dreamhost aura!
Because The Beatles White Album told me to.
Excellent post dwr, much of what you wrote is exactly how I feel about hosting here, but you put it more eloquently than I could ever do
I think you really nailed it with your comments on being able to communicate with ‘organic humans’. Even when things are not working so well, it’s nice to receive a real reply to my queries, instead of the automated crud that some other hosting companies seem to prefer.
Now this is just scary, I sure hope your favourite track isn’t ‘Helter Skelter’
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Oh, not at all, as a matter of fact I don’t really like the album, I just do what it tells me in the cracks and pops between songs!
Yes, being able to communicate on what I call an organic level means a lot and is becoming more and more rare, not just in business/customer relationships (though that’s where it’s missing the most, it seems) but in general. To be able to just be natural with each other, to be able to come out and say “We did some things wrong and it fell apart, but we now know some things we can do to make things better” as Dreamhost famously did in their blog is one instance of this.
Another instance is with my “Conversations with Mike” in which he addressed my concernes with Dreamhost. He was completey honest and never used anything but a natural, NORMAL conversational style of speaking. He didn’t hide behind corp speak, he DID NOT talk to me in that usual brief, reserved manner that says “I want to say as little as possible because I am trying to cover things up”. That’s putting it in an overly simplified manner, but I would imagine most will know what I’m saying, no?
I guess another keyword I’ll throw out there is “official”. I don’t like the way most companies communicate in an overly “official” tone. They are people too, so why can’t they just act like it and drop the wall? This world has let this kind of BS get way out of control, and Dreamhost is one, tiny (relatively speaking) little company that’s making the world more to my liking within this regard so I would love to be able to support them with my spending choices.
Glad you enjoyed that, brotha!
I was digging around through the wiki (again) and found the thing about CPU usage that made a ton of difference to me in choosing Dreamhost, and again, I have NEVER (wood knocked just now) had a site suspended anywhere so I’m not looking for trouble, but:
[quote]Since we don’t have hard limits on CPU usage at all, we approach each situation on a case-by-case basis. If, even after moving you to a new server, your site is still causing problems, we may try and work out some sort of agreement where you get a close-to-empty server all to yourself in exchange for upgrading to a higher plan. But again, this is all on a case-by-case basis!
The moral of the story is, we’ll do our best to help you keep your site working, and growing, with us![/quote]
Both regarding and regardless of CPU usage I think this says a lot about the ideals and ways of being at Dreamhost… they are genuinely behind us… they aren’t militaristic assholes, they are trying to be TRULY COOL! I just dig the vibe behind those WikiWords.
Well, I must admit that this evening has curbed my entusiasm a bit. I started working on my new blog setups and was experiencing some pretty sluggish performance. Just moving around through my WordPress dashboard was pretty dang slow, and mine are all default skins with only the Askimet spam pluggin, and all have worked super fast on other hosts, so I know it’s not the blogs themselves.
I then cruised by the forum and got in depth into the General Troubleshooting section and saw a lot of complaining about speed and server loads… saw a lot of shocking server loads posted, too. Quite frankly it’s a little scary. All of the cool things about Dreamhost won’t make my site’s “customers” be like “This dudes site’s sure do load slow, but the hosting company has an awesome blog and I hear that there’s a cool guy named Michael who works there too!”, know what I mean?
You may want to read up on the wp-cache plugin. It won’t help with the admin side of things, but it will help the user side significantly. Other than that, you can check the bottom of the admin pages to see how long they are taking to load. Mine became pretty ridiculous recently, so I contacted support. When they got back to me, everything was working quickly, but I had them move my databases to a different MySQL server and the speed has been faster and more reliable.
Finally. Someone mentioned the best part of all, the newsletters. Only DreamHost customers get the DreamHost newsletter, so I’m obviously not going anywhere
If only the newsletter wasn’t the only reliable portion of their service these days. As a 6+ year customer, the recent decline in quality and accountability leads me to assume that anything ‘they’ say is patently false. What halfway decent customer support says “yeah, we’re down till monday, we aren’t doin nothin till then to fix what you pay for”, huh? What kind of “long term issue” does a competent sysadmin not have any sort of plan to deal with in under 72 hours? What person, that actually cares about their own paycheck, thinks that sort of response isn’t a demand to current customers to cancel?
I don’t think that is exactly the message they were intending to send.
From the status page (bold formatting added by me)…
Nowhere does it say they aren’t doing anything about it until Monday. Just that they can’t completely fix it until Monday. The status page states, “Monday night, we will upgrading our core networking equipment,” leading me to think that maybe they can’t get the parts they need to do that on the weekend or something like that.
They haven’t given up. At least that’s how I read the status page.
Best reason maybe the lower price like $97 off
I love Dreamhost because they make things so easy for me, in terms of the domain page in the panel!
Some people say that cpanel is better but I just don’t like the idea of having 10 panels for my 10 domains!