Can someone explain accounts and users to me?

I’m deeply confused by dreamhost’s account and user system. And it’s not just me. I’m trying to transfer ownership of one of my accounts to another user and he can’t understand dreamhost’s system either.

Primarily I want to understand it and not just get my immediate question answered. So ideally there’d be some diagram somewhere that lays out the difference between accounts, users, webID and whatever else is involved. (BTW, I’m surprised I can’t find such a diagram in the Wiki.)

Lacking that… here’s the specific issues I’m running into…
a) setting up a website for someone then transferring ownership of that site to them. My name is Mike Davis, my webid is mikdavNN the person who I’m trying to transfer it to is John Smith… it seems goofy to me to have John have a webid of the form mikdavNN, especially if John is merely the next webmaster for a company and not the final one. So… a few years down the road when John needs to transfer it to someone else… wtf? Note, btw, this may be a 2 part question … how SHOULD I have created the account in the first place but now that I actually have an existing account, how do take this current one and transfer it.
b) giving other users full access to the web control panel. Ideally in a company several people have the ability to change things (redundancy for the “hit by a bus” scenario). What’s the best practice here? One “login” then share the password?
c) I apparently can log into my account using either my webID or my ‘primary email address’? Does webID give me more/less access to features than the ‘primary email address’? Is there a way to transfer the ‘webID’ to a different email address?



For starters:

Panel login: logs you into your DreamHost panel, where you manage your payments, domains, Users, etc.
-You can create additional logins for your panel account. these additional accounts can be given limited options (for example, you can limit a new account to only managing certain domains).

  Users:  you manage users in your DreamHost panel. you can have one or more users. Each user account will handle one or more websites. When you set up a domain, it will ask what user you want to put the website under.

users, are quite literally, user accounts on a computer. DreamHost is giving you a user account on a computer somewhere. You can use SSH to login to a computer with that user-account.

       Domains and websites...when  you set up a domain, you tell Dreamhost you want that domain to point to a folder under a specific user account. Then a folder is created and that domain will point to that folder..which is on a computer somewhere under a user account. You build the website in that folder by logging in as that user.

DreamHost uses their own Panel accounts, but the Users and domains is pretty standard linux stuff. If you start using Linux as your OS, you will begin to understand why dreamhost has things set up the way they do.

Thanks SierraCircle… that helps. BTW I am an experienced Linux user and your explanation actually helped a lot.

I think it’s the interplay between the panel accounts and the users that has me confused…

If I’m a consultant making websites for people, and using DreamHost as my hosting provider of choice… I will have my own panel login and user account. But I know that after I’m done setting up this website for a company they’ll (eventually) want to use another web developer later on. What’s the recommended process here? Additionally, is it even possible to “transfer” a domain to an existing user but one NOT created by me?

At the end of the day… I suspect most folks have a 1-1-1 mapping of panel accounts to user accounts to domains they manage and when the time comes to transfer ownership/control to someone else this gets tricky because the DreamHost “model” of this is that panel account (at least) is totally disconnected from the domain.

THere is no automated method to transfer registrations, domains or users between dreamhost accounts, however there are manual processes as outlined here:

In your case here is one way you can handle it: Have the customer subscribe to their own dreamhost account. Have the customer navigate in the panel to Users > Account Privileges and give YOUR account access to THEIR account. That is, you already have a panel login, so they put the SAME email address that you used, Now your panel login will have access to any functions they gave you permission to use on their account.

Likewise, they can go back in and remove those privileges when they move on…
Also Dreamhost does in fact add confusion to the definition of “user” by including “account privileges” in the users section, IMO that item really doesn’t belong in the group it’s in, it seems to me like it would fit better in the “Billing and Account” section. The rest of the choices in the “users” section deal with users at the server level.

If I am setting up a website for someone, I just have them create their own DreamHost account and send me the login credentials, or have them create an account for me to access their panel.

Then I do all of the setup work for them, build the site, etc. from within their account.

One advantage to this approach: you can have your client use one of your Dreamhost promo codes and save your client some money as well as make a little money towards your own Dreamhost account.

Also they have no problem firing you and getting a new dev :slight_smile: You’re off the hook from responsibility.