First, let me say I intend this post as informational testimonial, it chronicals my unique experience and is in no way intended imply that everyone out there will have the same DreamHost experience. I will not reply to any posts left in response to this.I do not hate DreamHost and regret to be leaving after years of great service.
Here's my experience with DreamHost. I have been a member for three years despit my new user tag and until just this last month the service has been great, great, great.
I wouldn't be leaving after three years just becasue of a single outtage, however my most recent interactions with it's customer and technical support systems have been so awful that I decided to leave. Here's why (an actual log my requests and DH responses in date order):
Message from me(Mar 17th, 2005 - 14:07:59 / #995346)
delayed email delivery
I had reports that I people have been sending me emails over the last three days that tdon't show up in my Inbox. Also, I have received other emails today that were sent 2-3days ago. other emails have ome through to me just fine and in an timely fashion. The slow/no show emails have been from a variety of addresses and domians. I have also been checking my webmail account and the slow/no show email problem is idenitical there so I doubt it is my client. Any idea of what is going on?
No DH response ever recieved to this message #995346
Message from me (Mar 18th, 2005 - 11:39:41 / #995943)
No response to Support Request #995346
I sent a request to support. The ID #995346. I have been experience of two to three days in delivery of email to my account which is a big problem as I a missing messages that are tme sensitive. I have had no response from support. Please address my concern immediately.
No DH response ever recieved to this message #995949
Message from me(Mar 18th, 2005 - 14:14:10 / #996095)
See Support Request #995346
I finally found an announcment about why I"m not getting most of my email on http://status.dreamhost.com/
"Email not being delivered for some customers!
* The mail machines for one of our clusters has been queueing mail internally instead of delivering it. This is due to a misconfiguration.
* We're reconfiguring the servers and mail should be delivered soon!
Last Updated: Thursday, 17-Mar-2005 09:20:28 PST"
This was the only place I found this announcment -- why was no
announcment posted in the announcments panel?!? This kind of major outage should be announced on the panel. It might have helped reduce the number of unneeded support requests you received over the past two days about failure to recieve email and eased user frustration. Additionally it would allow people to make other arrangments to receive emails before they've lost too much time and already missed client emails. Your site directs people to use the http://status.dreamhost.com/ page only when the panel is not accessible, so I am sure a lot of people wouldn't have thought to look there. Also it seems like this should count as an outage in service on the status page (the other place people look first when there is a problem).
The last time you upated this rather serious announcment was over 24 hours ago, and the annoucement says mail should be delivered "soon", soon is not much of an ETA especially if soon is not within 24 hours. When do you anticipate having this problem solved?
With any hosting, people expect outages and occasional down time. This only becomes a big deal when the hosting services don't ensure that customers know what's going on and keep them updated on the status of the problem.
Reply written by hawknet(DH) (Mar 18th, 2005 - 15:21:23 / #4216135)
Re: See Support Request #995346
I'm really sorry about the email outtage. It is true we should have
probably announced this is a more widespread fashion, it seems out mail team was so busy working on the problem they forgot to post an
announcment about it!
I will let them know of your suggestion in case this happens in the
Message from me (Mar 18th, 2005 - 15:38:24 / #996161)
Re: See Support Request #995346
When do you anticipate this email problem will be solved?
PS It's not too late to send an announcement especially since service is still down.
Reply written by treykaiser(DH) (Mar 19th, 2005 - 12:58:37 / #4226442)
Re: See Support Request #995346
We are working as quickly as possible on a resolution. We reget any
delays this may have caused you. We will send out an announcement once everything is back to 100%. We thank you for hosting with Dreamhost.
Message from lebasi (Mar 20th, 2005 - 13:46:29 / #996924)
See Support Request #995346 & #4226442
In response to my request to know when my email srevice would be restored I got the following very polite but utterly unhelpful response. Honestly I expect more than an apology when I request information about an outage that has been going on for four days.
I have used Dream Host for 3 years and this is the first time I received such poor service (from your initial failure to post notice of this problem in the announcments panel to failing to update users on the status of an unresolved problem even once in four days). The problem appears not only to be one of technical services but customer service. I understand your technical service people are busy trying to fix this and other real issues, but it doesn't take a tech to post an announcment or send an email - that's a customer service
failure. This customer service failure only increases your customers'
frustrations with the slowness/failure of technical service.
I am currently investigating the reviews and rating of other hosting companies as a result of my frustration not with the outtage but the way it has been handled and the many similar complaints I found in your support forums while I was trying to figure out what was wrong with my email in the first place. If this problem isn't resolved by Monday, I really will have to seek other hosting solutions. In the meantime, I really would appreciate it if someone would provide me some meaningful information about the source of the problem and
when it is actually expected to resolved.
No DH response ever recieved to this message #996924
Message from me (Mar 21st, 2005 - 14:12:14 / #997596)
Missing incoming emails
Your emergency status page says that all email services are up and running but I am still missing a fair number of emails that I were sent to me in the last five days. What happened to the emails that i should have received when the server was misconfigured?
for reference see Support Request #995346 & #4226442 and the still open and un-answered #996924.
No DH response ever recieved to this message #997596
Message from me (Mar 21st, 2005 - 14:20:12 / #997605)
transfer site FROM DH to another host
Given the recent problems I have had with Dream Host I have decided to use another host. I looked around the knowledge base for info on how to smoothly transfer my site contents and domain registration from Dream Host to another provider but only found information about going the other wya. Please let me know what steps I need to take on this end to transfer hosting to my new provider.
Reply written by treykaiser (Mar 21st, 2005 - 15:55:46 / #4234557)
Re: transfer site FROM DH to another host
We regret to hear that you will be leaving us after 3 years. Here are thesteps to smoothly transition away from Dreamhost. If theres anyway wecan help you to decide to stay with Dreamhost let us know. We will need one last confirmation from you that you really want to leave the best priced Webhosting provider.
Steps to backup(to leave dreamhost or just to backup your own data for safety purposes)
Use an FTP client to download all the files on your ftp area of the
website. The MAILDIR will contain your email as well.
Use the phpadmin of your mysql databases(if you have them) to performa DUMP function into your local drive.
If you need additional backups we have hourly, daily and weekly
backups inside the ".snapshot" of your FTP and SHELL folder.
This would give you backups of everything. We again hope you would
Message from me (Mar 21st, 2005 - 17:03:47 / #997728)
Re: transfer site FROM DH to another host
I have noted that my other support request emails have been closed. Even though my questions weren't answered. It seems to be another indication of less than adequate customer service that support requests are closed w/o being answered, and does not encourage me to stay with DH.
Specifically, I need an answer to #997596 about my missing emails - it is very important that I get all the email that was sent to me during the past few days and I know for a fact that I haven't (I sent myself a few test emails and have never gotten them). Please advise when and how this will happen.
Additionally, I also asked in #997605 what I needed to do to insure that mydomain registration would be transferred w/o a hitch, please advise.
No DH response ever recieved to this message #997728
Message from lebasi (Mar 22nd, 2005 - 11:35:17 / #998206)
Fed Up Completely!
Given the absolutely lousy service I have received over the last week, I have decided to use another host and transfer my domain registration from dreamhost. When I go to the registration panel it tells me that my domain is not registered with Dream Host. I know that it is! When I do a who is on my domain at register.com , it confirms that my domain is registered to New Dream Network LLC, email@example.com, 213-947-1032 (a phone
number that gets you nowhere) -- that's you guys. All I want to do is to get off dreamhost as quickly as possibly! I can't do that w/o being able to point to correct DNS with my domain registrar or being able to tranfer my registration. Now because of poor record keeping and/or web panel problems, I can't even leave. So now I have rely on this support sysytem that has proved patently unreliable to help me leave.
I beg of you, please help me this one last time and you won't have to worry about any more of my open requests in your cue.
Reply written by hawknet (Mar 22nd, 2005 - 12:12:15 / #4237770)
Re: Fed Up Completely!
I'm sorry for the troubles, I went ahead and added your domain
registration to your account. It seems as though you registered the
domain in our old system and it did not transfer properly to the new one.
You can now modify it via our web panel:
If you still need the call back please let us know. I'm sorry you did not
like our service.
Do what you will with this info, I personally like a little more service in my customer service. And I was appalled by the number of times my requests went not only unanswered but were deleted (kicked out of the open request cue) to boot as if they had actually been addressed.