Could Dreamhost possibly be right for me?


#1

Hi folks,

I’m considering changing hosts. I’ve been with a not-for-profit service for about 4 years - run for church related sites by a great volunteer in his spare time. Unfortunately, with the rise in ‘script kiddie’ activity over the past year his response has been to increase security in every way imaginable, including replacing php as an Apache module with php running as a cgi script. It seems I’ve spent most of my web time in the last 6 - 8 months rebuilding or replacing cms packages that had run beautifully - usually without actually being hacked - but that were disabled in some way by some new security measure. I had an installation of WordPress heavily modded to run as a multi-user blog server that he tried to update to the newest unmodded version of WordPress - without warning me - because he read somewhere it was more secure. I’ve spent the past three months replacing my earlier modded WordPress with WordPress Mu.

So that’s why I’m considering a move.

In one sense, I’m not a heavy user of resources: last month’s data transfer was about 7 GB and I’m currently using about 1.5 GB of disk space.

In another I may be: I myself run about 12 cms based sites - 11 in Hungarian, 1 in English - to provide services to Hungarian speaking members of Unitarian Churches in Transylvania and Hungary. I also share my hosting account with individuals and organizations in those Churches so they can maintain their own sites (usually small html based sites), e-mail lists and email accounts.

I personally am running:

Two domains: http://www.padlas.org and http://www.unitarius-halo.net . I plan to add a third. There are 2 sub-domains on padlas.org and about 60 on unitarius-halo.net.

1 English PHP-Nuke 7.6 Platinum http://www.padlas.org
1 Hungarian PHP-Nuke 7.1 http://kavehaz.padlas.org
1 Hungarian phpBB 2.0.22 with the current mail2forum mod so it can be used as a central archive and interface for several e-mail lists, with mxBB so it has some portal features and as the home for an Orca Ringmaker webring interface. The admin interface for Orca is currently out, owing to some conflict with the host’s security measures. I suspect its because the admin page tries to ping each site on the ring to verify its still there whenever the admin page is loaded. http://www.unitarius-halo.net

I have a Hungarian install of the current Coppermine Gallery as a shared gallery; webmasters known to me get admin privileges so they can build their own albums as adjuncts to their sites. http://unikeptar.unitarius-halo.net

I have a Hungarian language installation of the current version of Sphider working as a search site for about 70 Hungarian language Unitarian web sites at http://unikereso.unitarius-halo.net . I run the spider manually about every other month, breaking it up over 2 or 3 nights and keep the time-out between pages set to 6 seconds.

I have a Hungarian install of CNCat 2.1 serving as a link directory at http://unilinktar.unitarius-halo.net . Since adding links prompts the sending of e-mail confirmations and notifications and Apache doesn’t like getting mail headers from php running as a cgi script every successfully added link takes the visitor to an Apache error page, rather than to the Thank You page, even though everything runs correctly and even the mail gets sent. I can’t upgrade to CNCat 3.1 because the host stripped out Zend Optimizer. ?

I have a Hungarian language media directory at http://unimedia.unitarius-halo.net using e107. I was using Zina, but Apache wouldn’t accept file headers from php cgi and nothing played. Now I just use html links to playlist files and build the content of every directory page in html.

I have a Hungarian language blog hosting site at http://uninaplo.unitarius-halo.net using WordPressMu.

I have a Hungarian multi-user calendar installed at http://uninaptar.unitarius-halo.net using WebCalendar.

Finally, I have a Hungarian wiki/meta-lexicon at http://unipedia.unitarius-halo.net using the current version of MediaWiki.

Guest webmasters currently have 12 completed sites on unitarius-halo.net. All small html based sites except for 3 using PHP-Nuke 7.6 Platinum.

There are another 40 sites under construction on unitarius-halo.net. All will be small html sites, except for 4 cms based sites.

I’m using about 15 MySQL databases.

I’m hosting 5 Hungarian MailMan lists and 1 English and 1 Hungarian Majordomo.

I’m hosting about 70 Squirrelmail accounts.

Since virtually everything is in Hungarian - many of my guest webmasters, e-mail list users and administrators and Squirrelmail account holders have little or no English - I have special needs with regard to Hungarian language support. I’ve seen references to DreamHost account holders from non-english speaking countries, but don’t know if the host would be willing to work with me on this.

Some of the sites use ISO-8859-2 (Latin 2) language encoding, some UTF-8, some Windows Central European. Is DreamHost’s server configured to allow these and possibly other Central European encodings?

Hungarian language files are available for PHPMyAdmin, Sqirrelmail and Mailman. Could these be added and made the defaults for my account?

MySQL used to allow a broad range of encodings; now everyone - even in Hungary - seems to make do with Latin 1 and UTF-8. My sites have been working with just these in recent months. Is there still support for others?

My current host uses Ensim’s admin interface and that offers little support for foreign languages. What does DreamHost use? Does it offer better language support? Any chance of Hungarian?

What support is there for moving the account. I could set up all the users on a DreamHost account and move the files and databases myself. I’m concerned about not being able to move e-mail list archives and the e-mails of those few account holders who leave their messages stored online in Squirrelmail.

How can I recreate the various users, sub-domains, etc. on DreamHost in preparation for the move while my domains are still associated with the old account.

Any help will be appreciated. In particular, if this looks like an account that isn’t suited to DreamHost - or one they would prefer not to have - please let me know.

Michael


#2

Dreamhost support and panel is in english, but a lot of non-US people use dreamhost.

About php apps, if an Hungarian version exist, you can of course host it here.


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#3

Michael,

You sound ten times more knowledgeable than the average DreamHost customer on this site, much less the average prospective customer.

I know you’re way beyond my own comfort zone - particularly when it comes to language support.

You very well may luck out and get someone knowledge to respond here, but be prepared for maybe taking the plunge and opening an account and utilizing the 97 day money-back guarantee period to ask your questions and see if they can be resolved as a paying customer.

Best luck! One thing you’ll see is that we’re a close-knit group here that is always willing to help each other out!

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#4

I really recommend that you contact Dreamhost on this one, as we’re only customers and cannot provide you with an official answer. You can do that here: http://www.dreamhost.com/contact.cgi

For instance, you might even be eligible for free hosting, because you are a non-profit.

With regards to the webmail, the base DH install is SquirrelMail, and I just checked, and it is possible to change the interface to Hungarian.


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#5

Let’s start with a quick bubble-bursting: DreamHost does the same thing. It isn’t really clear to me whether you can get around this by compiling your own PHP: What I’ve seen so far seems to indicate that you can’t (I haven’t been able to find instructions on how to do so), but perhaps someone has found a way. And, of course, support may be willing to change the settings for you, or put you on a server where those are the settings: All you can do is ask.

That’s the not-so-good news. The good news is that since you’re a non-profit, you could get DreamHost’s highest-level plan for free! That assumes that you’re a registered non-profit in the United States, of course: Since you’re working for churches in other countries, that might not be the case, but if it is, you’re definitely in luck! Anyway, you can ask DreamHost about that and see if they can work something out for you—they’re usually very accommodating.

It gets better: DH’s installation of phpMyAdmin does indeed come with “Magyar - Hungarian”-language support. As far as I know, DH can do most any character encoding, but you would need to contact them to be sure. In terms of the control panel, DH uses their own custom-created panel, which doesn’t seem to offer support for other languages. That shouldn’t be a big problem, however, because those you delegate responsibility to don’t actually need access to the panel—FTP and phpMyAdmin access will be plenty (panel access is only needed for things like hosting new domains and creating new databases).

You can take your time with migrating, because you can set some things up in advance so that all you have to do is “flip the switch” on your domains’ DNS settings when you’re ready to actually have them be hosted here.

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Very little to do with either emus or farmers!


#6

Thanks folks for all the helpful replies. If DreamHost is running php as a cgi script I probably wouldn’t gain anything by the move. The limitations that carries are creating most of my problems. I’m surprised commercial hosts are taking that step. Maybe if its the coming thing more developers will begin to take it into account. Major cms packages already seem to be compatible with it, but there are a few lesser known packages that have served me well in the past that just go haywire if you don’t have mod_php.

Oh well. I’ll keep looking around.


#7

I would suggest 1and1…they do not run .php as a cgi script and have fantastic uptimes and very stable mysql databases. Redundancy is the key with these folks…at last count their chains run into the 30s and with separate actual data centers in US and EU - latency does not ever become an issue. I’ve heard others push RackSpace, but I haven’t used those folks as of yet.

IAmAtMyWitsEnd


#8

Actually, if you can get by with PHP 4 (4.4.4, exactly), at present you can still run mod_php on your domain at Dreamhost as indicated here.

An example phpinfo output of that environment can be found here.

Of course, that could change at any time, and it won’t help you if you require PHP5 ( though many older applications do not). :wink:

–rlparker


#9

firstly, note that DreamHost offers a FREE Strictly Business plan to non-profit, charitable, organizations registered in the United States (http://wiki.dreamhost.com/Non-profit_Discount).

secondly, you are able to run PHP as an Apache Module on most servers with a simple .htaccess (http://discussion.dreamhost.com/showflat.pl?Cat=&Board=forum_troubleshooting&Number=43717&page=&view=&sb=&o=&vc=1).

thirdly, from your description, it seems that you are definately not using lots of cpu resources. even if you are, DreamHost will try to move you to a less-busy server and will not suspend your site directly like some host will (http://wiki.dreamhost.com/CPU_Resources_FAQ).

fourthly, all your software and requirements seems to be compatible with DreamHost.

finally, you can migrate your database easily (http://wiki.dreamhost.com/Migrate_MySQL). files can be transfered from your previous host using ftp or rysnc easily too.

if there is anything is missed out, feel free to pm me.


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#10

besides everything else everyone is mentioning I would just like to had, that there is a limit of 100/200 emails on phpmailer/SMTP.
For such a busy site like yours, you could hit that limit really soon


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