A little bit about me before I say my piece about DreamHost as somehow, it seems important to people that I establish some sort of background for myself:
As you can see, in terms of personal webhosting and domain name registration, my road to DreamHost has been something of an adventure and I think that it is perhaps that very adventure that makes me truly appreciate the services and support that I have received from DreamHost for the last year+ that I have been with them.
When I found DreamHost a little over a year ago, I had been looking for a place to host my online portfolio and various pet web development projects.
The major factors that led me to choose DreamHost included: uptime, bandwidth, storage space, security, user freedom, lots of important features (I LIKE control panels that pretty much give full access to site management, I LIKE being able to SSH into my sites, I LIKE being able to utilize htaccess, I LIKE using PHP, I LIKE Ruby, and hell, I LIKE being able to do pretty much every damned thing I want to do that is legal, thank you!), and room to grow if the time came for it.
The price was more than right for all of this (I first signed up under a referral code from a good friend of mine who recommended DH to me and I shelled out a whopping 20 some odd bucks for a full year) and more and after signing up, I never looked back.
The things I had been looking for, I found at DreamHost and even better - everything worked! Hot damn! From their user interface for their control panel to their various webhosting features like Ruby on Rails and PHP and cgi-bin and 1-click Installs to their SSH/Shell and SFTP accessibility to the ability to create and edit my own htaccess file, everything worked and worked without a hitch.
Considering that I am an advanced user, that's probably not such a big deal, but get this:
The thing that REALLY won me over and continues to win me over?
Their customer support.
No doubt about it; DreamHost's customer support is truly excellent and this is coming from someone who has worked in customer support for many years.
Even though I paid so incredibly little for my first year, I have received prompt (within 24 hours - sooner when I sent my emergency support ticket) and exemplary DH customer support for EVERY. SINGLE. ISSUE. I have ever written to them about.
I'll admit it; when I signed up for DH, good customer support was never something I really dared to hope for as past experiences with both paid and free hosting have shown that unless you're a high-end business user, you'll be lucky to get a reply within a week if you even get a reply at all.
But I guess that was just paranoia on my part as DH has proven me wrong time and time again.
Polite, courteous, and definitely possessing more than 2 braincells to rub together in terms of technical know-how - the various people who have handled my support tickets have done an excellent job (and yes, I have given them all positive feedback as a result), but perhaps even more importantly, they have also LISTENED to what I have had to say.
How do I know?
Most recently, I encountered a peculiar issue dealing with my website suddenly switching over to Google hosting without my known knowledge or request. I had changed my email settings so that Google would handle my email and somehow in the process of changing my MX settings, my site got switched to Google hosting and everything crapped out. I only switched my MX settings; WTF happened to my DNS settings and how did it happen?
Being that I had no idea what the hell had happened much less how it had happened, I sent an emergency ticket to support and got an apologetic response from the support team in less than 24 hours.
It turned out that DH had integrated the option to switch to Google hosting in the MX settings control panel and had it selected by default (BAD idea!) and so in the process of switching my email handling to Google, I accidentally switched my hosting to Google as well because I had neglected to UNtick the Google webhosting option.
After me and customer support played a quick game of confirming appropriate DNS settings and such, I ended my final customer support email with a suggestion to leave the Google webhosting box UNticked by default to prevent future accidents from happening again.
I was told that my suggestion was appreciated and that it would be forwarded to the right team and... I more or less forgot about it.
I logged into my control panel and recalled my conversation with and suggestion to the support team. Out of curiosity, I clicked on my MX settings and tried to set up another domain to use Google email.
The Google webhosting option was UNTicked as the default.
Not that I'd make such a mistake again (accidentally messing up my DNS and crap once was more than enough), but seeing that change tells me that THEY LISTENED!
Not only does DreamHost provide timely and courteous customer support, but they listen, too.
Even when you don't use the suggestion box.
Happy DH anniversary to me and I hope to be around for many more!