DH WORKS: A one year anniversary RAVE


#1

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:

[quote]- A web design junkie for 10 years - 3 years with WYSIWYG, the last 7 all handcoding

  • Kicked back at the original Geocities when Geocities was still Geocities and they allowed free accounts to use FTP

  • Kicked back at the original Fortunecity before everyone got pop-up happy

  • Kicked back at Xoom before it… disappeared

  • Kicked back at RegisterFly before EVERYTHING went to hell (and never came back)

  • Was kicked to GoDaddy because of the RegisterFly fiasco and DAMN

  • Kicked back at several friends’ private servers at different periods of time

  • Kicked back (and still kicking back) at a particular friend’s private server where pretty much the only rule was/is ‘Don’t get me into trouble and don’t crash my server’

  • Currently kicking back at DreamHost for both my personal webhosting and the majority of my registrar needs[/quote]
    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?

Get this:

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.

Until today.

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.

Guess what?

The Google webhosting option was UNTicked as the default.

Hell. YEAH.

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.

Thanks, guys.

Happy DH anniversary to me and I hope to be around for many more!


#2

Welcome to the 95% crowd. There’s the .05% who just get the short end of the stick and it just doesn’t work out. Then the other .05% who shoot themselves in both feet and throw a hissy fit at DreamHost. And about 4% who get hit by occasional DreamHost shrapnel.

I know I’ve been hit with the rare outage, but I can’t remember any that were horribly inconvenient. Considering the service, features, and price, it’s all been worthwhile.

As for uptime, I can’t remember the last time I found that my site was down. I’ve only received one complaint from a user, and that was because the site was slow.

-Scott


#3

but thats the food of every day…

other then that, the service seems quite good. although some times speeds aint that good too… but that is just a few times.


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#4

Happy anniversary!

I’m sure your positive attitude and understanding come through in your support emails and helps to communicate exactly what the problem is (and avoids classification into the “ignorant whiner” category).

I find the ability to write good support request emails with full information and transparency to be the key to receiving good support. It’s something that you become finely attuned to from working support for a while, but it’s certainly learnable by everyone!

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#5

Thanks everyone!

It’s certainly been a great experience with DH so far and so I’m hopeful that the future will be even better.

I do agree that being able to express properly and in detail the issues going on when writing a support ticket is an important factor in ensuring a soon-as-possible response from any support team anywhere.

Time taken to translate netspeak or shorthand for instance is time taken away from writing a proper response. And sometimes, some issues simply need more time to be fixed or to be looked into.

And where I do get upset if DH (or whomever else I bought a product or service from) messes something up (heck, I’m human, what can I say?), at the same time, there’s the realization that the people at DH are human, too, and that sometimes, crap just happens.

In the end, I try and treat others - this includes customer support/service agents - the way I would like to be treated. Having worked in customer support before, I suppose I am even more aware of this relationship than a lot of other people who have never worked in such a capacity might be.

But, yeah.

DH’s support system has been good to me and for that, I give them my consumer loyalty.

And Scott?

Downtime happened… once? And I ended up getting an ‘Ooops, we messed up’ email from them, apologizing for the server mishap.

And yeaaap, them’s the breaks with the occasional slower load times.

Thing is, even on big enterprise servers with the best connections, slowness can still happen if coding or programming wasn’t done cleanly.

In my personal opinion, a good majority of sites that I have seen that have experienced slow loading times are sites that are either: chock full of images after images after images with banners and ads and flash gadgets splattered everywhere OR large commercial sites that have a large user/visitor/membership base.



#6

I’ve had downtime, scheduled and not, but it’s either been at a really off hour, or so short that nobody noticed or were bothered enough to mention it.

What’s actually amazing about the whole thing is that we get all this for just over $100/year. Heck, that’s a tank or two of gas these days.

-Scott


#7

For me, it would be nearly two tanks of gas.

$119 a year is not even $10 a month.

For all that we get in the package, what other deal out there can beat it?

Not many, if any.



#8

I have only been with DH for a month but have been very impressed. I am not all that knowledgeable about webhosting, but did have another site with another host, and knew what I did and didn’t want to experience again. All I can say is that DH is wonderful. Before I decided to join, I sent a message to the sales staff late on a Saturday night. I figured it would be Monday afternoon before I had a response. Instead I got one less than twenty minutes later. Impressed? You bet.

Because I don’t know nearly as much as I would like to (if I knew half of what you’ve probably forgotten, MEK, I would triple my knowledge), but answers have been easy to find, either through the discussion forums or through the wiki.

Likewise, because of my previous experience with another web host I know that when someone has a problem, nine times out of ten it’s because of something they’re doing wrong. So when I have a problem my first instinct is not to blame DH, but to look for answers. Guess what? When I get them, I AM doing something wrong. When I fix my mistake, everything goes perfectly.

In short, am I happy with DH? You bet. Will I be with them for a long time? You bet. Will I recommend them to others? No, because I already DO recommend them to others. Their reputation is my reputation and I sleep very well, and very happily.

Long live DH!

Ken


#9

I’ve had only one other hosting service so lack your experience to make a worthwhile comparison but short of one minor glitch the service is near perfect.
The glitch? I am currently utilising 0% of disk space - since it is growing much faster than I can produce web pages I shall be doomed to be the ‘Zero Percent User’.