Does tech support exist?

I paid for a dedicated server on Friday, and started setting it up Friday night. I transferred a domain (, and shortly thereafter encountered the “bad_httpd_conf” error (that is, when I try to view or or the IP equivalent, I get a page saying “Site Temporarily Unavailable…error id: bad_httpd_conf”). I searched the Knowledge Base, forums, and Google for help, but all I have learned is that sometimes this happens on DreamHost, and if you send tech support a note, they’ll fix it. So I sent tech support a note.

It is now 31 hours later, and I’m not very happy with my choice of DreamHost at this point. I have several questions.

  1. What the heck is this bad_httpd_conf problem? I find nothing at all about it in the Knowledge Base, and no explanation of it in the forums.

  2. What is the normal response time from tech support? Are they slower on weekends than on weekdays, and if so, how long should I expect to wait for them?

  3. Is there any kind of urgent support request address or phone number? I’m losing money and reputation because of this problem, and I’m not happy about that. If it were some smaller matter, I’d be more comfortable waiting a couple days.


  1. I have no idea what a “error id: bad_httpd_conf” is. Try searching Google.

  2. This is normal right now. The current promotion is literally over-booking their support assets. DH is also upgrading and/or replacing a majority of their hardware. This also has an impact on support time. You can also expect a slowdown on weekends as well, since less employees are working and more customers have time to send support requests.

  3. As far as I know, there isn’t one. If you request a call back, they tend to get back to you quicker. If that is the case and you have Called ID, I’d save the phone number that they call from for later use. I’m not sure if that would work though.

[quote]What the heck is this bad_httpd_conf problem?


When I got this, Support said:


but this does not fit with my experience, which is:

a) it can result from a panel change to 'type of web service’
b) it did not clear up in two hours. It cleared up only after I alerted Support.

[quote]2. What is the normal response time from tech support?


Dunno. They say 24 hours but it is currently over 3 days here.

After waiting a bit longer, I discovered that there is a way to mark your tech support questions with a lower or higher level of urgency. About 20 minutes after I posted one of highest urgency, my problem was solved.

In case somebody is searching for insight into the bad_httpd_config problem in the future, here’s what tech support said:

“It can mean any number of things. In general it just means that the domain did not get configured on the web server correctly for whatever reason. In this particular case it was because the logs directory for user ‘ulnet’ didn’t get created automatically. Not sure why that happened but I’ve taken care of it.”

I don’t know for sure, but I may have made too many assumptions in setting up my system. I created the user “ulnet”, I did Add Domain from the Web Panel, and then I manually created the directory into which the web files would go. I did not, however, create the logs directory. It makes me wonder whether the manual creation of the /home/ulnet/ directory may have screwed up some automated system or other.

Anyway, I am back to happy. I do hope they can bring response times back under 24 hours, however.

you bought a dedicated server? 100/month-or-better for a dedicated server?

If that’s the case, and the support sounds to be the same for dedicated/shared, that’s kinda scary. At least you’d have control to fix it yourself if you could figure out how.

Do tell tho, you said dedicated, did you man dedicated or was that a mis-type?


[quote]Bad news - this bad httpd conf error has been a “top priority” problem for at least a year.


Sheesh, I would like to have known that when I was struggling with it in the Summer. I could not get Support to look at it at all - their position was:

I’m not sure why it happened again - now that it’s working again, I can’t really look into it.

Which is exactly the reply that they should have in a situation like that. If something is fixed correctly (which it sounds like you did), then there should be no trace of the error. So, support told you the truth. They weren’t trying to dodge the issue in any way.

[quote]If something is fixed correctly… then there should be no trace of the error.


Wrong. There should be logs of what they’ve described as “top-priority” system failures like this, because otherwise they going to find it very hard to investigate and fix.

I did indeed say (and mean) “dedicated.” Ultralingua is a business, and so far at least, some of the smaller software gods have blessed us with some success. Since our software is multi-lingual dictionaries, the download files are big. We pushed over 100GB/month in bandwidth recently, which was getting expensive in overage charges on a shared account at But even worse, our on-line dictionaries at were getting enough hits that the script that processes the requests was pushing CPU usage on our shared account to 85%–not very nice to the other people on our machine. So it was time for a dedicated server, where we can run background processes (to cut the CPU usage), where the bandwidth limits are a lot higher, and where we won’t be bothering anyone else.

bravo! you’re a good neighbor :wink:

Have you had shared accounts at Dreamhost? And if yes, have you drawn the conclusion that the support for dedicated and shared is handled by the same department?

I just assumed that dedicated would get top priority or perhaps it’s own support staff, but then I guess that’s why they sell all the add ons? :slight_smile:

thanks for getting back


Really nice site. :slight_smile:

Bookmark now

If only I can make it translate English sentences into Latin then I’ll be set on the way to impress my friends. :smiley:

It’s the same support staff, but messages from dedicated customers are flagged, and are treated as high priority. Dedicated customers also get access to some other information for emergencies.

thanks will, good to see your smiling face again, reckon you’ve been busy lately :slight_smile: cheers!


Yeah - unfortunately, I need to devote more “on the clock” time to activities other than the forum - so I probably won’t be around as much as usual. That said, I’ll still keep an eye on the forum and probably post from time to time, and I know that other employees are around as well.

I recently registered quite a few domains with dreamhost… today mon 1-31 @ 3pm it will have been 3 days ago…

when i try to goto the sites I get this page that says…

" Site Temporarily Unavailable
We apologize for the inconvenience. Please contact the webmaster/ tech support immediately to have them rectify this.
error id: “bad_httpd_conf” "

also I have not been able to use mail or ftp…

is this standard??? or is it that “” In general it just means that the domain did not get configured on the web server correctly""???

anyway it seems the support people have been slammed lately so I was thinking maybe I would get advise quicker here…