DreamHost communication


#1

In the “old days” DH would communicate with customers via email. Those announcements then became part of the web panel. Then we were given settings to choose which announcements were emailed and which just showed up in the web panel.

Although those settings are still there, rarely are we emailed. A specific example would be downtime. I have that option selected, but haven’t received emails regarding downtime in quite some time.

Later we received the kbase as an option to find info from DH. This was a good way to keep from asking questions that get asked often.

Later DH came up with status.dreamhost.com because they can’t send emails to everyone if their access to the outside is down. Makes sense.

Now we also have the blog and wiki, in addition to the web panel, emails and kbase. Although some of those have had well defined usages, it seems lately they’re all just a blend of any communication we might be so lucky to have.

For example, status.dreamhost.com is supposed to be updated “in case of a network outage or other internal problems which result in our web panel being inaccessible.” However, nearly daily as of recent is the web panel inaccessible but that site is only updated maybe 20% of the the time.

Sometimes the blog is later updated to describe the outages. Aren’t we supposed to be emailed regarding them? Instead we often find the most valuable information about our hosting not working mixed in with other things such as “Got Sushi?”

Currently, I have the following selected:
Major Downtime/Urgent Action Required
Unplanned Downtime/Major Policy Change
Planned Downtime/Minor Policy Change

I occasionally get planned downtime announcements, and few about db’s. Very rarely do I see policy change announcements. Rarely is major or even unplanned downtime mentioned via email.

Does anyone else find DH’s communication methods to be obfuscated? I think they need to start living up to their end of the agreement, at least when it comes to communication.


#2

Well, they’ve now merged the wiki and kbase. I suppose that’s a move in the right direction, though there are a lot of complaints about it. The kbase was not getting updated regularly, as there was often instructions which were years old.


#3

It’s the ongoing trend of “quantity” over “quality”.

Cheap, unreliable (and unresponsive) web hosts are a dime a dozen.

Dreamhost needs to pay attention and not follow that herd, if they wish to preserve their reputation as a standout low-cost host.

The temptation is strong, I’m sure, to simply play the numbers in the short-term game. But longterm, if the quality of service doesn’t improve they will become just another wayward example of “You get what you pay for…” Fine perhaps for hobbyists, but not for anyone who would like their business taken seriously.

If that is their business model, then I believe their clients deserve to know what to realistically expect. Those that don’t care about about quality (and timely!) communication, will enter in fairly warned and with the correct expectations… and probably not unhappy as a result.

But those customers led to believe uptime, service and support would continue reliably, but are experiencing something starkly different, are likely to be very unhappy.

When your word is perceived as no longer any good, you have more serious problems than a temporary outage here or there. I hope the folks at DreamHost are considering this as they allocate their resources, recognizing the parts of their business that are most critical to the longterm sustainability of their customer base.

I’m in a holding pattern in terms of referring new folks to DreamHost… at least until I see things improve significantly. When I refer people to DreamHost, it is my reputation, not just DreamHost’s that is on the line. My confidence in DreamHost has been shaken by serial outages, and ongoing email issues, as well as slow or inconsistent access to my admin panel.

As I said in an earlier post… I’d rather they quadruple their reliability and responsiveness, than do the same for storage space or bandwidth. But to date that does not seem to be the direction they have taken.

Fingers crossed that they are working on this.


#4

Theres some truth in what you are saying, I’m delighted with dreamhost, but then I just use it for personal use.

Some of my paying customers however, are less enthused, they are trying to run their businesses.