I run a website that gives loans to the poor (www.kiva.org) . Dreamhost has crashed my site 2 times per week for a month. Today, it has been down for over an hour and we are losting $1000’s.
I implore anyone to avoid dreamhost. They will give you reasons for their incompetence. The simple fact is that they should be more prepared to handle the responsibility they are given in hosting 1000’s of sites. Dreamhost does not live up to their responsibility
Reasons? I think they give more than that. July was probably the worst month here at DH, and it’s definitely not fair to judge them completely based on one (very) bad month. You’re free to do as you wish though.
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It’s not about the money, I’m a customer for 1 week and this is the first time that my websites are so often offline, I hope DH can fix these problems (and off course that the problems will finally end)
E-Commerce is a viable business for a lot of people. And it is very easy fpr a small business to bring in a few thousand dollars a month. And we’re not even talking about a high-traffic site - we see maybe 1500 unique visitors a month, and use about 7 gigs of bandwidth.
3 years ago, DH had no problem being a reliable host for such a business - and advertised itself as such. We used to never have a problem prior to the last year or so. (Or if we did, it was truely a small, isolated issue that resolved immediatly, as you would expect from a professional hosting company).
Now … not so much. And every time you are off the air, you’re losing business. Either actual sales, or future customers (they will go somewhere else that sells what you do and probably not come back if they like that site).
The problem is, moving a large, complicated site to a new host is not easy, is time consuming, and rarely goes off without a hitch. Unfortunately, it’s rapidly becoming the only solution for some of us. The latest disaster simply being the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
[EDIT] And as I post this, IMAP is barely working, yet again. Trying to fetch mail is painfully slow, or simply times out. At least we can send mail today, unlike yesterday …
The thousands in an hour figure is what seemed flawed to me. It’s great that the site is non-profit, but charging .1% for the service would probably pay for a dedicated server. Any shared server will have down time, and with the amount of money passing through Kiva, I don’t see the logic of using a shared plan. Missing a single loan could be the cost of the dedicated server (for a month–or a year!). From a business perspective, it makes more sense to spend the time preparing for a dedicated host than posting duplicate threads complaining about the service.
Moving a large, complicated site is not hard, but it is time consuming as you said. You allow for a large overlap period, having the complete site up and running, thoroughly tested on the new server before changing the DNS records and then you’ll have very minimal downtime. Where I work, we had to move from two servers to three different servers and a different physical (and, obviously, digital) location a few months ago. We spent a long time preparing and it went off flawlessly.
I’m not saying that DH shouldn’t provide great service to customers (whether businesses or individuals), just that I find it strange that people who “make thousands in an hour” are on a shared server that has a monthly cost < .1% of the money being transfered through their site.
Oh, and just to clarify, unlike the original poster, we don’t lose “thousands” every time DH screws up. It’s probably somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple hundred per major outage (in net profit).
But it does cost us, not only in real sales but also furture sales as I mentioned.
Also in the customer service / reputaion dept as well. When I can’t access our email, I can’t respond to customers. This also has an impact on our business.
I advise anyone who cares about their site to thoroughly research what kinds of redundancy, robustness, and uptime gurantees you require before signing up for any plan with any host. I further advise that, depending upon what you nean by “caring about your site”, to seriously consider whether shared hosting is an appropriate concession to make for monthly savings in webhosting fees.
I understand that you are frustrated that things are not as smoothly running as they have in the past, but from your own description of your site, why are you still on a shared server?
It seems as though you have enjoyed a “gravy deal” for most of that time; you got what effectively performed what you needed it to for very little money. If times have changed, and the host changes, why is it so hard for you to realize it might be time for you to change also?
The hugh growth in users fueled by the aggressive marketing and pricing has led to some infrastructure problems being exposed, and the pitfalls of running business sites on shared severs being adequately demonstrated. Hey, it’s great that it worked for you in the past. It has worked well for me in the past also.
None of those changes have anything to do with a host being “professional” - everyone has a different definition of that depending upon their reference point, experience, and attitudes. They do, however, bring into serious question the wisdom, or advisability, of hosting e-commerce site on shared servers where you do not control all the other users on the server.
The advisability of relying completely upon shared hosting style shared email servers for business/ecommerce use is even more questionable.
I don’t see what the problem is. Evaluate the service you are receiving, make a decision (or decisions) as to whether or not Dreamhost remains a desireable cost/benefit value, and either stick it out, or move to something more appropriate for your needs, depending on how this all works out in your mind. Simple.
Well, it ought to be easy, should take very little time, and “hitches” should be managable and minimal. The difficulty of moving a site between hosts is something that is of your own making, because of decisions you have made regarding tools, technologies, etc. I’ll grant you, if you relied on the wealth of services a typical Dreamhost account provides, and utilized them fully, finding an appropriate host to “move” to, at a cost your client will not balk at, could be challenging.
The end result of the recent issues have forced responsible web administrators to make these evaluations, and the “right” answer is not the same for everyone. None of my e-commerce site clients are thrilled with the last month’s performance. I’ve found some alternate hosting arrangements (at greater cost) and have presented those alternatives to my clients, which is a respopnsible thing to do. My client’s are business persons, not techies, and they make their decisions on this kind of stuff based on their business plans, profit and loss posture, and business experiences…not emotions.
None of them has yet decided it is worth more money to change from Dreamhost, and are waiting to see if things stabilize.