Dreamhost is AWFUL in 08 (Dedicated Server Owner)


I have had a dedicated server with Dreamhost since 05… the occasional downtime, nothing too serious. 2008 there has been some major screw ups… once this year all of my websites on my dedicated server had been down 8 hours… right now they have been down OVER 50 HOURS STRAIGHT! Ok I could understand on a $5 a month plan, but when you are spending hundreds a month you expect more.


I understand your frustration and I don’t mean to minimize at all the seriousness of someone’s service being down.

But I do want to point out that one or a few person’s dedicated server being down isn’t equivalent to all of DreamHost being down. Every service will have it’s screw ups. If the screw up happens to you, then the service sucks. But to make an overall value judgement on a company that serves many thousands of customers based on the individual experience of one or even a few people is a bit of a stretch and doesn’t really do anyone any good.

Obviously, the recent downtime has been a major inconvenience for some customers. That doesn’t tell me anything, however. I’d need to see some statistics on how many customers were affected, and for how long. Otherwise for all I know, these complaints are like if someone hits a pothole in New York City, and declares the entire transportation infrastructure of the entire state of New York to be in a shambles. Granted, it looks bad when a concrete ceiling tile falls down and kills someone, (wait, that was Boston, same difference…) but statistically speaking, you’ve got a better chance of being hit by lightning while you’re doing a hot move on a server room rack. (Is that what happened, DH? :slight_smile:

So yeah, if anyone has any info on how much of DH was down, and for how long, that would be interesting. Even better would be if that data could be presented in the context of the overall uptime of this service and similar services of competitiors. Average length of downtime, frequency of downtime… that sort of thing. I’d be honestly interested to see that.

I am sure lots of people will reply to this post saying “lots of people were affected. Thousands of customer’s service went down.” Yeah I know. But the concept that I’m commenting on goes deeper than that.


What’s the reason your entire dedicated server is down and has been down for 50 hours?

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Yes, I would also like to know why it has been down for 50+Hours, if that has been the case then I strongly suggest you claim some damages.


Maybe what we can do is compare experiences and gradually form a consensus on whether the service is up to what one might reasonably hope for.

Here’s what I’m getting (half-hourly pings),

Since: June 10, 2007
Outages: 9
Total Uptime: 99.602%

Year Outages Uptime
2008 4 99.399%

Year Month Outages Uptime Downtime
2008 March 3 98.421% 1.579%
2008 February 1 99.642% 0.358%
2008 January 0 100.000% 0.000%

Average response time: 0.180 seconds


Is this on a dedicated server?

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“Is this on a dedicated server?”

Oops! No, I should have specified, it’s on a regular shared server. But it’s an interesting point: the response time on a dedicated server should presumably be better, but as far as availability is concerned, is there any good reason why a dedicated server might be expected to fail less (or indeed more) frequently than a shared server?


With a shared server, you’re at the mercy of hundreds of other users. That alone isn’t the problem… it’s how many of those users are going to crash something, run outdated scripts full of security holes, etc…

Being on a dedicated server doesn’t mean you won’t ever have problems, they just won’t be caused by other users.

It can also be the other way around, where you become the problem for the other users because your site is hogging the resources. In that case, you’ll likely end up having to upgrade, unless you can optimize your site so that it plays nicely with others.

The only advantage shared hosting has over dedicated (assuming identical servers) is price. For some reason, most people prefer to pay $3/month over $300/month. :stuck_out_tongue:

Even without the resource issue, another reason to go with a dedicated server would be privacy/security. If you’re going to be storing a lot of sensitive data, not being connected to the internet would be ideal, but not always the case. If it’s going to be online, it’s best to not give a few hundred strangers access to the machine.

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Image hundreds of users are in the same server. Image hundreds of users have SSH access to the same server. It is challenging to manage shared server.

It is like choosing a bus or private motor car.

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Very perceptive question, Mary! (at least, I think so!)

As far as pure uptime is concerned, the primary reason that a shared server would have more downtime than a dedicated server is that someone else’s site is hammering the server so hard that the server seems to be unresponsive - that is, it is unable to respond to an http request. There’s also some other rare cases where the other people’s processes have somehow left the server in a “bad state”, but this is probably rare enough in the LAMP stack world that it won’t have a material impact on uptime.

But you’re very right in that most of the other contributors to downtime - particularly everything in the category of network problems and file server problems, are common across both shared and dedicated servers at Dreamhost. Also, as you imply, there are at least a couple of reasons that dedicated servers might actually have more downtime than shared servers - though like you I think this is a smaller effect and outweighed by other factors!

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One of the things I noticed when I owned a hosting company was that different websites have peak demand at different times.

That is, if you have a site for a Maine high school, and a site that’s in Greek, and a site for an Australian restaurant, each site will be busy when the other two are pretty inactive.

On the other hand, if you have a server that has only one very busy site, there will be times when it’s overloaded with traffic, and times when it’s loafing.

Search engines mostly run their spiders in the hours when nobody is searching for anything, because the CPU cycles and the bandwidth is almost free then…

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