DreamHost - Sorry or Forced Business?!

I am a client with Dreamhost - one day I found out my website links is not working - frustrated, keep checking my email mulitiple times hoping to hear something from DH and visited the forum for anything news - finally recieved an email from support:

I’m really sorry but I had to disable ilovephim.net because the amount of
resources its using is above and beyond what a shared hosting server can

We tried to move you to accomodate your usage, but it is getting to
levels where we would need to keep you on your own server, and we do not
provide dedicated hosting packages anymore.

However, our dedicated hosting partner, Hosting.com, can provide you with
a server to suit your needs. Please look at what they have to offer at
http://www.dreamhost.com/dedicated. Contact them through there if you are
interested. You’ll even get a discount on your first month of service for
being a DreamHost customer!

I apologize that we could not come to any other resolution for your site.

Thank you for your understanding.


This is my FIRST ever warning about this issue! why not warn me several days ahead or even hours ? suddenly just shutdown my website? and tell me to go to dedicated?
EVEN if I wanted to move, do you know how much time to signup for another host? get the domain ready? in the meantime my website is down? not to considering download the backup files, etc.How much this will cost me?
I was frustrated but still a little cool, emailing the support back:
can you please be specific on which file or resource i was using to avoid
future problem with dreamhost and other hosting. ?
and the ANSWER I received:


The entire site was just taking up too many resources in and of

I’m sorry that there really wasn’t any other option for the site.

As always, please email me if you have any other issues.


Support was very SPECIFIC that almost it identical to the first email that shutdown my site! I am not an expert, so I do not know what cause the resource? And all I get is that? is like saying “nope, we dont want to host your site” - go get our dedicated server.
I checked, I only use 23% of my hosting space and 3% of my allow bandwidth?

I guess this is like a warning to other client who have a busy website -

and DreamHost, what is going on ?

does anyone have this problem too? or it’s just me?

or is this a new way to force business to sign up for dedicated server?

Firstly, let me say that I agree that DreamHost does not seem to have given you adequate warning before disabling your site.

Having said that, disk space and bandwidth usage are not the only resources that can adversely affect others on your shared server. There is also the matter of CPU usage, if your site is mostly dynamically generated, and has one or two badly optimised scripts, even moderate traffic levels can send the CPU usage through the roof, making life very frustrating for others on your particular server.

In such cases the usual DreamHost procedure is to notify you of the excessive usage and work with you to resolve the issue, perhaps moving you to a less crowded server during the process. However, for whatever reason, it seems like DreamHost has decided that such measures would not work in your particular case.

To be fair, you really have to look at the issue from the perspective of the many others on your shared server, they have also paid for hosting services and no doubt they would be frustrated if their services were adversely affected by your sites resource usage.

To be honest, I think your best option is to (as DreamHost advised) seek some sort of dedicated hosting solution. It is more expensive, but, if your site is as busy as its resource usage suggests, you shouldn’t have to many problems making it pay for itself.


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Why would they want you to sign up for a dedicated server at another company, rather than have you here? That doesn’t even make sense.

A shared server is just that–shared. A site that uses too much of the shared resources needs to be on a dedicated server.

Maybe it would be nice to have more warning, but other users on the machine being able to use their share of resources is more important.

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I agree, but at least a few days notice !

and if scripting is the problem, I think they knowledgeable to lets me know so I can fix the problem

[quote]Why would they want you to sign up for a dedicated server at another company, rather than have you here?


I read recently that DH doesn’t have any available capacity for dedicated servers at the moment. That may be an explanation.
On the overall topic, I’m also puzzled that there never was any warning, but others have already commented on this.

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That’s easy to say when you’re the one causing the problem, but how would you like it if someone else was dragging your site down for several days and DH told you, “It’s another customer’s site that’s hurting your performance… but he needs time to move”?

I believe they have told others specific problems in the past–so it might just be that your site is too busy.

If you’re using a CMS, forums, etc… you might want to look at caching options/plugins. If you have busy dynamic pages that never change, maybe try making them static HTML. Little things like that.

In most cases though, I’d say that if one shared host boots you, others probably will as well. If your site is too busy for shared hosting, it should be capable of generating more than enough revenue to pay for a dedicated server… and then you’ll have more room to grow when you need it.

:stuck_out_tongue: Save up to $96 at Dreamhost with ALMOST97 promo code (I get $1).
Or save $97 with THEFULL97.

That was actually my point. :wink: Meaning that it’s not like they were trying to make more money off him, since they can’t even sell him what they’re recommending.

No idea why there wasn’t more of a warning. Or maybe there was? It seems like DH has been helpful with fast-growing sites in the past, or helped people narrow down the cause of the problem… which makes me think is site probably just outgrew shared hosting (maybe in a quick burst of growth?).

It sounds like they did try to move him, so I don’t know what else they could do, really–at least without hurting other customers on the server.

:stuck_out_tongue: Save up to $96 at Dreamhost with ALMOST97 promo code (I get $1).
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So, did you have a bittorrent set up?


Opinions are my own views, not DreamHosts’.
I am NOT a DreamHost employee OK!! :@

You act on my advice at your own risk!

That’s a good question, Norm. I, for one, always feel frustrated when reading of these types of problems but am unable to see/visit the site under discussion. I suspect, in many cases, the problem would be readily apparant if we were able to see the site.

I’m especially intrigued in this instance given the original poster’s description of how much bandwidth/storage was used; I think hosting torrents might well have used more bandwidth. If the bandwidth/storage usage was actually as claimed by the poster, I’m thinking it must have been some processing being done that caused the problem.

The point is, we will most likely never know, which makes it hard to know whether DH actions with this site were, or were not, reasonable.


It does appear to be online: http://ilovephim.net/

At first glance, it seems to be an environment for downloading and playing some sort of online game. My vietnamese is pretty lousy, so I have no idea exactly what it’s all about; however, it is easy to understand how such a site could consume much in the way of resources.

Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
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Thanks, Simon! I didn’t see that reference (though it was there in the original post - doh!). I can’t tell much either about what it does, but I agree that, depending upon the nature of the “entertainments”, it could be(come) very resource intensive.


Just to offer an explanation from the DreamHost side:

  1. We did drop the ball in terms of due dilligence on this one and for that I apologize (we should have provided detailed information regarding the disablement as well as working with the customer to see if we can help fix the problem - I am working on that now)

  2. The second response was from one of our new hires so unfortunately he wasn’t equipped to catch the problem and correct it (he’ll have it the next time around if there is one - we are taking steps to prevent that as well though)

In short, while we can’t allow one customer to use over half of the computational power of their server we are moving towards more user-friendly policies (we already accomodate many cases where usage is quite disproportional). It’s difficult sometimes to catch exactly what is going on when a user is hammering a machine but we need to give good feedback and try to reach a solution before [if possible] disablement of any domain or service and certainly before requesting that they find another provider.


John (DreamHost Staffer)

Frankly, I’m encouraged to hear that the “summary” nature of the disablement the original poster described is not normal DH operating procedure. I think we all understand that mistakes happen. I’m particularly relieved that, irrespective of the ultimate outcome, DH is now working with the customer to see if there is a viable fix. That is more like the DH I am used to :wink: .

Hey, it may turn out that dedicated hosting is what is indicated for this site, and if that is the case, all users of shared hosting are better off if Dreamhost recognizes that and acts appropriately. If that is the case, I still think it is appropriate, if at all possible (and assuming that there is no illegal, TOS violating, persistant process usage type of activity), to move the offending site onto a “temporary” server where other users can be spared the impact for at least 72 hours or so to allow DNS to propagate so the user can move the site with a minimum of disruption.

Thanks for letting us know a little more about how these things are (should be) handled, Mir.


NOw i just got an email from John - he is much nicer and willing to work with me.

No - I dont host torrent
Yes - my site have little flash games - dont know if that the cause
My site is mostly movie - no, I dont host movies - they are all on video.google, I uploaded to google and provide my members with movie links (mostly chinese series + korean )
however my members # triple within the last few days from 50-100 online to 300-400+ online, i dont know if that is the case here.

but more they are not download anything big files, just reading the forum to get the links --but i will wait to see what DH support find out.

It’s good to hear that John is working with you, and I hope you guys are able to figure something out.

It sounds like maybe the 300-400 users at a time using the forum may be what is driving the CPU usage so high.

Just a thought, if most of that traffic is searching for your links to video, you could probably eliminate a lot of the server load by building static pages to list the links, as they will put much less stress on the CPU than the forum.


Excellent, hopefully he can help you identify the source of your problems, sometimes it can be as simple as a rogue forum plug-in chewing up CPU cycles.

Your membership surge seems to have exposed a problem that may have been there all along, fingers crossed that it is something relatively easy to rectify.


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It’s good to know that summarily disabling websites for resource usage is not standard DH procedure. :slight_smile: Personally, if I was running a script or forum or something that was using up too many cpu minutes, I would rather be given the chance to delete it before being moved to another server or having my website disabled.

On a slightly related note, I like how DH allows you to check your CPU usage. But a good thing could be made even better. Currently, I have to FTP in and dig around my log files to see my CPU usage, and even then, I’m not quite sure what the information means, or if it’s good or bad. It would be cool if this information was shown in the Panel alongside the disk usage and bandwidth, with some sort of scale to compare your CPU usage with normal levels.

I used 70 CPU seconds a few days ago, but I don’t know if that’s excellent or horrible :S

[website | stephen harper | myspace]

We try to keep servers under 2000 cpu minutes total for all users. Everyone uses different amounts each day, so its quite a balaning act trying to keep things steady on a particular server.