DreamHost Support?


#1

I’m considering setting up several WordPress blogs on DreamHost, and I’m curious if other DreamHost customers have been happy with the support they have received from DreamHost.
Has your DH support been timely? Reliable? Have they helped you with troubleshooting problems?
` Have you experienced much (if any) downtime?

In addition, I’d be interested to know more about the experience of other WP bloggers who have being using DH.
Can you get support for WP-related plug-in and theme installations if you run into problems? How have upgrades been handled?

Thanks!
Metta


#2

I have several WordPress blogs here and have been generally happy. You should have a little browse here and you’ll find a large number of threads where people have expressed their anecdotal happiness or unhappiness with various aspects of support here.

Large numbers of people have been very happy doing what you’re doing, particularly if this is for small, relatively low-traffic sites. People get into trouble when they load up on CPU and database intensive plugins and get slashdotted or some such. :slight_smile:

I’ve always found DH support to be timely and reliable. So do most of the regulars here. There have been posts complaining about support - I’m sure I’ll be flamed for this, but I’ve noticed a high degree of correlation between people who complain about support and the obnoxiousness of the posts of the people who complain about support.

Very much so, even when the problems have been of my own causing! (embarassingly)

I’ve experienced the same systemwide outages that everyone else here has experienced. My other downtime was always caused by bad shared-hosting neighbors. I eliminated the problem by buying up into Dreamhost PS.

[quote]In addition, I’d be interested to know more about the experience of other WP bloggers who have being using DH.
` Can you get support for WP-related plug-in and theme installations if you run into problems?[/quote]
They support the standard pre-installed plugins that come with their one-click install version, but you’re mostly on your own on any additional ones. They will help you but you can’t depend on it. You’ll get as much help or more from the good folks here on the forum.

If you use Dreamhost’s one-click install for WordPress, you’ll get one-click upgrades. I use the system and it’s always worked for me. I did run into trouble on a couple of upgrades when I didn’t click on the “upgrade database” link after an upgrade. :slight_smile:

Welcome and do let us know if you have any additional questions!

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They’re Dreamhost coupons!


#3

Thanks so much for your ultra-prompt and helpful reply! I really appreciate your feedback, Lensman.

Generally, I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen of (and read about) DreamHost so far.

However, I confess that your remarks about “systemwide outages”, “downtime” and eliminating the problem by “buying up into Dreamhost PS” are a bit of a concern to me.

My current host (of 10 years) has had impeccable up time, and although I’d love to pay less and have an eco-friendly host with DH, I certainly don’t want to sacrifice uptime. It may be worth an extra $8/month (to stay with my current host) for the peace of mind of knowing that I’ll have 99.9% uptime. Guess I’ll have to give this more thought…

In the meantime, I really do like the idea of having a 1-click upgrade option for my WP blog. Did you have to uninstall your WP plugins before upgrading the software, and then reinstall them afterwards?

I’m not very tech savvy, and I’ve never worked with WP before, so there may be something of a learning curve for me here.


#4

Hey, I’m just glad to be able to help out!

[quote]Generally, I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen of (and read about) DreamHost so far.

However, I confess that your remarks about “systemwide outages”, “downtime” and eliminating the problem by “buying up into Dreamhost PS” are a bit of a concern to me.[/quote]
Don’t mind me. I tend to err on the side of full disclosure of everything that might go wrong. I believe the phrases “obsessed with work”, “never home”, and “always on the computer” were in my proposal to my wife. :slight_smile:

I think Dreamhost provides great value for money. They have very generous limits and work hard to provide us with good service. Read up at dreamhoststatus.com and blog.dreamhost.com if you want to read about all the warts. DH never denies it when they have problems and always tells you what went wrong, even when it’s something they did.

Personally, I think they have the usual number of outages and downtime as other large shared web hosts. You shouldn’t let that scare you away.

I bought into Dreamhost PS to get it so that there would never be a time when my site was slow. This was important to me and is very difficult to achieve on a shared web host because there are always times when someone else’s site on your server is busy. I wouldn’t let my unreasonable requirements affect your decisions. :slight_smile:

Yup, well, if you’re happy where you are… Why fool with it?

Nope, you run the upgrade of the base wordpress and then upgrade any plugins you need to manually. Most of the time you don’t need to upgrade the plugins, but there are times when you do. I like to keep my plugins up-to-date anyway as a best practice.

This or any cpanel host is as easy as Wordpress gets short of using wordpress.com.

One thing you might consider is just signing up and giving it a try for a few months. The 97-day money-back period is made for situations like yours!

What are [color=#CC0000]50DISK50[/color], [color=#CC0000]3DOM50[/color], and [color=#CC0000]1IP1DOM50[/color]?
They’re Dreamhost coupons!


#5

Note that this is the official answer from that section of the panel… even if they do help out when they can:

The bold is from them–not added by me.

Having said that, if you have a problem with a plug-in, it would likely be due to a Wordpress update, in which case, most of the plug-in authors are pretty quick about getting this fixed.

If it’s just a clash between two plug-ins, then you’ll probably just have to choose between them.

In many cases, there are several versions of the idea. So if a mail form plug-in is outdated or clashes, you can probably just use someone else’s plug-in without any issues.

Keep in mind that this won’t preserve any mods or theme tweaks, etc…

Not a big deal, though. The manual update is simple and there are detailed instructions over at wordpress.org.


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#6

Not sure where to stick this general comment.

First, I only have one WP blog here but that may change. The original question is a little bent in an awkward direction. I never need support for my WP blog so I don’t know how good DH support is. Since they don’t support the blog, only provide a fast installation, it seems you’re on your own for application support - though this forum and others are excellent when you do need help.

With all open source packages I’ve found I’ve had to learn more about what goes under the hood if I have any hope of not being a victim to change. Addins for most packages follow the release of the core, and frequently authors get bored or sick and the addins aren’t ported from one release to another. So the rule of thumb is to be a late adopter for an upgrade, wait for the modules you want, and be prepared to do without one or more from time to time. You will find you want to upgrade to get the latest security mod but that may break some plugin. You will find that you want to change your theme just a little. With wordpress I have a number of little changes that I make to make navigation on my blog easier, and I comment out religiously motivated code that suggests visitors would be happier if they switch to some other browser. I believe one-click installs will zap your themes and you will need to manually retrofit your changes. Any upgrade you do manually will do the same but you can upgrade and customize in a more controlled manner.

I avoid one-click installs because I’m concerned that someone else is going to make some unsupported decision for me that I may not like. Doing it myself takes time and has increased my knowledge of PHP, .htaccess, and the innards of these packages more than I ever really wanted. But I “own” my site and when something goes wrong I can get in and find the problem (even if I can’t fix it) and/or I can do a complete restore of the original environment and wait for someone else to find/fix problems.

This is entirely one man’s opinion but I offer it to anyone who’s on the fence about one-click installs, support, stability, etc.


#7

I think you’ve given a good summary of some of the different tradeoffs available, Starbuck.

One thing I’d like to add is that the more vanilla you keep your install, the more likely it is to work from release to release - and that your blog will mostly always work from release to release if you turn off the plugins that haven’t been upgraded yet.

As I say this, it reminds me of exactly the strategy for addons to World of Warcraft. We picked our addons for raiding carefully because new releases of WoW would often break them and if you got too used to these addons, you’d feel disabled when they broke on a big release. Then again, these same addons often made gameplay easier and allowed us to master content that we would otherwise not have. (in addition to ones that just made our lives easier).

Wait, back to WordPress…

Dreamhost’s addition of the super-easy Wordpress “install” does change things a bit. I’d guess that most of the time, they’d do their best to make sure that every supported theme and feature worked together and kept working across upgrades. In other words, DH support would be responsible for thinking about the tradeoffs that Starbuck mentions!

What are [color=#CC0000]50DISK50[/color], [color=#CC0000]3DOM50[/color], and [color=#CC0000]1IP1DOM50[/color]?
They’re Dreamhost coupons!


#8

You wrote: Don’t mind me. I tend to err on the side of full disclosure of everything that might go wrong. I believe the phrases “obsessed with work”, “never home”, and “always on the computer” were in my proposal to my wife. :slight_smile:

Gotta love it! I understand completely…

You wrote: Personally, I think they have the usual number of outages and downtime as other large shared web hosts. You shouldn’t let that scare you away.

Ok. I suspect you are right, given all the good recommendations I’ve seen for DH.

You wrote: Yup, well, if you’re happy where you are… Why fool with it?

Actually, I have several reasons:
Lower cost Eco-friendly hosting
Host multiple domains on one account Good affiliate program
Good recommendations from WP users Good forum support! :smiley:

As you can see, with all the good feedback here, I’ve talked myself into signing up.

You wrote: Nope, you run the upgrade of the base wordpress and then upgrade any plugins you need to manually. Most of the time you don’t need to upgrade the plugins, but there are times when you do. I like to keep my plugins up-to-date anyway as a best practice.

Thanks for clarifying. Makes sense.

You wrote: One thing you might consider is just signing up and giving it a try for a few months. The 97-day money-back period is made for situations like yours!

That’s the current plan!

Thanks again for all your helpful feedback, Lensman.


#9

You wrote: Having said that, if you have a problem with a plug-in, it would likely be due to a Wordpress update, in which case, most of the plug-in authors are pretty quick about getting this fixed.

This is reassuring. Thanks!

You wrote: If it’s just a clash between two plug-ins, then you’ll probably just have to choose between them.

Actually, this is exactly the kind of problem I’ve been concerned about. I know the general advice is to use plug-ins sparingly to minimize conflicts and prevent problems with upgrades. However, there are several plugins I’d like to use, and my concern is how would I diagnose this kind of conflict if I have multiple plugins?

Is it simply a matter of deactivating them all and then reactivating them one at a time to find the problem?

Or, would someone in the forum be able to help with this kind of problem until I have more experience working with plugins?

You wrote: In many cases, there are several versions of the idea. So if a mail form plug-in is outdated or clashes, you can probably just use someone else’s plug-in without any issues.

Great! I had hoped this would be the case…

You wrote: Keep in mind that this won’t preserve any mods or theme tweaks, etc…

Good advice. I know that the main theme I’m planning on using on several sites will require some customization. If I have the theme designer make these changes before the initial install will this prevent any problems with future upgrades?

Or, should I plan to deactivate the theme before upgrading and then reload the theme to see if there were any problems?

My concern is I’m not sure what my fallback would be if there were problems after an upgrade because this designer is very busy, and I don’t know how long it would take before he could get around to fixing upgrade-related customization problems.

Your thoughts?


#10

You wrote: Since they don’t support the blog, only provide a fast installation, it seems you’re on your own for application support - though this forum and others are excellent when you do need help.

I guess that’s what I’ll be counting on. At least this is more that I have with my current host!

You wrote: With all open source packages I’ve found I’ve had to learn more about what goes under the hood if I have any hope of not being a victim to change.

Makes sense.

You wrote: the rule of thumb is to be a late adopter for an upgrade, wait for the modules you want, and be prepared to do without one or more from time to time.

Sounds like good advice. Thanks so much!

You wrote: You will find you want to upgrade to get the latest security mod but that may break some plugin. You will find that you want to change your theme just a little. With wordpress I have a number of little changes that I make to make navigation on my blog easier, and I comment out religiously motivated code that suggests visitors would be happier if they switch to some other browser.

I know I’m going to need to customize my theme. See my reply to seiler above: http://discussion.dreamhost.com/showthreaded.pl?Cat=&Board=curious&Number=102024&page=&view=&sb=&o=&vc=1#Post102024

You wrote: I believe one-click installs will zap your themes and you will need to manually retrofit your changes. Any upgrade you do manually will do the same but you can upgrade and customize in a more controlled manner.

Well, this is something I’ll have to learn how to do. I guess I’ll see if I can find any tutorials on manual upgrades – unless you can recommend any?

You wrote: I avoid one-click installs because I’m concerned that someone else is going to make some unsupported decision for me that I may not like. Doing it myself takes time and has increased my knowledge of PHP, .htaccess, and the innards of these packages more than I ever really wanted. But I “own” my site and when something goes wrong I can get in and find the problem (even if I can’t fix it) and/or I can do a complete restore of the original environment and wait for someone else to find/fix problems.

This is definitely where I want to be, eventually. It’s just a matter now of figuring out the quickest way to climb the learning curve. Thanks for sharing your good advice.


#11

When it comes to any and all things related to WordPress, I’ve found the best overall resources to be the WordPress Codex and the WordPress Forums.

The WordPress Codex, IMHO, is one of the very best open-source project documentation projects and I can usually find the answer to most any question within its pages. :wink:

–rlparker


#12

You shouldn’t have problems with most plugins, but anything can happen. Deactivating them all & reactivating them one at a time should narrow it down.

Theme customizations are safe if you do the manual upgrade, but you’d have to redo everything if you use the one-click upgrades. You just don’t want to overwrite the wp-content directory. The detailed instructions on their site are easy to follow.


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#13

You wrote: You shouldn’t have problems with most plugins, but anything can happen. Deactivating them all & reactivating them one at a time should narrow it down.

Thanks for confirming.

You wrote: Theme customizations are safe if you do the manual upgrade, but you’d have to redo everything if you use the one-click upgrades. You just don’t want to overwrite the wp-content directory.

Great! Thanks for letting me know what to watch out for.

You wrote: The detailed instructions on their site are easy to follow.

Do you mean instructions on the codex site? Or, does DH provide info about how to do manual upgrades?

Thanks,
Metta


#14

The basic upgrade instructions are at http://codex.wordpress.org/Upgrading_WordPress, but there are links at the top of that page to more detailed instructions that walk you through the whole thing.


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#15

Great! Thanks so much, seiler. I genuinely appreciate your conscientious follow-up and feedback.


#16

No problem. :wink:

Not to mention, if Wordpress ever spits an error at you, Googling it in quotes will probably bring up a solution.


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#17

Fabulous! I’ll be sure to keep this in mind.

Thanks again. Your feedback has been invaluable…


#18

My favorite thing about DH is this forum, just as a side note.


#19

Great! I can see that this might be the case, given all the helpful support I’ve already received in the forum.

For me, this will be a huge asset since I don’t have access to a public forum with my current host.

Thanks for letting me know!


#20

Great! I can see that this might be the case, given all the helpful support I’ve already received in the forum.

For me, this will be a huge asset since I don’t have access to a public forum with my current host.

Thanks so much for letting me know!