Dreamhost - Worst Host Ever?


#1

‘Worst host ever’ is likely an exaggeration, but they are certainly the worst of the multitude of hosts I’ve tried. I’m not just spouting idle criticism here, either. Here’s a summary of downtime I’ve experienced in the past weeks:

6/26 11:04 PM - 11:36 PM
6/27 01:22 PM - 01:26 PM
6/28 11:12 AM - 11:37 AM
6/29 02:39 PM - 03:12 PM
7/01 03:49 AM - 03:57 AM
7/03 01:38 AM - 01:41 AM
7/03 09:50 AM - 09:55 AM
7/03 01:47 PM - 01:53 PM
7/03 01:58 PM - 02:25 PM
7/05 03:26 PM - 03:50 PM
7/06 02:56 PM - 03:01 PM
7/06 03:05 PM - 04:19 PM
7/07 01:56 PM - 01:58 PM
7/07 08:59 PM - 09:43 PM
7/09 03:34 PM - 04:08 PM
7/10 06:36 AM - 06:53 AM
7/10 06:59 AM - 07:42 AM
7/11 10:08 AM - 10:25 AM

Note that this list includes only unannounced downtime for my site; I haven’t even considered site-wide issues and planned outages. In short, I see downtime nearly every day, frequently during critical daytime hours. Add to this occasional glitches in email delivery and other services, and you begin to see why I’m less than impressed.

I can only assume that either I’m extremely unlucky, or Dreamhost’s service is in fact as amateur as it seems. Either way, if you’re concerned about uptime or seeking even semi-professional quality-of-service, I’d look elsewhere.


#2

How frequently is your service checking your site? and from how many locations? - it’s entirely possible that downtime is not on DH’s end but a problem from your ISP (or other connection along the way).

–Matttail
art.googlies.net - personal website


#3

If only that were true. The checks are performed every minute or so by DNS Made Easy’s (dnsmadeeasy.com) well-respected monitoring, and confirmed by my own homebrew checks originating from California and Tennessee. I’d say the numbers are accurate to +/- 10 minutes or so.


#4

I have DNSMadeEasy’s monitoring/failover service. While I use it for the failover, I don’t think their monitoring seems very accurate.

I check the site as soon as they say it’s down and it hasn’t been down once when I check.

Not to mention, their numbers really clash with host-tracker.com, which shows the site at 99.98% for the last 16 days, with 5 minute checking intervals. That’s barely over 3 minutes of downtime.

On an unrelated not, I put host tracker on two different DH domains a week ago, one set at 1 minute intervals and the other set at 30 minutes–just to see the difference in results.

So far, it’s only been 7 days and both read 100%. While it’s useless info for my little test, it’s much different than the results you’re getting.

One DH domain that’s been monitored for 16 days, which covered some downtime, still reads at 99.86% with 5 minute intervals.

Anyway, I’d setup a host-tracker.com account for the same domain and see how the results vary from DNSMadeEasy.


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#5

Pratt, please include your domain in the posting. I have no way to verify if there is an issue with your domain if you don’t include it!


#6

That does seem to be a lot of downtime and way more than I’ve experienced (knock on wood). Have you investigated what’s causing it? What does DH support say?

BTW, a trick I like to use is to have a static page or site that I use to determine whether the cause is related to a dynamic element on my page or something simpler. Perhaps I should also add a test where that’s just a domain/CNAME “redirect” to my alternate hosting provider to test whether it’s a DNS problem or a hosting problem…

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#7

Oops, sorry for the omission: www (dot) myri (dot) com


#8

DH support has attributed most of the downtime to ‘problem users’, or generic explanations such as ‘the server was rebooted’ or ‘the daemon was restarted’. Issues such as these would seem to be local to my server (rosecrans), so perhaps I’m just unlucky. However, if they can’t handle these problems, I have my doubts.


#9

With over 1300 servers, there’s bound to be a few trouble-makers. You could try requesting that they move you to another server and see if that helps.


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Or save $97 with THEFULL97.


#10

I’m quite confident in the numbers I provided (given a reasonable margin of error). I have personally confirmed the downtime with in-house scripts, and Dreamhost support has (to their credit) always acknowledged the problem when I’ve brought it to their attention. However, many weeks have passed and it remains an issue.


#11

That would be a possibility, although they would have to really impress me with the transition and subsequent service to keep me around. At this point, additional downtime in transition to a new server would definitely NOT be an option.


#12

Just to update here we are working on the server (well I have been =). It was already scheduled for a RAM upgrade and was on my ‘todo’ list in terms of seeing what was causing outages. I tracked the problem down to a customer script that was hogging CPU time and with the extra memory it should be running properly now (since the fix I am seeing loads from 1.8-3.4 which is well below what the server can handle) - we’ll be keeping an eye on it to make sure though.

Cheers!
DreamHost System Stability Team


#13

Yo pratt,

Any chance you’d update us on your reliability after the fixes? I’d be cool to see if it helped. (since you’ve got both Michael and Mir on it you’ve certainly got attention!)

Wholly - Use promo code WhollyMindless for full 97$ credit. Let me know if you want something else!


#14

I’ve found it to be an awesome hosting service.


#15

I haven’t been with Dreamhost long, but despite what you said, they seem to have their “act together.” Being employee owned, I think they honestly care more than most. I’ve tried scripts on other hosting services and there were many things that weren’t tested & the basic response from them were: “you’re on your own.”

Dreamhost doesn’t have every single 1 click installs or the latest because they make sure all of it works.

They’re not going to be perfect, but they’re pretty dang good. How in the heck are they offering $97 off for service? My thoughts are they are incredibly sure of their product that the clients will sign up again.

My friend did. That’s why I’m a client now. She said she’s been with them for a while & so I’m thinking they’ve kept her happy. Thus, me joining & so far, I’m quite happy. If it changes, I’ll be sure to comment – I usually don’t stay quiet. Check out all my blogs to prove this: http://behindrealestate.com, http://domainsandkeywords.com, http://soloosh.wordpress.com


#16

Worst host ever? NO WAY! I truly don’t think that “worst” is even in the Dreamhost language!

I’m an old customer of theirs, must have joined when the internet was still a fetus, around 2000. I was always pleasantly surprised by their prompt responses to email, friendly attitude and clear solutions. After about a year or so, I left for another host (a friend, I was helping him out). I even had a parting request which Dreamhost fulfilled - keep my files on the servers for a few weeks in case I’m not satisfied with the other host. Now, 6+ years later, I’m going to be signing up for their service once again. They were that impressive!

And the cost of unlimited domains under one pricing plan? Come on, that alone pays for itself, practically. They really are “dream” host!

Anyway, sounds like you ran into a temporary blip, and I too, am curious if their fix worked.


#17

I really suggest you try a server move, I moved servers not long back, I was told the downtime would be up to 1 hour, but in reality it was only around 15 mins, and was well worth doing. Uptimes went from horrible to 100% for 2 months straight before the box required a reboot for whatever reason.


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#18

Hi all

I’ve been with Dreamhost since 03/2007 and have used other hosting services since 1999. In this time I have had a really smooth run. Dreamhost are top notch as far as I am concerned.

Regards

Paul O


#19

To follow-up on this, my original post apparently lit a fire under someone at Dreamhost and I have seen fantastic uptime since. Credit to Dreamhost for taking action; hopefully I’ll continue to see improved service.


#20

On the same server or did you move servers?

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