My story has two purposes. For one, I’d like to find some Dreamhost reps that agree with me and let me do what I need, and for two if that doesn’t happen I want to warn prospective customers about Dreamhost’s sometimes finicky nature.
For a little background, I’m a college kid (but not for long). I graduate in May with two degrees, a BS in Computer Engineering, a BS in Electrical Engineering, with minors in Math, Computer Science, and Physics. I know a decent amount about computers, but I won’t pretend to know everything about shared web hosts.
I’ve been on the web for a long time. Something like 10 years now I think. When I found Dreamhost I thought wow! Tons of storage, tons of features, so much freedom! Since that time about 2 or 3 years ago, I’ve helped many people sign up, all of whom also love it here. I love it here, I’m not going to lie. Until two months ago.
Aside from being a hobby-host and hosting small business websites from my area, family, and friends, I’m also a Disc Jockey. I make next to nothing from all of my web ventures, but the DJing has put me through school with no loans or debt of any kind. I love it, its fun and pays well.
I decided to add features to my DJ site, like music playlist generation, sampling, request lists, etc. I found a script online that did all of this and more, and seemed fantastic (www.ampache.org). So I went at it. I had only used a few hundred megabytes of my 200+GB of storage, so I had enough room for my entire music collection on the site. I put it all up there. Fantastic I thought! Now prospective clients to my DJ business can see what music I have, generate playlists so that I can see them as their DJ and play these songs on the night of their event, plus they are all automatically backed up by dreamhost’s servers so I don’t have to worry about the original CDs getting scratched as much!
Anytime music is involved on the web, everyone knows to freak out. The RIAA sharpens their blades every day to sue grandmas, 12 year olds, and of course the real pirates. Go RIAA I say, I too respect the artist. I have bought and paid for every single track that I claim to own. This means every song I put up on my dreamhost shared server was legal. The RIAA lets an owner of a CD or album to copy it once as an archival backup. This doesn’t mean that the ripped mp3 file is a backup, as the CD since I put it back in a drawer so it wouldnt get scratched, is more my backup. I made sure that while my script let users access the data contained in the mp3 (like the ID3 tags for instance), they could not copy it or download it to their computers. I even had streaming turned off because I didn’t want to generate too much traffic on my server.
You probably know where this is going. But I bet you didn’t know the time frame. I said I loved dreamhost till a month or 2 ago. The addition of my music collection and interactive webpage to access the music for my DJ business happened within the first year or six months of my service with Dreamhost.
So everything was peachy for a year or more. I loved dreamhost, sent them more customers, set up more websites, on and on. It was great.
Then about a month or so ago I needed to temporarily backup one of my folders on a harddrive. Somehow this upload tripped their “oh foo” alarm and they came to the conclusion that I’m using my alotted space for backups. I promptly bought a USB harddrive off the net, plugged in, and took care of the temporary back up I had just made intentionally, and deleted it. That wasn’t enough though. I had to comb through everything on my server and delete all backups. OK no prob bob. I did that.
But then came the news. They had determined that the music was for backup only. They kindly forwarded me their terms of service, relevant articles highlighted for me, which I read. It says in the terms of service that “the files on your server must be primarily for use in a webpage”. I don’t have the TOS in front of me, but it essentially read to that effect. If I’m wrong, DH ninjas please correct me with proper syntax of that phrase in the TOS.
So I got to thinking. I understand their plight, the more crap people upload on their sites the more harddrives they need to maintain and backup etc etc. But, I’m using these files to generate a more interactive and feature filled website, which in turn gets me more visitors, which in turn gets me the DJ more business. I have had several clients tell me that the selling point for them to hire me was my website, its photo galleries, and especially my music database and playlist generator.
So I asked them, over and over, and even over again: Please define “primarily for use in a website” and/or please define “a website”, since I must be mistaken on one or the other of these definitions.
I know it’s long, but this is my story. I warn you, if you fear that your use of this webhost’s services could in any way be subjectively judged against like this, you need to look elsewhere.
I started using the services that I was alotted, and got the hammer. I’d love to continue promoting dreamhost wherever I go, so please dreamhost reps read my story. I’m politely asking for permission to re-upload files that I consider to be critical to my website and my business. In the time that my files are down, I am not getting the full advantage of my website and I am losing money.
Computational Intelligence Research