Dreamhosters experience


#1

Hi,
I’m seriously considering moving to Dreamhost, but I’m hesitating due to the complaints of downtime, technical problems etc.

I’m planning to signup for the crazy domain insane plan, and host 1 site initially, but eventually host 4 sites. All will be joomla sites.

Anyone hosting a similar number of database driven sites on one crazy domain insane plan? how has it been working out for you?

thanks,
E


#2

I recently joined, with the same feeling as you. But I decided to do it anyway because DreamHost has some of the best packages around.

You don’t really have to worry since:

  1. Promo codes take a lot off your original cost - making it a smaller risk.
  2. 97 money back guarantee (with credit card and Google Checkout)

Good luck.

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#3

Performance is about the same, if you have 1 or 10 websites.

Honestly, it’s not the fastest service i’ve seen.
But for this price i don’t know any competitor (but i didn’t test all of them, this is really a subjective view).

PS : i don’t use their email service.


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#4

I host a couple of WordPress sites, a Gallery site, a phpBB site, and a couple of MediaWiki sites.

I’ve been lucky enough not to have experienced any terrible downtime or period of persistent slowness (knock on wood), but there have been times when I’ve gone to a site and had it take 20 seconds to load a non-cached page compared to the usual 5 seconds.

That said, I do my best to optimize my sites - both to reduce server load and to avoid as much as possible being impacted by server load. Remember, if your site is highly optimzed, even if it is 10 times slower than normal, if normal is 0.5 seconds, slow will be 5 seconds. If normal is 5 seconds, oops!

Since each site may be hosted on a different server, I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference between running one site and running 4. I’d like to hear other opinions about this as I don’t have a great deal of experience with DreamHost coming down on me for CPU usage.

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#5

Oh yeah, I should mention that I have another hosting provider on which I’ve hosted a Joomla! site for my World of Warcraft guild alliance. Said alliance has since broken up so I don’t have much current experience, but I do have some passing familiarity with Joomla!

Since moua mentioned promo codes, you should know that there are promo codes out there that get you extra features like more lifetime domain registrations. You might need those if you’re running your 4 Joomla! sites on primary domains. :slight_smile:

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#6

two suggestions.

  1. take a look at DH’s existing customers’ websites. http://wiki.dreamhost.com/index.php/DHSOTM They are happy in DH.

  2. agree with moua. DH may not be the best, but most of us are happy here with the great space and bandwidth.

There are some complaints of downtime. I believe it is due to the power outage. http://www.dreamhoststatus.com/2007/02/25/power-outage-update/ It is over and everthing is already back to normal.

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#7

[quote]
I host a couple of WordPress sites, a Gallery site, a phpBB site, and a couple of MediaWiki sites.

I’ve been lucky enough not to have experienced any terrible downtime or period of persistent slowness (knock on wood), but there have been times when I’ve gone to a site and had it take 20 seconds to load a non-cached page compared to the usual 5 seconds.

That said, I do my best to optimize my sites - both to reduce server load and to avoid as much as possible being impacted by server load. Remember, if your site is highly optimzed, even if it is 10 times slower than normal, if normal is 0.5 seconds, slow will be 5 seconds. If normal is 5 seconds, oops!

Since each site may be hosted on a different server, I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference between running one site and running 4. I’d like to hear other opinions about this as I don’t have a great deal of experience with DreamHost coming down on me for CPU usage.[/quote]
Just as a sidelight, can you list some of the sites where this problem is occurring? I have five sites, on four servers, and – most times at least – they load quite fast, even though we get a fair amount of traffic on three of them.

Peace,
Gene Steinberg
Co-Host, The Paracast
http://www.theparacast.com
[b]My DreamHost Promo Plan—Use the code: [color=#CC0000]ROCKS[b][/color]


#8

I took out the Crazy Domain Insane plan back in December 2006. My decision to go with Dreamhost was down to the large disk space on offer and the straightforward one-click installs and databases for WordPress. For the first month, everything ran along ok but to be honest I’ve come to regret my decision to go with DH. My experience so far…

Good things:

The one-click Wordpress installs and database setup are straightforward and quick through the Dreamhost control panel. Upgrades are also ok with clear instructions from DH by email. Moving domains and setting up email addresses is simple to do.

The DH status page is kept to up-to-date. They post details of problems and advance warning of maintenance far more timely and frequently than a large UK household-name ISP and hosting provider I have used previously.

The not so good things:

Downtime - check out other customers’ posts on http://www.dreamhoststatus.com/. Since the power outage in mid-February 2007, there’s been frequent downtime for a lot of people.

Speed and responsiveness - I’ve got four basic portfolio-style sites hosted in my Crazy Domain Insane plan, which frankly aren’t ever going to be bandwidth-busters, yet they are consistently slow to download and navigate.

Two of the sites are Wordpress-based. Administering the two Wordpress sites is painfully slow and (while I acknowledge there are other factors here) the connection to my server is like being back on dial-up. We’re talking 30 minutes to delete an old Wordpress site following an upgrade. I’m FTP’ing some images as I write this post (no higher than 30 KB/s). If you use Dreamweaver, be prepared to stop working while staring at “Waiting for server” dialogs.

Finally, I’ve just deleted my DH-hosted POP email and gone back to a forwarding-only to Gmail after trialling them with Outlook for a few weeks. We’re talking daily connection errors.


#9

Dreamhost does offer Fantastico & Fantastico is for newbies. Yet yesterday they tell me they’re a more advanced host/for experienced programmers & coders. When you offer Fantastico on your site…it doesn’t look that way. It looks like a newbie or do-it-yourselfer would be OK here. I’m your affiliate…I’m trying to think of a way to advertise you. And I don’t like to lie to people.

I don’t need Fantastico. I’ve been building websites since 1999 & manually installing software since 2004. My first host didn’t have Fantastico so I had to learn the hard way…but it was the right way right off the bat.

Sure I can build even dynamic html/css web pages. But more often than not the peeps coming to these hosts are self-taught do-it-yourselfers…not expert programmers/coders. I am such a person.

I’m a person who’s grown to love php softwares/mysql databases. I’ve become an expert with WordPress & SMF & can even install mods manually. So I’m learning a lil php/mysql whether I like it or not.

I’m saying you offer these simple/easy to use softwares to newbies. I offer to install these simple/easy to use softwares for peeps. But here you have things set to off or disabled that makes our softwares work. Here they don’t work. They’re no longer simple/easy to use softwares.

Now you tell me I’ve gotta become an expert programmer/coder to come up with some custom php to make these softwares/their mods/their feeds work. Huh?

And of course there is no help but this support forum. And in this forum I read we shouldn’t be messing with things cuz you’ve done what you’ve done for a reason & we can mess up everybody on our shared servers…etc…etc.

Why are you the only people doing this? I’ve used several free & paid for hosts…this software’s always worked before…no error messages in my log. Is everybody else ignorant to the fact this is a security issue? Or do they just not care? Are they allowing us to be insecure just so we can have the software/make it work?

So if you’re a newbie or a self-taught/do-it-yourselfer who loves these simple/easy to use software programs…this isn’t the place for us. I just wish I’d known that before I built 2 websites here.


#10

[quote]Speed and responsiveness - I’ve got four basic portfolio-style sites hosted in my Crazy Domain Insane plan, which frankly aren’t ever going to be bandwidth-busters, yet they are consistently slow to download and navigate.

Two of the sites are Wordpress-based. Administering the two Wordpress sites is painfully slow and (while I acknowledge there are other factors here) the connection to my server is like being back on dial-up. We’re talking 30 minutes to delete an old Wordpress site following an upgrade. I’m FTP’ing some images as I write this post (no higher than 30 KB/s). If you use Dreamweaver, be prepared to stop working while staring at “Waiting for server” dialogs.[/quote]
I checked all the sites linked via the site to which your name belongs and they all loaded perfectly fine. I’m wondering if it’s the host that’s your problem or your ISP.

You see my sites work very, very fast 98% of the time, which is pretty good and better than I’ve had with other hosts.

Peace,
Gene Steinberg
Co-Host, The Paracast
http://www.theparacast.com
[b]My DreamHost Promo Plan—Use the code: [color=#CC0000]ROCKS[b][/color]


#11

[quote]Hi,
I’m seriously considering moving to Dreamhost, but I’m hesitating due to the complaints of downtime, technical problems etc.

I’m planning to signup for the crazy domain insane plan, and host 1 site initially, but eventually host 4 sites. All will be joomla sites.

Anyone hosting a similar number of database driven sites on one crazy domain insane plan? how has it been working out for you?

thanks,
E[/quote]
The difference between DreamHost and other hosts is that they don’t hide their status reports and problems. Other hosts will often bury the information real deep so you don’t know about the issues unless you’re directly impacted. Even then, you’re not always going to get the truth about something being broken.

Peace,
Gene Steinberg
Co-Host, The Paracast
http://www.theparacast.com
[b]My DreamHost Promo Plan—Use the code: [color=#CC0000]ROCKS[b][/color]


#12

Dreamhost does not, and has never offered Fantastico. I have no idea where you got that information, but it is just…well…incorrect.

Dreamhost has wisely disabled certain commonly exploited, and unnecessary functions (all_url_fopen, set register_globals_off, etc) in the PHP environment to prevent those “experts” who only install others’ code from exposing entire servers to security exploits because of poor, insecure, or amateurish programming. I’m glad they do this, and you should be too. There is a big difference between trying to install a piece of someone else’s code and knowing whether or not it is safe, or wise, to do so; Dreamhost helps you with this, so you don’t inadvertently install a “mod” that has a serious security flaw in it.

Dreamhost is doing it because they recognize that many using their service do not have the expertise to safely install some of this software, and they do not want their servers compromised by such actions. As for “everybody else”, I think all the reasons you mentioned are likely to be true in one instance or another. :wink:

Actually, if you are a “self-taught/do-it-yourselfer” who want to run lots of different things safely, and want to expand your knowledge past the point of the “script kiddie” status of just blindly using others’ code (warts and all), this is most certainly the place for you. If, on the other hand, you just want to run whatever code someone makes available on the net, without vetting it or insuring it’s safety, than you will have some frustrations at Dreamhost, as you will likely have to make some accommodations for others’ poor coding before you can run some stuff here.

All that said, most anything can be, and is, run on Dreamhost and these forums, as well as the wiki, are full of tips on how to do that safely. Additionally, the forum has many experts who often help others with these sorts of problems.

Of course, YMMV and this is not the kind of place where everyone will be happy (as you just pointed out). But characterize it as it actually is - it’s a shared host,and is designed to protect all users from the foolishness of any single user, or groups of users. You can do whatever you want, even if insecure or stupid, on your own boxen, but not on a box shared by many. As for other hosts, while they may have certain settings set up to make it easier for you to run some of these “softwares” you enjoy more easily (you can also run them here, you just have to run them safely), there are very few that actually provide the flexibility and power of Dreamhost (full access to the shell being the most obvious example).

If you need help running installing/running one of your favorite softwares here, why not just post in the forums for help?

–rlparker


#13

My experience is similar. It’s fine most of the time (except for Gallery, which I’m still trying to configure to be faster). There are just occasions once or twice a week where stuff is slow, but it does clear up a couple of minutes later. Gallery, on the other hand, may be more problematic. I’ve read on the Gallery boards that this has to do with the combination of the Gallery coding style and application needs and the fact that DreamHost runs everybody off of NFS.

My just-started http://supcomwiki.com is a MediaWiki site. http://gallery.kunichika.org is the problematic Gallery site. The promo code page from my sig is a mostly-static-and-hopefully-always-cached WordPress site. I recently broke my other WordPress Mu site so I’m going to leave it anonymous in case there’s some horrible security hole in it. :slight_smile:

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#14

Your first site appears slow. The second is decent. In saying that, a Traceroute shows they are making a lot more hops than my sites. Are you redirecting them from another site along the way? That could certainly slow things down.

More to the point, have you contacted DreamHost about the problems you’re having. Certainly that should be task number one.

Peace,
Gene Steinberg
Co-Host, The Paracast
http://www.theparacast.com
[b]My DreamHost Promo Plan—Use the code: [color=#CC0000]ROCKS[b][/color]


#15

This isn’t really a thread about me, but I’ll answer because it may be useful to the OP to see an example of some site performance discussions…

This is the opposite to my observation, but probably has to do with the way I’ve set up caching in Gallery, where guests get totally cached pages and registered users get dynamically generated pages.

When you say my MediaWiki site is slow, do you mean slow compared to other MediaWiki sites hosted on DreamHost? Even wiki.dreamhost.com isn’t the fastest MediaWiki I’ve seen. I’m seeing page returns in the 1.5 second to 4.5 second range. Should I be seeing better? I haven’t really looked into optimizing my MediaWiki sites.

I’m not really a big fan of blaming latency for any problems at DreamHost. For myself, I see 3 hops to Cablevision, my ISP (7ms), then another 4 hops to Level 3 in NY (at 2ms, that’s acceptable to me! :slight_smile: ), then 3 more hops to Level 3 in LA (76 ms, the bulk of my latency), then a hop through the DreamHost gateway to Level 3 and a hop to my DreamHost server, monster (another 9ms, again, acceptable).

When you say you’re seeing more hops in your Traceroute, which tracert are you using and what is the relevance to redirects to a tracert?

BTW, are you sure you’re not just seeing extra hops within Level 3 as part of their optimized, dynamic routing of trunk traffic within their network?

I’m not sure if I qualify as having a problem. What do you think I could quote as my problem?

Thanks for the interest in the performance of my sites, btw! I’m always thankful for the way we all pull together and help each other out here.

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