Email servers down frequently. Anyone else?

My email server is “spork”. And for the last few days it has been constantly causing problems with my email client (Apple mail).

The email client prompts for a new password, but if I hit cancel and manually check my email a few minutes later it sometimes works fine.

Symptoms to me indicate that the server is NOT reliably reachable, since my email client autochecks for mail every 5 minutes, and I usually ONLY get these messages when a server is unavailable.

Dreamhost has been good for a while, but this unreliable connection to their email servers may put the relationship to the test.

I wish they would focus more on the quality of the services than simply upping storage and bandwidth alotments. I’d rather have reliable service than more “bells and whistles.”

Does anyone else feel this way? I suspect I am not alone in my frustration of intermittant service outages… especially given the slow response time for support requests.

i have been having constant problems with email for pretty much the last year. not a month goes by with out several email outages. i’m starting to get pissed.

dreamhost can offer all the goodies they want. i do appreciate all the extra disk space and bandwidth they give us but it’s COMPLETELY USELESS if basic services like email is constantly going down.

i’m beginning to get the feeling that this ISP is getting too big. they obviously can’t handle it. as much as i hate to admit it, it may be time to start looking for an ISP that can deliver good service.

  • chris

My feelings are the same as you guys. I’ve talked with DH about it and they do blame growth. I used to pay more to get less with DH because they were reliable. Now I’m getting more than many other hosts offer for the price, but the reliability isn’t there.

It does seem they have switched from Quality to Quantity. Apparently they figure the older customer base they alienate due to the drop in quality, is a calculated risk that they’re willing to bank on.

FWIW, my email has been fairly reliable lately, but my web server has not been. At times, going down ~10 times a day for 5-45 minutes each time.

On a side note, if you upgrade to Tiger you wont have that password-prompt/error message. The account will simply gray out until it comes time to check again and it’ll try again.

Our mail server is spork and we experience outages ranging from 15 minutes to several hours, 5 or 6 times a week.

This situation is beyond unacceptable. We’ve actually considered legal action based on the fact that Dreamhost has failed to deliver their service as promised and also that when email goes down it causes real financial harm to our company–sometimes in the thousands of dollars.

I haven’t really had problems with e-mail or web-server issues, even the databases have been rock solid recently. If anything the database servers have improved recently.

A client of mine also has a dedicated server with DreamHost. Late Christmas night the Disk Controller died (figures, could have been any other day of the year) and support sent a tech over (Sorry about that Nate :P) to the data center and replaced the server really early on the 26th, that’s good service.

I wish you guys were having as great of luck as I have been. :slight_smile:
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If in ‘several hours’ your compnay can loose thousands of dollars, you have absolutly no business what so ever being on a shared server. And if you’re really making that kind of money, a hundred a month or so for dedicated would be nothing.

Also, if you’re willing to consider leagal action, why not spend that money on dedicated hosting, with a high level monitoring package?

There is no reason any mission critical site should be on shared hosting. No matter how stable your servers are, you’re sharing them with other people and things happen. Shared hosting will have some downtime, no matter what.

Besides, if you’re that disapointed with dreamhost, I suspect they’ll issue a refund for the downtime. Or at least credit on your account for it. Just contact support.


That’s strange. My email goes through Spork as well, and I have almost no downtime whatsoever. Are you sure the problem isn’t at your end?

You might want to consider a business hosting solution, instead of el-cheapo shared hosting. You can’t expect an enterprise-level service for peanuts.

Simon Jessey
Keystone Websites (business site) | si-blog (personal site with affiliate links)

how do you figure out what mail server you are using?

I agree that shared hosting isn’t appropriate if email continually equals thousands of dollars. That said, there are people like me who are trying to get to that point. Dedicated is too expensive but downtime still hurts.

[quote]how do you figure out what mail server you are using?


Well, the way mail is configured one actually uses multiple servers. So I am a little confused by users who say they are using a specific mail server.

Messages I’ve received today have been from gollum & legolas.

In your Dreamhost control panel click on “Manage Domains” under the domain section. Then, for a given domain/sub-domain click on the “DNS” link. That should show you the servers that are affiliated with the various DNS services you have running for that domain.

My http services are on “sake”, but my email is on “spork” for the same actual domain.

BTW, thanks to those sharing your experiences.

I would tend to agree most with Snokarver that those of us that choose Dreamhost do so because we want affordable hosting options, but ones that are reliable enough that we can keep satisfied clients.

If DreamHost is upfront and says “Hey, we’re going to be the ‘Dollar Store’ of webhosting… it’s cheap, and it’ll break as soon as you get it home” that would be one thing. But they don’t.

They built their reputation on a good product at a great price. Not a “great product at a good price.”

If the current model is “a crappy product at a fantastic price” (à la the Dollar Store) then I definitely will go elsewhere.

For webhosting I don’t need Neiman-Marcus.Target or Walmart would be fine. But Dollar Store? No way.

The point is, price is great, but if basic reliability isn’t there, then Value will never be there no matter the price.

I hope the powers that be at Dreamhost will take note, and do something to address these issues. About 3 months ago stopped recommending DH to new clients and have urged them to look elsewhere if their site was anything more than a hobby. I’d hate to think of Dreamhost as a place to host “only hobby sites,” but perhaps that is part of the new business plan?

I’ll wait it out a bit, and if things don’t improve, I guess it is back to to find out what the other good options are at this time.

P.S. Snokarver, thanks for the tips on Tiger Mail. That’s one feature I’ll appreciate… though I resent the fact that in 10.4 you can no longer have your mailboxes on the right side of the browser, as I have them now in 10.3.



Same here. My email is through Spork. My client (Outlook 2003) is set to check the mailboxes every 5 minutes and I have not noticed any problems recently.


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Have you checked your error log?

Not recently. :slight_smile: But I just did and there is nothing in the logs to indicate a problem over the last week or so.

I do configure Outlook for a 2 minute ‘Server timeout’ on all accounts, due to a previous problem with my ISP’s mail system not responding quickly enough for Outlook.


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Well then, you may not be noticing issues, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I’m not sure what Mail’s default timeout is, but I think it’s around 60 seconds, maybe 30 seconds.