On the “Let’s get started” page I’m asked to select my first server username. I can’t find that defined in the wiki or anywhere else.
Does that mean a server name is established for all my sites? Or this is the name for the server on which my first site will be hosted? But wait, it’s the server USERname, not the server name. So does it mean the name I want to be known by when I log in?
That will be your first user on that server. And you only need to give a name. Your first domain (either TLD or free dreamhosters’ subdomain) will be installed under this user.
You will use this name to connect to your server and upload files etc.
Of course, you can have multiple users. Let’s say you have multiple domains, you can create multiple users and have the domains installed under them. After your account is approved, you can log into DH panel and create user via Users --> Manage Users.
It’s asking you for your unix username rather than your account/panel/webid username, the first one of which is an automatically generated name made from the first three characters of your first and last name and a sequence number to guarantee uniqueness.
But before you try to parse that sentence, let me just restate that the “first server username” as mentioned in the sign up screen is linux/ftp/cgi-runs-as username for the unix user under which all your files are uploaded and under which your scripts run. Note that advanced users may create more than one unix account name in order to have different people manage different sites and to keep things nice and separate from the security standpoint.
As you’ve observed, this has nothing to do with your first server. It also has nothing to do with the name you use when you log in to the Dreamhost web panel to manage your account, your payments, or anything “account related” rather than “website related”.