Greater support for 32-bit binaries/libraries

It would be wonderfully convenient and helpful if you would make it easier to run binaries compiled for 32-bit operating systems on your shared hosting servers.

I’m a new customer, and I’m trying to migrate my existing site to your service. I thought it would be a snap, until I found out midway through that your shared hosting servers run 64-bit operating systems (not mentioned in any of your promotional or sign-up material), apparently without full support for running 32-bit binaries. This makes my (perfectly functional) web site software unable to run on your servers.

It’s hard for me to evaluate just how much you support running 32-bit binaries, all I know is that some of my 32-bit binaries work, and some don’t. I can’t even run ldd on my binaries to see what libraries might be missing, because as you have it configured ldd doesn’t recognize the 32-bit binaries as executable files.

I’m sure you have good technical reasons for running 64-bit servers, but the Debian people made a great effort to make it easy to support both 32 and 64 bit architectures on a single server. All you would have to do is take advantage of their effort, simply a matter of configuring dpkg and running an update.

TL;DR: you’re causing me to do a great deal of excess unnecessary work by not fully supporting the 32-bit multi-architecture feature of Debian/Ubuntu, and thus undermining your value proposition of convenient web site hosting. You’re also casting future plans I might have had for making further use of your service into doubt.

Just to be the devil’s advocate, if you are a shared hosting customer, then the amount of revenue DH gets from you is exceedingly tiny and likely does not justify the amount of resources it would take to deal with your use case which 99.9% or so of the other shared hosting customers will never use or even know anything about. Just a thought.

By my “use case”, do you mean “using Linux”? The majority of programs written for Linux are compiled for 32bit operating systems; by not being able to run them, I’m only getting part of what I’m paying for. A quick search of this forum reveals plenty of people saying the lack of 32bit support is a serious problem for them. It’s not always possible or feasible to port a 32bit program to 64bits.

The only “amount of resources” involved would be the disk space required to download the necessary libraries. Installing those libraries might even save disk space, since it would mean multiple individuals wouldn’t have to download their own copies of the libraries to their home directories.

If I’m unlike 99.9% of DH customers, odds are it’s because we in the 0.1% CAN’T RUN OUR PROGRAMS! So why should we stick around? If DH isn’t interested in investing resources in order to expand their customer base (otherwise known as: running a business) why are they bothering?

I just wanted to run a simple web site without the need to manage an entire server, but I also wanted to run a custom optimized fcgi server rather than an off-the-shelf version. I came to Dreamhost because you were the only shared hosting service I could find that allowed background daemon processes to run.

But, to my astonishment I found that Dreamhost does not include mod_proxy among its supported Apache modules, unlike just about every other shared hosting service. Thus the ability to run background processes was useless to me, since I couldn’t redirect requests to my fcgi server process.

Also to my astonishment, I found that you use a 64bit operating system but didn’t take the simple steps to support 32bit binaries, so I couldn’t use my custom server in its original form.

Although I didn’t want to take the step, I switched to a full VPS service from RethinkVPS, who charges less for the VPS than you charge for shared hosting. I chose a 64bit Ubuntu operating system, then took two minutes to install the exactly four packages necessary to provide complete 32bit binary compatibility. And I was up and running.

I’m sorry your business plan doesn’t permit offering a sufficient value proposition to cover my “use case”.