More problems? Time to switch


#1

So my email’s down. And has been nearly 24 hours. For my crappy little site, not a big deal. For my wife, who uses her website for business, this is a huge problem.

Anybody know wtf is up? As far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to be with DH much longer, as these outages are ridiculous, and nothing has been done to apologize. Not even a measly “Here’s your $8 refunded for the lost service”. Not that that would make up for losing customers (my wife’s average client will spend about $500 per session), but it would sure as hell be better than “yeah, we’ve been having problems. Hopefully we won’t anymore.”

I can’t afford TextDrive, but I also can’t have problems like the last month has been. Wonder how much fuss I’ll have to make to cancel my prepaid account, and get a refund for breach of contract.


#2

And you’re spending $8 a month for hosting while making that much per session?


#3

Erm, Dreamhost does not do refunds just like that. They have tons of clients.

You can get your money back if you have paid by credit card (within the first 97 days of signing up).


#4

Exactly. You can never blame someone else for your own lack of a Plan B.

Smart businesses don’t rely 100% on one shared hosting plan–regardless of where that plan is hosted. You’re either willing to shell out more of your money, or you’re willing to deal with some downtime and other problems.


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#5

It’s simple, really. We are broke. More money goes into the business than comes out. There’s gas, advertising, cameras, lenses, backdrops, lighting, backup camera, memory cards, … Having started with literally no money, no credit for a business loan, and a crappy 3 megapixel digital camera a few years back, she’s done very well for herself, but still has a ways to go before all the initial costs are fully taken care of.

So we don’t have money for much right now, and certainly not $100+ PER MONTH for a dedicated server. And since most hosts have no problem being 99% reliable (and DH was in fact in this category up until the last couple months, other than their Rails service), I made the obviously absurd mistake of thinking it was a safe thing for my wife’s website.

Obviously that means we deserve to get crappy service. My apologies for believing that a cheap plan should still be able to hit a certain level of quality.

Oh… and you probably aren’t liable to figure this out, but, uh… the more expensive accounts here at Dreamhost have been having problems too. Weird, eh?

Guess I should accept that poor people deserve to be treated like scum, but I’m kind of thick-headed or something.


#6

Then you deal with problems. One person’s money situation doesn’t change the reality of what’s required to keep a site up and running.

You probably should have said you were broke in the first post, instead of going with “losing $500 per session” line. See how different they sound?

You could have an $8 account here and an $8 account somewhere else. That’s having a Plan B, for much less than $100/month.

Uptime claims are for marketing purposes only. Every single host, without exception, will have problems. Dreamhost has been around a long time, but they didn’t invent downtime.

99% uptime would be about 7 hours of downtime every month. Is that what you want?

The mistake you made was thinking that a single shared hosting account is enough to keep an important business 100% reliable.

It does have quality. Were you complaining the whole time everything was fine?

And maybe you couldn’t figure out that it’s still just a single shared hosting account. You’re paying for extra features–nothing more. Get it?

Boo hoo. What you need to accept, whether you’re poor or not, is that people without a backup plan will never be able to offer the stability of someone that does. Do you think people with more money than you should have to settle for less, just to make the poor people feel better?

Between spending more money than you make, acting like a victim instead of improving your situation, and not even having a basic understanding of how simple & cheap it is to have a backup plan–it sounds like your business will do great. Good luck!


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#7

I like the idea of having a second shared hosting account as backup - but how would you configure dns to automatically change a domain to the other hosting provider in the event of downtime?

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#8

Right on, jblueboy… an excellent question. For which I wait for answers from the lecturers in this thread.

I will tell you that even before joining Dreamhost, I’ve always managed my DNS separately(from web/mail host) and that has paid dividends with less than reliable hosts. Current DNS hosting is at easyDNS.org. They’ve been excellent and very fast.

I still have problems with the mail failures at DH though – especially since my users and I prefer IMAP. Also, there seems to be no easy failover solution for mail(some will get lost in transistion for days?). Perhaps through MX priority setting, one can direct mail to second mail machine at another host? Someone else do this successfully? I’m all ears…

Getting back to the lecture thread. Yes, you should try to arrange for backup as much as possible since it seems that all of the ISPs in the range of DH have their share of troubles. I wouldn’t be surprised that even if you did add another DH-like service as backup(Site5, hostgator, others…), there would be times when the same service is down in both places! I’ve been with DH nearly 2 years now and I’ve tried to warn shoppers that they’re less than reliable for certain services(they’ve had multiple email problems for a year+ now) – I’m sorry you weren’t(?) made aware of the risks before you signed on.

And of course this does not excuse DH’s lack of service. You’re right to be upset – I used some of my own frustration energy to try and set the record straight for other shoppers and work on mitigating my risks with less than reliable internet service firms. As “consumers”, we need better information in order to balance the transaction with “providers”. But you can see that I’m digressing…

Good luck. Take the best of the lectures, ignore the rest.


jt


#9

Yes, you can use an MX record with a lower priority to receive mail when DH is hosed … but it has to be really hosed (not accepting network connections). Otherwise you’d need to manually change it … and that takes time to propogate (DNS servers will have the old record cached until the expire time).

The other complication is … you now have mail on two hosts. If you’re using POP3, this isn’t much a of a problem because you’ll suck it all onto you machine, but if you’re using IMAP it’s rather cludgy. You’d also have to set up multiple outgoing SMTP hosts in your email client, which even the latest version of Thunderbird doesn’t handle correctly.

Using a hosting service with reliable email is probably much easier. DH has had continous email problems for months, with today being yet another indication that it’s not going to be fixed any time soon.


#10

Thanks for the info, BRoach. You’ve confirmed my own thinking – and opinion(better to have reliable mail hosting). My domains prefer IMAP and even if I tell all mail users to go ahead and setup another IMAP mail account in their client(alternatemail.domainname), this results in a kludgey setup at best(as you said).

On the matter of SMTP though, I’ve long ago instructed any users to use another available service(usually they all have internet access from their homes and therefore a likely SMTP alternative) other than DH’s servers. I think DH themselves recommended this.

Related to this line of inquiry, does anyone know of a good IMAP mail hosting service. Obviously using IMAP, it would be nice to have a decent amount of disk space/user. > 1GB at least.


jt


#11

We are very grateful to our customers that stick up for us. That being said we have every intention of providing excellent stability for all of our plans. It is not a lack of money or inexpensive plans that caused the recent outages.

Also, there was no system-wide 24 hour email outage at the time of nerdmaster’s post. Can you be sure to submit a support request and also post your domain here so that I can track down your account? I don’t believe that the problem you are having has anything to do with the problems of july.

Thanks again to everyone who has been so supportive in these forums.