Server move/ "unlimited" TOS


Posting this in “curious” since no other forum seemed to fit.

I am very suddenly scheduled for an unrequested forced server move, and DH support is offering to upgrade me to unlimited as a way to say sorry.

Now I am wondering about the TOS for unlimited. It seems incredibly vague for what is otherwise a pretty serious company.

To me, “essential purpose to use disk or bandwidth” would be something like piping /dev/random to a file and then encouraging people to download it repeatedly even though it’s unusable garbage.

Then they go on to list several useful things which clearly do NOT just have an “essential purpose to use disk or bandwidth”.

I understand that if there are no limits there will be abuse by antisocial people, but come on?

For instance, they state that sites which incorporate “file upload” are not allowed. File upload by the account owner or third parties? How the hell would you get content onto their servers without using this nefarious “file uploading”? It’s just too vague. By this definition they can just yank your account for any reason, any time.

I’ll give an example of what I have used web servers for sometimes: I am a musician and collaborate on projects with the people in my band, who are geographically scattered. I sometimes upload 2-300 MB big archives of work files, mail the links and instruct a couple of people to download them, then erase them. Would this kind of practice not be allowed on dreamhost then? Technically it incorporates “uploading”, “file sharing”, “storing files”, and all those other horrible things.

But according to their very vague definition, so does a static html site using 300 kb of space?

(I realize this probably sounds like I was trying to write some sort of lame weasel language for “I’m running a pirated MP3 site”, but I am really not. To me it’s legitimate use of a server and I certainly legitimately own all the data.)

Otherwise I have nothing to complain about, but this worries me. I don’t like being worried.


Don’t switch.

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Not switching does not appear to be an option. I suspect that by the end of 2009, all shared accounts will be on the new servers, and probably with the new plan. I asked to be switched, and it has yet to happen.

The ToS for Unlimited changes a little every time I look at it.

I believe that the File Sharing/blah blah blah rule is in regards to non-web use, such as FTP/SCP/rsync. If you’re using an website front end to this file repository, then you’re ok.

Really, they only come down on people who do really stupid things. Your example doesn’t look to be pushing the boundaries of abuse. You own the copyright, and it’s a relatively small file that’s not likely to attract any attention from DreamHost.



“I believe that the File Sharing/blah blah blah rule is in regards to non-web use, such as FTP/SCP/rsync. If you’re using an website front end to this file repository, then you’re ok.”

This is some sort of impression I get as well.


If this is the policy, it would be inconsistent with how their own control panel/ account structure is set up – specifically, there is an option to create a “ftp only” user.

An “ftp only user” by definition has no web front end.

Regarding the “don’t switch”, now that I looked closer, I think the TOS for normal (limited) accounts has these vague features too.

I googled a bit and it seems that I have yet to find an instance of DH doing the wrong thing – it appears to be true foo-hole customers that have had their accounts disabled. “I know one when i see one” kind of thing :slight_smile:

But I really wish the TOS would be more clear. The “ftp only user” DH offers inherently DIRECTLY violates paragraph 6 of their own TOS (which I assume is for any service they offer, limited or not).

Maybe the problem is that it’s impossible to have 100% clear rules with the myriad of stupid people out there, and then the odd person like me who worries about doing the right thing freaks out.

I know there are some examples like “people sharing anime videos” but it’s still incredibly vague. And what do they have against anime? Is sharing Woody Allen movies somehow more ok? :slight_smile:


The “FTP Only” user means that they only way they can access files for upload/download is FTP. My users are set for SFTP/SSH only with no FTP access.

The examples they cite are common violations. You may be the only Woody Allen fan here. If you really want clarification, send an email to Hopefully you’ll get an answer and maybe help motivate them to clarify the ToS.



You’re on the right track here. Now imagine that you and I are Dreamhost and there numerous people out there who are looking to sign up for your web hosting service and looking to:

  1. back up their terabytes of torrented movies onto your servers
  2. provide free online file sharing services (think filefront and the like) for people to upload legal or illegal copies of G to X rated movies or just any file whatsoever
  3. mirror all legitimate downloads on the planet (being a good citizen, but if dreamhost really wanted to be a mirror host for a download of distros, they would do it themselves)

Now if we wanted to write our ToS to prevent ourselves from being taken advantage of by people trying to do the above along with a zillion other similar schemes, what would our ToS look like? Hmmm.

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If you’re worried, don’t switch. And stop worrying :slight_smile:

It’s not like you’re running out of space or bandwidth, right?

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I got the same email, but haven’t been moved yet. Has anyone? I assume it will be reflected in the Control Panel - or possibly by my sites imploding (j/k - I hope).