Shell Access



Probably should have asked this before signing up ,but oh well… What are the limitations on my shell account? Naturally, I don’t get root access, and I see that these aren’t virtualised servers (in the sense that I don’t have a whole environment to my self).

Am I free to install any software on my own user?

I’d love to have irssi running, but I don’t know if you guys want that. I don’t know how cpu intensive it is, I could only guess at “not much.”

Anyway, interested to know these details,


you can do what an user without root access can do.

Most shared hosting don’t allow resident applications.

Even if you can do that, i don’t think they will be really happy about it. Especially irc (it brings many problems, some dedicated hosting even don’t accept it on their TOS).

Yes you can install your own software on your space, but it should not use too much ressources.

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I’m sure I remember reading somewhere that there is a time limit on persistent processes, if my memory serves me correctly its around the 3 minute mark and then the process will be killed.

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I am not sure if IRSSI is forbidden as such, but the DreamHost TOS does state that ‘IRC-related activities’ are not encouraged.

[color=#0000CC]“Servers are shared with other customers, and as such IRC-related activities, BitTorrent software, or severely CPU intensive CGI scripts (e.g. chat scripts, proxy scripts, scripts which have bugs causing them to not close properly after being run) are not encouraged. IRC bots and bouncers (BNC) specifically may not be run on any DreamHost Webhosting server”[/color]


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I don’t blame DH for disallowing irc! There are some bad people out there with some bad programs. But if you’re determined to use irc from a shell account (sigh… ircII, my first love), there are quite a few places to get FREE shell access including irc. Just google around for “free irc shell access” and that should get you started.



I am curoius to know about what kind of shell access you get. On some web hosting servers they give you a “Jailshell” - this is a shell with some extra limitations.

I’m particularly keen to know if you can jump around between web hosting sub accounts while in the shell (using a reseller package).

Can anyone give me a heads up on this one?

(: thanks


The Dreamhost shell access is not limited in any way, and has a large complement of standard *nix tools (Debian, to be precise) for you to use consistent with the TOS and available resources. As with any properly administered shared *nix system, various process monitoring systems are in place to prevent a rogue user, or “borked” program, running amok and rendering the system unstable or unusable for others sharing the box.

As for “sub-accounts” and “re-seller” packages, Dreamhost does not implement their system in the way you are thinking. Each *nix user has their own “space”, which can be limited to ftp access or be given full shell access. Traditional *nix permissions dictate “who can do what, to whom they can do it, and in whose back yard it all happens” :wink: The degree of “jumping around” between the directories of your “sub-users” (users instituted under your account) is controlled how you structure these users, groups, etc using standard *nix permissions.

Each Dreamhost plan allows n number of users, ftp accounts, email addresses, bandwidth, and storage, etc. (and allows the hosting of an unlimited number of domains and sub-domains!) - how you “distribute” these resources (and “bill” or “charge” for them) is up to you, but you have to manage it.

You can allow "account Administrative “privileges” of varying degrees to other users under your account from within Dreamhost’s custom Control Panel. This is not cPanel, or any other commonly encountered shared hosting administration system, but Dreamhost’s own tool.

I’m not sure if that answered your question; if not, just post back and ask for further clarification or visit the Dreamhost Wiki to explore further (all this and more is covered there!)



DreamHost gives you access to a ‘real’ shell, with no obvious restrictions, other than those imposed by user permissions.

I am not sure what you mean by ‘reseller package’, as DreamHost does not offer a plan specifically for re-sellers. All DreamHost plans can be re-sold, but organising things can be a bit of a challenge from a re-sellers perspective. For example; There are ways to provide your clients with web panel access, but ‘branding’ the panel is not possible.

Under the DreamHost system, each of your domains is owned by a particular machine user and the web accessable directory for that domain is located within that users home directory. Each user may have multiple domains under their control, but each domain is owned by only one user.

When you log in to the shell using a particular user’s credentials, you will have access only to the domains within that users home directory. To access the other domains you will need to log-in using the credentials of the user that controls them.


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Thanks for the info.

I’m familiar with Cpanel and the WHM web application which lets you manage websites and add accounts etc… I assume you have your own system which includes similar features. Is that correct?

(: hereward


The DreamHost equivalent to cPanel is their own home-grown web panel, which in my opinion is vastly superior to Cpanel. The DreamHost panel can be a bit of a culture shock to those coming from cPanel hosts, but once you get used to the way it works, you’ll wonder how you ever managed with cPanel :slight_smile:

As for WHM; There is no real equivalent re-seller management package here on DreamHost, but managing multiple sites is fairly straightforward.

Each site (or domain) can be placed under the control of a different machine user and when that user logs in via FTP, they will only see the files pertaining to their domain(s).

If your clients require web panel access, you can create additional WEBIDs (panel log-ins) and give those WEBIDs various panel ‘privileges’.

More information on these privileges can be found in the wiki article below;


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