I thought I’d drop this post here, as I have seen numerous posts advising users who cannot access the Control Panel to email

Apparantly, this is not a viable option any more, as was just demonstrated when this Discussion Forum software went wonky today (it is now working again, albeit intermittantly):

--------- enclose web message here ------------
Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

-------- end web message ----------

Being a “good customer”, I did as the message asked and sent the following email to support at

A few minutes later I received the following email message from “Mail Delivery Subsystem” with the subject line of “Your message was NOT received by!”:

Okay, in this instance I can take the extra steps to login to my web panel and generate a support ticket to let them know the forum is down/borked but if the panel is down, how are we supposed to notify them of anything, whether part of their system is failing or whether we can’t get to the panel?

At the very least, it seems they should edit the error message thrown by their scirpt(s) so they don’t ask you to do something that they then refuse to accept.

Better still, shouldn’t there be a way to contact them when they are broken.

Am I missing something obvious here? (Please tell me that I’m just having a slow-brain day and this isn’t really the “catch-22” that it seems to me to be!)


You can always check if you are expericing any problems.

I believe you can also contact them through this page at the main Dreamhost page :slight_smile:


Thanks for the tips :wink: I knew, or course, about each of these optioms but:

1)While it does seem to have been getting better, can’t possibly have any information about a condition Dreamhost is not aware of :wink: It also only allows DH to communicate with me (I was looking for a way to comunicate with them)

  1. That form is represented as going to “sales”, and the page specifically states that you are to fill out a support ticket for technical support. This is not to say that I would not to use it, but I am doubtful it would reach the approporiate people.

My response is not meant to be-little your reply at all; I appreciate your answer and these are good suggestions. I just believe there need to be a reliableway to notify tech support of an issue when the panel is down :slight_smile:


I wonder if using an old message ticket number might work. I suppose if the email checks for a ticket number it would let it through and issue a new reply number.
It does seem daft that a dreamhost user cannot advise about faults in the system. What happens when that web page comes up with all the CC details on? :slight_smile: .

Perhaps they could allow through emails containing our webid?

I can see why they would want to prevent all and sundry sending email to support@dreamhost to stop the spam.

Oh yes and I wonder if using the contact.cgi support would have been of much use since it seems to be orientated towards sales only?


Opinions are my own views, not DreamHosts’.
I am NOT a DreamHost employee OK!! :@

You act on my advice at your own risk!

This forum has been sering 500 errors and and off since 1am californaia time. :frowning:

I think I read here once or so that and sales Emails all go to tech support actually - just different queues.

I’m dissapointed that I can’t E-mail support any more. I’ve only done it on rare occasions, but that is dissapointing. I just tested and found I got the response so it’s not just a you thing either.

–Matttail - personal website


That’s an interesting idea about using the number of an old ticket, and it might just work (though I suspecect they might not appreciate us doing that since it is “workaround” and it is unlikely the new issue would relate at all to the old ticket).

The webid ideas sounds like a idea to me.

I don’t blame them at all for not wanting "" to be be reviewed by tech support staff without some vetting; nobady has enough time to deal with the amount of spam such an address is likely to receive.

It just seems that there needs to be some way to reach tem outside the panel. I sent a query about this as a support ticket, so hopefully we will have a DH response soon.


Just to keep the thread “up-to-date”, I have included below the most recent response I received from Dreamhost support regarding this issue (sent to me on 7/15/2006 at 23:10 PDT):


Normally, our panel is NEVER down, we have 6 separate machines that
handle it’s functionality, so the chance of it going down are rare.

If it is down, then something is seriously wrong, we’re aware of that,
and will get it up as quickly as humanly possible.

Right now, we have the support mail address set up that way to make sure
all support gets sent in via the panel. We are currently working on
getting a better system in place.

sorry about that. If you need anything else, please let us know.


Who could have guessed that less than 48 hours after this response, the panel is “paws up”? While I understand that they know about the panel being down, as a matter of public relations and customer assurrance, I really do think DH needs to address this by making another contact avenue available to customers having problems.

It doesn’t do much to reassure someone whose sites are broken that “we know about it”; those affected need to be able to communicate their specific problems to have any peace of mind (even if it does increase the support burden).


We removed the ability to initiate a new support thread via email to reduce the amount of time we have to spend figuring out who somebody is. Customers were regularly writing in from various email addresses and not including enough information for us to figure out who they are. That resulted in wasted time for us and for them.

The suggested workaround of using an older case ID would work for a relatively recent support thread, but we do automatically ‘close’ threads after there has been no activity for awhile.

You have a good point about cases when the web panel is down. It should be noted, though, that we use the web panel ourselves constantly all day long while providing support and it would be a very rare case indeed for us to not notice. Additionally any situation that would take the web panel down entirely is almost definitely going to be deeper in the system and affect a lot more functionality than just the web panel, further increasing the likelihood that we would already know.

That said, never say never, right? The web panel does go down sometimes, and if you do submit a ‘sales question’ through the contact form on the website that ends up going into the same queue as all other support requests. It’s color-coded as the type of question it is but those questions are viewable by the same set of support techs.

This isn’t to say things couldn’t be better, but re-allowing all support requests to come in via email isn’t a workable solution unfortunately.

  • Dallas
  • DreamHost Head Honcho/Founder

Dallas, I appreciate you taking the time to respond to this thread, and thanks for the additional information.

I do see your point about the inefficiency of utilizing the address to initiate tickets, and understand your decision not to allow support-requests to be initiated via emai. I don’t have a better solution to suggest at present.

Probably the best approach during times of instability such as those we have experienced in the last several days is just to “sit tight” and wait…though, that is hard to do when things are borked.


This thread has gotten me thinking about the situation and we will work on coming up with something better.

One thing I meant to mention in my previous post is the fact that the email is dependent on our back-end database and so it sometimes is also not fully functioning when our web control panel is down. It makes people feel better to send off the email but we don’t actually get them until things are fixed again. That’s not always the case but it has happened.

  • Dallas
  • DreamHost Head Honcho/Founder

Perhaps you could incoperate some sort of system into I don’t know how you’d control it so it isn’t abused, but you guys are smart.

Maybe a simple form users could fill out - I don’t see an update here and I can’t access the panel and services seem to be down. It would provide an off-site method for customers to contact support, and could serve as a remind for you guys to post there.

Anyways, perhaps somethign along those lines could work out.

–Matttail - personal website

I think part of the problem as well was the fact that there were no reports that the forum was suffering Internal Server Errors (ISE) so a newbie would see an ISE with a request to contact support and would obligingly do so. They may not have yet mastered the ControlPanel support option or may only be a prospective customer checking out DreamHost via the forums.

Regular users would be aware of other network problems which might impinge on the forum and just ‘Carry on Clicking’.

I have reached 27 million ISE’s and am at level 7 but still cannot find the golden goblet or the key!


Opinions are my own views, not DreamHosts’.
I am NOT a DreamHost employee OK!! :@

You act on my advice at your own risk!

Just FYI, even though you get those returned emails, they DO go through and they DO create an entry in the support history. Go figure…

What troubles me most is that it seems to be taking longer and longer to get ANY response. Last time a site went down (permissions issue) it was over 18hrs… granted, DH was in the middle of a Denial of Service attack, so I tried to be patient.

This time? It’s been 16hrs and counting and that means NO response (not even a “got your message, we’ll be with you asap”) and no phone call per my callback request.

Sigh. DH used to be such a good company… but if you try to find them with the better business bureau, you’ll see that they have out of date info (no one knows a real phone number or address for them anymore) and they have an “F” rating with the BBB.

If it were easy to move stuff (wordpress, etc), I would and I would take my clients with me.

I think you have to pay to be included in the BBB and I believe DreamHost said they stopped paying some time ago, so they got F’d … So to speak.

It must be very annoying though when you are down and out for that length of time. I empathise with you. Still chin up. Look on the bright side. :slight_smile:


Opinions are my own views, not DreamHosts’.
I am NOT a DreamHost employee OK!! :@

You act on my advice at your own risk!

Maybe they did for you (as evidenced by you seeing it in your support history record available from the panel), but they did not in the recent case I described when starting this thread. Yet another instance of “things change”.

(from a previous message in this thread)

It helps to read the thread before making pronouncements, as this recent statement directly from a DH “Honcho” suWe removed the ability to initiate a new support thread via email pretty authoritatively indicates your opening statement was incorrect :wink:

Are you talking about one of your sites here? I’ll guarantee you that there have been others whose sites were down for far longer during this last chain of events, and others whose sites were down for only minutes, if at all. It is important to remember that YMMV.

The BBB having out of date info is a problem with the BBB not keeping records up to date, and anyopne who visits can find the address clearly posted under the contact us link on the homepage. No voice number is listed, but there is a fax. It’s less than trivial to “find” Dreamhost.

As for the “F” rating…big deal… It also pays to read the forum in general, as this issue has been discussed in several threads, and has been responded to by Dreamhost on more than one occasion. The BBB record is years old and has not been updated as DH does not participate with the BBB’s program. Actually, if you read the description of what the “F” means, and look at Dreamhost’s ancient BBB record, you should be encouraged by the fact that they have had so few complaints; I would have expected any “largish” hosting company to have had complaints orders of magnitude higher.

Er, uh, it actually is very “easy” to move stuff, particularly Wordpress packages and data, using standard *nix tools or your own backups. Granted some things may take a little more work than others depending upon how you have coded your sites (absolute v relative links, etc), but that shouldn’t keep you from taking care of your clients.

In the long run, I have found that once the initial frustration of “downtime” diminishes, and I start to look at my options, Dreamhost, warts and all, begins to look pretty good again.