Support Response Times


#1

For those folks who are considering signing up with DreamHost, I just thought I’d share my recent experiences with the support system.

On the whole, I have found outages of any kind to be extremely rare. In the last few months, the only significant inconvenience was the blacklisting of the email servers by various ISPs (notably AOL), because of spammer activity - not DreamHost’s fault.

A few minutes ago, I found my web, shell, and FTP services went down. I checked all the various domains and accounts, and then used the cool Control Panel widget for reporting possible system outages. The response from support came back in less than three minutes, which is pretty damn good. I even got a nice confirmation email:

Outage verified: We are actively looking into resolving it. (2006-04-23 19:50:54 PDT, 0 secs ago) Outage first reported. (2006-04-23 19:48:20 PDT, 2 mins 34 secs ago)As I write, the outage is still unresolved; however, the quick reponse from DreamHost, coupled with their great track record, makes me confident things will be returned to normal in short order.


Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
Save $97 on yearly plans with promo code [color=#CC0000]SCJESSEY97[/color]


#2

[quote]blacklisting of the email servers by various ISPs (notably AOL), because of spammer activity - not DreamHost’s fault.

[/quote]

Agreed spammers get primary blame, but it is DreamHost’s fault they did not adequately secure their systems from being used by spammers.

[quote]the cool Control Panel widget for reporting possible system outages.

[/quote]

That is cool, and works well. On the other hand, I’ve had a blacklist problem open for over 4 days. How long should it take to clear these up? Are spammers still having their way with DreamHost’s systems?


#3

How would they do that, exactly? As far as I know, the best way to stop mass mails going out is to … well … stop mass mails going out. That means rate limiting, which draws howls of complaints from the mailing list junkies.

I think all high-limit emailing (like mailing list stuff) should be done with a separate server group from a separate IP address and domain. If it gets blacklisted, it shouldn’t effect normal email operation.


Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
Save $97 on yearly plans with promo code [color=#CC0000]SCJESSEY97[/color]


#4

Hire will back? How does A0L do it? Background checks on new accounts? No druggist or pr0n customers?

Brilliant! :slight_smile:

What does it take to get blacklisted? How many spam complaints? Multiple factors, not just rates?

Yeah, maybe they should completely contract-out email to another company. :slight_smile:

What I’m sure of is I’m not a spammer, and I can’t send a couple emails with a service I’m paying DreamHost for… Faster response on this would be good. You know, if it doesn’t cut into time for piling up boxes, microwaving phones, and other fun stuff. :slight_smile:


#5

AOL has enormous trouble with spam, but they have massive resources (and deep pockets) to try to take care of it. Their spam filter (which is always on) is extremely harsh, and they are very slow at removing blocks against domains that have been spamming.

Most blacklisting I’m aware of is automatic, and triggered by rates. The block is removed manually after a successful appeal. I know that some organizations (like AOL) also do aggressive filtering, but that is only practical for receiving email, not sending it.

Only mailing lists (or high-rate users) need to be kept separate. For normal mail operation, you could have a far stricter rate limit (like 20-per-hour or something) to prevent the main system being compromised.

It isn’t as simple as that, though. When an ISP blacklists the DreamHost email servers, DreamHost usually responds almost immediately (because they get a bunch of support tickets telling them they can’t send emails to folks!). The problem is that the organization doing the blacklisting is sluggish in removing the block. AOL, for example, can take days to remove a block. Other ISPs make it very difficult to contact them to try and get a block lifted. Blacklisting agencies are even worse.

Basically, the whole email system is broken. We need Email 2.0 more urgently than any other new internet technology.


Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
Save $97 on yearly plans with promo code [color=#CC0000]SCJESSEY97[/color]