How fast is DreamHost’s support? Are their answers easy to understand?


For me, it was ~18H (including night). And 3 days once.

Their answers are very good.
However, as about all support, they will not learn php to you for instance. there is a wiki and many websites for that.

On all support message you can tell you skills level about your request. Their answers will be in accordance.

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yeah the best thing is u can tell them how much you understand the stuff and they will reply based on your knowledge. so if u dont know much they will keep their answers in very basic easy to understand form.

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I’ve usually receive answers to general (non-critical) enquiries within 24 hours. More critical enquiries (site outage etc.) seem to elicit more rapid replies.

As for easy to understand answers, this will depend a lot on the nature of the question and your level of knowledge on the subject. Unfortunately, some aspects of web hosting are rather complex by nature and it is sometimes hard to provide simple yet accurate answers to complex problems.


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Often times, a critical ticket (e.g. my server is down or has a high load) will be noticed and fixed by an admin before your ticket gets answered, so even though we might have taken hours to reply to your ticket, the actual problem was resolved within a matter of minutes.


I often get an answer before sending the question. But I do have access to a time machine.

I have a feeling that the time taken to answer a question from support is in direct proportion to the clarity of the question.
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Opinions are my own views and are not the views of DreamHost.
Any advice offered by me should be acted upon only at your own risk.


Norm, your posts never fail to bring a smile to my face. You are a definite asset to these forums. Keep it up.

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Yeah. There’s an art to asking good questions and it’s a topic that’s been covered on the internet at large many times.

Rule 1 though, in my opinion:

Ask what you want to know.

We have too many people who try to figure things out in a round-about way. Just ask what you want to know, directly.

Also, if there’s an error message, paste it. If there isn’t, say there isn’t one. That helps a LOT… we get more from an error message than anything else, a lot of the time.


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More than ever please please, take note of my disclaimer at line two under my signature. :slight_smile:


Opinions are my own views and are not the views of DreamHost.
Any advice offered by me should be acted upon only at your own risk.


You can download and try the beta now.

You can. That is, you can if the server’s not too busy, you register, and manage your way through the download process, which failed for me. :slight_smile:

Don’t do it anyway. Set yourself free:


The more of a non standard question you ask, the longer it takes. My last 5 questions have all taken at least 4 days to get a response to. I was very thorough, cited books and links, told them what I had already tried, etc. 2 of the 4 responses were short, as if they only read the first sentence, the other 2 were summed up as “figure it out yourself”.

In summary, for $15 a month you get no support for anything that you can’t spend an hour or two looking up in the wiki ( if you know what to look for ). But someone will send you back an email that is polite telling you a tip or hint to look up or research.

So far, 2 of the 5 questions directed me to the wiki, which had good info. I would not of know what term to look up to find it myself.

I sure wish I could afford to hire people to actually get sites running and do the things I need done. Such as:

  1. multiple blogs setup on one database - (was directed to wiki after almost a week)
  2. how to use mod_rewrite to direct hostnames to certain subdirectories - never got an answer on this one, and after a scathing letter for no response was told to figure it out myself.
  3. How to script or automate multiple subdomains instead of click the control panel software over and over - (5 days and waiting for an answer if this is even possible )
  4. basic questions - how to setup multiple domains under a single user ( easy once they told me how ), how to setup a single subdomain ( there was a server config error that wouldn’t let me use the control panel ), and other basic questions, answered in the range of 2 hours to 24 hours, with most taking at least 12 hours.
  5. How to setup cron timers to occur every 5 minutes instead of on the 5th minute of every hour ( took 3 days for a simple answer )

If I had a real budget I’d check out other hosting companies, as I tend to need more hand holding than they seem to want to give. I feel like they are purposely taking several days to respond so that I close my account out of frustration as I’m a customer that is costing them money instead of the normal customer who buys service and then never uses it, but keeps paying. At least, this is my embittered opintion :slight_smile:

It has been 2 months and I keep running into dead ends when I’m trying to get stuff done. I need solutions to problems, not hours and hours of learning how to host. Seriously, I am getting more done on a test linux server at my house than on the dream host servers lol.

The actual servers have been pretty good though, especially for the price, but if you need to get things done in a timely manner, do not count on dream host support to help or fix it for you.


I think you’ve made a very fair representation of support. I don’t think they’re purposefully trying to get you to close your account though. I suspect what’s happenning is that your question is getting passed on to upper level tech support and it’s taking a bit longer for them to get back to you, and for some reason they’re not letting you know what’s going on.

I think you’re right though, dreamhost isn’t going to help you code and create your own website. They keep the servers up and running, make sure you database is running smoothly, keep E-mail flowing… But coding you site is up to you.

My sigguestion is two fold. You can keep working on and learning on your own, you seem like you’re completly capable once you find a nice tutorial and there’s nothign wrong with that. A testing box at home can help things along as well. If you keep at it you’ll be able to do these things on your own. You can always post questions here as there’s lots of happy programers and the like willing to help.

Part two of my sigguestion is to find someone who can do these things for you. You can look over your budget, and evulate how much your own time is worth. You might decided you can afford a certin dollar amount, that a lowly and smart college student would be happy to work for. Also I know there’s a lot of people out there willing to trade. Maybe you don’t have casy to offer, but perhaps an exchange of some other sort - you’re home baked beans for his coding abilties. I’ve seen sites devoted to this kind of a system.

–Matttail - personal website


[quote]I feel like they are purposely taking several days to respond
so that I close my account out of frustration as I’m a customer
that is costing them money instead of the normal customer who
buys service and then never uses it, but keeps paying. At least,
this is my embittered opintion :slight_smile:


I can guarantee you that this is not the case. We have some customers who write in almost every single day and have continued to do so for years, and even in those cases we do not make a point to ‘get rid of them’. We accept that in some cases we will take a loss, only to make up for it with the masses of customers who never write into support (most of our customers have never, ever written in - not even once). This works out as, more often than not, what we lose in support costs for those customers is made up for in referrals.

While I haven’t personally reviewed your support history, it does sound like what mattail mentioned - it’s possible that you may need to reevaluate what level of support you need and see if you can find a way to fill in the gaps. Some of the items you mentioned definitely fall beyond the normal scope of our support (ie. mod_rewrite configuration).

In short: Our support is here primarily to deal with problems on our servers (ie. service downtime), configuration of DreamHost-specific services, etc.

Support is not, however, in a position to replace a web developer/designer, offer usage help on common Unix/Linux tools, or to give much help with 3rd party software (including one-click installs). Truth be told, I think you’ll find that in the hosting industry this sort of thing will be pretty hard to find for $15/month - the going rate for contract web development and integration is typically $75/hour on up.

While our staff is pretty knowledgable about various web development issues and may at times offer recommendations above-and-beyond the normal scope of their normal tasks, this shouldn’t be depended upon and probably will involve significant delay. Your best bet may be to either use available Internet resources to learn more about this stuff yourself, or to contract a qualified web developer/designer to assist you.

  • Jeff @ DreamHost
  • DH Discussion Forum Admin


Well speaking from new customer’s point of view, it doesn’t seem like DH have enough support staff (in relation to the number of customers) in order to give fast response times (e.g. within 30 minutes). In addition to that, asking more complicated questions on specific aspects of web developing that support aren’t really meant to deal with leads to much longer response times and possibly unhelpful responses.