Switching from Yahoo to Dreamhost

Hi everyone!

I currently host my site/domain with Yahoo Web Hosting Starter (do I hear boos from the gallery?). I may sign up with Dreamhost tomorrow, and have a few questions:

a) Once I have a hosting account with DH, is it easy cancelling with Yahoo and then moving everything over to DH (including having DH as my domain registrar)? It sounds complicated to this newbie…

b) Is there a time delay (site down-time) during the switch from Yahoo to DH? I ask this because I have a daily comic blog and fear having no blog for a week or so…

c) I use WordPress + ComicPress for my blog, but theres a few things I cant do since Yahoos using an apparentlyancientversion of PHP (4.x...) and doesnt allow me access to my .htaccess file either. Is everyone here happy with DH regarding these issues?

Sorry for all the questions! Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


RobotMonster (my username is based on the greatest BAD sci-fi film of all time! A film so bad…it`s good!)


I’m not to sure about the answer to (a), but I can at least shine a bit of light on (b) and ©.

(b) There will be some downtime while doing the switch, this would largely be due to having your new DNS information propagate across the internet. For common domain types (.com, .net, .org) this should only be a few hours but it is possible for it take to a day or so.

© DH has a really cool option called One-Click installs which allows you to install some pretty common web software on your domain with incredible ease. One of the pieces of software they offer is WordPress and they are currently using version 2.7. Regarding PHP, you can use PHP 5.x or build your own install of PHP if you wish. I’ve had absolutely no problems with PHP at DH so far and I’ve been a customer for several years. Finally, you can setup custom .htaccess files through your web panel or if you’re more adventurous you can write one yourself and upload it.

Hope that helps!

Transfer will be a breeze.

If you have the facility to gzip your Yahoo files up you can wget/cURL them from shell straight into your Dreamhost account and setup the core to use your new environment.

The database is np - create one here for your files, change the config in the new site, and dump your current backup into it when you have everything setup this end already.

Downtime will be 2-3 hours (they say days in alot of literature, but it’s not that bad in this day and age) during DNS propagation and has nothing to do with the registrar. Changing registrars doesn’t affect downtime at all - it’s all to do with the DNS propagation.

If you have the ability to edit your nameservers, this is what I’d do.

  1. Create a Dreamhost account (!!).

  2. Setup your domain, user and database.

  3. gzip and cURL your files from Yahoo! to your Dreamhost account.

  4. Export your database at Y! and import it at Dreamhost.

  5. Edit your configs to use the new Database.

  6. Check your new Dreamhost site to make sure everything’s working correctly.

  7. All good? Then change the DNS to point to Dreamhost !!

^ This is the couple hour “wait time” where some will still see Y!, some will see the new domain.

Now that your site is being served from Dreamhost you can Transfer your registration (this is the bit that can take up to 7 days). As your site is already being served from Dreamhost, the thing that takes the longest won’t affect your site or visitors at all. The process is entirely transparent to the end user.

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Well, I dunno how easy it is to “cancel” your yahoo account, but it is generally straightforward to move your hosting account and your domain registration. It does get slightly more complicated if you want to totally minimize downtime.

You can certainly arrange for the switchover to take a minimal amount of time. This does require that you do things in a particular order and generally requires you to “practice” a little.

Yup. One feature to full hosting is that you have as much control as you want. Of course, each extra level of control that you have makes configuration and management that much more complicated. We have a wide variety of “levels” of control here at Dreamhost that we can choose, but rest assured that there’s certainly a level where you can control your .htaccess file.

BTW, if you want to do that, I suggest using the “Advanced” One-Click install, not the “easy” one.

Finally, remember that almost everyone posting here is a customer and not a Dreamhost employee (and they’re easy to spot).

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@ lightbulbone, sXi and lenseman: thx very much for your help on my previous post!

PS: I signed up with DH earlier today and everything was confirmed. My DH account is currently pending (requires 1 biz-day to process). However, I just received this strange email request (phishing attempt?):

We were unable to verify the credit or debit card information for your recent order. As a result, your order has been cancelled and your account has been temporarily suspended. Please complete the form below to verify and reinstate your account. You’ll need to scan and upload a copy of:
Your driver’s license or other government-issued identification


One of the following documents that verifies your billing address:
A credit/debit card statement of the card you used to place your order, showing only the last four digits and the rest of your card number blacked out
A bank statement
A utility bill

Please ensure that the statement or bill was issued within the last four (4) months and that the address matches what is on file in your Google Checkout account. You may submit a copy of your electronic or paper statement.

Until we receive and verify the requested documents, you will not be able to place orders.

Are you kidding me?? Has this happened to any of you when signing up with DH via Google Checkout? Ive never had a problem with my credit card, hence my suspicions. Maybe Ill call Google before doing anything dumb. Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again for your help!!


The Dreamhost via Google Checkout Process is apparently a foo - there’s been Unlimited (plus 50G) of posts about how sluggish it is to get something done that way. So many, in fact, that it’s probably worth a Wiki thread!

If possible, try to use a credit card during signup and you’ll have an active account within an hour or two. You can take the credit card off the account after first logging in (if you need to borrow someone else’s for the task or anything like that). I used a credit card to signup initially, but I make my ongoing payments via Paypal.

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Ive had a few problems, but on this issue im happy to say using paypal I was extremely pleased with how fast the payment worked and the hosting was initially setup. So i’d recommend to any people reading thinking of switching to dreamhost - use paypal!

@ sXi and kiada09:

Thx for responding to my post!

Actually, I did use a credit card to sign up, but I didnt see an option to pay via Paypal (only Google Checkout). Do you think its safe for me to scan/send my Drivers license and utility bill to the email request I received yesterday? If this is normal, Ill do it right now.

Thanks again for your help!


You can’t initially signup with Paypal, so that’s normal.

Sending in scans is a security pre-requisite that is sometimes employed as protection against fraud. There’s been a few posts on this board indicating customers have scanned licences and other documentation in order to setup an account, so this isn’t a “one-off”.

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