Look at the prices. Code monster account $19.95/month. If we make the (crazy) assumption that hosting costs nothing, that’s $19.95 per month per customer. That will pay for about half an hour of Dreamhost staff’s attention to you.
Of course, in reality the infrastructure costs a lot too, so really it’s “Help yourself, and if it all goes wrong we’ll try and get someone to fix it. Eventually”
Dreamhost provide good value on technical merit, but support really is lacking. Here’s my example:
- I have a busy site. Unfortunately it’s been getting a bit busy for shared hosting. Last week Dreamhost sent me an e-mail saying I’m using 20% of the CPU minutes.
- Now I don’t want to be a resource hog, but how am I meant to know if the site’s too busy, until they tell me? Dreamhost give no usage stats until they decide they want you to upgrade from a $20/month account to a $150/month account. Then they give you about 1-2 weeks to sort it out.
- They’re now providing me with stats. The stats are meaningless - they account for about 6 CPU minutes. Claimed usage is about 260, which I don’t dispute, but as I’m being asked to cut it down, I need to be able to measure the effect of any changes.
- Support e-mails asking them to explain the situation have been conveniently ignored (let’s face it, most queries do get answered - just not the ones that have no reasonable answer!)
- Support told me they were going to move me onto another server. They didn’t tell me when. Or that only some of my files would move (missing crontab and most files in home directory). Or that the IP address would change (I thought I had a static IP for the site, apparently not).
- Support take hours to reply to urgent issues (site down, can’t log in).
So yeah, I got my money’s worth from Dreamhost - $20/month ain’t bad for running a website, but that money never really included decent support. But now the time comes to go dedicated I feel I’d rather try elsewhere. Dreamhosts premium for monthly billing is unusually large and I’m not about to pre-pay over $1,000 for a year’s mediocre (at best) customer service.
Also one more point while I’m at it - few sites will ever make use of the triple bandwidth offer of 192Gb/month (except maybe static images/multimedia files) because you’ll be using too much CPU resources in most normal cases before then.
Unfortunately, with shared hosting you’re working blind on the CPU front until you’re told it’s too much. Dreamhost are no better or worse than others here.