Thinking about DH


#1

I have a few questions (hope I don’t bore you too much!) :slight_smile:

I am switching hosts and am looking at options. I’d really like to hear some factual stats from the users here at Dreamhost. Please… no adverts, misguided claims of the omnipotence of the service, etc. Just plain hard (firmish will suffice) user-based facts. I am well aware of shared environs so no need to discuss those pitfalls.

I’d really like to hear your personal experiences at DH with :

  • Downtime percentile
  • Concurrent connection limits
  • Concurrent banwidth pipe
  • Filesize limitations
  • Running cgi scripts (from any folder, not just root)
  • Database and PHP lag
  • Mail server response time
  • ftp downtime

Only 3 of the above things really concern me, but the other information combined will give me an idea of what to expect on the broader scale. I relaise the ads say I can shoot through within 97 days and get a refund (btw is that 100% money back?) but I’d rather “move and stay” if I decide on DreamHost.

In your opinion, what’s the custom Management System they appear to have in place like? Is it functionally comparable to cPanel? Is there a demo somewhere that I can take a look at?

I notice ‘coupon ads’ on a few sigs here. I have half a dozen low-hit and lightweight domains to move. The idea of a fixed IP (or 2) is quite appealing, as is a free tack-on domain name for life. Any informed suggestions? If I combine a couple of my domains to one account, can I use one of those existing domains as the ‘Main Domain’ and still get a free lifetime domainname deal as an addon for it?

Thank you for your patience reading this, and also in advance for any details you’d like to share with me, as I will be basing my decision on responses from the clientelle here.


#2
  • Downtime percentile
    I’ve been on DH almost 2 years and have had hardly any downtime. There was one day where I was down for 8-10 hours though around a year ago, but smooth sailing since.

  • Concurrent connection limits
    No clue, I do not run high demand php scripts.

  • Concurrent banwidth pipe
    I have pushed almost 300GB bandwidth in a day, speeds seem pretty fast.

  • Filesize limitations
    my largest file is 1.5GB, I haven’t tried anything higher yet.

  • Running cgi scripts (from any folder, not just root)

  • Database and PHP lag
    I’ve heard mixed reviews.

  • Mail server response time
    I don’t use the mail much, not much help here. I have not heard too many great things about dh mail.

  • ftp downtime
    No problems here

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#3

I think mindbender has given some useful comments. Here are some add-ons:

I believe most of the users are ok here. I’ve seen some users having downtime problems before. DH support solved the problem by moving it to another server. We guess that is because the users in the shared server used too much resources and the server was over loaded.

Generally speaking, server is well maintained in DH. Downtime should not be a problem. Unfortunately if you have the problem, inform DH support and they will manage your site well.

For the rest of your questions. I don’t feel confident to give any comments. Don’t forget you can always get clear answers from DH support.

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#4

From my personal experience…

  • Downtime percentile
    Been excellent for me. Had one minor blip about 18 months ago, but nothing major. - A couple of hours at most.

  • Filesize limitations
    Suits my needs perfectly as a designer/developer - only use around 100MB max file size though, no not really a vast amount.

  • Database and PHP lag
    I’ve had problems historically with Joomla installs running slowly, but the last year has been brilliant. If you have problems, you can apply for DreamHost’s Private Servers (Virtual) which may resolve issues.

Dreamhost have a measurement of sql query efficiency, so performance can be measured and they can address problems if/when they occur.

  • Mail server response time
    Been perfect for me on spunky. Using IMAP across 6 machines. Spot on… almost as quick as MSN

  • ftp downtime
    I’ve never noticed any ftp downtime whatsoever.

Cheers,
Karl

web design, development & seo by DigitalVibe


#5

Just noticed your other questions too.

AFAIK it’s one voucher code per person - you couldn’t open seperate accounts and have the discount on each one, plus free domain, ip, etc.

You can however have as many domains as you want on your one account, each with seperate users and FTP accounts if you like. From what i gather, the only thing you wouldn’t be getting “my way” is the unique ip & domain, but is that REALLY essential?

The management system is alright. It took me a while to get used to compared to cPanel et al, but i reckon it’s actually more powerful and less hand-holdy than cPanel. It facilitates everything you should need to do, and if you stuggle, their staff are great - they can actually help you out rather than being purely non-technical admin.

Add into the mix the shell access that they give you, and you’re laughing!

Cheers,
Karl

web design, development & seo by DigitalVibe


#6

For the options, you’d best ask DH directly (i.e. how coupons interact with lifetime domains, etc.) and have something from them on that that you can call them on should it not actually work out the way you planned (it usually does, but it would be folly to trust a user to know the system well enough to answer this).

I have no downtime percentile, since I’m not monitoring DH. Every time I logged in, it was up, and I have had no complaints. Maybe others will have links to their uptime trackers. Servers will reboot about once every 1-3 months from what I have seen so far.

Concurrent Connection Limits : I believe there is a hard limit of 200 in place, and some mod_security settings that will limit to 20 per IP. You cannot fiddle with these (and they are never shown). If you are using these up with dynamic requests, it will not fail immediately, but if your processing takes too much CPU/mem/etc., you will get a mail from DH asking you to reduce your usage or moving to a higher tiered service. If your usage does not threaten to crash the server or severely affect other customers on the server, they will give you time to make adjustments, though (and otherwise disable your site by moving its directory).

Concurrent bandwidth pipe : 100mbps per shared server, at least on mine. There may be gbps links on other servers, but I doubt it. (this is where the overselling-nature of the service comes to light; 5tb/month is just over 16mbit/s continuously, if you use a 100% bw coupon, a single user would theoretically be allowed to use ~30mbit/s continuously (and we all know that traffic is not a flat curve)).

Filesize limitations : the filesystem will handle anything you throw at it (at least until your storage plan is exceeded), i.e. a 500gb file is not a problem :

dd bs=1M seek=500000 if=/dev/zero count=1 of=test
1+0 records in
1+0 records out
1048576 bytes transferred in 0.175331 seconds (5980554 bytes/sec)
x@touareg:~/test$ ls -la
total 1042
drwxrwxr-x 2 x pg1 3 2008-01-14 06:52 .
drwx-----x 21 x pg1 27 2008-01-14 06:52 …
-rw-rw-r-- 1 x pg1 524289048576 2008-01-14 06:52 test
x@touareg:~/test$

(anonymized) There’s a sparse file with 500gb. It works with anything you throw at it in the shell (i.e. scp works). However, this is just the filesystem side of things. Apache won’t touch anything beyond 2gb in size. I am not sure whether FTP does, as I have never tried.

Running CGI scripts : yes.

Database and PHP lag depend on your configuration. You can severely reduce PHP lag by setting up a PHP-FCGI installation instead of invoking PHP on every request that needs it. Database lag, however, is either there or it isn’t, depending on whether you are grouped together with inconsiderate pricks or not on your database server. If you are, you can get support@ to look into it and either throttle the offending user(s) or have you moved to a different database server.

Mail server has responded speedily so far, though I have to admit I rarely use it.

ftp downtime : Same as serverdowntime or http downtime. I very strongly suggest you use SCP/SFTP instead of FTP.


#7

Well I’m impressed. I haven’t seen such concise, yet detailed, descriptions of exactly what I needed to know outside of coding boards. Dreamhost just gained another customer… and it’s due to their client base giving prompt and (exceptionally) informative replies to my questions.

Thanks very much to all who posted. I really appreciate it!


#8

Others have done a fine job of providing good information, but there are a couple of additional things I wanted to mention that hadn’t been convered in detail:

Testimonials about downtime should be taken with a grain of salt. The people who respond here (myself included) are mostly people who’ve had good to great experiences. Many of the folks who’ve had the worst experiences are gone. You should of course do web searches and will find many people whose experiences weren’t as good as the ones you’ll hear about here. Of course, you should take those with a grain of salt as well because they all seem pretty vindictive and I can imagine that such individuals are more likely to have bad experiences (just a theory of mine). You could even do a search here and find a number of people who have had what they consider to be an unacceptable amount of downtime. Again, keep in mind that there are always more complainers than complimenters.

Are you going to have a regular shared account or would something like Dreamhost PS appeal to you?

Do a search here. I seem to recall someone posting within the past 9 months about having reached some limit at around 200 concurrent connections and having to work with support to work around that.

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#9

To offer another view on uptime… It appears some people are actually experiencing downtime right now, although my sites are all working fine.

There are several web servers, so even if people are screaming about downtime it doesn’t mean you will necessarily be affected.

Others have mentioned a Google search. By all means try it, but if i’d have taken notice of some of the vindictive postings, i wouldn’t have even considered Dreamhost. As it happens, i’ve been happy since Jan 06.

Cheers,
Karl

web design, development & seo by DigitalVibe


#10

I got a little tired of everyone’s opinions about downtime, so I subscribed to a tracking service. Overall uptime for my sites in 2007 was 99.64%. There were a total of 17 hours and 46 minutes of downtime. Plus or minus. The tracking service only polls once every half hour, so depending on when things go south, the exact duration may be off. But overall, the tracking is pretty accurate and provides a much better picture than the opinion of someone who has just had some downtime or someone else who thinks DH walks on water.
Hope this helps.


#11

99.64% uptime is certainly an amazing statistic.

I filled in the online signup, pointed my domains from my registrar to Dreamhosts DNS, and sat back thinking I’ll need to wait a week considering I made the financial transaction from an Australian account.

10 minutes later I had ftp access.

Within 2 hours my (6) domains are available online at Dreamhost.

Outstanding!


#12

It is really great when everything works the way it is supposed to, isn’t it! :slight_smile:

For me, that has been the overwhelming majority of the time, and I hope you have a similar experience.

–rlparker


#13

I don’t have exact stats so disregard me if you like.

The ONLY complaint I have is (was) mail/imap just didn’t cut it, frustrated me just one to many times. I went to google apps and now gmail is doing all my mail as my hostname, that rocks. 100 usernames and 6GB of disk for free “done…” Why they do this for free w/ imap I don’t know but god bless them especially if they make Bill cry.


#14

I used Google with a domain a few years ago and found it very good. One issue (of sorts) we had with it was that it would add “On behalf of X” to any domain mail sent through the system which looked a little unprofessional. Does it still do that?

Note to Mods: I broached this subject in another forum here in reply to another poster.
If this is considered cross posting feel free to remove one of them.