Trying not to be frustrated with Dreamhost [long]


#1

I setup my first account with DH in 1997. I’ve had my current account with them since 1998. To put that in perspective, when I signed up the plan was for 10MB of space, and I got an additional 20MB if I paid annually.

I’ve referred 100+ people to Dreamhost, and who knows how many people they’ve referred. Dreamhost has easily made tens of thousands of dollars off of me.

Now I feel like they’re treating me like crap.

Dreamhost has had its ups and downs. There was network problems that plagued them a few years ago, but still I stuck with them. Over time they’ve been implementing restrictions while increasing things like storage and bandwidth.

They cut my outgoing message size from over 100MB to under 40MB. They cut message box sizes down. The had CPU limiting for a while. They started limiting the software you can run (WPMU.) They have apparently cut AFP (I can no longer connect at least.)

But all of that, as irritating as some of it may be, I can understand. How many people actually connect via AFP? Probably not many. Do I normally send 100MB+ emails? No, in fact there’s only one recipient that I have to do this with (certification process which requires files be emailed and they are always big files.) And I do think it’s more dumb they require the files be sent by email than DH having a <40MB limit (though I do think it could be a bit higher.)

Years ago they implemented a system where you’d get automatic weekly increases in disk storage and bandwidth. This was at least 5 years ago and they did a bunch of it retroactively. So I was given a hefty portion of each to start. I had the ~$40/mo plan at the time.

I don’t recall the exact numbers, but fast forward to this year and I easily had 300GB+ of storage on my dreamhost account. Earlier in the year I was given the option of switching to the new “unlimited” plan and I looked at the terms and saw it wasn’t for me. I declined and my account wasn’t changed.

Then a couple months back I was looking at my account and saw bandwidth and storage were marked “unlimited”. What? I never consented to this, I was never notified of this, and not only that but I had specifically been given the option and said no. So I contacted support and reminded them I said no to this.

I was informed that there was no way to move me back from the unlimited plan. I was told “The fact is that times, and hosting plans, change and this is what has happened here.”

I understand that but all this was done without my consent. Not only that, but this is a HUGE issue. I host a TON of sites with Dreamhost and a bunch of them didn’t meet the DH policy. I know for $10/mo, I shouldn’t demand a ton (I used to pay for the higher end plans.) So I asked if I paid for the private servers option if I could keep those sites on DH and I was told no. So I moved the sites.

I hosted a ton of client sites with Dreamhost, but now reselling accounts is not allowed. There was a time when Dreamhost promoted reselling as an option. DH being relatively cheap, I would charge ~$5/mo for hosting and make a small profit. Having to put them on their own DH account would result in a net loss. So I moved them to another host that doesn’t have these restrictions.

And now I see in the newsletters that we’re now limited to 50GB for backups. This can’t be true. I’ve been backing stuff up here for MANY years. It’ll take me months and months to move them somewhere else.

I wish I could go back to my previously limited plan which had fewer limitations than the “unlimited” plan.

Another issue that’s been recently brought to my attention is Dreamhost deleting email. According to the web panel, when you turn filtering on any emails that get filtered out end up in the quarantine. But I noticed that some messages weren’t coming through. After contacting support, I was informed that DH does delete emails before they even hit that filter. They never notified me of this, I never consented to this, they don’t notify me when it happens…

This is a big issue for me. In this case, it was a message from a client who was rather upset I hadn’t responded to it. I need to make sure my email comes through. I know there can be other issues with email, but DH intentionally deleting emails without telling me is a big issue for me.

I asked for the conditions under which this happens and was told for security reasons they can’t tell me. For security reasons I can’t be told why Dreamhost is deleting my emails? Really? What are they worried about, that I’ll be able to let someone send me an email that might harm my computer?

This is ridiculous. They should at least tell us when we can expect this to happen, and notify us when it does.

If anyone has any solutions on how to deal with the above issues, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.


#2

I think you can get around the “reselling” limitation if you’re hosting friends and not the general public. And then you’d be charging for your services, and not for hosting. The TOS looks like its aim is to stop you from selling to the general public. Even so, you don’t want any ol’ slimebag piggybacking on your account and violating the TOS and getting all of your hosting shut down.

As for the “backup” space, I don’t think the TOS ever said you can use your space for non-web related data. Some of it they didn’t catch, but they added the 50G space as a convenience for the customers. If you want more, you can pay a bit more per month.

I’ve not heard about them deleting mail before it gets to you, but I’m willing to bet that some incoming mail is so toxic they don’t want it getting to end users. The lost legitimate mail from your client is disturbing. This is the only issue that looks to be difficult to resolve, other than by switching over to Google Apps for your email.


#3

Thanks. I had one site that was reselling to the general public (wordpress blogs.) That they don’t want that, ok, fine, I can understand how that goes. I locked it down so they couldn’t use it to hack the system or anything like that. But fine.

Reselling to clients, that’s a no-no too from what I can tell. Years ago they removed the DH branding from the mailboxes.yourdomain sites specifically for the purpose of you reselling account resources to clients and having it not be obvious it was a dreamhost account.

I have maybe 3-6 new clients each year. These are people who I design and develop sites for. I’m not sure where these fall, but for now I’m putting them on another host. If someone would clarify if I’m allowed to host them here, that’d be great.

As far as using DH for backup, is was certainly not excluded from the TOS (at least not the last time I agreed to it.) I exchanged messages with them years ago about this and it was fine. I got the OK from DH support.

I didn’t know you could pay more to get more storage. I think it’s sad they charge extra for that when it used to be included (remember when VPN was included, and now it’s $20/mo.) And at the price they’re paying, anything beyond 50GB one would just be better off with a Mozy account at $5/mo for unlimited storage (and it’s unlimited.)

I’ve been debating switching over to google apps for email… but I’ve been paying DH for many years for that service. I like having things centralized. If I could pay more and get better service, (like I used to do) I would.


#4

Why not use the gmail platform for your email? Works GREAT.
Also why not use Carbonite for backups. DH is not a backup company, it’s a web hosting company.
Carbonite is good and cheap and fast.


#5

[quote=“theMezz, post:4, topic:53847”]
Why not use the gmail platform for your email? Works GREAT.[/quote]

Because I already pay Dreamhost to provide email.

I don’t need any sort of software to facilitate my backing up of files online. So tools like Carbonite, Mozy… don’t provide value to me.

Other than providing a custom interface or application to facilitate the backup, there’s no difference. Dreamhost doesn’t force nor require that all files uploaded be accessible via port 80. They host files online.

Putting files on a remote server is the same which ever way you call it. It’s all a matter of how you get the files there and what you do with them once they’re there. Generic web hosting that DH has advertised for more than a decade has always been just that - generic.