Unacceptable support email turnaround

background: i have 2 sites at DH. mine, and another company.

kfry (Aug 16th, 2006 - 08:38:44 / #8225914) - i’m informed by karl that a header injection was used to send spam from my site. the mail form on my site is unimportant. the mail forms on the other company’s site are important. the mail form on my site has been disabled.

clickignite (Aug 16th, 2006 - 09:10:46 / #1477815) - i call the other company, their stuff works fine, so i assume just my site is affected. i email DH to confirm this.

chatra (Aug 17th, 2006 - 11:09:11 / #8235990) - i receive notice that all my sites are unable to send email from the mail forms on all of my DH sites. it’s thursday, and the other company is at a convention, they don’t care about the mail forms, say it can hold to the weekend.

clickignite (Aug 20th, 2006 - 12:16:01 / #1482625) - i fix the scripts (they were broken at the time since i didn’t have the zend framework on the system, but at least no longer insecure), i send emails to support and abuse @DH, saying that i’ve fixed the problem.

brian (Aug 20th, 2006 - 23:26:29 / #8263372) - i am told that the issue will be transferred to karl. note that verifying that the scripts are secure will take 2 minutes tops.

clickignite (Aug 21st, 2006 - 06:22:08 / #1483348) - i ask if karl will be in today

jefft (Aug 21st, 2006 - 18:19:14 / #8270790) - i am told that karl is on a different shift than the guy who answered the email, and that he sent karl a note.

clickignite (Aug 21st, 2006 - 20:18:02 / #1484681) - i reiterate the fact that this would take 5 seconds for each of the 3 scripts to be checked out, and how badly i need this fixed.

** i now have inadvertantly opened 2 tickets, both of which are unresolved.

clickignite (Aug 22nd, 2006 - 14:12:05 / #1485687) - i open a 3rd ticket, mark it super-important, explain the story.

it’s been 2 and a half days since i requested that my sites be allowed to send email again, and i still can’t get anything more than, “sorry, i’ll tell karl”.

these problems are revenue impacting for the other company i have a site for…and before you say “you should have a dedicated box” if it’s that important, know that it’s a small company that gets very little traffic and doesn’t require a lot of fancy stuff. i feel like that if dh’s services were as they advertised, i wouldn’t be as frustrated as i am right now…

we send emails into the customer support abyss, wait for the mocking “it’s almost been 24 hours…” email, then pray that your issue is resolved in the first response, otherwise it’s time to get in the back of the queue again, wait another day rinse, repeat.

i’d upgrade my plan so i could get callbacks, but reading the posts on the forums leads me to believe that it wouldn’t make a difference.

it’s been 2 and a half days since i requested a very simple procedure to be done. i’m hoping karl isn’t on vacation.

although doubtful, hopefully someone at dh will see this and remedy the situation.

It looks like you are in a rough spot over this, and I can imagine that the long wait for resolution must be extremely frustrating. I hope Dreamhost Support gets back to you soon and gets you sorted.

That said, and not meaning to chide you in any way, one thing you might take away from this experience is to resolve in the future to run each site as it’s own user. Had that been the case (and, believe me, I know how much more convenient it is to run them as a single user - I have had many set up that way myself), one user losing email sending rights as a result of an exploit would not impact the other(s). There are also email “quota” and CPU resource related benefits to doing this (searching the forum will provide more info on this).

I went through a similar experience early this year, but in my case I had foolishly/lazily (actually, a combination of the two) setup numerous sites running as a single user - I had your mess increased by several orders of magnitude.

Also, those forms can be a real “killer”; many are easily exploited. I have never had a form exploited when using the formmail.dreamhost.com cgi script.

One last thought -

Many of my clients are a good fit for DH services also. In my experience, DH has, for the most part, provided their services “as advertised”. I have not checked their current advertising lately, so I don’t know if they advertised “email response within 24 hours” as a hard and fast item, and I’m not attempting to “defend” the delay you have had in getting the issue resolved - it really sounds like a bad “disconnect” in getting the mail turned back on *after the problem was fixed".

However, it is only reasonable, even though you are frustrated, that you recognize your responsibility for the “problem” in the first place; it was, after all, your script that was exploited and exposed DH (and other users sharing servers) to possible detrimental effects of the “spam run”. Additionally, the other client’s mail was only impacted because you ran both sites as a single user. Either of those things being managed differently would have prevented your client from being impacted at all by the exploit.

Please don’t take any of that as an attempt on my part to chastise or berate you in any way. I have been in your shoes. I’m just trying to share some experience and hopefully provide you with information to help prevent these kinds of problems in the future, and mitigate the “damage” when they occur.

Again, good luck…I hope you get it sorted soon!


i totally do not blame them for shutting down the emails in the first place. i made a mistake. what i find unacceptable is that i still haven’t had my problem resolved and it’s almost been 3 days.

this is on the dh site concerning email support:
"…our customers generally agree they’d rather send an email and have their solution within a few hours than wait on hold for hours just to talk to somebody on the phone who doesn’t even understand their problem! We have some of the happiest customers in the industry, mainly due to our very high quality support team!"

the 24 turnaround rule has been broken with me on many, many occasions. i’ve never received an email within a “few hours”, unless a few == 12. i’d much rather spend an hour or 2 or 3 on hold waiting to talk to a guy for 5 minutes than have this drawn out for 3 days. i knew that i wasn’t getting phone support when i signed up here, but i thought i’d at least be able to get an email answered in a semi-timely fashion. once they respond to an email, the ticket’s closed, and good luck if the email doesn’t answer your question. you get to wait another 24 hours. hell, i’d wait online to chat with a guy for 4 hours if it meant being able to talk to him for 5 minutes. at least my issue would be fixed. there’s no dialogue. it’s just send an email into the abyss and hope you get what you’re looking for. there’s also no recourse, except transferring the site, which is a pain in the ass.

i am livid. maybe i’ll try sacrificing my dog to the gods of dh this evening. i’m also thinking about upgrading my plan just so i can get a callback. how swift are those responses?

If it makes you feel any better, I have one email related issue in as a support ticket right now. It’s been over 29 days and I’m still waiting for a response.

They have also failed to call me back the last three times I’ve asked for a callback. Since you upgraded, you might as well give it a chance.


I agree with you that a 3 day wait is too long, and I’m not really sure why DH cares which tech support person ultimately “resolves” your issue. I understand them maybe wanting some “continuity” of support given the nature of the issue, but not at the expense of additional days without resolution.

I have had a considerably better “experience” with the “24 hour rule”; generally speaking my support responses have come within hours as opposed to days. Many have been addressed in 4-6 hours, and I don’t believe I’ve ever had to wait for more than 36 hours. It is true that this kind of support model won’t work for everyone, and that many would rather “hold” to get a “live body” on the line (either on the phone, or via an online chat) but DH does not offer that option. The “Chat” option (beta) has never been functioning when I needed it.

Acxtually, you can effectively “reopen” the ticket by “replying” to the support response email, and I have done that a few times when the answer was not complete/acceptable. The “reply” email embeds the “Ticket Number” in the Subject line, and the DH system knows how to handle that, recognizing it as an “ongoing” support issue. Granted, it can still be a aggravation to have to participate in a series of email exchanges, but at least you do not have to generate a new ticket, and I have found responses to my “replies” to be much more timely than new tickets on the whole (I have had a couple of exceptions where research was required, but that is somewaht understandable to me, as I knew someone was going to have to do some research).

Now that sounds desperate! Carefull, or you will have the PETA/PITA types all over you. If you do decide to go that route, let me know…I’ll (gladly!) thow my girlfriend’s cat onto the alter for your cause! :wink:

As usual in these types of questions, YMMV. My plan allows 3 callback request each 30 days. I’ve only requested a callback twice, and never received a call on either of those requests. I’m not sure how indicative that is of how you might be treated; it turns out both my requests were tendered during “major system wide trouble” situations, and my issues were resolved with the resolution of the known difficulties - once the “major problems” were fixed, my problems were “moot”, and I didn’t press the “I didn’t get a callback” issue.