Useres/domain per box


Hello, I’m very curious about Dreamhost’s ratio on users/domains per machine. BlueHost sits between 800 to 1000 per machine, Media Temple cuts it off at about 500 and runs with 4gigs of ram on each box.

Where does Dreamhost sit?


Yeah, that page looks like it shows that they are at about 375 on the most crammed box.

There have GOT to be servers that are more heavily loaded then that. Even Media Temple caps out at about 500 and BlueHost’s is even getting by with 800 to 1000 on each server.

Does anyone have come concrete info on this. Sorry to be sceptical about the low numbers on that post. hehe


You have to be aware that it is not always the number of users on a server that matters but what those users are doing.

You could have server A with 500 users doing nothing but sitting there or you could have server B with 5 users with masses of programs using the server resources to the max continually.


Opinions are my own views, not DreamHosts’.
I am NOT a DreamHost employee OK!! :@

You act on my advice at your own risk!


Ditto Norm’s answer. You could even expand it further to say that one user with one popular (or poorly coded) site could make a server scream in pain and want to die, while another server with 1,000 users with 1,000 domains each could be fine.

The user count is somewhat meaningless because a lot of people just let their sites sit, only use static HTML, mainly just use email, etc… Some of the user names aren’t even active anymore.

The domain count is pretty much the same thing, plus many domains get zero traffic, are just parked/redirected names, serve as single-page notices, etc…

I can say that I have a lot of domains at DH and I don’t even make a small dent in what the servers can handle.

Now, if everyone had a super-popular blog, linked to their forum with tons of traffic, and wrote a slashdottable post every single day… we’d all be in trouble. :wink:

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With more domains, the of more and more server power is GENERALLY needed. When it comes to sharing a server with very busy domains or very poorly written php… Server A with 400 domains has a lot less of a chance (1/2 as much) of Server B with 800 than having such sites.

Of course there are dormant domains and such, but you guys can’t seriously be saying that it doesn’t matter how many domains are on each box.

Does anyone know if Dreamhost moves sites that use a lot of CPU power etc. to other servers? To share the load better? My current host has said they won’t do that for any reason. If I or another domain on my server gets Slashdotted or gets popular… boom! I’m down and so are all of my neighbors on the shared server.


Yes they will move you to another account if your use of resources impinges on other users. It may not be so powerful but it keeps you going. If you get too popular they may invite you to move to a dedicated server. :wink:


Opinions are my own views, not DreamHosts’.
I am NOT a DreamHost employee OK!! :@

You act on my advice at your own risk!


That’s exactly what I’m saying. The number of domains/users doesn’t tell you anything. Even if the server is heavily loaded, it could be from one person that’s trying to run the next Google from an $8/shared hosting plan… that is about to be told it’s dedicated server time.

I have over 100 domains that do basically nothing. Some are mainly for email, some are variations of one name that 301 to the same site, some are projects that constantly get delayed because of laziness, etc…

Even with only 50 customers like me, you could have a 5,000 domain server that isn’t using any resources. Or, you could have 1,000 users with 5 quiet domains–same thing.

I’d say that most people here use less than, or around 1% of what’s available to them. People will buy the big plans because it’s more for the money, even if they never intent to use it.

They’ve moved people until they get their load sorted out, but if you run a site that can’t stay within your part of the resources, it’s time to go with a dedicated server.

For all I know, they could have one server with 3 people on it that are using everything they’ve paid for. Luckily, the thousands of other people that don’t use anything they’re paying for more than make up for that.

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I totally get the “not all people use their max space/cpu/bandwidth/etc”.

But the number of domains/users DOES tell you something. It tells you how may people are on that server… and who COULD use more and more of the server’s resources. Better hosts keep the numbers low because IF a site gets slashdotted or whatnot… it will have a less likely chance of freezing up or slowing down the whole server.

Saying # of users/domains doesn’t tell you anything is incorrect I think. I have about 10 sites on another host who packs their servers at 1000 users. The servers regularly freeze up or slow down.


It’s not just that some don’t use their max. It’s more like most people hardly use anything at all.

In that case 1 or 2 users could bring the server down, with or without hundreds of idle users hanging out in the background.

Again, though–that’s not the number of users, but something that one or more of them are doing.

Even at DH, there are users that have a single site that uses up their resources, while others have hundreds of domains and use less than .01%

And like I said, some of the users are inactive and a lot of the domains aren’t doing anything at all. That’s why the only thing that really matters is what’s actually going on as far as activity.

Also, DH keeps databases on different servers. Hosts that don’t probably can’t get away with nearly as much.

To me, advertising users/domains is just a marketing tool, like uptime guarantees.

:stuck_out_tongue: Save up to $96 at Dreamhost with 96DOLLARSOFF promo code (I get $1).
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Wow… okay so Seiler, you would hold that on a shared server environment, the number of domains being served by that server is irrelevant. That a server with 1200 will perform equally with a server holding 500 domains. My current hosts holds 1000 domains per box and everyone is complaining that the servers lock up or get sluggish. But you would hold that this would be the case if each server had 500 domains instead?


The reason they’re complaining isn’t because of the number of domains. If number of domains meant anything, DH would limit them. DH limits the things that matter: bandwidth, disk space and your share of CPU resources.

It doesn’t even have to be 500 domains. A server with one domain could kill it. Try running google on one server and see how that goes. It should work, since Google is just a single domain, right? :wink:

On the other hand, put a few thousand domains that do nothing on a server and they aren’t going to hog any resources.

Unless you know what every single user is doing with every single domain, the numbers themselves are useless.

If a host says “Never more than 250 domains!” – are they going to leave a server alone that has 100 domains, even though a few users are lagging it? I hope not!

You just watch the server load and adjust accordingly. Like I said, if DH had a server with 3 busy users on it, the thousands of users doing nothing would more than make up for it.

:stuck_out_tongue: Save up to $96 at Dreamhost with 96DOLLARSOFF promo code (I get $1).
Or save $97 with TAKESEILERSCASH.


The lower the number of users per box, the higher the end costs and the less the host can offer for the same amount of money. Servers are about balancing. It is a numbers game, but not one so much about users as usage. DreamHost moves the heavy users around to balance their servers. They don’t move 50 light users to keep the number of users low. Having 5 text files open on your computer doesn’t use as much resources as 1 psd (in a realistic comparison anyway).

It’s nice to see/hear low users per box, but that doesn’t really mean much. Why don’t those hosts talk about server load?

Check out Gordaen’s Knowledge, the blog, and the MR2 page.


hmm. okay I’m starting to “get it” now.

Server load balance is obviously THE key in a shared environment. I would think every shared hosting service proveder would need to do this rather than have a hard-roof limit on the number of domains.

I do think the number of domains and load balance relate though, in a real way. If someone was going to DDOS a certain site, that site would bring the whole server down. The question would be… how many people go down when a server goes down. That’s just an example.


I think we start to move the goalposts, compared to the user/domain question, when DDOS is introduced. That is another variable and you can start adding more variables until the original query no longer exists.

The way I look at it is this. DreamHost offer ‘unlimited’ domains and ‘unlimited’ subdomains, a huge ever increasing amount of disk space and TerraBytes of bandwidth. But only a fixed number of users. Which on the Level 1 option is ‘only’ 75. So that shows me simply what DreamHost consider needs controlling, user or domains. With DreamHosts disk arrays the user domains, and their sites, can be shared out over various servers but the users are fixed unless moved.


Opinions are my own views, not DreamHosts’.
I am NOT a DreamHost employee OK!! :@

You act on my advice at your own risk!


i only mentioned DDOS attacks as an example of why less-users per shared IP/server is advantageous.


The argument goes both ways though. For instance, the server I am on has two dual core Opteron processors and 4gb of RAM. If my site suddenly needs to meet an influx of usage, the ceiling is far higher than if I were on a different plan with some other host with say half as many users on a single proc, 2gb setup. Sure, they can boast about less users per server, but the costs will be higher and they aren’t going to buy as good of servers if they aren’t putting as many people on them.

Similarly, another person on the same machine as me would have to REALLY screw up a script to use that kind of power. A host could provide a 400mhz box that’s only used by 30 people, but it doesn’t take much for one user to screw that up.

In the end, it’s all about management. More users on each box is better for business, definitely, but it’s not necessarily worse for end users, as long as the load is managed properly.

Check out Gordaen’s Knowledge, the blog, and the MR2 page.