DreamHost’s Super Lame – No I Mean Really, Super Lame – Apology

March 2nd, 2007

In the latest DreamHost newsletter, DreamHost offers an apology for the recent outages. Actually, they don’t offer an apology in the newsletter, they make stupid excuses and then point to their self-titled “Super Lame Apology.” At least they got one thing right.

I find almost every line in the newsletter to be laughable, so I’d like to reply on behalf of all DreamHost customers:

Downtime gets me down.

And yet whenever it happens you respond publicly as if it was the world’s greatest joke, poking fun at your own incompetence and hoping to skate by again on the “DreamHost candor.”

Hopefully, since you don’t run a web hosting company, it’s not so big a deal for you.

Who me? Having my site – my company’s public face to the world – go down? No big deal at all. It’s not like I care about my customers. Maybe you could learn something from me.

Yeah, you can’t check your email from midnight-5am Pacific time one Sunday. Hopefully you aren’t normally on the Internet then.

Ah, touche! The old “we messed up but you’d be super-lame to have wanted service at that time anyway.” That’s classic, really. And apparently you don’t give a crap about anybody not living and working in a US-centric time zone, either.

Hopefully, you’re normally flipping from rooftop to rooftop, throwing shuriken and eating pizza at that time.

In comes the pseudo-insanity humor. Ah, DreamHost! You’re so funny. As long as you keep making comic-book cartoon jokes, I don’t care how reliable my service is.

Nevertheless, not everybody can be a ninja, a teenager, a mutant, or even a turtle, and some of you may have gotten a little down this last weekend when our planned power outage had a few unforeseen side-effects.

Again, it’s my fault for not being a fictional superhero. Not yours for bringing my site down?

Which is why, we recommend you read this blog post about our new “SLA”!

http://blog.dreamhost.com/2007/02/28/super-lame-apology/

So we can treat ourselves to the even more long-winded, even more fake-apology, even more “cracking jokes at the wrong time” version of this bullshit.

Uptime gets me up!

Just imagine how much customers like it.

And yet, in spite of all this crap, I’m still a DreamHost customer. I host the main page and blog on Pair, because they give a crap about uptime. They make it their point to have a reputation for 100% reliability. And since I switched to them I have literally not been down once.

But DreamHost has such great, liberal services. I run my mail through DreamHost because they have better mailing list support and a fairly good webmail interface. I also host some svn repositories there, and run some company project management stuff through a subdomain there. I stick with DreamHost because they offer great services. It seems to me they could really go all the way if they fixed this messed up attitude they have about uptime. It’s not a joke, DreamHost. It’s the steady downfall of your business.

48 Responses to “DreamHost’s Super Lame – No I Mean Really, Super Lame – Apology”

  1. Tony Says:

    Exactly why I ditched DreamHost before my 30 day money back guarantee expired. My mail and web services were down more often than they were up.

  2. Michael Gregoire Says:

    Amen. I couldn’t have said it better.

  3. Iain Says:

    I share your pain. They managed to take down the database server hosting all of my databases early this week, and it took them 12 hours to get it fixed. This took down blogs, client sites, absolutely everything except the static HTML. If it wasn’t for the $9.95 a month super special business plan, I would have moved ages ago.

  4. baron Says:

    I hate their ghetto services and mocking attitudes too. I’ve seen their services go down too many times. Sometimes I seriously doubt whether they have competent staff with the haphazard trouble-shooting they do when server issues come up. But you can’t beat the price…

  5. Charles Says:

    Like you, I have also written long essays to DreamHost about better ways to conduct their customer relations during outages. They just don’t seem to get it, they think professionalism is boring and wise-cracky flippancy sets them apart.

    But I’m stuck with them, for the same reason as you. If I could find another webhost that offers QuickTime Streaming Server for this low a price, I’d switch. They’re like a tenth of the lowest price I could find elsewhere.

    The really galling thing about DH is that I was hosting my own site on my own little Mac G3 server on a DSL line, but I figured I’d save costs and reduce the hassles by going with a professional webhost that could save me the aggravation. Sure the costs are slightly lower, but the hassles and downtimes are way higher.

  6. Adam Spooner Says:

    I’m in the market to change my hosting provider… one that offers Rails and Django support. The two “faithful” providers I’ve been looking at have been DreamHost and TextDrive. I think I’ve heard enough about DreamHost and their outages to decide on using TextDrive.

    Thanks for posting this!

  7. Lou Says:

    As someone who helps companies implement ITIL I read their item on ‘having an SLA with their data center but not being reimbursed properly’ and cringed. It isn’t an SLA unless it lists penalties for underperformance. And with external customers SLAs are contracts. So that all points back to them not actually having an SLA but rather having a ‘promise’.

    We moved to business class hosting on TextDrive and have been pretty darn happy. I don’t have an SLA with them (just a promise) but I also haven’t had need for an SLA from them.

  8. John Evans Says:

    This is exactly why I have started moving over to Slicehost. I have been testing it for a few months and I have to say although I have to manage the server myself I feel a lot better about paying a touch more and getting basically the same ‘goodies’ as I get from dreamhost. The extra hassle is worth the peace of mind. I have also tried textdrive and can reccommend their hosting too.

    My biggest complaint with dreamhost is their mail servers which periodically mean I get lots of sms asking whats up with my email. If only gmail supported imap. ah alas.

  9. Greg Reinacker Says:

    Yikes. I wrote about this at http://www.rassoc.com/gregr/weblog/archive.aspx?post=829

  10. Julian Grey Says:

    I use media temple, http://www.mediatemple.net

    They have had a superb uptime history up until 4 months ago, due to a new grid system migration. Some hiccups along the way and now are back to normal.

    RoR, Python etc.

    I’ve been with them for about 6 years and their service has always been superb, especially when addressing customer concerns. You can speak (yes speak) with a tech rep for any issue concern or question 24/7.

  11. Beau Hartshorne Says:

    Daniel, I’ve never looked back from http://www.pair.com.

  12. Michael Gregoire Says:

    Beau Hartshorne Said:
    “March 2nd, 2007 at 1:53 pm
    Daniel, I’ve never looked back from http://www.pair.com.”

    Unfortunately, Pair still hasn’t implemented Ruby on Rails hosting.

  13. Brian Warren Says:

    Daniel, I hear ya. I just switched to Pair last week.

    Dreamhost really missed an opportunity for real candor instead of mocking what many consider a distaster. They could have just honestly apologized and proceeded to make real efforts to win back the lost trust. Alas.

  14. Lucien Says:

    Amen Daniel.. I normally find their newsletters pretty funny, but not this time.. it’s like they are a bunch of drunken kids in LA running the place.

  15. Brady J. Frey Says:

    I felt this way even with their summer drop outs – I switched to them earlier last year, and was down atleast a few key times a month, and those summer ones were hectic. I switched to Media Temple’s grid server, and even though some argue they’re overhyped, the downtime I had with some mysql issues were light, they offered me 2 months free, and I received a professional apology. Never from Dreamhost did I get any of that.

  16. Arden Says:

    it’s like they are a bunch of drunken kids in LA running the place.

    You mean they aren’t?

  17. Jesper Says:

    I wrote up my response here but published it elsewhere after it got longer than I believed: http://waffle.wootest.net/2007/03/03/on-dreamhost/

  18. Jim Says:

    I have been with Dreamhost for over 7 years now. Whoa! I can’t afford to go anywhere else right now because they have grandfathered my hosting and have bumped me up to their $40 a month package for half the price cuz I have been with them so long.

    Brady: I emailed Dreamhost my displeasure from the summer outages and I received 6 months free hosting. I just emailed them again my displeasure for their latest outage and they gave me a free month. I know people have horror stories from their customer service but every single time I have checked the box for them to call me they have called me within 12 hours.

    That all sound like I’m a shill for Dreamhost and I’m not. I just want to post the truth about my service. To be honest, I would not recommend anyone right now to Dreamhost unless price was all that mattered to them.

    I hope, hope, hope Dreamhost fixes their downtime issues because I am very close to the breaking point. I already moved one of my clients to another host. Their stupid email poured salt in that wounded attitude of mine. I just dread having to move 10 sites over to a new host. Ugggh.

  19. Chuck Says:

    Wait, was it seriously just 5 hours of the POP server being down in the middle of the night?

  20. Brandon Says:

    I hosted a site for my cousin on DH and I cringe whenever an email comes in from them. They always make themselves sound like a bunch of A-holes. I use MediaTemple and have never looked back.

  21. naum Says:

    Yes, the Dreamhost staff is very unprofessional in their customer communications. A little flippant attitude is tolerable, but they really make it seem as if they’re just adolescents with the parents business.

    Having said that, they host several sites and I’ve moved a bunch over, mainly do the insane deals on bandwidth (which for the entity I work for is not the critical factor) and disk space (with all the video and podcasting feed), which is why we moved stuff over. Hopefully, by the time we graduate to a dedicated server, it will be before all the overselling comes home to roost. Or maybe they just do a good job at providing cheap hosting…

    I will say that generally, they’ve been quite responsive in service restoration and/or addressing any issues I have had. And they do PHP 5 (well, at the time, that was not so in abundance on shared hosts), RoR, offer streaming and an awful lot of space.

  22. Cale Says:

    Not only is their attitude regarding uptime off, they have an overall lack of professionalism as of late. I just recently commented on the demented “Employee owned” splashpages on their home page. Ridiculous. Needless to say, I’m switching providers once my year of service is up.

  23. Scott McMillin Says:

    Yep, my 2 years with DH is up in a month and I’m moving in the interim. They have some great deals, but I just can’t take it anymore.

  24. eth0 Says:

    Here’s an idea you clowns: go get a real webhost, instead of complaining that you receive the same rock-bottom level of service you are obviously paying for.

    Sheesh, you’re paying next to nothing for webhosting, and then complain it’s not Rackspace? Get a life, all of you. In the time you wasted writing this BS you could have made enough money working to upgrade to a decent provider. I can’t stand your attitude, hope you go down again ASAP – I’ll be waiting to laugh at the next round of pathetic whining.

  25. Andrew Knott Says:

    I think Dreamhost offers a ‘good enough’ service for most people… I dont think I’d choose it to run my businesses website on a shared host and especially dreamhost.

    You get what you pay for.

  26. Pierre Bernard Says:

    I ditched Dreamhost over reliability issues.

    I went for a Site5 Multi-Site plan (http://www.site5.com/specials/).

    Site5 is a little less liberal as to what you may do on the server (e.g no WebDAV, no Jabber). But their uptime is good and support is terrific.

  27. Garrett Albright Says:

    Something that DreamHost’s haters need to remember is that it is a *bargain* host, after all. It’s cheap, and, while you get what you pay for (or more) most of the time, there are no 100% uptime guarantees or anything like that. Heck, I haven’t even had to pay for DH’s services after my first payment, thanks to the referral program. I’m not running any serious commercial sites, so I can suffer a few hours of downtime ON A SUNDAY MORNING now and then and still think I’m getting a hell of a deal.

    The bottom line is that if you’re running a business site or something else that absolutely *must* be up 100% of the time, DreamHost is not the best choice for you. Would you buy a compact Kia and then complain when it can’t go zero to sixty in seven seconds? You want a host with an SLA, and such hosts are going to cost much more than DreamHost does. If, on the other hand, you’re not going to be out too much money as a result of the occasional downtime, DreamHost is simply a great value.

    I’ve also blogged about DreamHost and the recent outage, which you can read here:
    http://raygunrobot.com/index.php?/archives/Dream-Hosed.html

  28. Jon B Says:

    They’re right – a $0.44 credit would be retarded. I just can’t believe that, on top of the downtime, they give you 10 minutes of worthless reading material. And on top of THAT, their tone is something along the lines of, “Hahahaha we really botched that planned power outage! Oh. What? you’re upset?!?! Give me a break, I don’t see YOU running a webhosting company.”

    If it were my company whose site went down, I’d feel obligated to read their notices/apologies in case there was some kind of concession they’d make to their paying customers as retribution for breaking their promises.

    IMO anyone who wastes their time reading that “SLA” under the impression that Dreamhost would take some responsibility deserves at least a few months of free hosting.

  29. Jesper Says:

    I agree with most of Garrett Albright’s comment, with one clarification: DreamHost is a bargain host with awesome internal development.

    There are plenty of bargain hosts that would look at Ruby on Rails or WebDAV or Subversion for ten minutes and then tell their customers to go stick their head in a pig because you’re only paying me $10 monthly. DreamHost does the exact opposite, and that’s some real value, even if it’s hard to get optimal implementations for all technologies when you support so many.

  30. Spork Says:

    You need to switch to HostMySite.com. Call them up just about any time of day or night and day of the week, and you’ll get a live technician answering the phone and then…your questions!

    You have options, and the longer you eat their dogshit sammiches and tell them they’re great cooks, you’re just fucking yourself so I have no sympathy for you.

  31. Matt Turner Says:

    Textdrive are fine… so long as you end up on a good server.

    If you happen to join me on ‘Cardero’ then you’re screwed.

  32. Rufo Sanchez Says:

    I’d suggest moving to something with a VPS – you’ll have much better uptime and it really isn’t that expensive these days. You can get a low-end VPS from places like RimuHosting.com for $20/month, and have guaranteed server resources and root access to do whatever the hell you might want. They seem to be really great to work with so far, and I haven’t had any downtime whatsoever. We have a dedicated box through them on which they manage about a half-dozen VPSes (one of which is a shared host), and we’ve been really happy so far.

  33. Martin Pilkington Says:

    I’ve been with dreamhost since last September and I have to say, yes their reliability sucks, and yes sometimes they have crap customer relations, but on the other hand, they do have the best value for money hosting I’ve found. That said, I am likely moving over to MediaTemple this summer. They offer a similar package, albeit at twice the price, though their reliability is very good from everything I’ve heard. I’ve looked at Pair and they just offer too little for too much for what I want

  34. Bart Says:

    Have you looked into Site5.com? I’ve been with them for 7 or 8 years now and have very little to complain about (besides them not supporting huge mailing lists, but they’re very honest with you about that and work with you to figure things out). They’re cheap and their accounts are extremely flexible. And unlike Dreamhost, the tools they give you to manage your account are organized really well, look clean, and are actually usable. I just moved a friend’s website over to Site5 cause they were also not very happy with them. This post about their support is just icing on the cake.

  35. dzd Says:

    May I recommend Apis Networks? http://www.apisnetworks.com

    It’s basically by coders for coders and they’ve never been anything but upfront and honest.

  36. barclay Says:

    I think it’s worth repeating: you get what you pay for. It’s 9 frickin’ dollars. Don’t put important sites on a $9 host. That said, I love dreamhost, and have a dozen or so sites running over there… but for $9, my expectations are pretty low. if there’s some downtime, so it goes.

  37. Eliot Says:

    The quality of service for many so-called “professional” hosting providers is actually pretty appaling.
    A project I work on used to use dreamhost, and the downtime was frustrating. If they think that writing a cutesy, unprofessional justification for bad service will endear them to their customers, I hope they are proven wrong.

    I run a website for a nonprofit hosted with Verio. For $30/month you don’t even get a reliable MySQL database… when I had wordpress running without a cache, the site was innacessible for hours at a time.

    And for those of you that say “at least dreamhost is the cheapest service you can get” and “you get what you pay for”, I beg to differ. I’ve recently been running some mirrors at NearlyFreeSpeech.net. They only charge for the bandwidth and space you use. It’s extremely cheap for low to medium traffic sites ($1 per GB or lower with bulk pricing) and no BS from the management. Keep in mind it’s pretty much DIY for installing stuff like wordpress, but really this stuff is not that complicated.

  38. Garrett Albright Says:

    That $1 per gigabyte is just for transfer. Looking at their site, you have to pay a penny per megabyte-month for storage. Doing the math, NearlyFreeSpeech would cost me about $24 a month. Yeah, I could probably go through my disk space and find various things laying around that are taking up disk space that I don’t really need, then second-guess myself whenever I want to install something new or live in constant fear of the Slashdot Effect driving my monthly price up… or I can stick with DreamHost (which, again, pays for itself with the referral program) and not worry about those things. Yeah, I think that’s what I’ll do.

  39. Olly Says:

    Try Bluehost, same features as Dreamhost but way more reliable.

  40. Michael Gregoire Says:

    Just to clarify. Bluehost does not have the same features. You’re limited to 6 domains with them.

  41. Beerzie Says:

    And if I see one more wacky employee photo on their home page, my bowels will loosen.

  42. Clint Pidlubny Says:

    I wrote something very similar in the comment area of a post on their bog last year. I few days later my comment was removed. I politely pointed out my issues with their attitude as well, but apparently they didn’t like it.

    All-in-all, I think their service is pretty good. I’ve worked with about a dozen different budget web hosts over the years and these guys are the most responsive with customer service issues. My uptime needs are not as critical as some, but in the same breathe I would never dream of hosting an enterprise critical app on shared servers.

  43. Rezolutionary Says:

    I would agree, Dreamhost is as lame as they come. I bought in because a well-known website was run by them. I like the fact that I could host as many sites as I wanted, the large amount of storage and WebDAV. I just hate the way everything is set up, email accounts are have odd account names, i.e. m7563535. MySQL is hard to command and one-click installs of WordPress can’t be updates if they lose you database info. They suck, I also hate their stupid pictures when I login. I swithed over to TextDrive and couldn’t be happier. I can only have five domains, but it also helped me cuy down on the abount of shit I was polluting the web with.

  44. Alex Hoover Says:

    Spot on. I used to be with Dreamhost before I switched to A Small Orange. Uptime was bad. Sometimes FCGI wouldn’t start for days, which means many of my sites would go down because they use Django.

    Oh, and support was extremely slow. Not to mention the super-duper slow load times. Not so nice.

    But hey, I left within 3 months.

  45. Jack Says:

    Wow, I have to make two comments here…

    First, yes, Dreamhost needs to get rid of the sarcasm that completely detracts from their communications. The last couple newsletters have been nearly incomprehensible because of this

    Second, people, you get what you pay for. I keep reading “I stick with them because of the services they offer and they are super cheap.” Well, look at the triangle of expectations, and you see why their service is cheap and feature filled: it comes at the expense of reliability or “good”. Use the triangle to figure out what’s more important to you, and find the provider that fits the bill.

    Dreamhost may not be the most reliable, but darn, they offer a lot of stuff for the money.

  46. Roger Says:

    I had my heart set on Dreamhost to host my e-commerce site but I think I’m going to pass. My brother-in-law has a site hosted by Dreamhost and it takes a really long time to load every time I go to it. Can anyone recommend a webhost that would be ideal for someone who needs reliable uptimes and high monthly bandwidth? Thanks.

  47. Roger Says:

    Can anyone recommend a site that would be good for e-commerce? I need something that is reliable and has high monthly bandwidth. I had my heart set on Dreamhost but I guess you do get what you pay for. My brother-in-law uses DH to host his small site and it takes a very long time to load his simple homepage.

  48. Roger Says:

    Sorry for double post. Is it Friday yet?

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