The Current State of Hosting With Dreamhost

I have had a Dreamhost account since 2006 and have various domains hosted on the ridiculous unlimited plan. Back then, their service was very reliable and fairly robust especially compared to some of the other shared hosting services out there. However, over the years their service had definitely degraded culminating to a horrible past few months.

Dreamhost had an unfortunate security breach a few months ago that leaked a bunch of passwords causing a mass reset of passwords. Then their service had been quite unstable with outages lasting a few hours at a time. During the morning of 3/5/2012, many sites were inaccessible along with dreamhost.com being down. They claimed it was caused by a disruption to network connection to one of their data centers.

Over the years, I have moved most of our sites onto cloud server at Rackspace or Amazon AWS. The only sites on Dreamhost are either staging or very low traffic sites that would not be hurt by a few hours of downtime. I will probably keep our Dreamhost account for now, but we just are careful what we decide to put there.

A four letter word can ruin your day

halt + Amazon EC2 + Instance Store = A bad day

I did a stupid thing while on vacation. Decided to clone an EC2 server and executed halt from commandline without checking to see if the server was using Instance Store. Whoops, Amazon showed the server as terminating…terminated… ahhhhh.

After having to rebuild the server while on vacation, I have learned a valuable lesson.

In House Hosting vs ISP

Clients are always trying to determine if they should host their own site in house or using an ISP. While in the past I would definitely suggest using an ISP, it is not so cut and dry as the cost of servers and bandwidth have decreased dramatically. These days, I can build a server that is super fast for around $1,000. Getting a DSL line with static IP addresses cost around $75 per month. It allows for ease of system upgrade and for more advanced integration into business systems through programming. While there is the down side of power backup issues and hardware failures to contend with, it is still a viable option if the website is not a mission critical application.