A few months ago we noticed during our busiest times the site would slow down considerably resulting in the occasional error. It became clear that our VPS (virtual private server) would no longer suffice. We were in need of a dedicated server, but we're not generating all that much money in ad revenue so the cost of the server is important. We decided to go with Dreamhost mostly due to their dedicated servers being so cheap.
Now we'd have the full capacity of the CPU rather than a portion of it. It would be a long time before we'd have to look into an alternative that had more power. By that time we'd easily be generating revenue that would pay the additional cost itself and wouldn't be an issue.
To make things even easier I spent considerable time optimizing the site. I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I found many ways in which we could improve the performance of the site by making a few changes here and there. The site did load faster, but much of that was the result of the changes we made and not actually due to the change to a dedicated server.
I'll admit that customer service at Dreamhost was friendly enough. They didn't stand out as better or worse than any of the ones I've used before. They got back to you relatively quickly, which is always nice, but the performance of the server was a nightmare. I should add that once it became clear to Dreamhost that we were moving to a different host their support was nonexistent even though we still had an account with them. We had to get our new host to figure out what the fucking problem was with Dreamhost so we could get this situation resolved.
I've run a flash chat room on a server with significantly fewer resources, but when we tried to run it on our new dedicated server it was pretty much useless. It slowed down to the point it wasn't even usable. The blog itself started to take forever to load. It made absolutely no sense, but no big deal. It's not like the chat room is integral to what we do here.
Then shit got out of hand. The data center that our server was located in was attacked and all the sites went down. Not just a minute or two, but for a long fucking time. They got it back up finally and it went down again for even longer. They updated security, which should have done long ago and it still went down. It went down again and it was obviously time to move on.
Since 2004 I've used several different hosting companies. I can count on one hand the number of times since then that the site went offline due to the host. That's inevitable. There will always be some downtime. There were times the site saw a spike in traffic and it slowed down and as said earlier, resulted in errors, but that's the price you pay if you don't have a dedicated server. You have limited resources to use. That kind of downtime is more frequent, but not so frequent that you consider it a problem. You know when you need to increase your hosting package and you do so and those problems go away until your site gets even busier.
But I have never had the number of problems that Dreamhost has caused us. Not just with another host, but all of them combined over an 8 or 9 year span. It was so bad that i actually can't count on one hand the number of times Dreamhost fucked up. They didn't just fuck up briefly either. The site was down for 20 minutes, several fucking hours, 30 minutes, a few more hours, 25 minutes and so on. It was ridiculous, but it wasn't over.
We decided to go back to Host Gator and increase our VPS package and if necessary we would get a dedicated server with them. They've been great to us and while ACB was with Bloguin they were great to ACB and Bloguin. I had been associated with Host Gator since 2009 and never had an issue that I didn't cause myself. We looked forward to be rid of Dreamhost and their problems so we sign back up at Host Gator and they transfer all of our stuff for us. I'm so burned out with this shit that I don't think I would have had the patience to do it.
They get it all set up. It looks great. Runs smoothly. Perfect. Comes time to change the DNS to point to our VPS with Host Gator. It's a very simple task. The way to make the change is slightly different with each host, but all you do is go in and find the DNS and change it. In our case we were to change ns1.dreamhost.com and ns2.dreamhost.com to something equally simple. You also point each of those to an IP address, which is provided by Host Gator. It's as simple as that. You click save and then it takes awhile for the ISP to recognize the DNS change. It takes anywhere from 1-48 hours to do so.
Your site remains up. You may be accessing the one server and then get sent to the new one and even back. Within 48 hours that's all resolved and you're on the new server. Just how it works. It can be annoying, but there's nothing you can do about it. Even though there is some weirdness going on, the site is always accessible. It's actually a very simple process. it's kind of like clicking the save button to download something and you may have to wait a long time for the download to complete. That fucking simple.
Nothing is simple with Dreamhost. I go to change the DNS and it's just as simple as I remember. Enter some shit in and click save. Then go access the site and within 48 hours you're on the right server. Nope. Site goes blank.
Contact Dreamhost. Suddenly they're not so quick to get back with you. Site has now been down for hours and at least this time it's something we did, but like I mentioned before, we had to have Host Gator help us figure out what the fucking problem with Dreamhost was.
We're now back with Host Gator and I don't think we could be happier. The last 2 to 3 months with Dreamhost was just one failure after another for us. I'm sure some people have had good luck with them, but in our experience with them, they have to be one of the worst fucking hosts around.
We'd like to apologize to our readers who have had had to deal with this shit too. For those of you who were around ACB when Bloguin added the Livefyre commenting system, let's just say that Dreamhost is the Livefyre of commenting systems. Thanks for your patience.
If anyone is reading this because they're interested in whether or not you should sign up with Dreamhost, there are a million other hosting companies and 99% of them are better. We'd highly recommend you pick anything other than Dreamhost.