You may have noticed that this site was down for about a week at the beginning of the month. This is because my webhost, Dreamhost, had a problem with the server this site is on, a hardware failure that required all sorts of migrating and replacing. Now, on this site, that’s not a huge deal. I haven’t updated this blog in a month and a half anyway, and I don’t make any money off of it, so there’s no loss of revenue. I did have a post planned for May Day, but I’ll survive without it. I am looking for a job, though, and my CV is up here. I invite employers to check out the site, and a 404 error doesn’t look good. I also host a business site with Dreamhost, and this outage was a little more disruptive for that site, but still, not the end of the world.
I have been with Dreamhost since 2006, and there were a few problems in the beginning, but I was paying next to nothing back then and they were pretty quick to alleviate any problems. In the last several years, I have been paying more, but there have been few if any problems, and they have been top-notch.
The type of failure I experienced is unusual, but still nearly unforgivable. Seriously, this is what they do. I pay them and they provide server space for me to have my websites displayed to the world. That’s it. This is like going to a restaurant and being told they are out of food. Not just one thing, but all food. For a week. Not much of a restaurant, right? After I tweeted about it a few times, someone contacted me with apologies and a promise to credit my account with $10.95, the price of a month’s hosting. That’s nice, but that is the very, very least I would expect them to do. If they hadn’t done that, I would think they were out of their minds.
Any sane person would simply switch companies and be done with it. I have gone so far as to sign up for hosting at a different company, but I haven’t transferred anything over yet. This outage caught me right in the middle of final grading for a bunch of classes, and prep for a new summer class (although the latter was canceled last minute — more on that at a later date), so I didn’t have time to comparison shop. I think I can get comparable hosting for cheaper. I think I can more reliable hosting. But, in the end, how do I know that I won’t run into the same, or different, problems at a different host?
There are a few things I like about Dreamhost. I currently get unlimited storage and bandwidth, and can host as many domains there as I like. They have a good referral program that gives me kickbacks on referrals (although I did that once and they never credited me, and now I’m not sure I can recommend them in good faith).
There are also some intangibles. For example, they are dedicated to being carbon neutral. They are employee-owned. They also,unlike some companies, opposed SOPA from the beginning. Their newsletters are amusing. These things have nothing to do with service or quality, but they are important to me.
What to do? Forgive and forget? Move on? I might move my business site elsewhere but keep this here. I don’t know what assurances Dreamhost can give me that this won’t happen again, and I don’t know if I would believe them anyway. Then again, I don’t know how other hosting companies work, so I might be in the same boat elsewhere. Maybe I’m a fool, but I will probably end up staying here.
I’m sure I’ll get a bunch of spam here, like I did on twitter, but I wonder if any of the real people who read this blog have any suggestions.
UPDATE: Dreamhost has contacted me to offer me some more free months and a partial compensation for the missing referral. They have also outlined some of the changes they are making to update hardware and improve stability. For now, I will stay with them for the reasons mentioned above. Thanks for listening.