Two weeks ago, while on holiday, I received the following email from DreamHost:
Dear Unofficial DreamHost Blog,
Our system has noticed what seems to be a large amount of “backup/non-web” content on your account (#99999), mostly on user “*****” on the web server “bomberman”.
Unfortunately, our terms of service state:The customer agrees to make use of DreamHost Web Hosting servers primarily for the purpose of hosting a website, and associated email functions. Data uploaded must be primarily for this purpose; DreamHost Web Hosting servers are not intended as a data backup or archiving service. DreamHost Web Hosting reserves the right to negotiate additional charges with the Customer and/or the discontinuation of the backups/archives at their discretion.
At this point, we must ask you to do one of three things:
- You can delete all backup/non-web files on your account.
- You can close your account from our panel at:
(We are willing to refund to you any pre-paid amount you have remaining, even if you’re past the 97 days. Just reply to this email after closing your account from the panel.
- You may now enable your account for backup/non-web use!
If you’d like to enable your account to be used for non-web files, please visit the link below. You will be given the option to be charged $0.20 a month per GB of usage (the monthly average, with daily readings) across your whole account.
We don’t think there exists another online storage service that has anything near the same features, flexibility, and redundancy for less than this, so we sincerely hope you take us up on this offer!
In the future, we plan to allow the creation of a single “storage” user on your account which will have no web sites (or email). For now though, if you choose to enable your account for backups, nothing will change (apart from the charges).
If you want to enable backup/non-web use on this account, please go here:
If you choose not to enable this, you must delete all your non-web files within a week from when we sent this email (by 2008-02-22) or your account will be suspended.
If you have any questions about this or anything at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us by replying to this email.
Thank you very much for your understanding,
The Happy DreamHost Backup/Non-Web Use Team
Note: While personal backups will be allowed, the use of our services for the distribution, acquisition, or storage of illegal or illegally obtained copyrighted material still won’t be. Please make sure that all material hosted under your account is legal and was obtained legally!
I’ve got mixed feelings about this email…
It’s true that I’ve been using my account for backup purposes. I currently sync my two PCs to my DreamHost account, including a backup of all my digital photos – totally approximately 100 GB of data.
On one hand, I agree that these backups are not part of my websites, and I’m just happy that DreamHost now offers a solution where you can pay to use your storage for backup purposes. Actually I don’t find paying $20/month for backup of two PCs too bad. On the other hand I was under impressions that what I did was allowed – maybe not if you read the TOS very strict – but still accepted by DreamHost and that I already have paid to use up to 500 GB of storage.
Back in October DreamHost
changed clarified their policies on using server space for personal storage and backup purposes. From being pretty relaxed about what you used your server space for, they now emphasized that files uploaded to your account should be provided with the intent of distributing them to others from your hosted sites.
Apparently the main reasoning was that the top 100 users were using 5% of DreamHost’s total disk space, and nearly all of these 100 users were keeping 200+ GB backups of copyrighted movies, tv shows, anime, p*rn, etc.
At the time I got a friendly email from Josh Jones, co-founder of DreamHost (as a response to my previous post), explaining all this, and that the plan was to notify about 20 users or so per week who were either using their accounts for 100s of GB of backups of copyrighted material, or keeping lots of extra backups of stuff DreamHost already was backing up (like mysql databases, websites or emails).
He even wrote:
If you’re using your account to back up one-of-a-kind personal files, even tons and tons of them, you really are never ever ever going to hear from us and we have no problem with that and things aren’t going to change AT ALL.
I’m not sure if DreamHost has changed their stand on using web space for private backups, if they see backups as a future source of income, or if it is some kind of mistake (fat fingers anyone? ). I will try to get a comment from support, but since I know this subject interests a lot of you, I decided to blog about if first. Any of you got the same email?
What do you think? Should keeping backups still be allowed or is pay-as-you-go a clever alternative? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.