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Question   v6.3 March 2004
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v6.3 March 2004
0.  Introduction.
1.  New http://status.dreamhost.com/!
2.  New! 91-day Money Back Guarantee!
3.  DreamHost Charity Update!
4.  New! DH Donations in Other Currencies!
5.  Random Password Generator!
6.  DHSOTM.

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0.  Introduction.

Welcome to the March 2004 DreamHost Newsletter, from now on always to be 
referred to as "the month DreamHost just slept while all their customers
had multiple lengthy total outages with no clue as to what was going on"
month. I know that has "month" in it twice, but I figured that fact 
beared repeating.

At this point you've probably all read the very detailed announcement 
with our official explanation of our last (and worst EVER by FAR) 
outage, which happened just this Monday due to a huge DDOS attack. That 
was a great, great explanation and I hope went a long way to assuage 
people's fears about this sort of thing ever happening again.

Now, that's all well and good. However, I pride myself on my newsletter
always being a very direct and honest look into what goes on "behind the
scenes" at DreamHost. So that's why this month's Introduction is "What
REALLY happened on March 29th, 2004":

    2:30am PDT: I was practicing my ping-pong in the data center on our 
make-shift table of live switches, routers, and dual xeons when my
killer overhand smash resulted in the ping-pong ball careening off the
table and hitting the network speed dial on not just one but BOTH of our 
main routers. Just our luck that instead of switching them to 
"super-fast", they were both knocked to "get slower and slower". I 
didn't notice and went to sleep in my makeshift bed of old cat5 cabling.

   10:00am PDT: I woke up and happened to notice the settings on the 
dials. That didn't seem right, so I switched them both to "ludicrous 
speed", which promptly fixed the network, but also immediately crashed
about 20 web servers who had never dealt with such an unimpeded level of
traffic before!

    1:30pm PDT: Now that everything was back up and running, I decided
to take another nap. Little did I know my suspenders had gotten snagged
on BOTH dials yet again, and as I crawled back over to my little cave of
cage nuts, I inadvertantly turned them both to "kill your hosting 
business".

    5:00pm PDT: I woke up from my short nap refreshed and invigorated!
Using my razor-sharp olfactory senses I noticed the dials were yet AGAIN
out of whack, and immediately set them right. This time I applied a 
little bit of electrical tape to make sure they didn't get twisted 
again! Everything was back up, and I retired for the day, exhausted but 
proud of averting what could have been a total disaster. I started to 
question Cisco's wisdom in even having those dials in the first place.

    5:30pm PDT: Our PR department came up with the reputation-saving 
idea of blaming the whole thing on a humungous DDOS attack, the scale of 
which this world has never seen! I thought that was a good idea, but 
first we should make a diagram up of how it all went down. So we did.. 
and here's that diagram for you now:

        http://www.dreamhost.com/images/diagram.jpg


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1.  New http://status.dreamhost.com/!

Okay, enough SILLYNESS! We really DID have a huge DDOS attack (it turns
out at the peak we were receiving over 900Mbs of incoming traffic, as 
opposed to our normal level of around 160Mbs). And it really did SUCK,
and suck bad, for _all_ of our customers, and ourselves. We're taking a
number of steps to divert this sort of thing from happening again, and
you can read all about that (if you haven't already) in our 
announcements section of the web panel.

        https://panel.dreamhost.com/?tree=status.announce

One thing a lot of people disliked, possibly even more than the downtime
itself, was being in the dark about what was going on, what was being
done to fix it, and when things may be back up. The problem was, as all
of OUR sites were down too, our normal way of announcing things (the
announcement page) was inaccessible. So now we've set up a second page
for emergency-only announcements on a separate network in a separate
physical location. The URL for that site is (REMEMBER THIS!!):

        http://status.dreamhost.com/

That site will ONLY be updated if our regular announcements area is down
for some reason. So if you are having troubles and you go there but 
don't see any update, don't go crazy, just go to our regular web panel
and see what's there. (If that's down you may then go crazy).

So please remember: 

         http://status.dreamhost.com/
         http://status.dreamhost.com/
         http://status.dreamhost.com/
         http://status.dreamhost.com/
         http://status.dreamhost.com/

!


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2.  New! 91-day Money Back Guarantee!

On a somewhat related note, we've just upped our 30 day money back 
guarantee to an insanely high NINETY-ONE days! Actually, it's not 
related... I promise we were planning on doing this even BEFORE all the
troubles we had this month. In fact, if we were smart, we probably 
should have DELAYED this feature another, say, 88 days. But nobody ever
accused us of that, so here it is! DreamHost now has the LONGEST (by a
whole day!) money back guarantee in the whole web hosting industry! How
long is 91 days? It's pretty long! For example, anybody who signed up
in the year 2004 would still be eligible! Wow, that's long.

There are only two catches with our money back guarantee.. you have to
have signed up via credit card and you will be charged $25 if you
registered a domain for free with your plan. That's all pretty 
reasonable, I must say. And remember: http://status.dreamhost.com/


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3.  DreamHost Charity Update!

Despite March being the worst uptime month we've ever had (maybe I 
should stop saying that now), you guys really opened up your hearts and 
wallets for our new Charity service! Despite a slow start, things really
picked up at the end, for a total of $2129.39 being donated by 87 people
towards Jason and Stephani's AIDS marathon in Alaska in June! DreamHost
(that's us), then matched the $2129.39, and along with the other 
donations they raised on their own, both now have the $3800 necessary to
go! Big thanks to all y'aaaaaaalllll, and we'll post pictures sometime
in July or August or something fer sure!

Also, we now have new charities you can donate to directly from your
DreamHost bill.. and we'll match whatever you give! You can now choose
between the FSF (Free Software Foundation) and the EFF (Electronic 
Frontier Foundation).. read about each at:

      https://panel.dreamhost.com/?tree=home.charity

These ones are going to be up for more than a month, but that's no 
reason to delay giving! Being broke due to our recent spate of downtime,
now that's a reason to delay giving. Enough about that!


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4.  New! DH Donations in Other Currencies!

Now, let's say you're more into receiving charity, rather than giving 
it. Well, don't worry, we've got news for you people too! We just added
to the DreamHost Donations feature (the one that lets visitors to your 
website donate money that they know will only go to your hosting bill) 
the ability to accept donations in non-US currencies!

You can now accept donations in every currency that PayPal accepts:

     Euros, 
     Canadian Dollars, 
     British Pounds, 
     Japanese Yen, and of course 
     US Dollars still.

Just pick the currency when setting up your donation button at:

      https://panel.dreamhost.com/?tree=home.donations

AND REMEMBER: http://status.dreamhost.com/


########################################################################
5.  Random Password Generator!

Hey did you know that now when you create a new ftp or shell user from
our Users > Users area (https://panel.dreamhost.com/?tree=users.users)
that you can just have us randomly generate a "good" password for you?
Now you do.


########################################################################
6.  DHSOTM.

This month's DreamHost Site of the Month award goes to a personal online
portfolio site (don't they all?).. one by the name of:

      http://www.versiani.com/

If you haven't visited it yet, do it. Go ahead, do it.            DO IT.

If you don't know what the DHSOTM contest is, or how to enter, visit:

       https://panel.dreamhost.com/?tree=home.dhsotm

DO IT.


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http://status.dreamhost.com/,
Josh!

P.s. Maybe you'd rather not re-live next month's horrific downtime like
you just did this month. In that case, you can unsubscribe from the
DreamHost newsletter via your contact preferences at:

       https://panel.dreamhost.com/id/?tab=contact

Last updated: Apr 01, 2004.