DreamHost Newsletter – May 2006

May 1st, 2006

Since most of you probably already read the May newsletter by now and all the news already has been covered in this blog, I’m just going to summarize it really quickly:

  1. New! http://www.dreamhoststatus.com/!
    Covered in New DreamHost Status Page.
  2. No more Miva! No more oscommerce! More Zen Cart!
    Covered in Zen-Cart One-Click Install.
  3. New! Domain WHOIS Privacy Service!
    Covered in DreamHost Domain Whois Privacy.
  4. A little help from hosting.com!
    Covered in DreamHost Partners With Hosting.com.
  5. DHSOTM
    DreamHost Site of the Month: LyricWiki.org.

Full House! All news already covered in the Unofficial DreamHost Blog…

DreamHost Domain Whois Privacy

April 28th, 2006

As a new feature DreamHost now offer to keep your whois registration data private.

DreamHost Domain Whois Privacy

Instead of using your own information when registrating a domain, you’re now offered to use DreamHost’s proxy service. All emails will automatically be forwarded to you without revealing your real email address, while paper mail will be shredded and phone calls will be given an recorded message with instructions to email you instead.

This feature has often been requested in the forums, both as an anti-spam measure and as a privacy protection option, and some customers have even moved their domains to e.g. GoDaddy, just to get this feature.

More info in the feature list and in the Control Panel.

New Outbound Mail Quotas

April 28th, 2006

DreamHost has created a new email policy, which restrict you to send out a maximum of 100 emails per hour (counting each recipient as a seperate email) via their SMTP-server.

From the wiki:

SMTP-quota 

DreamHost enforces outbound mail quotas. While trying to send mail, if you receive an error message which mentions “Quota Exceeded,” you have surpassed your mail sending quota. If you hit this quota 2 or more times, your sending ability will be disabled until you contact support. In your support request please include your email username NOT the email address.

The default outbound quota is 100 (message/rcpts) / hour.

DreamHost Community Wiki > SMTP-quota

The quota is being enforced as an anti-spam meassure, and will hopefully stop the increasing number of cases where DreamHost’s servers has been caught in e.g. AOL and Comcast’s spam filters as a result of a customer’s spamming (see AOL addresses blocked?, Help! Emails are bouncing to AOL addys-ban domain? and Do all hosting co. have problems sending email? for info).

Zen-Cart One-Click Install

April 25th, 2006

Zen Cart - Shopping Cart Software

DreamHost are now offering Zen Cart shopping cart software as a free one-click install for all customers.

Zen Cart is designed to be easy to setup, easy to customize and easy to use for the shopper. The feature list includes built in promotions (discount coupons, gift certificates, etc), automated tasks (such as order confirmation), Search Engine Optimization tools, multiple languages/currencies support and multiple payment processors (PayPal, AuthorizeNet, etc).

Overall it seams to be a very powerful e-commerce package, which I’m sure a lot of DreamHost customers are looking forward to try out.

Zen Cart is replacing the MIVA Merchant License, which previously has been offered to DreamHost’s Crazy Domain Insane and Strictly Business customers only. More info about why DreamHost has chosen to decommision MIVA in the wiki.

Updated:
Zen Cart is also replacing osCommerce as a one-click install. Zen Cart is based on the roots of osCommerce, but as Simon writes in the comments, it has been developed to be a more standard compliant and easier to maintain package than its origin.

DreamHost Upgrades Rails Monday

April 23rd, 2006

In case you haven’t read it on the new DreamHost Status Page: DreamHost will start to roll out Ruby on Rails 1.1 early next week.

When they initially upgraded Rails to 1.1 three weeks ago a lot of application broke since Rails 1.1 isn’t 100% backward compatible, so they ended up rolling the upgrade back.

Now after people have had some time to prepare the upgrade, DreamHost are ready to try again. In case you haven’t already, the advice is to freezy your application by running the command rake freeze_gems in order to make a smoother transition to Rails 1.1.

Birthday Present for the Forums – RSS Feed

April 21st, 2006

I hinted the other day that I was preparing a birthday surprice for the Discussion Forums 5th Birthday. By present is now ready, and it’s something I’ve wished for myself for a long time…

While creating the forum stats, I found myself parsing a lot of the forum data, and thought that the data could easily be outputted as a RSS feed. A feed would make it possible to track new posts and replies in the forums, without being logged in to the forum all the time.

I’ve now used the feed myself for a couple of days, and I’m quite satisfied with it. I thought it might be useful for someone else, so here it is:
The Unofficial DreamHost Discussion Forum RSS Feed.

The feed is updated every 5 minuttes (if any changes has been made) and contains title, url, category and username for all forum posts within the last 48 hours. It’s hosted by FeedBurner in order to secure greater compatibility and to unburden my server (in case it gets popular).

Feed http://blog.dreamhosters.com/feed/dreamhost-discussion-forum/

 

Please let me know if it’s working for you, or if you have any suggestions for improvements of the feed.

DreamHost Partners With Hosting.com

April 20th, 2006

For the past months DreamHost hasn’t been able to offer dedicated servers for new customers (apparently because of power capacity limits). They have now completely removed the possibility to sign up for a dedicated server and explains that they are “re-vamping their dedicated server product offerings” and that Debian Linux Servers will be available soon.

In the meantime they have partnered with Hosting.com to offer dedicated hosting, VPS and colocation services. On the DreamHost Dedicated Hosting webpage you will now find offers for Windows Hosting, RedHat, Windows and ColdFusion VPS and RedHat and Windows dedicated servers all managed and supported by Hosting.com.

All the offers include a 1-month-free promotional code.

I can’t really decide what’s the most surprising: To see DreamHost advertise another web hosting company or to see the words “Windows hosting” and “Windows dedicated” on DreamHost’s website.

Discussion Forum Birthday – 5 years today

April 18th, 2006

Today it’s the DreamHost Discussion Forum’s 5 years birthday. The first “Test Message” was submitted by “Jeff @ DreamHost” the 18th of April 2001, and has since been followed by more than 40000 messages.

I’ve been digging deep into the archives to come up with the following Birthday Stats:

General stats:

In 5 years the forum have had 43881 posts, in 9703 threads, submitted by 5779 registered users (plus countless of anonymous users).

Chart

Posts Per Month
Active Threads Per Month
Active Users Per Month

Most active boards:

Posts Threads Board
20641 4553 General Troubleshooting
5439 1284 Beginner’s Forum
4889 907 Curious About DreamHost?
4447 1208 3rd Party Software & Scripts
4077 993 Programming
1827 231 Offtopic Discussion
1019 183 Web Design
664 129 * Beta Testing *
437 124 E-Commerce
259 56 Multimedia
182 36 Promotion

Most active users (all-time):

Posts Username Title
1940 will DH Pooh-Bah
1556 ardco DH Pooh-Bah
1450 matttail DH Pooh-Bah
1160 Anonymous  
900 scjessey DH DreamNinja
811 chrisjj DH DreamNinja
777 Jeff @ DreamHost DH DreamNinja admin
758 Atropos7 DH DreamNinja
614 user919 DH Grizzled Veteran
566 TorbenGB DH Grizzled Veteran

Former DreamHost employee Will Yardley leads the pack with 1940 posts since he joined the forum in May 2001.

Most active users (last year):

Posts Username Title
1268 matttail DH Pooh-Bah
775 scjessey DH DreamNinja
602 ardco DH Pooh-Bah
446 Anonymous  
381 dallas DreamHost Honcho admin
358 chrisjj DH DreamNinja
335 Raz2133 DH Smarty Pants
328 guice DH Smarty Pants
290 bygodaddy DH Enthusiast
287 Atropos7 DH DreamNinja

College student “matttail” (known for his always helpful replies) has written an impressive 1268 posts in the last 12 months, almost the same as Simon Jessey (known for his work with the wiki) and Bob (known for his cryptic signature) together.

Most active threads:

Posts Thread Started by Started on
322 DreamHost Word Association wjd 05/21/05
123 Everything slow? feldmahler 02/21/06
76 Policy on affiliate links…? Jeff @ DreamHost 04/05/05
75 Server Slow? schweb 01/05/05
65 Domain Hijackers ? Father Luke 03/25/05
65 Favorite Browsers 2005ed sierko 03/18/05
59 Downtime announcement? annadorfman 03/29/04
57 Ridiculous warfield 08/23/05
57 wiki.dreamhost.com! Josh 03/22/05
57 What Would You Like to See DH Add In The Future? wjd 10/12/03
55 So, no backup power supply at DH??? chrisjj 09/13/05
53 Major email problem jon_potter 01/21/03
53 Cannot send mail sdesigns 07/03/05
52 Replacement for FrontPage theMezz 05/22/05
51 New e-mail address control panel? PatrickD 08/15/04
48 anyone have problems with DB? limicell 04/15/05
48 PHP5 guice 03/12/05
46 Support que 552, now 335 IAmAtMyWitsEnd 03/17/05
44 MySql down again! grrrrrr archon810 04/21/05
43 Vote for Ruby on Rails bluecrab 03/14/05

Lesson learned: A great fairy tale should involve a disaster, a controversy and a troll + fun, hope and love!

Anyway, Happy Birthday DreamHost Discussion Forum! I will now prepare my birthday surprice and get ready for the party! Hope to see you all in the forum soon.

New DreamHost Status Page

April 15th, 2006

The DreamHost off-network status page has been relaunched as a WordPress blog with a new layout at the old address status.dreamhost.com and on a new domain dreamhoststatus.com.

The site is hosted on a seperate network, in a seperate physical location, and will be used if an outage affects DreamHost’s possibilities to inform through the usual channels (the announcement page in the Control Panel).

End of PHP as an Apache Module?

April 11th, 2006

Just noticed that you no longer have the choice of running PHP as an Apache Module when setting up a new domain at DreamHost. If you’re currently running PHP as an Apache Module nothing has changed, but you’re no longer able to choose Apache when setting up a new domain or making changes to an existing domain.

The Manage Domains form has been changed accordingly:

Manage Domains - With Apache Module settings
Before: Manage Domains – With Apache Module settings

Manage Domains - Without Apache Module settings
Now: Manage Domains – Without Apache Module settings

I haven’t seen any official explanation of this step yet, but I’ve seen two support replies with the following text:

Sorry about the confusion! All new domains added to the control panel (or ones you change settings for, like that) currently run as CGI. There’s no longer an option to choose PHP as an Apache module, so everything’s all CGI-upped.

We actually removed the Apache module feature as it turned out to be causing higher loads than the former. Go figure, huh?

Source: QiRan.org

I have to update the Wiki on that – we disabled the use of turning off PHP as CGI as this was becoming an issue since when you turn it off, your applications run under Apache’s memory space, which then makes it hard for us to determine who is using resources.

Source: DreamHost Discussion Forum

So currently it isn’t clear if the reason to stop offering PHP as an Apache Module is increasing use of resources, or difficulties tracking the use of resources or maybe both, but hopefully we will get an unambiguously explanation from DreamHost soon.

If you any more info on this change, please post a comment…

Updated:
Make sure to read the comments for Pete’s explanation of the change (Pete is working for DreamHost Support).