PHP Data Object support

April 6th, 2006

DreamHost has quietly added support for the PHP Data Object (PDO) extension to their PHP5 installation.

PDO offers a lightweight, consistent interface for accessing databases in PHP. PDO provides a data-access abstraction layer, which means that, regardless of which database you’re using, you use the same functions to issue queries and fetch data. PDO does not provide a database abstraction; it doesn’t rewrite SQL or emulate missing features. You should use a full-blown abstraction layer if you need that facility (like ADODB or Pear DB).

This means that you use the same functions to connect and query a MySQL database and a SQLite database (the only databases currently supported by PDO at DreamHost). This allows developers to code without worrying about the seperate commands for each database.

A couple of tutorials to get you started:

The last two tutorials is about DB2 and Oracle, which is currently not supported by the PHP setup at DreamHost, but the tutorials has lots of info, and you can always compile your own PHP, if you need to use it.

DreamHost Newsletter – April 2006

April 3rd, 2006

A quick overview of this month’s newsletter :

  1. Multiple Databases per Hostname!
    One of the most popular suggestions is coming through: You can now have multiple databases per hostname, use the same MySQL username to access multiple databases and have one phpMyAdmin management area for all the databases on your account.
    See Sneaky Changes Afoot.. for more info.
  2. New! https://webftp.dreamhost.com!
    A web based FTP client from where you’ll be able to upload/download files, zip files, copy/move/delete files, chmod files, view source, etc.
  3. No more .la!
    As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, DreamHost are discontinuing as an official registrar of .la domains.
  4. Changes with DreamHost Rewards!
    The retroactive referrer feature has been disabled due to abuse. You should either ask your referrals to enter your email address when signing up, or create a promo code for them.
  5. DHSOTM
    DreamHost Site of the Month: 360 Uploads

The Web Hosting Arms Race

March 31st, 2006

The web hosting business is known to be very competitive…

A few days after DreamHost posted their Like hammer for sidekick video, Site5 tried to outperform DreamHost by throwing a server off a tall building. I’m scared of the next move! Will TextDrive enter the battle zone or will DreamHost immediately try to outdo Site5 and how?

Stay Tuned for updates…

Rails upgraded to 1.1

March 29th, 2006

Rails 1.1 is officially out and DreamHost has already upgraded their installation.

More than 500 fixes, tweaks and features from over 100 contributors. Check out all the new features, from the blockbusters to the lesser known upgrades.

Some people reports problems, since 1.1 is not 100% backward compatible, but you should be able to either tie your Rails application to a specific version of the Rails Gems or download a copy of the 1.0 release for each of your applications.

Updated:
Same problem happened to Site5 and TextDrive. Apparently DreamHost has currently rolled back to 1.0.

Updated again:
DreamHost has the full explanation of the problems yesterday in their blog.

More Subversion Links

March 27th, 2006

As a follow up to last weeks Subversion post, here is a number of Subversion links for you to enjoy:

If you have any additional Subversion links to share, feel free to post them in the comments.

Subversion on DreamHost

March 20th, 2006

One of the news in last month’s newsletter was the addition of Subversion support at DreamHost. Subversion is an open source system for revision/version control designed specifically to be a modern replacement for CVS.

Lot of people will find that version control is not the easiest subject to get started with, and most tutorials will contain lot of new vocabulary like trunk, tags and branches.

Kyle Neath has just written an excellent quick guide about Setting up Subversion with DreamHost and Windows. He jumps straight to the point and shows how to set up a repository at DreamHost and how to manage it with TortoiseSVN. Great introduction to everybody new to Subversion.

DreamHost Phone Number

March 18th, 2006

DreamHost customer Sean Gleeson needs help getting rid of the top search result in Google for DreamHost Phone Number. Unfortunately a whois entry for his domain gleeson.us is currently holding the top position and he’s therefore getting more and more calls from people, at all hours, beliving he is DreamHost, and are able to help them with their billing issues or technical questions.

So here goes: Sean Gleeson does not know the DreamHost Phone Number! But read his story anyway…

PHP5 upgraded to 5.1.2

March 17th, 2006

PHP5 has been updated from 5.0.4 to 5.1.2 according to php.dreamhosters.com.

The upgrade to 5.1.0 is a major update and includes:

  • A complete rewrite of date handling code, with improved timezone support
  • Significant performance improvements compared to PHP 5.0.X
  • PDO extension is now enabled by default
  • Over 30 new functions in various extensions and built-in functionality
  • Bundled libraries, PCRE and SQLite upgraded to latest versions
  • Over 400 various bug fixes
  • PEAR upgraded to version 1.4.5
  • A number of important security fixes

The update to 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 consists mainly of a fair number of bug fixes and addresses three security issues.

Avoid Warning When Checking Secure Email

March 8th, 2006

I finally found time to write this entry about how to get rid of the security warning when using SSL/TLS for your email. Sorry about the delay.

SSL has two purposes: security and authentication. Even if the authentication fails, the security still works and all the traffic will be encrypted. If you’re as annoyed as me about the warning, you can go trough these extra steps in order to get rid of the message, but it will not make the security any better (or worse).

Let’s just recap the problem. When using SSL/TLS to secure your communication, you’ll get an annoying warning, either because the SSL certificate isn’t issued by a “trust provider”, or because the certificate is issued to mail.dreamhost.com and not to mail.yourdomain.com.

Internet Security Warning - 1 src=

Internet Security Warning - 2

Outlook Express’s warning is not very helpful, and gives you no other options than accepting the problem or aborting. But if you open https://mail.yourdomain.com:995/ in your browser you’ll get a clearer picture. The browser will most likely show your communication with the mail server, which isn’t worth much since we’re not submitting any parameters, but we get a chance to view the security alert.

SSL security alert

  • The security certificate was issued by a company you have not chosen to trust. View the certificate to determine whether you want to trust the certifying authority
  • The security certificate date is valid
  • The name on the security certificate is invalid or does not match the name of the site

Mozilla Thunderbird is a bit more helpful (no surprise), and lets you examine the certificate and possible accept is directly from the alert message.

Trust the certifying authority

The first warning is because the certificate was not issued by a trusted Certification Authority like Thawte or VeriSign, but by DreamHost themselves. More info about Certification Authorities in the Knowledge Base.

If you click “View Certificate”, you get the possibility to “Install Certificate…”.

Certificate Information

You will then start the “Welcome to the Certificate Import Wizard”. Just step through the wizard, and select the standard option for all choices.

Certificate Import Wizard

If you connect to https://mail.yourdomain.com:995/ again, you’ll see that there is now one warning less.

Match name of site

The other warning states that there’s a mismatch of the domain you’re connecting to and the domain the certificate was issued to. This is because you’re connection to mail.yourdomain.com and the certificate is issued to mail.dreamhost.com.

We can get around this warning by creating a local alias for mail.yourdomain.com called mail.dreamhost.com.

Find out the IP address of mail.yourdomain.com by pinging the server. I’m on Randy, which has the IP 66.33.205.175. Put the following line in your hosts file (C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts on Windows XP, /etc/hosts on OS X and Linux):

# alias for mail.yourdomain.com
66.33.205.125 mail.dreamhost.com

Hosts file

Now update your email client to connect to mail.dreamhost.com instead of mail.yourdomain.com. Hopefully it will now connect to your mail server and fetch your mail without any warnings.

Email account settings

Please notice that the IP addresses of the mail servers are not necessary static, so you might have to update the IP in your hosts from time to time.

Your Mileage May Vary: Please let me know in the comments, if this works for you.

DreamHost Newsletter – March 2006

March 1st, 2006

From this month’s newsletter :

  1. Restore Your Own DB!
    Great new feature: Restore your own MySQL databases from backups, directly from the Control Panel. You can now revert your database to how it looked 1 – 7 days ago (24 hours increments), 1 – 6 weeks ago (½ week increments) or 1 – 6 months ago (1 month increments).
  2. Costs of Certs Going Down!
    Covered in Price drops on unique IP-addresses.
  3. Bye Bye Web IDs!
    You can now log in to the Control Panel with your contact email address as well as your Web ID.
  4. Bye Bye .la!
    DreamHost are discontinuing as an official .la registrar and a different registrar will take over the service from them.
  5. New Charities!
    New charities are opensource.org and heifer.org.
  6. DHSOTM
    DreamHost Site of the Month: Louis Pang Photography.