A Tale of Two Companies

http://opensource.org/In this new year (*waves*!), the first thing I did was upgrading my WordPress installation, and, while waiting, I thought it would be nice to read through DreamHost’s blog for some news.

DreamHost is my hosting provider. Any blog post I might make here talking about why I still use them for about a hundred sites (some of them quite “sensitive” for customers; several are just experiments, joke sites, or similar pretty useless things that need to be stored “somewhere” as one lives through the Internet age…) will just like advertising for them, and I apologise in advance for the “free advertising”. But for you Second Life residents, you might understand a bit of their philosophy: they’re to Web hosting what Linden Lab is to 3D content hosting. Namely, they are also somewhere in California (they used to co-locate pretty near to Linden Lab); they’re not the biggest web hosting company in the world, but like InMotion Hosting they’ve got an impressive number of users; they are perhaps one of the few last hosting companies providing “best effort” service (as opposed to sign service level agreements, which everybody pretty much does these days); they’re strangely honest and open (the first question they answered to me was about mature content; they have exactly the same approach as Linden Lab); they’re also pretty much insane, as you can see from their blog, and nobody would take them seriously for doing business with (which does not explain why they have 600,000 domains registered with them, almost all fully hosted).

Also, like Linden Lab, they’re plagued with database servers going rogue, routers that fail with improper software, servers that drop out of the network without reason, and basically handling too much traffic for what their over-stressed hardware can handle. And, yes, they have to deal with the equivalent of griefing — nasty customers running rogue applications that take all available CPU time (like, well, spamming…) and/or consuming all traffic to a server, thus demanding that someone manually logs in as administrator and shuts that rogue customer’s script down. This gives non-DreamHost customers the idea that they’re unreliable, always failing, don’t care about their customers, and are making millions of US$ every month out of the poor customers who don’t know better and refuse to move elsewhere for some reason.

Well, why do customers remain faithful to DreamHost?

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