The online home for Greg Leedberg, since 1995.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dreamhost - A Hidden Jewel of Webhosts

Back in June, I briefly mentioned that I switched webhosts from Yahoo! to Dreamhost. At the time, I talked about how much I liked Dreamhost (actually, I went into more detail about why I hated Yahoo!), but I had only had the service for a few days, so what did I know?

Well, now I've been a Dreamhost customer for over 6 months and I have to say, my opinion of them has only improved. So much so that I felt it warranted a blog post! It's rare these days that you find a company that really gives you a great service, and at a good price. But Dreamhost accomplishes this.

There's lots to like about Dreamhost when it comes to features. They give you a good amount of disk space (I have 20GB currently), and your disk space grows by 160MB a week. And this is only for $8 a month. You have a virtually unlimited number of email addresses (3000), which can use POP, IMAP, or SquirrelMail. You can host announcement and discussion lists. They support PHP, Perl, MySQL, CGI, Ruby on Rails, SSI. They even give you full shell access to your server, and a CVS repository for developer-types! You can even stream movies, and get really, really good statistics on your website. In all, it's a great value when just looking at features and price.

But what's impressed me the most, and what really, really separates them from Yahoo, is the level of transparency they maintain with their customers. Whenever there is a big problem with the service, you can opt to receive an email. Generally, these emails will do a very good job of keeping you informed as to what's happening. This was most appreciated when recently the Brea, CA, area had a big blackout which took all of the Dreamhost websites down for several hours.

They also mail out a monthly newsletter, which does a great job of letting us customers know about new features. With Yahoo, I don't believe there were ever any new features added, and if they were, I never knew about it. It seems that every month, there are new features they've added, or they're giving us more disk space. It's worth mentioning now that when I first signed up for my account, I was only paying $8 a month for 2.4GB of space, but it just seems that they keep upping that amount, which is how I've ended up with 20GB. As for adding features, they have a section on the website where you can request new features, or vote for ones that have already been requested. This lets them know what their customers really want, and they actually seem to listen a lot of the time.

Additionally, if you want more detail, they even have a blog, where employees will frequently post interesting stories, which a lot of the time are about the "behind the scenes" of a webhost. Always really well written -- funny and informative at the same time.

With Dreamhost, I don't feel like I'm dealing with some far-off company just trying to make money off of me. It really seems like they care about being good to customers, and being a good webhost. I'm quite astonished to say that after 6 months, I have had not a single bad thing to say about them, and I give them the highest recommendation I possibly could.

This sounds like an advertisement. But I really mean it. Having web sites has been a big part of my life ever since I was in 7th grade, and so dealing with webhosts has also been a big part of my life. It's really great to have found such an amazing one. Actually, it's great to just have found such an amazing company, period!