Technology Musings

September 29, 2010

Amusing / Why to Not Use Dreamhost for Important Sites


I host one of my sites on Dreamhost.  Dreamhost is very alluring, because of the number of features you get for almost no money at all.  The problem is, Dreamhost has the right to pull the rug out from under you with no warning.

I had spent hours trying to get my rails app to work under Dreamhost.  I had frozen Rails, specified which version of Rack to use, and a number of other tweaks.  Then, today, I go there, and I get the dreaded "Passenger Error".  I logged in, and tried to change some settings, and got nothing.  However, I noticed that the error message continued to display the same line numbers even though I had changed the file.  Wierd.

So I keep messing with it, and even start deleting files.  The errors *still* pop up, no matter which files I delete - it keeps the same filenames and line numbers even though the files no longer exist.  I had assumed that it just wasn't restarting, and maybe it had cached the files.  So I went looking for a force-restart thingy on the Dreamhost panel.

I didn't find one, but I found something else - Dreamhost had, without so much as an email saying so, moved me to a completely different server!  They left the files on the old server, but my domain was no longer pointed there.  Surprise!  I had been working on the wrong server altogether!

So, once I logged into the correct server, I was able to delete my frozen version of Rails, and unset my Rack preferences, and all was well with the world.  But who in the world switches apps to a box with a different configuration without notifying the customer!

If you want to know why you shouldn't buy webhosting for $5/month, this is it.

I'll probably still keep my account, but I'll stick with only having very-low-profile domains there.