DreamHost is the WORST hosting company, ever.

From a post I made on lifehacker.com about hosting companies.  I will not work with DreamHost in anything but a single individual WordPress installation.

STAY AWAY from DreamHost. They use a proprietary interface that even their technicians don’t know how to use or troubleshoot. I had a terrible, terrible time dealing with them and after several weeks of going back and forth trying to get the hosting working. Not only do they not offer phone support, their chat support simply goes unavailable for hours at a time at various times of the day. I’m not even sure if they are really available 24 hours a day, but I couldn’t find any regularity to when I could not get chat available. Phone support is charged in 3 call packages for $30 and even when I signed up for one I couldn’t get anyone on the phone. Our problem ended up being a misconfigured server, after they insisted we couldn’t run basic software on the shared hosting, which it turns out we could have – but there’s really no way to know because the proprietary interface was undocumented. (They always try to upsell that dedicated server service, needlessly.) They were inept and didn’t follow up with us at all. It only added insult to injury that they never followed up with me and I had to keep contacting them back to report that the problem wasn’t resolved. Think about it, if your email or site isn’t working, how long will it be before you know, and what will you have lost in the meantime?

This article isn’t about hosting per se, but I approved the use of DreamHost specifically because of other LifeHacker articles touting DreamHost’s fabulousness. Never, EVER again. And because they use proprietary software, there was no way to transfer the site through a straight forward download/upload. This can be done in any hosting company using cPanel. I did a little googling and found the same problem with the utter inability to resolve problems because of proprietary software was eerily commonplace for Media Temple too. It’s not that I have had a problem with proprietary hosting software setups – I’ve had a problem with EVERY one, no kidding.

With HostGator at least you can get a person whose first language was English on the phone 24/7/365. Same for GoDaddy (although they are slow, and proprietary interface.) I’ve tested HostGator, and they will help you do ANYTHING. Other hosting companies have had no problem telling me I needed to hire someone to troubleshoot my problems.

I considered shortening the post, but if I don’t give you that thorough level of detail you wouldn’t understand how impossible it was to get DreamHost to solve a problem that because of their pretty software that was thoroughly inaccessible, undocumented and completely outside our control. The lifehacker community is placing overwhelming amounts of trust in DH and it’s 100% misplaced. You will have a problem sooner or later and if you never read this post, you would just think, “wow the internet is hard.”

I personally don’t do this, but why wouldn’t someone just use that same Google Apps account to make a Google site for a simple web page, or forward your domain name then to any free blogging service where you could put up something very simple? Or forward it to a flavors.me page as we already learned from Lifehacker Academy? (Oh, I like the sound of that!) If you forward with a temporary mask then the user wouldn’t even see the other domain name, right?

The user @androidhelpers said if I needed cPanel to move from one host to another then I wasn’t really a developer. And he tried to claim that DreamHost was no different from other hosts in requiring upgraded services for complicated installations.  Well, he’s wrong.  And not only that, he ignores the point about support just simply being unavailable at all for hours on end, with no explanation, rhyme or reason!  My follow up post:

@androidhelpers I know how to transfer sites from one host to another, thank you, the point was that it was horrifically difficult to deal with DreamHost on every possible level.  And cPanel transfers the entire account: email accounts, data in the email accounts, databases, and files.  Since so many people use cPanel, at this level of hosting it is much more appropriate.  Because there’s very likely going to be a point where the lack of service from DreamHost will necessitate your move to another host.

But that wasn’t the point about “proprietary” hosting software – the point is that if you search the internet for reviews and posts about hosting companies, the complaints where people went with their problems unresolved for weeks at a time were in my experience easy to find for DreamHost and MediaTemple and for what I could find, the situations were similar to my nightmare with DH: the employees could not figure out what the problem was because the software is unique to that host.  And that is an enormous, enormous problem.

There’s nothing persistent about WordPress, single or multiuser edition.  Every other host I have encountered has not complained about running WP multiuser in a shared environment.   Dreamhost is the only company trying to upsell – and they are constantly trying to upsell 24/7/365 for no good reason, and they were the only company offering shared hosting that claims to require a virtual dedicated server for a WordPress multiuser installation.