Not that anyone will have noticed, but I recently moved my web hosting from the excellent Sound Solutions Internet to DreamHost. The move was prompted by changes Sound Solutions were making to their servers, which would have stopped me updating my site, or at least made it rather difficult. I’ve been hitching a free ride there for a number of years though (thanks again, Ade!) and completely understand that paying business has to come first, so no hard feelings there. And anyway, I’d been looking at hosting options for a new project of Gemma’s, so the timing couldn’t have been better.
Two things drew me to DreamHost – cost (they offer a lot for a very low cost: no-one else seemed to come close) and personal recommendation (a friend has used them for something like 10 years, without incident). First impressions have been good – registration was straightforward, the control panel seems comprehensive, and my site transfers were seamless. So far so good.
And then something happened that’s made me wonder if DreamHost really is for me. I’ll summarise here in case you didn’t follow the link: one of DreamHost’s servers experienced serious hardware issues that took it out of action. For more than four days! Yes, you read that right. Four days the server was out of action, taking every site hosted on it down with it. I’ve no idea how many sites were affected, but I’d guess we’re talking hundreds, based on some of the comments that have been left on that page.
Now, for anyone who doesn’t know me, I work in the IT industry. The company I work for produces a web-based project management system, and for most of our customers we provide hosting of that system too. Having seen our customers’ reaction to their systems going down for an hour or two, I shudder to think how a four day outage would go down.
And really there’s no excuse. DreamHost aren’t a young company still finding their way – they’ve been in this game for 14 years, hosting well over a million domains across 1500+ servers. Why was there no switch to a backup server? Even with the probable loss of data this would have brought, I’m sure it would have been a much more acceptable solution to those affected than what actually happened. And all this while the CEO tweeted what a wonderful time he and his team were having at a WordPress conference in San Francisco!
Fortunately I wasn’t one of those affected by the Lansky server being down (4 days, remember). And even if I was, I’ve not really got anything riding on any sites I’m hosting there, although that might change in the near future. Another friend WAS affected though, and having seen the (lack of) response she and others experienced – you can read about it here – has made me question whether or not I want to stick around.
Fortunately I’m still within my “money-back guarantee” period so it won’t be too much hassle to move. And who knows, maybe I’ll decide to stick around after all. I’m definitely re-considering my backup strategy though (ie don’t rely on my hosting provider!) in case I do have to move elsewhere in a hurry.
Not that anyone’s likely to notice if this site suddenly vanishes. But that’s hardly the point, is it?