We have been testing out a new product recently which has been specifically designed for load balanced setups on shared hosting servers. We deployed this product for testing purposes across some known good shared hosting service providers. Dreamhost.com has been one of them and so we are sharing our thoughts about their services.
The setup was almost instant and we got the mail with the login details within minutes. We had signed up for their 30 day free trial first. We really liked their uptime and security setups on the servers and so went ahead and paid them for the rest of the term of the plan.
Dreamhost runs their own perl based proprietary control panel. It is customized to provide all the offerings they can provide on the shared servers as well as custom setups like Google MX or Jabber IMs are available in it as well. The control panel may need some hosting knowledge before hand as some options available in are quite geeky. Overall, its fast and does it works. We could not find a single option which was buggy or did not work in the control panel.
Some of the features we really liked in their control panel are as below:
1. Amazon Cloudfront Support
2. Subversion Support
3. Media Streaming Support
4. Jabber IM Support.
5. 50G of backup space.
6. Ability to create Unix groups.
If you are someone who loves to work with SSH access, dreamhost is the host for you as you can host unlimited domains with them in a single account.
The best part we liked about their hosting services was the server's performance. We did not see a single minute of downtime since we used them ( Yes!. We have been monitoring using a third party service which checks the sites each minute ) and the sites are quite fast. With 15-20k unique visitors a month, we have not had even a single report of someone sending us a note that they cannot access the site. The network connectivity just seems top notch.
We really did like their hosting features a lot. Overall we would rate them 4.3 on a scale of 5. The only thing they appear to loose out on a not so user friendly control panel although their wiki has every bit of information you need. However, you require some skill to setup things like mail piping etc. with their servers. We actually cannot give out much details on the exact project we tested their services but we can surely say that with the amount of traffic we had been generating, it was a tough stress test for their servers in which they performed very well.
You can get a $5 discount when signing up with them for an unlimited disk usage and bandwidth yearly plan by using the coupon code as "rrdns5bucksoff" currently. Happy Dreamhosting :)