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March 2011 Newsletter


This newsletter won't
start with haiku, assuming
I can stop myself.

Well, I tried.

I'll be honest. That bit of theater was really just a way to get your mind away from the news of what's been going on the other side of the world.

People are demanding change! Protestors are out in force! Governments have been overthrown! The region is unstable and simply is not safe for humans nor robots alike.

But that's not even the worst part.

The server mines from which 80 percent of the world's web hosting servers are sourced are now under immediate threat. Roads in and out of the region's famed "2U Valley" have been seized by well-armed groups of toll-demanding opportunists.

Analysts are predicting a 200 percent rise in hosting prices over the next six months as a result of the conflict.

After several late-night board meetings full of yelling, number-crunching, more yelling, an accidental grope, a slap, and a red-faced apology, I'm happy to announce that DreamHost's management team has vowed to open up our strategic server reserves in anticipation of what will surely be lowered supply and increased demand in the hosting sector.

We will not let world events tear us asunder, nor will we ever pass the expenses caused by political conflicts on to our customers!

IPv6 Now Available!

The un-unthinkable has happened.

The world has finally run out of IP addresses!

The Internet connects a lot more than just computers nowadays. You've got things like smartphones, Xboxes, Blu-Ray players, stereo systems, even "marital aids" all chattin' away out there in cyberspace all without a care in the world, and all of them sucking up valuable IP space.

It makes sense that all four billion IPs have now been claimed. In fact I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner!

Four billion really isn't that large of a number if you think about it. I'm pretty sure I shouted at LEAST four billion four-letter words and shed at LEAST four billion tears when I found out that Stargate Universe had been cancelled. Pretty sure. That was kind of a dark day for me.

Anyway. That was IPv4.

To solve this problem, IPv6 was created. It grows the number of available addresses from a measly four billion to...


...that's a long number. In fact it's just a hair - 282 decillion - over 340 undecillion. Chump change!

The good news? On the day that IPv4 addresses were exhausted we were able to flip a switch, and in so doing turned on support for IPv6 for all domains hosted with DreamHost!

IPv6 Now Available!

IPv6 at DreamHost is not yet something that's enabled by default for new domains, so you'll need to add IPv6 addresses through our web panel for any domains that you host with us.

It's free. It won't break anything. And you'll be helping to pull the Internet forward in your own little way.

As for us...well, don't worry about us - we've also got a strategic IPv4 reserve built up that we can dip into as the rest of the world drags its feet toward IPv6 adoption. We are GOOD.

Video player now HTML5-savvy!

About a month after Google bought YouTube and made it a household name back in '06 we licensed "JW Player", a popular standalone Flash-based video player:

JW Player for Flash and HTML5

It's a great alternative to YouTube, particularly if you don't trust "The Goog" to hold on to your precious video files for whatever reason.

We've just updated our installation of JW Player to version 5.4. The big news? HTML5 support.

How To Use JW Player

By default the player will be rendered in Flash as it always has been. If Flash isn't supported, like say on that fancy new iPad of yours, the player will be rendered in HTML5. It's pretty slick.

New One-Click Install: Open Web Analytics

We've just added Open Web Analytics to our one-click installer!

Install Open Web Analytics

It's hard to talk about Open Web Analytics without mentioning Google Analytics. So I will.

Google Analytics.

Open Web Analytics

OWA is very similar to GA - with several key differences!

  • Open Web Analytics can secretly track the mouse movements of your site's visitors for playback later!
  • It has a command line interface (CLI) so you can interact with it programmatically if that's your thing. You big dork.
  • It has specifically-tailored support for WordPress and MediaWiki built-in!
  • Perhaps most important - it's open source.

It's one thing to take up the open source torch and develop a high-quality product that competes with commercial (paid) software.

It's quite another to do it to provide a truly competitive alternative to a free service!

Open Web Analytics: Bust your web analytics wide open!

(You OWA guys can use that one in your marketing materials - no charge.)

SCALE 9x Wrap Up + Cloud Connect

The 9th annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE 9x) just wrapped up and if I never see another neckbeard in LA again it'll be too soon.

We sent some clean-shaven reps of our own to give talks (to a very packed house, if we may say!) this year.

We discussed Ceph, our open-source distributed large scale file system, and we also gave tips on securing applications from a system administrator's point of view.

You can find a summary and slides from the event on our blog:

See what you missed at SCALE 9x!

If you couldn't make it out to LA and Silicon Valley is more your style, we'll also be speaking at the Cloud Connect conference in Santa Clara next week.

There our own Sage Weil will be speaking Wednesday the 9th at 3:45 about "Creating a Storage Cloud with Ceph". He'll be giving a primer on Ceph as well as taking a larger look at the current state of storage solutions across the industry.

Cloud Connect 2011 Schedule

Also, and this is really just a minor little footnote, we may be making a BIG announcement at Cloud Connect this year. I've been sworn to secrecy and I'm dedicated to keeping that surprise a secret.

Hang with us at SXSW!

Every year riches and hipsters alike fly down to Austin, Texas to rub elbows and pretend that they can tolerate each other for a week. The reason? South By Southwest, a 'new media' conference with a bit of an identity problem.

"SXSW" as it's known has three different programming 'tracks': Music, Film, and Interactive.

There are speakers, panels, and classroom-type gatherings all geared at people who think they've got an interest in at least one of those three areas of focus.

But none of that matters. Nobody REALLY goes down to Austin to listen to a bunch of yahoos prognosticate on "the next big thing" in social networking. (It's still petstatus.com, by the way.)

People go to SXSW to party! And network. But mostly party. A lot of attendees don't bother attending the sessions - or even registering for badges. They spend their days roaming the convention center and surrounding areas looking to strike up conversations with anyone carrying a smartphone.

"Sign my band!"

"Fund my startup!"

"Make my indie film not be an indie film anymore!"

Nearly every bar in town is booked solid for private events throughout SXSW's week-long run. And this year we've joined in the crazyness.

RSVP For Entry!

We've teamed up with some friends of ours over at Substantial.com to host a private party in Austin on the evening of Friday, March 11th.

The event is by invitation only and we've still got a few slots open in our guest list. If you plan to be in town for SXSW this year, now's the time to let us know.

You'll have an opportunity to come out and see us in real-time!

STROKE our hair.
BREATHE our scent.
SHAKE our hands.
YELL in our faces.
THROW UP on our shoes.

There is no limit to the amount of abuse we'll endure.

DreamHost 101: WebDAV

One of the oldest and least-understood features we've offered is support for WebDAV: Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning.

The web has traditionally been a one-way delivery system. Files on the server are generated and sent to you. Your browser just sits there and takes it like a champ. Or a punk. Depends whose side you're on.

HTTP was orginally meant to be a two two-way street and WebDAV is the protocol that makes that happen, giving you yet another way to interact with data on your website.

You've most likely got at least one application on your computer right now that's capable of using WebDAV. It's actually become a pretty popular way of publishing and sharing calendars online using applications like iCal and Outlook.

You can even use Adobe's popular site-building tool DreamWeaver to publish changes to your site using WebDAV.

That little "pop" you just heard was a little part of your brain exploding to make way for new ideas. I've seen this happen before. You'll be fine.

Enabling WebDAV for any directory is as simple as clicking a checkbox:

Enable WebDAV!

You can use that same section of our panel to password-protect directories, so even if you don't choose to take advantage of WebDAV you'll still be able to set up private areas on your domain that aren't accessible to the general public.

DreamHost Sites Of The Month! (DHSOTMs!)

As voted by you, the winners for FEBRUARY are as follows...

The winner in the CONTENT category is:
Caffeinated Toothpaste
"Caffeinated Toothpaste is Josh Bauman's daily diary strip."


The winner in the DESIGN category is:
John Kavanagh: front end UI web developer
"The portfolio of John Kavanagh - a freelance web developer from Manchester in the UK. Here's some of his recent work and a showcase of his technical skills."


The winner in the STRUCTURE category is:
World Recoded UK
"A personal website for blogging, personal programming and development work. Running a very customised phpbb core."


The winner in the ORIGINALITY and OVERALL categories is:
"Check here daily to see what holidays are happening. It's interesting and fun! (Currently mostly US holidays.)"


Congratulations to the winners!

Don't forget to cast your votes (and enter your own site) for the next round of DHSOTMs at


See ya next month!

So long for now,
Brett D!

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