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September 2011 Newsletter


I don't know about you, but August was a pretty good month for me.

Some highlights:

• I met a ton of customers at HostingCon in San Diego.
• I figured out what I'm going to be for Halloween.
• I attended a "toptional" pool at a Las Vegas bachelor party. Twice.
• I watched a sizable chunk of our staff leave for Burning Man.
• I got our CEO to finally admit that he speaks dolphin.

My plans for September look even better:

• I'll move and change change my name.
• I'll spend too much money on something I'll only wear once.
• I'll make sure that every photo I took in Las Vegas has been deleted.
• I'll hide certain coworkers on Facebook so I don't have to look at their junk.
• I'll get our CEO to schmooze the Dolphin King to reveal the location of the secret dolphin treasure - the Golden Herring.

This promises be a pretty busy month for me; one fraught with peril, intrigue, and acts of derring-do. I know it sounds exciting and you probably want to help, but some things a man just has to do on his own.

It's like I told the girl at the toptional pool: "You're an active, I'm a sedentary. It would never work out."

Simon Says... (Written by CEO Simon Anderson!)

Welcome to September. A month of new beginnings for kids all over the northern hemisphere going back to school. And the tail end of winter in the southern climes. One of the best things about being a part of DreamHost is knowing that we serve customers all over the world. From Brazil to Canada, China to Morocco. All pursuing your dreams on the web, whether that's a passion project blog, a web store that knows no boundaries, or a heavy duty web application or site that's going to change an industry.

We're excited that last month, we achieved a big milestone - serving 300,000 customers for the first time in our long and techy-creative history. We celebrated in true DreamHost style with a simple cake then a chocolate fueled ping pong match. Then we got back to work, because there's a lot of you and lots to do!

Since joining DreamHost in July, I've been getting to know the team and figuring out ways to take the awesome company and culture that's been built, and make it even more focused on your success as customers. We've made some changes to the way we handle Tech Support call backs this month that I think you're going to like. Our Tech Support team are the true legends of DreamHost, working day and night to help you use our services better and solve problems that come up quickly and with a fun attitude. Make sure you give them some props (and jokes) when you next have to email, chat or take a call. We're also in the process of going through all our FAQs and updating them to ensure you get the answers you need, fast!

We're always vigilant when it comes to platform stability, and we have had some issues on a few shared servers lately with drives failing and restores taking time to complete, resulting in degraded performance for the affected sites. Our Ops and Sys Admin teams have identified ways to mitigate hardware failures and speed resolution, so I'm confident we'll see fewer of these issues going forward. And with over 4,000 servers running 24/7, we've architected our systems so that hardware failures affect as few customers as possible. If you've experienced any issues and want to check that you're on the best account type for your web resource needs (shared, VPS or dedicated server), our support team is always happy to step you through the options.

In the end, running a business like DreamHost is all about agility. How fast can we get your account provisioned; how rapidly can we respond to your support request; how quickly can we implement support for a new framework or add a new app on our platform. Agile is a methodology that is well known and practiced by leading software development teams around the world, including our team of 25+ developers at DreamHost. But here at DreamHost, we're extending it to the whole organization, from Marketing to DevOps and Support. It's an approach that I think brings out the best in any team. Openness, transparency, authenticity, and attacking big challenges in small chunks with a fast moving attitude and the ability to course-correct as new ideas or information comes in.

So as you build your business or personal project on the web with DreamHost, know that we take our responsibility to all 300,000 of you very seriously, with a touch of irreverence and wacky humor. And to steal a line from a classic 80's movie, we feel the need, the need for speed - in everything we do.



New Website (Back to Brett!)

As a DreamHost customer you have little reason to visit our website at http://www.dreamhost.com.

Why would you? That's the front door. You're already in the front door.

No sir, you take the back door. It doesn't matter what time of day or night it may be, it's back door entry all the way for you! You conduct your business at http://panel.dreamhost.com/ and you like it.

You may be interested, then, to learn that the front door has gotten a fresh coat of paint and some new window treatments. That's right, dreamhost.com is all-new:


For the first time in our 14 year history we hired an external design agency to build our website - and it's never looked better.

Hold on to your hats and cover your head holes because I'm about to blow your mind in six words: Dreamhost.com is now powered by WordPress.

WordPress these days is so customizable and extensible that when it came time for us to switch away from static HTML files and onto a content management system, WordPress was the only platform we seriously considered.

Do you know who got stuck designing and redesigning dreamhost.com for the last decade? Me.

Do you have any idea how good it feels to be able to throw money at a problem and have it disappear? There are no words. Only tears of joy.

Learn more about the whys and the whos at...

Lookin' good there, Self!

One-Hour Callbacks

As a hosting company we can say with great confidence that providing technical support is not an inexpensive endeavor. In fact, it's one of our largest expenses.

Once you buy a rack of servers, that's it. The money's spent. Hardware comes with warranties. Electricity and network costs are minimal. Hardware generally doesn't die...often.

PEOPLE, on the other hand, are hugely inefficient. They need health insurance. They need air conditioning. They need ongoing product education. They need toilet paper in the bathroom. They need "safe working conditions."

All of these things cost money, which is why most companies who offer any kind of technical support look to cut corners wherever they can. They might outsource. They might understaff themselves.

They might just stop caring!

We've managed to keep our support costs down by providing telephone- based technical support only to customers who plan to use it and elect to pay a little bit extra for it.

Phone support comes in the form of callbacks from our technical support team - and you specify the time that we call.

Until recently we asked you to provide us with a three-hour window in which to reach you. Unfortunately, we've seen that people just don't trust service delivery windows. Thanks a lot, cable companies!

So we've tightened things up a bit around here and we're happy to say that, Monday through Friday, callbacks can now be requested down to the hour.

Long time hoster, first time caller.

If you're seeking satisfaction and looking for a good time on the phone, DreamHost Support is cheaper than other types of phone hotlines and won't leave you filled with shame and regret when you hang up.

I mean...I've I heard that happens.

Somebody told me.


What? What's with the look?

HostingCon Wrapup

We sent more-employees-than-was-probably-a-good-idea down to San Diego in August to attend HostingCon, a hosting industry event where the focus was on networking, deal making, and a large collection of disappointingly light-on-details and not-at-all-funny conference sessions.

The good news is that WE were there so things never got TOO lame.

For starters, we threw a party!

What you missed at HostingCon 2011

Along with all the usual industry people, YOU were invited! And, in fact, meeting customers was the highlight of the evening for me. I feel like we've never been closer!

...especially after one of you lady-types goosed me and ran out the door.

Here's what you missed out on!

DreamHost's HostingCon 2011 Party Photos

We also livened up the streets of downtown San Diego by turning what the locals consider to be a nuisance into a fleet of beautiful, rideable, moving billboards.

DreamHost Blog: Pedal-Powered Hosting

As great as it was to meet with all those analysts, reporters, vendors, and even competitors for one crazy week in August, meeting with customers was the one activity that brought our team the most joy and insight.

You guys are everything to us.

You're the sun to our moon.

The gin to our tonic.

The fiddle to our faddle.

I guess what I'm saying is we kind of have a thing for you and we want to hang out more often!

Stay tuned...

New Charity: Dream Foundation

June through August we solicited donations for Project C.U.R.E., whose mission of helping to provide medical supplies and equipment to medical personnel and health care professionals around the world...seemed good.

Project C.U.R.E.

21 of our kindest customers raised $603.00 for Project C.U.R.E. which we then matched three times over for a grand total of $2412.00!

Our next donation target is...

Dream Foundation

"Dream Foundation helps adults find peace and closure with the realization of a final wish. Dream Foundation has granted thousands of dreams to adults who are emotionally, financially and physically devastated by terminal illness."

They won't just come out and say it, so I'll say it for them: Dream Foundation is Make-A-Wish for grown-ups.

How great is that?

Contracting a terminal illness is one of the worst things that could happen to anybody.

But learning that you've missed the Make-A-Wish bus by a few YEARS just because you got older? That's devastating.

So now I have a plan B. If and when "The Big C" comes callin' my name, the Black Eyed Peas are going to have the BEST FIFTH MEMBER EVER: "b.rock"

You can submit donations to Dream Foundation (which we'll then quadruple, as always!) from the "Give to Charity" section of your account control panel:

Give to Charity

DreamHost 101: Free Whois Privacy

The thing about registering domain names is that you're supposed to provide your own legit contact information when you do it. Full name, address, phone number, email address, blood type, cheek swab, dental records, sexual preference, credit score - the works.

All of that information (most of it) is then immediately put into the public record where it's viewable to anyone who cares to look it up through a registrar's "whois" tool.

After registering a domain you'll immediately start to get more spam in your inbox, more junk mail in your "other" inbox, and your life will generally not be as hassle-free as it would have been otherwise. All because you registered some dumb domain name! Sheesh!

You COULD just falsify your contact information, but that would put you at risk of having the domain taken away from you if anyone ever noticed.

That's quite a pickle!

To help ease your pain we offer a whois Privacy Service - FREE.

We will provide a valid mailing address, phone number, and email address for your domain's registration record.

We'll list "yourdomainname.com@proxy.dreamhost.com" and forward its messages to your true hidden email address.

We'll even accept and recycle all junk mail on your behalf!

There really is no good reason not to do it.

To enable or disable domain privacy, just visit the "Domains/Registrations" section of your account control panel, click a domain name, click to modify its "whois" info, and there you go - instant privacy.

Web Panel: Domains / Registrations

But seriously, are you going to eat that pickle?


As voted by you, the winners from AUGUST are as follows...

The winner in the DESIGN and STRUCTURE categories is:
One Long House
"We are a cooperative of designers, writers, photographers, programmers, and creatives alike. Our common bond is embracing curiosity and loving to create."


The winner in the CONTENT, ORIGINALITY, and OVERALL categories is:
Tampa Changing Re-Photography
"Re-photographing historic buildings in Tampa, Florida."


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!

See ya next month!
Brett D!

P.S. - Actives and sedentaries alike may unsubscribe here: