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Rough Holiday For MediaTemple And Dreamhost

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November 29th, 2009
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If you are a Dreamhost or MediaTemple customer and I know that many WordPress users are, it’s probably been a rough week for you. Just before Thanksgiving, an exploit was used on a subset of MediaTemple grid servers to redirect websites to a 3rd-party advertising website. Also, some customers passwords were compromised as they were stored in the database via clear text. MediaTemple has since switched to an encryption method of storing passwords in databases.

Over the holidays, Dreamhost encountered a fairly large network failure. This happened just before they conducted their largest data center move to date. The network failure caused a number of sites to go offline, including a number of Dreamhost official sites. However, as mentioned in a recent ZDNet article, the nightmare is still ongoing for a few customers, especially those running WordPress who are running into 500 errors. ZDNet published a list of directions from a Dreamhost customer service rep that should get your site back online.

Were you affected by either of these mishaps during Thanksgiving?

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  1. Frederick (4 comments.) says:

    I host my WordPress site on DreamHost and I haven’t noticed any downtime over the past few days. Seems like everything’s running smoothly.

  2. Greg Smith (2 comments.) says:

    My wordpress site was down for about a day with the 500 error. Support was able to fix it after I contacted them. I wish I would have contacted them sooner.

  3. Rhett Soveran (9 comments.) says:

    I’m a DreamHost user (with VPS even) and I’ve had a lot of errors. Including huge and abnormal memory usage spikes which hasn’t been cool. The support has been about 50/50. I really have to go out of my way to find a decent response and usually they are helpful.

    DreamHost is a great option for small-time bloggers like me, but it’s also been very frustrating at times.

    • Foress (1 comments.) says:

      You could actually get great server+support for a small budget. You just have to look around. I sincerely recommend WPWebHost for that.

  4. donnacha | WordSkill (12 comments.) says:

    I don’t understand why anybody serious enough about their blogging to read a WordPress-focused site like this would use barrel-bottom hosting. Surely people understand that the Dreamhost’s business is largely driven by affiliate links and the promises of unlimited bandwidth … until you actually use it and discover just how limited “unlimited” can be.

    I would recommend a simple Googling of any service provider you are considering, there have been plenty of horror stories about both MediaTemple and Dreamhost over the years. If someone does not have the common sense to spend half-an-hour learning from the experiences of others, well, frankly, they deserve what they get.

    For anyone who has been lucky and managed not to be affected, it might be worth reconsidering your options anyway – hosting should be pretty straightforward, if a company manages to mess it up as spectacularly as this, it probably won’t be the last time.

    It would be good to see some host specialize in WordPress hosting – there is one company that claims that but, when you look beneath the marketing, all they are actually doing is offering you a standard CPanel + Fantastico hosting account, absolutely no optimisation for WordPress.

    I would love to see Automattic offer hosting accounts for self-installed WordPress users – partly because it would be a way to support the company and partly because they would presumably know what they were doing.

    • Justin Tadlock (51 comments.) says:

      I’m fairly certain the WordPress.org hosting page has a lot to do with the number of users using “barrel-bottom hosting.”

      Not only are they listed, but they are recommended:

      …the hosts below represent some of the best and brightest of the hosting world.

      While I won’t argue the quality of the services, I will argue that suggesting users lack common sense and deserve what they get is a stretch, especially considering that the platform they are using recommends both hosting services.

      I’d also love to see Automattic offer hosting accounts.

      • donnacha | WordSkill (12 comments.) says:

        Good point on the fact that they are recommended, that does rather drive the lambs to the slaughter, but I would still maintain that anyone interested enough to follow websites such as this should probably also be interested enough to do a little googling before jumping into bed with the first service they are pointed towards, even if it is Automattic doing the pointing.

        I dare say that the vast majority of people who find their hosting via that page wouldn’t be using their sites in a serious enough capacity to even notice the downtime or the slow speeds.

        My personal WordPress hosting fantasy involves some big player offering something along the lines of the RackSpace Cloud, but more suited to database intense apps. That sort of automatic scalability would suit both the resource intensive nature of WordPress and the unpredictable nature of blog traffic.

        • Rhett Soveran (9 comments.) says:

          DreamHost is like Wal-Mart. They are the biggest (or one of, in this case) and so they get a lot of flack. No one is making documentaries about Target mistreating their workers. But they do for Wal-Mart.

          That being said, DreamHost offers carbon-neutral hosting with a very user friendly admin (I’d take it over cPanel any day). At the time I signed up with DH, no one else was doing it. Furthermore, when you aren’t a developer, it’s not really that easy to move databases and thus not easy to switch hosts (especially with DH’s unique prefixes on their tables).

          I know of plenty of better hosting services, but they all require more dev knowledge than I have.

          I think DH is generally a good option. I think they cheat a little with the idea of “unlimited” because you do have unlimited bandwidth, but you could never use it because of the limitations on CPU/Memory.

          If I could afford a dedicated server or cloud hosting—who wouldn’t? But as it turns out, personal bloggers aren’t bringing in the big bucks these days.

          But I appreciate your vote that I deserve what I get. You’re like a person who blames the poor for being poor. It’s ignorant and arrogant.

  5. Viper007Bond (91 comments.) says:

    Nope, I’m self hosted thankfully. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. :)

  6. zack says:

    My MediaTemple gridserver accounts were attacked — every index.php and .htaccess file had spam. None of my sites went down, though iTunes gave my clients’ podcast subscribers an error message. It was certainly distressing that the FTP passwords were compromised because of MT’s oversight, but the company’s response was swift. In addition to beefing up their security, they ran a script that repaired all of the infected files (saving me a lot of work).

    I’ve heard a lot of complaints about MT, but I wonder if it’s just because they’re such a big name in the entry-level hosting sphere. They’ve given me my share of headaches, but I can’t imagine that I’d see less stress with a self-hosted solution or any other host for that matter.

    If the consensus is that another host is far superior, however, I’d love to hear some specifics.

  7. Andrew says:

    I host with MediaTemple and fortunately have not experienced any of the issues they had over the past week. I have to hand it to Media Temple though, they have been very upfront about the issue and are working hand in hand with all their customers (they send out periodic emails & update their blog with situation updates) to get through the issue.

    I’ve used many many many web hosts throughout the years, and Media Temple not only has great prices – but there are actually people behind the website who care about their customers.

  8. SuperMario290 (6 comments.) says:

    YEAH I KNOW! God, I have 5 wordpress sites on my Media Temple account and I always got “api/http” errors and whatnot. It could be worse though, I’m just glad that none of my passwords got compromised, definitely changed them though.

    And the holidays are supposed to be about cheer :P

  9. DouglasVB (9 comments.) says:

    I had downtime on Dreamhost over the last week. In fact over the last few months there has been quite a bit. But considering how little I pay for the service it’s not a big deal for me. If I had to have 100% uptime and blazing fast page loads, I’d be paying much, much more for my hosting. Unless I suddenly become famous there is no reason for me to upgrade from the bottom rung of the Dreamhost acounts.

  10. Don Makoviney (1 comments.) says:

    I didn’t notice any issues with Dreamhost over the weekend. And in spite of all the doom and gloom people posting about these hosting companies being “bottom barrel” I have rarely had any problem with my blogs and customer sites on Dreamhost. The ones I have had have been pointed out to me on the Dreamhost Status Blog before I was even aware of it.

    I have some very high trafficked sites too, and unlimited bandwidth has never been a problem. I’m curious to know what kind of stuff you are running on Dreamhost that gives you bandwidth problems.

  11. Archie says:

    Search Hosting Transfer Offer at Google. Loads of hosts are running promos to get business from these guys. They will credit time you have with sucky web hosts.

  12. Greg Althoff (1 comments.) says:

    I’m not sure why almost everyone has talked about DH and MT having so many problems w/o referring another hosting platform they use that doesn’t have these issues?

    I’m on (mt) and really do want to switch, because yes, how can a large provider of networks be so amateur in their decision making … with not encrypting our passwords? Ridiculous! And since late 2008 I have always had problems with my emails and my Urchin Stats that aren’t able to be recovered… its such a pain.

    But I need to know where to go? GreenGeeks and InMotionHosting are on the table for me mainly because of the free domain transferring. Its what I need … but will these companies be able to move my WordPress databases too? That’s scary, I can’t site back and retype it all? I don’t know how to back it up either.

    So please – does anyone have a better solution?

  13. Nurul Azis (16 comments.) says:

    I think nothing like a perfect server to host. Ocassionally anything could happen. Just be prepared for such kind of thing to happen like choosing a super strong password, backing up the database and so on.



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