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April 2012 Newsletter

Introduction

Acolytes! Gather close. I call the first official meeting of the newly-formed Church of DreamHost to order.

You have chosen, or been chosen, to be a part of something incredible this day.

Our charter is as clear as our enemies hearts are cold. We shall assemble great holy armies to train and fight all who embrace downtime, hacker attacks, and online evil in all its detestable forms.

In the name of the Gods, great ships and carriages shall be built to carry the upgraded networking equipment and servers that a redundant, global network demands! Bridled by our core and unshakable tenets of providing solid uptime, quality customer support, and free software, your journey down the One True Path will lead only to salvation.

Each of you shall be called upon to propagate and evangelize on land and on sea that the gospel of DreamHost may be spread to all the unbelievers. The streets will flow with their blood only to be cleansed by the purifying tears of the repentant defilers who, at the Moment of Decision, choose to embrace DreamHost.

Our affiliate program shall deliver unto you rewards for loyalty as you blanket the earth with referral links. The power of dreams shall be felt far and wide, and the wicked shall be vanquished!

Those that embrace our teachings shall be welcomed with open arms through the icy blue Curtain of Eternity, bathed in the cool light of the crescent moon. Those who oppose us shall be consumed by the Flames of Enlightenment, subjected to the upselling, marketing-speak, and price increases which fester within the fetid dens of our enemies.

I share these truths as a humble servant of the Gods of the Crescent Moon. Your loyalties have been tested and you've emerged unscathed. Now is not the time for reflection or self-doubt, for these are concerns of lesser beings. Now is the time to go forth, bear the teachings of DreamHost upon your breast, and share with the world your true nature.

Hallowed are the Hosters. May your travels be wide, may your path be clear, and may your message find purchase in the hearts of the unbelievers.

-Brett

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

Thanks Brett...I think?!

For April I'm going to focus on giving some specifics on all the things we're doing to deliver a more robust service for you, our customers. Yes, our service levels of late have not been where they should be. And that's due to a number of factors that have built up over time, plus some external things like much more sophisticated denial of service attacks. So here goes.

We identified in late 2011 that our network systems were struggling to scale to the growing traffic levels and complexity of our web hosting services. So in December 2011 we started planning out a new network for the next 5 years that would include an investment in new network hardware and a new US East Coast data center. Then, as some of you well know, in January we started experiencing network systems failures before we could fully implement our plan, and we've been triaging the issues and playing catch up since then. Where we stand as of now (April 16), is that we have a new Juniper border router in our Irvine data center (installed on April 12) that has significantly reduced the load and improved performance of our Irvine network systems. Plus we now have a sophisticated distributed denial of service (DDoS) system in place by Arbor Networks across all of our data centers that is mitigating the significant increase in DDoS attacks we've seen in Q1 2012. We've also received the remainder of the Juniper network equipment purchased for the rest of our US West Coast data centers, which will be installed over the next 4-5 weeks. This work has been carefully planned out to ensure no major disruptions to services during implementation.

Another area of service issue and focus for us has been hardware failures. We've seen an increase in server and drive failures over the last 3 months for a variety of reasons, so we've modified our hardware replacement plans to a more aggressive timeline and lower thresholds based on improved systems monitoring. This basically means that we identify servers and drives that will potentially have issues earlier than before, and we proactively replace them. We had been experiencing some challenges in the supply of new hard drives due to the Thailand floods, however that supply issue has now abated.

The final major area of services attention by us has been security. There has been a significant increase in hack attempts on customer sites in 2012, particularly involving back door exploits in software plug-ins that have not been updated by customers, and user permissions settings that leave customers' vulnerable. Our security, development and support teams have been working across the board to proactively help customers identify vulnerabilities, clean up hacks of their sites and blogs, and upgrade their software and plug-ins. And we've made a number of changes to user permissions policies...

DreamHost Blog: Pesky Permissions

...that may be more restrictive for some users, but protect customers from the perils of having files or directories that are accessible to all.

I know that many of you have been "hanging in there" as we make improvements to core infrastructure, and I'm now confident that we're over the hump of the work needed to be done to harden our network, systems and security. I'm confident you'll see much improved service levels going forward. So you can get back to enjoying the awesome flexibility and value offered by DreamHost for your web, blog and app hosting ventures.

Best,
Simon
@DreamHostSimon

(Now back to Brett!)

CloudFlare is Here!

We've just signed a partnership with CloudFlare!

What does that mean? In the simplest of terms it means that right now there's a new checkbox in your DreamHost control panel that, once checked, will enable your website to load TWICE as fast (on average) as it does today - regardless of where in the world your sites' visitors happen to be.

And, in the rare case that your hosting server at DreamHost becomes unreachable or simply "goes down," CloudFlare will seamlessly serve a cached copy of your website to all of your visitors!

Did I mention this is a free service?

CloudFlare does this all through a proprietary content delivery service and technology platform that no one else has managed to duplicate.

CloudFlare at DreamHost!

CloudFlare is now available to all DreamHost customers free of charge. Technically it kind of was before if you'd signed up through CloudFlare directly, but we've made it much easier for you to get started!

We're also worked with CloudFlare to offer "CloudFlare Plus," a unique package available *only* to DreamHost customers. CloudFlare Plus adds things like automatic image optimization, image resizing, and SSL support to the mix.

CloudFlare Plus is a $9.95/mo upgrade.

To enable either of our two CloudFlare packages on any of your DreamHost-hosted domains, just visit

DreamHost Web Panel: Manage Domains

Click the "Edit" button for any of your Fully Hosted domains, then simply click the "Enable CloudFlare" checkbox. You'll then be asked to choose between CloudFlare's basic (FREE) plan, and the DreamHost- exclusive CloudFlare Plus.

You can learn more about CloudFlare straight from the horse's mouth at

http://www.cloudflare.com/

CloudFlare provides a truly awesome service and we hope that you'll consider adding it to your account.

It's free - you've got nothing to lose!

The DreamHost Reach Out & Touch You Tour Rolls On!

It's hard to believe that our Reach Out & Touch You Tour is already half-over! (Or half-begun, if you're that kind of person.)

We've already touched people in Los Angeles, Portland, and Chicago.

We've touched them with our words, we've *accidentally* brushed up against a boob or two, and we've *intentionally* kicked a guy in the junk when we mistook him for an assassin. (In our own defense, he told us he was one. Then he asked if we had any change.)

Seattle has just about filled up, and tickets to our New York and San Francisco events just became available a few days ago.

DreamHost's Reach Out & Touch You Tour 2012

If you're in or near Seattle, New York, or San Francisco, this is your chance to give us face-to-face feedback! And the best part? There's no escape for us. We are your prisoners for three intense hours!

There's not much in the way of an agenda at these things - I give a little talk, high-fives are shared among humans and employees, and a smoove soundtrack, ample appetizers, and adult beverages help move things along.

So far we've had three fun-filled, shank-free events. Let's keep that trend going, eh?

Help Us Help You - on Twitter!

A lot of you reach out to us on Twitter looking for technical support, and that's great! Our social support team (@DreamHostCare) is there for you!

@DreamHostCare on Twitter

In your frustrations, however, many of you neglect to give us key information that would help us link any of over 300,000 DreamHost accounts with your Twitter account.

Some of you aren't exactly forthcoming with the information you provide to Twitter, and many times that information either doesn't exist or is just plain made-up.

We usually have to check your Twitter profile for a domain name or real name (if you've provided them,) then search our customer database for anyone matching what we were able to find using our detective skills.

I think you'll agree - that is the dumbest thing ever.

And so now, in the same place where you can edit your DreamHost contact preferences, you can now associate your Twitter handle with your DreamHost account:

Edit your DreamHost Contact Preferences

If you provide us with this data we'll be able to *immediately* identify the correct DreamHost account after seeing any of your tweets.

Keep in mind - you're not granting us access to your Twitter account like some common filthy web app. You're simply telling us what your @name IS!

It makes things easier for us, and it makes getting resolutions faster for you! If you're on the Twitters these days, do this now and you'll never need to worry about it again.

DreamHost WTF: DreamHost Gift Cards

It seems like nowadays every grocery store has the ubiquitous "Gift Card Endcap".

You can buy gift cards redeemable on movie tickets, meals at restaurants, and even Amazon. In fact you should probably just buy Amazon gift cards from now on because those guys have everything...

...EXCEPT DreamHost gift cards.

For those you'll need to go through us.

DreamHost Web Panel: Gift Cards

You can purchase gift cards in any amount up to $119.40. You'll even get to see a full accounting of who redeemed those cards and when.

Most people don't think of web hosting as a "gift" so much as they consider it a basic necessity like oxygen or water.

Give the gift of web hosting!

DHSOTMs

The DreamHost Site Of The Month is a coveted title reserved for a select few DreamHost customers. Past winners have had their lives irreversibly changed - mostly for the better. Some headed to Mexico and we haven't heard from them since.

As voted by you, the winners from MARCH are...waaaaaait just a second!

This is the first time I can recall that ONE single site has won the DreamHost Site of The Month award in all FIVE categories!

Yep - totally swept it!

This is like something out of a movie! Except instead of a basketball going through a circle thrown from the other team's end zone with one second left on the clock, it's a shot of me sitting in front of a computer on April 2nd loading the list of winners, letting out a grunt that sounds a little bit like "Huh," and then wondering what I'd do for lunch that day. Classic comeback story. Oscar worthy.

The winner in the OVERALL, CONTENT, DESIGN, STRUCTURE, and ORIGINALITY categories is:
Bash One-Liners
"A collection of practical or just pure awesome bash one-liners or shell script tips and tricks for GNU Linux, UNIX or BSD systems. Open, collaborative system, user friendly, with functions to post one-liners, request one-liners, search, rss feed, commenting, Open ID login."

http://www.bashoneliners.com/

It gives me great pleasure to bestow upon the site's owner one free year of shared hosting from DreamHost. If I had a crown that wasn't made out of cardboard and crayons I'd send that your way, too.

Well done!

Remember, you can always click through to the DreamHost Site Of The Month section of your account control panel at any time to submit your site, vote on candidates, and view all winners past and present. (Winners appear in bold.)

DreamHost Web Panel: DHSOTM

See ya next month!

See ya next month!
Brett D!

P.S. - If you'd like to unsubscribe from the Church newsletter, you may do so here:

https://panel.dreamhost.com/id/?tab=contact

P.P.S. - If you do, just know that we're gonna need the robes back.