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Julygustember 2010 Newsletter

Introduction

Hello, and welcome to the Happy Julygustember 2010 DreamHost Newsletter!

Julygustember! Sounds crazy, right? Well I just read all about it on Wikipedia so it is absolutely without a doubt a real thing. And it resolves a long-standing beef I've always had with these newsletters of ours.

See, it's always been kind of an "in joke" that the monthly DreamHost newsletters get sent out the following month, usually very near to the start of the *following* month.

It's a years-old tradition nearly as old as DreamHost itself, as long- time customers can attest.

"I just got DreamHost's May newsletter in June. #dreamhostfail" ...is a tweet we'd got accustomed to seeing, chuckling knowingly to ourselves as our perceived tardiness was chalked up to mere incompetence.

Hilarious, right?

Well the joke got old with me, and traditions are made to be broken! I hit the reset button on the whole newsletter thing and now we're back on track!

Expect to see future newsletters arriving the first Tuesday of every month, or somewhere thereabouts.

All thanks to Julygustember!

NEW! WebAppHelp

The big news this month is the launch of a new project we're calling...

WebAppHelp

Read The Announcement

DreamHost, unlike most hosts, provides technical support for popular third party applications. When you contact our talented technical support team with a WordPress or phpBB question they'll provide you with all the links and hand-holding you need to get your problems resolved.

Most of the hosting industry is, unfortunately, not so generous.

It's not because they don't like *you* - you're great, honestly. I mean those eyes, those legs...UNNH. You've got it going on.

It's because supporting software that's external to your own development efforts is cost prohibitive. You'll see that practice echoed across most of the hosting industry.

The 'gotcha' for a lot of users is that many of the popular web apps nowadays are coming from small development teams who don't have the time or the manpower to really support their own projects, particularly when those projects may be able to claim thousands of installations.

No sir! Those developers expect you to wade through a sea of potentially out-of-date documentation and maybe even a wiki or two to get the technical support you need. Or maybe you'll sign up with an app-savvy host like us.

If you're looking for HUMAN contact with someone familiar with the web app you're using you can usually ask around on message boards for help...and hope you get an answer from someone who knows what you're talking about.

If you're looking for human contact with someone NOT familiar with your web app, you could always try eHarmony, OkCupid, or Match.com. I hear they're good.

Do you know what you have to do to get direct technical support from a human at WordPress? You can either pay them $15,000 per year or $5,000 per incident. I am not joking. Their VIP tech support is targeted at enterprise customers though, so it kind of makes sense.

Why am I even telling you all this? YOU know how great DreamHost's support is. But your friends - who may not be DreamHost customers - don't. This is a way for them to experience what many say is our best feature - our overqualified and eerily-friendly technical support team.

WebAppHelp launches today with technical support for WordPress starting at just $9.95 per month. We'll support WordPress users wherever they are, too. Again, they need not be DreamHost customers - WebAppHelp is an entirely independent service.

Read on to find out how YOU can get six free months of WebAppHelp!

DreamHost 101: The Toolbox

I was going through my refrigerator last night, digging for a late-night sweet treat, but man that thing was just so loaded with food I was a little overwhelmed.

I had to move the milk, move the other milk, and finally move the lemonade out of the way before I could find the fudge.

And then it occurred to me - our web panel is sometimes a lot like a refrigerator. At first glance you might say to yourself "Nothing too exciting here. Just some milk...milk...lemonade..." and then once you get to the back- "HEY, FUDGE!"

Sometimes you just have to keep pushing the milks and the lemonades out of the way to get to the fudge. Some days you might have to push harder than others. You might even pop a vein in your forehead when you push for that fudge because you just want it so badly.

Our web panel is very much like a refrigerator in that sense. Let's say you find a cool feature on the panel that you don't want to forget about. Did you know that you can pack that fudge in your toolbox and never lose it again? It's true!

https://panel.dreamhost.com/

Just drag the link from the "Main Menu" navigation bar into the yellow "Toolbox" right above it! It'll stay there for all future visits and you'll never need to sort through our feature-filled panel again.

It's a direct link, right where you need it, to all of your favorite things on the panel: the fudge. Unless you're allergic, in which case you can call it Epinephrine.

Autonomous Data Centers

We've got two datacenters right now, both in the Los Angeles area. For a while their geographic proximity made it financially attractive for us to share some network resources between them.

However we continue to grow at such a rapid pace that that shared connection was quickly becoming inadequate for our needs and last week we took steps to sever some links between them.

The end result is a much more robust network architecture on the bleeding edge! We're now using a Virtual Switching System (VSS) to manage our core routers at both datacenters intelligently, simultaneously, and seamlessly.

Around 4:30am September 1st our network connection was 'spotty' for about 30 minutes as we made the switchover. You may have noticed your site was unreachable for short periods during that time.

We're sorry about that. It was for a good cause, though!

See, downtime is like ipecac. Sometimes a spoonful of downtime yields bowlfuls of uptime!

Despite the brief early-morning hiccup we're happy to report that all went as planned and our two datacenters are now very nearly independent creatures with the potential to become self-aware human killers within approximately 5 years.

Stats Roundup

It's always fun to check your website stats. You get great data about where your visitors are coming from, what browser they're using, and even what links they click on.

It's also a great way to see if your e-girlfriend from Bulgaria REALLY reads your blog like she says she is.

You may not realize it, but we offer not one, not two, but THREE stat tracking systems.

Analog

Analog is as old as the hills and is installed automatically to every domain you host with us.

Configure Analog

Analog analyzes your server logs daily and generates pretty-looking reports that you can throw in your boss's face when he starts emailing you throwing around words like "the websight" and "hits" and "disciplinary action".

Piwik

Piwik differs from Analog in that it provides site statistics on demand.

Our one-click-installer will handle the legwork for you, and you'll just need to copy Piwik's hidden tracking code into your site to make it work. We've made small changes to the Piwik installer to ensure it works particularly well with our system, so it's as easy-as-can-be!

Install Piwik!

Piwik spelled backwards is Kiwi-p! And still makes no sense.

Chartbeat

Chartbeat is a paid option, but it offers the best of both worlds.

Install Chartbeat!

Chartbeat offers REAL TIME tracking with a bunch of extra goodies to make your life easier. An iPhone app lets you keep tabs on things when you're away from your PC. A WordPress plugin makes setup quick and easy. Automated uptime monitoring will even text or email you when problems are detected.

Chartbeat reports are also embedded into the DreamHost control panel, meaning you won't need to visit yet another URL if all you're looking for is a quick summary of where you stand.

Chartbeat Wiki

Chartbeat's own dashboard will even show you incoming tweets that mention you or your site, making it a great resource for monitoring Internet activity that has anything to do with your website.

We offer a free 30 day trial of Chartbeat, after which point you can choose to continue service for as little as $9.95 per month.

It's stat-tastic.

DHSOTMs

Internet candy.

That's all the DreamHost Sites of the Month (DHSOTM) really are to me. They're fun to look at, they smell great, and I would eat them if I could.

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

The winner in the ORIGINALITY category is:
A-Z
"How fast can you type the alphabet?"

http://frishit.com/az/

The winner in the DESIGN category is:
Crackpixels: Art/Design by Keebs
"This is my online portfolio of art/design work."

http://crackpixels.com/

The winner in the OVERALL, CONTENT, and STRUCTURE categories is:
PromoCodeBlog.com
"promo codes and coupons for web hosting, Adwords, NetSpend, and more!"

http://www.promocodeblog.com/

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

The winner in the OVERALL, DESIGN, and STRUCTURE categories is:
Babtu
"Thousands of online forums, discussion groups, and message boards."

http://www.babtu.com/

The winner in the CONTENT and ORIGINALITY categories is:
FaultMeter
"FaultMeter is a website where users post stories and other users vote to determine the submitter's guilt or innocence. The sum of guilty (+1) and innocent (-1) votes determines the submitter's Fault Level. A Fault Level above 0 indicates the poster is guilty, while a Fault Level below 0 indicates the poster is innocent."

http://www.faultmeter.com/

Congratulations to the winners!

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

https://panel.dreamhost.com/index.cgi?tree=home.dhsotm

Survey Time!

WebAppHelp is kind of a big deal for us. We've never really ventured in to the independent consulting arena and we're curious to hear your thoughts about it.

Take the Julygustember 2010 Survey!

Take our quick survey (it really is quick!) and one dozen of you randomly-selected survey lovers will receive a coupon code good for SIX MONTHS of WebAppHelp's "24/7 Online Support."

That's a $59.70 value. Just for answering some dumb questions!

See ya next month!

Back in action,
Brett D!

P.S. Do you prefer to read newsletters that don't combine months to make things easier on themselves? Unsubscribe from this one at:

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