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October 2012 Newsletter

Introduction

October's brisk winds find me through the seams in my overcoat, chilling me to the core. Gray skies above portend an evening every bit as wet and miserable as the darkness found in the heart of this city. Long ago I stopped hearing the sound of gravel scraping beneath my boots as I made my rounds - I've learned to filter such distractions in my unending fight to stay vigilant in the face of evil.

Internetville sounds like a cozy town, and for a while that's what it was. The idyllic dream of a connected world may still exist in the minds of innocents - those too young or simply too feeble to know any better. But I do. I know better.

I walk these streets to bring order to this world. Among crumbling buildings founded on fractured ideals I shine light where none exists, deep into darkness to expose the corruption beneath the folds of the Internet's brushed-steel and rack-mounted exterior.

Lurking beneath the surface of this new world teems an undercurrent of depravity fueled by a currency of lies exchanged for impossible promises; for services and service levels seldom delivered. DreamHost is a beacon of hope to those tormented and misled souls looking for a surefooted path - an upgrade path from traditional web hosting to The Cloud.

Due process has no place here, for mine is not a court of law but a court of justice. While its scope may be narrow, its reach is deep, its judgement final. There is a purity to its vigilance and a marked lack of providence.

For every innocent blog with pictures of children and rants about video games there's a dozen more junkies passed out in alleys, strung out on overdoses of cat pictures and people saying ridiculous things like "noms" instead of "food". Humanity's future? I say its undoing.

For every revolutionary web app that brings light into this world there's a bloodbath of inadequate web hosts left in its wake, easily found by a trail of server logs - tomes of failure, documenting a litany of tragedies. Their pages overflowing with tales of killed processes, taxed processors, and inadequate memory, soiled by the frustrated tears of their creators. You could line the walls of a thousand darkened dead-end alleys strewn throughout this hopeless wasteland with their tales of woe and stories of betrayal.

You could.

And would it change anything? No.

That's where I come in.

I've walked these streets for years watching the scum of the earth set up shop and ferment their own special brand of lunacy and arbitrarily applied service limits to the innocent and the helpless. Prolonged exposure to the lies and the deceit that run rampant here are enough to turn a man into something his own mother wouldn't recognize.

We live in a world where too many people won't go far enough. Won't do what they know is right, what they believe. The world of hosting has become a complicated place. It doesn't need to be that way.

The promise of a safe, secure, and able infrastructure backed by an empowered support team and a full spectrum of hosting environments suited to the needs of simple blogs all the way up to advanced cloud computing users is more than just a promise printed on self-help flyers plucked from the gutters of this dark, forgotten world.

My charter is justice. My tools are knowledge and incredible hosting services that deliver on their promises. My destination? Your deliverance.

DreamHost is your protector - I am simply its vessel. Shepherd your flock toward its light and bathe in its purifying warmth.

Leave the videos of people eating poop to me.

-Brett

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

You'll find a lot of juicy information in this here newsletter on our latest and greatest Cloud services launching for the benefit of all humankind. Mystical names like "DreamCompute" will conjure up all sorts of images in your mind that you may or may not want to be conjured. But we can't roll back time. The next generation cloud is (almost) here!

The reason we're engineering and launching Cloud storage services like DreamObjects...

DreamObjects

...and Cloud computing services like DreamCompute

DreamCompute

...is simple. We want to be on the leading edge of Internet innovation enabling you - our creative, entrepreneurial and developer community - to build your next app or store your digital media library or process massive amounts of data on DreamHost, where you'll get as much storage or compute power as you need at an affordable price and with great support.

Our Cloud services are built using open source software including the OpenStack cloud platform and Ceph storage, and our engineering team contributes a huge amount of code back to those communities (just like we contribute to WordPress) making these technologies advance quickly in features and integration. This is also a part of our core values as a company - to use and promote open source software, because together we can build a very cool future!

Best,
Simon
@DreamHostSimon

(Now back to Brett!)

DreamObjects - The Wait is Over!

Last month we introduced you to DreamObjects, our new object-based cloud storage service.

DreamHost Introduces DreamObjects Cloud Storage Service

DreamObjects is API-compatable with both Amazon's S3 and OpenStack Object Storage (formerly known as Swift,) so many of your cloud-storage- aware apps will work with it right away.

Last month, "right away" meant "as soon as a space opens up in our beta program."

This month "right away" means "right now." The line's gone, Bro. Doors are open. Party's on. BYOD. Bring your own data.

Anyone in the world, be they current DreamHost customer or disillusioned unbeliever, can now sign up for DreamObjects and begin using it within minutes.

DreamHost.com: DreamObjects

Storage costs start at just $0.07 per GB and scale all the way down to $0.044, giving the big guys **COUGH**AMAZON**COUGH** a run for their money.

As interesting as it may be, DreamObjects is really just the first chapter of a larger body of work. We call chapter two "DreamCompute".

DreamCompute - The Wait has Begun!

DreamHost has just announced yet *another* cloud service called DreamCompute! We made the announcement this week at the fall OpenStack Design Summit because, well, DreamCompute is using OpenStack technology!

DreamHost Introduces DreamCompute Public Cloud Computing Service

DreamCompute is the essence of what many people think of when they hear the phrase "cloud computing". Imagine a virtual server - one that you can create or destroy at a moment's notice, and one that's not limited by the capacity of a single piece of hardware. That's DreamCompute.

At its core, DreamCompute is held up by three central pillars - compute, network, and storage - the bare essentials of what makes a server a server. At least, that's what's left when you strip away all that extra business like "hardware" and "electricity".

I'm about to get a little technical on you here, so try to keep up.

You can think of the "compute" pillar as a virtual CPU. Compute is based on the concept of server instances, and each instance is created as a copy of a virtual image or "flavor" of virtual hardware. Flavors define the amount of resources allocated to any virtual machine. Flavors can be simple like ant or strong like bear, and can be spun up or down as the need arises.

Network services to these virtual machines are provided through a combination of OpenStack's Quantum network service, Nicira's Network Virtualization Platform, and a little something we've developed in-house called Akanda - it's something that allows virtual networks to talk to each other.

Storage for DreamCompute is handled by Ceph on the back-end. You probably saw that one coming, though.

Ceph.com

Ceph is the distributed, open-source file system that was born within DreamHost and is kind of its own person now (inktank.com). Ceph also serves as the foundation for DreamObjects, so yeah. Why reinvent the wheel?

DreamCompute just entered limited beta, and if your eyes haven't glazed over after reading all that jargon above, then I suspect you might like to get in on that hot, hot virtual computing action.

Sign up now to throw your name in the hat and we'll contact you when a space opens up!

DreamHost.com: DreamCompute

Remember when virtual reality was a thing? With those big headsets and gloves and all that? That was so dumb!

Virtual computing on the other hand is NOT dumb, and I know this because people who get excited about it include IT managers with big budgets.

The only people who ever got excited about virtual reality were burnout hippies with trust funds that let them buy all that gear.

And Wired magazine.

Call for Content!

We have something fun up our sleeves for the DreamHost Community and we can't wait for you to see it.

Before our project makes its public debut we're looking for a group of volunteers to help us make it happen.

We want to hear from smart folks who can offer tips, tricks and inspiration to our rapidly growing community of software and app developers, designers and entrepreneurs.

You'll have the opportunity to share your knowledge on a new DreamHost community platform that we're keeping very hush-hush for now, so please don't tell anyone.

If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, just fill out this form to let us know!

DreamHost Community Interest Form

Our team of editors will work with you to help get what's in your head out of there and onto a computer screen. We will not use guns, clubs, or anything other than encouraging words to make that happen. Promise.

For a better chance of being published in the first batch of content pieces, please fill the form out this week!

Live Chat for VPS is now FREE!

If you've added the Premium Support option to your account, *or* if you've got a Dedicated server on your account, you may have taken advantage of our "Live Chat" option for receiving technical support in the past.

Whelp, we've got great news for DreamHost VPS customers today - live chat is now a standard part of our VPS offering and no longer requires an additional fee!

Premium Support ($9.95/month) remains an option if you'd like to add telephone callback support to your account - but why would you? Chatting online is much more convenient, and it's easier for you to be angry at us when you can't hear the empathy in our voices!

Live chat is staffed by the exact same talented in-house tech support team that handles all of your support emails. What that means for you is that the people you'll be chatting with are fully empowered to assist you with just about anything and won't simply "escalate" simple problems to someone smarter - because no one smarter EXISTS!

At any other hosting company, our front line tech support staff would be considered junior level system administrators.

At any other hosting company, THEIR front line tech support would be considered prodigious droolers.

New Features from CloudFlare!

You can supercharge and accelerate your DreamHost-hosted sites with CloudFlare, COMPLETELY free of charge!

That's actually not news.

You've been able to do that for months.

CloudFlare on DreamHost

While the free CloudFlare service tier remains unchanged and is still as nifty as ever, the DreamHost-exclusive paid upgrade option just got a little sweeter. Your $9.95/month for "CloudFlare Plus" now adds three groovy new features: CloudFlare Polish, Mirage, and Lazy Loading.

"CloudFlare Polish" automatically optimizes and compresses your site's images with both lossy and lossless options. Lossless mode compresses images on average 21%, and if you're willing to sacrifice a teensy bit of visual quality, lossy mode can shrink your image filesizes by an average of 48%! Why take the time to learn PhotoShop when you could just check off a few boxes in your web panel and immediately reap the benefits of web-optimized images? And, geez, PhotoShop is still $700? Adobe can suck it.

"Lazy Loading" puts loading priority on the images that are actually in the user's viewport so those load first. Images outside the viewport are only loaded when needed, so if users never bother scrolling down to see them, needless transfer of data is prevented.

"CloudFlare Mirage" will pre-scale large images down before sending them for display on devices like mobile phones that contain smaller browser viewports. This makes mobile browsing even faster and ensures that full image data is only presented on displays big enough to handle their girth!

To enable any or all of these features on any of your CloudFlare Plus- enabled domains, visit the "Domains/Manage Domains" section of your DreamHost control panel, and click to "Edit" the web hosting for any of them.

DreamHost Web Panel: Domains/Manage Domains

You can toggle any of these new features on or off at a moment's notice, so if you're not happy with the results, relief is just a click away.

DreamHost WTF: mod_pagespeed

What's That Feature? It's mod_pagespeed!

While we're on the subject of cool free tools that make your website load faster, we should also mention mod_pagespeed.

Google did something incredible this month that shocked a lot of people: They took the "beta" tag OFF of one of their web projects.

Google Developers Blog: mod_pagespeed, now out of Beta

mod_pagespeed is a module for Apache, the software that we use to power all of our web servers. Google created and maintains mod_pagespeed, providing it free of charge to anyone who shares their vision of making the web faster.

mod_pagespeed works with Apache and the Devil himself to automatically optimize code and images on your websites using a large array of tricks and clever rewrites to speed things along.

We loved mod_pagespeed when we first heard about it and added it to our core service offerings in 2010, less than 24 hours after Google unleashed it upon an unsuspecting Internet.

To enable mod_pagespeed, visit the "Domains/Manage Domains" section of your web panel:

DreamHost Web Panel: Domains/Manage Domains

Locate any domain that's being "Fully Hosted" in the "Web Hosting" column and click the "Edit" button beneath it.

Click the checkbox to enable "Page Speed Optimization," submit your changes, and you're in business!

Within minutes your sites will be turbo charged using the latest in not-beta technology.

And, just like CloudFlare, if you're not happy with the results you can un-check the box to disable mod_pagespeed immediately. But don't worry, that won't happen. A quick search on google.com turns up thousands of happy endings, so they know a thing or two about leaving people smiling and satisfied.

DHSOTMs

The DreamHost Site Of The Month is a coveted title reserved for a select few DreamHost customers who have proven themselves to be excellent content creators and/or masters of gaming the voting system. Either way, we figure they've earned some recognition.

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

The winner in the OVERALL, STRUCTURE, and ORIGINALITY categories is:
I will never use Comic Sans again
"Student project. The site is an experiment on the Google Web Fonts using only HTML/CSS/JS, without raster graphics and flash."

http://www.futurewithoutcomicsans.com/

Tain't much to look at here.

The winner in the CONTENT and DESIGN categories is...
Mikota Photography
"An artistic and professional Photographer in Napa and Sonoma County as well as Southern Oregon."

http://www.mikotaphotography.com/

Looking at professional photos is like getting an eyeball massage. I could do it all day long.

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.)

Nice work, everyone!

DreamHost Web Panel: DHSOTM

Privacy Policy Updates

'Round these parts, customer privacy is super serious business.

We've made some very minor changes in wording to our customer privacy policy recently to reflect the simple truth that we are, in fact, not living in the dark ages.

Modern web analytics exist now and they can do everything except bring Steve Jobs back from the dead. Didn't stop them from trying, though.

DreamHost Privacy Policy

Our commitment to keeping your personal contact information safe from prying eyes certainly hasn't changed - let's not get crazy here!

We're not about to sell you out, and we won't allow anyone we work with to do the same. That's the bottom line.

So shine on, all of you!

See ya next month!

See ya next month!
Brett D!

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