Linode goes RAM crazy, prompts me to start considering migration.

Everyone knows about my love afair with Linux. Specificly, Gentoo. Unfortunately, it being a source-based distribution means escentially any system maintenance task–like, say, installing a new program or updating an existing one–is potentially going to be a bit of a memory hog. Hence why I started using Linode for a lot of my playing around work–they give me an environment I don’t need to worry about breaking, the tools with which to potentially break it, and a price tag that doesn’t end up breaking my wallet. And, as of yesterday, they’re handing out more memory with which to break things. Now, one of my VPS’s on Linode presently has more memory than my only VPS on DreamHost, for about the same price. Woopsies. You know what that means.

It’s once again time to consider tossing around that age old debate. To slowly move everything away from DH, or not to. That is the eternal question. I’ve been pretty happy with their overall performance for the last 5 years, moving from shared to now VPS hosting during that time–and, yes, branching out to Linode as it’s been needed. They’ve had a few network issues, and I’ve had to prod tech support in the rear end a time or two, but they’ve been decent. In comparison, I’ve almost never actually needed to talk with Linode’s tech support–most server related issues I can fix myself, and most hardware/network related issues they’re usually aware of before I am. Still, when needed, both DreamHost and Linode have been pretty quick with their assistance. Why do I still stick with DH? Simply put, the manually editing of Apache‘s configuration files. I’ve done it before, on a minor skale or two. Much more than that and I fear it may result in irreparable brain damage. Similarly, setting up and maintaining an email system is probably second most likely to give me brain damage–even if I do decide to go with Postfix and have a pretty semi-nifty solution to the general, day to day administering of things like creating new users, etc. I could, presumedly, just let Google Apps handle email, but there’s something to be said about actually being able to control a semi-important system like that myself. And, if I did move entirely self-hosted, I’d probably want that.

So, while I figure out if and/or when I should start this whole migrating to my own server thing, I fully intend to take complete advantage of the extra memory being dumped on me by one of my awesome hosts. Which means those folks I’m currently hosting on one of those servers? Yeah, I’m looking at you. You’re about to get a performance boost. Happy 7th birthday, Linode. Even if it is a day late and a dollar short.

DreamHost is the best, according to Lifehacker. I agree.

DreamHost and I have had our share of issues in the past–mostly related to network difficulties. But, they did hand over a discount for the server this very website’s sitting on, so consider balance restored. And now, confirming I’m not the only one with mostly positive experiences with the company, readers of Lifehacker have officially voted DH the best web host. Of this, I approve. Now, DH, just fix your network and we’ll be sittin’ pretty. Deal?

Hey, DH? You sold me already.

I don’t get a chance to check my email very often while I’m over at my parents’ place, where I’ve been since yesterday. But, I did get a chance to check it tonight. And this little surprise, from they who host this blog, was waiting for me. Now, keep in mind, the service they’re offering? I’ve been using it since October or November or so.

Hey again James!

Last week we again sent you an email inviting you to try our still-new
DreamHost PS (Private Servers) and/or our DreamHost PS MySQL service!
But again it looks like you never checked it out at:

Nor did you choose to sign up by visiting:

Well, it’s hard for us to understand how you couldn’t give it a shot for
just $10/month (66% off). But not impossible for us to believe. What’s
IMPOSSIBLE for us to believe is if you don’t take advantage of this, our
final and greatest offer!

$10/month off.. forever. That’s 100MB free.. meaning you can get your
very own Private Server with 150MB of ram for just FIVE dollars a month!

The main advantages of DreamHost PS are:

* You get full ROOT access .. complete control to run whatever you’d like!
* You get your own PROTECTED system resources for improved stability!
* You get included unlimited live chat support!
* You get increased performance via lighttpd, nginx and PHP caching!
* You can scale your resources on the fly, and reboot your own PS!
* It’s currently only +$10/month for every 100MB of memory. ($10 off!)
* It’s a completely seamless transition from our regular shared hosting!

You can also sign up for DreamHost PS MySQL, which is just like PS but
for your databases. If you get both PS and PS MySQL, you get another 20%
off both, forever!

Now, this is really our final final offer. And, it expires one week from
today (by 2010-02-13) .. sign up and we’ll be able to provision you

Thanks one final time,
The Happy DreamHost Evite Team!

P.S. If you’d prefer not to be notified by email in the future should
you be given any more invitations, please visit our contact preferences
page here:

And select to not receive “DreamHost Promotions” anymore!

I giggled a little. I snickered. And then, I wrote this reply.

I’m already signed up with your PS plan. Not that I don’t want to keep receiving discount offers, but I only need one and well, I have it. Can I still have
the discount, though?

Think I’ll get it? Yeah, I didn’t think so either. But maybe they’ll update their database to stop trying to sell it to me. Since, you know, I bought it the first time.

Update: I’m big enough to admit when I’m wrong.


Thanks for writing in! I went ahead and increased your subsidy from $5 to
$10. That gives you 66% off (if you allocate 150mb of memory at

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Dan G =]

DreamHost Support Team +

Sometimes, I really love this web host. Also, gotta respect the root access.

DreamHost, we need to talk. Now.

I get that you’ve yet to actually meet your quota for network failures this year. And, I get that you’re running out of time to do so. But that doesn’t mean you should, while I’m in the middle of doing something to this or any number of sites/features/services I run on the server, decide to randomly and partially crap out so everything but the site/service/feature I’m currently working on stays up. That’s a really really good way to piss a geek off. Now, if you’d like to stay up and actually working for more than 2 weeks, I might not feel so dirty paying you the $19 or so you ask me to pay on a monthly basis. Can we talk about maybe possibly doing that now? Or am I just gonna have to play baseball with a tech support person’s head? I can do that too, if necessary. And if stability doesn’t start becoming a priority here, it might just end up being necessary. I’d hate to have to contemplate moving… I just got things set up the way I like it, mostly. At least until next month.

An open letter to DreamHost.

Dear DH,

I happened to be up during the night for unrelated reasons, and just so happened to be walking past the computer to take care of a thing or two. In so doing, I couldn’t help but notice the tell-tail signs of a severe breakage not entirely unlike one we here at the geek in training household experienced last week. And about 3 or 4 times before that. Your website was toast, my blog was toast, email was toast, your network was probably toast.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know first hand shit happens. Networks will take a dive. Hardware goes bork, and all manner of hell breaks loose. But 5 times at least in a month? And after you released yet another fluffy newsletter escentially saying these kinds of problems should be behind us? Not cool, DH. So uncool. You’re driving me closer and closer to the point of actually wanting to endure the required brain damage to actually configure, fire up, and test, before using, a web and email solution powered by the unmanaged VPS’s over at Linode. I’d really rather not, you understand. But if you keep leaving me no choice, I’m gonna have to split. My network at home stays up longer than you folks have this month. Now, please, by all means, fix your shit for good. Moving this much crap over to another server, even one managed by me, will be a bitch. Do not force me to do so. You really do not want to force me to do so.

No love,

PS: Your overly perky and way too optimistic newsletter could use some work. I only bought it for about a minute and a half. And wanted a refund when your network crapped again.

When your network takes a crap, and takes your email with it.

At some point during the night last night, and rather inconveniently after Jessica and I had run off to bed and so I couldn’t immediately determine that it was a network issue, this blog, a rarely updated–and, in fact, rather neglected for a couple weeks–political blog, and our email among other things, decided to take a rather gigantic crap on our front lawn. The first ever self-hosted version of the blog–link’s over there in the right sidebar–was started on this network, hosted by DreamHost, in January of 2006. Since then, I’ve always had something going over here. If not a blog, then some little utility or web app I was playing around with just because I can. Or a forum I was testing for one of the RP projects I’m either involved in or dedicating resources to. So I’ve been with them a while.

In that time, I think I’ve only ever really personally encountered… maybe 4 major, “OMG I can’t access a thing” type failures. It may, in fact, even be less than 4. So when I woke up to a screen full of “can’t connect” messages (thanks, Outlook), I was more than a little bit surprised–albeit temporarily. And, admittedly, more than a little bit frustrated–emails I should have received overnight hadn’t actually hit my mailbox yet. Once I managed to get my end of the cleanup out of the way, though, I started looking into something I hadn’t really looked at since, well, the last time DreamHost’s network went and crapped out.

I’ve been eyeing on and off, usually while the blog etc is offline, the idea of moving most if not all of my various outlets fully away from a managed environment. I’ve been running the DH VPS for a few months now, plus I’ve been running two of my own, unmanaged VPS’s for a couple years. Mostly, it’s been a sort of learning environment for me–see how many different ways I can break the system, then reinstall it, and start all over again. And yet, every time something like this happens, I always toss around the idea for a few days of actually expanding my knowledge overall of the Linux environment, and at the same time put into development my own email, and possibly web, solution–one independant from any particular web host. But I never actually get around to doing that.

I’ve done much of the actual research already–the most likely candidate for when I actually decide to take that leap will probably end up being one that centers around Postfix and MySQL, now I just need to find the energy, motivation, and maybe get frustrated enough with my current setup that I finally just say screw it and go with it. It’s probably gonna suck, but at least then I’ll be able to actually figure out for myself what’s up and died on me. Meanwhile, hey, DH, can we get a more stable network please? I really don’t like being forced into considering enduring the necessary brain damage to actually set something like that up. At least not at such a young age.