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DreamHost vs BlueHost

with one comment

I’ve been thinking about switching from DreamHost to BlueHost. My main reason is price: I’m paying around $10/$9/$8 per month (1/2/3 year term respectively). However, I’ve come across a coupon that causes BlueHost to charge me $5/$4/$4 per month (1/2/3 year term respectively). My DreamHost term expires in June, so I’ll need to either pay month-to-month or sign up for another year.

My difficulty with BlueHost is that you need to pay up-front: there’s no free trial term. I want to lock in this cheap hosting for as long as I can (3 years preferably), and BlueHost will reimburse you if you quit early. But I want to make sure I don’t regret the time I spend switching hosts—and I definitely don’t want to have to undo all my changes sometime in the future. If anyone has any experience with both DreamHost and BlueHost, let me know (in the comments for this post).

Here’s a comparison with the services I’d be interested in:

Service DreamHost BlueHost
WordPress YES YES
SSH YES YES (but 1 account)
ZenPhoto YES YES
Backup Space YES NO
SSH tunneling YES ?
Mail Filtering SORT OF SORT OF ?
HTTP-SVN (SyncPlaces) YES NO
SSL YES $4/month YES $2.50/month
IkiWiki NO NO ?

The “SORT OF” entry under Mail Filtering isn’t merely a pun: I just mean that both hosts provide mail filtering, but they don’t (for example) do custom sieve scripts.

Between DreamHost and BlueHost, the main difference is in off-site backups. BlueHost does not provide them, so I’d have to continue paying Amazon. (I use Jungle Disk’s interface to Amazon S3.) This isn’t so bad: Jungle Disk’s solution is set-and-forget, with very little intervention required. If I decided to use the FTP space that DreamHost provides, I’d probably go with manent. I haven’t tried it in a while, but it looks really good, and they’ve just added a Windows installer.

For SSL, BlueHost is better since they offer a shared SSL site and they offer unique IP’s (required for SSL) for cheaper than DreamHost. I don’t know if BlueHost provides SSH tunnelling. However, if I can use SSL, I don’t need it (I use SSH tunnelling to secure my HTTP traffic.)

I’ll probably stick with DreamHost for now. But, I’ll continue to obsess over BlueHost. If anyone has any information to tip me in either direction, I’d be relieved to hear it.

Written by PoojanWagh

May 30th, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Posted in Web

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

Laconica on DreamHost

with 4 comments

I got a laconica install going on DreamHost. I’ve been able to post from the web, but I’ve found that posting from email won’t work with DreamHost. The jury is still out on posting from Jabber, but I’m optimistic. I’ll update this post when I know more.

I was able to get notifications of new posts via email. I’m not sure if that’s useful. In my opinion, notifying from email is equivalent to a discussion group or mailing list.

Gimmesoda automatic script

I created a new domain and MySQL database/user using dreamhost panel.

Then, ran http://www.gimmesoda.com/2008/07/18/another-laconica-easy-install-script-update/ to install into ~/laconica.domain.tld

This actually worked! Except, its seems to be an older version of laconica. At minimum, it was useful for getting custom pear (right?).

Following Laconica README

Decided to download latest darcs copy. Moved the gimmesoda-install from ~/laconica.domain.tld to a laconica.domain.tld.bak directory and then downloaded the darcs copy using:

darcs get --partial http://laconi.ca/darcs/ laconica.domain.tld

Then, deleted database and re-created database called la_db (& MySQL user la_sqluser) using DreamHost control panel. Now, following README:

mysql -u la_sqluser -p -h mysql.domain.tld la_db < domain.tld/db/laconica.sql

Check to make sure:

[gorgon]$  mysql -u la_sqluser -p -h mysql.domain.tld la_db
Enter password:
Reading table information for completion of table and column names
You can turn off this feature to get a quicker startup with -A
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 3326653
Server version: 5.0.67-log MySQL Community Server (GPL)
Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the buffer.
| Tables_in_la_db      |
| avatar               |
| confirm_address      |
| consumer             |
| fave                 |
| foreign_link         |
| foreign_service      |
| foreign_subscription |
| foreign_user         |
| invitation           |
| message              |
| nonce                |
| notice               |
| notice_source        |
| notice_tag           |
| oid_associations     |
| oid_nonces           |
| profile              |
| queue_item           |
| remember_me          |
| remote_profile       |
| reply                |
| sms_carrier          |
| subscription         |
| token                |
| user                 |
| user_openid          |
26 rows in set (0.00 sec)

Skipped user access, since mysql user should already have access. Found one more thing to do:

cd domain.tld/classes
cp laconica.ini la_db.ini

The .ini file needs to be the same name as the MySQL database name.

The above gave me basic functionality. I then tackled the following:

Pretty URL

Changed the config[‘fancy’] option to true. I then copied htaccess.sample to .htaccess (within ~/laconica.domain.tld). I then edited .htaccess and changed the line:

RewriteBase /mublog/

to be

RewriteBase /

I have to do this because .htaccess sits in the same directory in which I installed laconica.


I set up a new email address at laconica@laconica.domain.tld. I specified the following in the config.php file:

#Email info, used for all outbound email
$config['mail']['notifyfrom'] = 'laconica@laconica.domain.tld';
$config['mail']['domain'] = 'laconica.domain.tld';
# See http://pear.php.net/manual/en/package.mail.mail.factory.php for options
$config['mail']['backend'] = 'smtp';
$config['mail']['params'] = array(
                                                        'host' => 'mail.laconica.domain.tld',
                                                        'port' => 25,
                                                        'auth' => true,
                                                        'username' => 'laconica@laconica.domain.tld',
                                                        'password' => 'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx'
#For incoming email, if enabled. Defaults to site server name.
#$config['mail']['domain'] = 'incoming.example.net';

Note that that last (commented) line is redundant. Unfortunately, posting by email won’t work. What needs to happen is a php script needs to get executed upon receipt of an email. This can’t happen, because DreamHost doesn’t support email addresses being tied to UNIX accounts. I’d like to disable the laconica “Post by email” feature altogether, but I’m not sure how.


One nice feature with DreamHost is that you can host your own Jabber accounts. I set up a custom-hosted Jabber account laconica@laconica.domain.tld for a post/notify bot. It hasn’t activated yet, so I have no confirmation on whether it works. Anyway, here are the changes to config.php:

# xmpp
$config[‘xmpp’][‘enabled’] = true;
$config[‘xmpp’][‘server’] = ‘laconica.domain.tld’;
#$config[‘xmpp’][‘host’] = NULL;        # Only set if different from server
$config[‘xmpp’][‘port’] = 5222;
$config[‘xmpp’][‘user’] = ‘laconica’;
$config[‘xmpp’][‘encryption’] = false;
$config[‘xmpp’][‘resource’] = ‘zzzzzzz’;
$config[‘xmpp’][‘password’] = ‘xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx’;
$config[‘xmpp’][‘public’][] = ‘laconica@laconica.domain.tld’;
#$config[‘xmpp’][‘debug’] = false;

Written by PoojanWagh

October 15th, 2008 at 7:38 am

Posted in Web

Tagged with , , , , ,

Dreamhost now includes 50GB personal backups

with 2 comments

Update 2008-09-21

I just realized that Amazon S3 is 15 cents/GB/month, not 10 cents/GB/month. So, Dreamhost (which charges 10 cents/GB/month only for space above 50 GB) is even more attractive!

In the latest DreamHost newsletter (Newsletter v10.8 August 2008):

Now, you know how we give out a LOT of disk space with our hosting? Well
technically that space is only supposed to be used for your _actual_ web
site (and email / database stuff) .. not as an online backup for your
music, pictures, videos, other servers, etc!

Well, just like every other web host does, we’ve been sort of cracking
down on that some lately, and it seems to catch some people by surprise!
Nobody likes being surprised, especially in the shower, which is where
we typically brought it up, and so now we offer a solution:

You CAN use 50GB of your disk space for backups now! The only caveat is,
it’s a separate ftp (or sftp) user on a separate server and it can’t
serve any web pages. There are also NO BACKUPS kept of THESE backups
(they should already BE your backups, not your only copy), and if you go
over 50GB, extra space is only 10 cents a GB a month (a.k.a. cheap)!

I’ve been thinking about this for months: I pay about $10/month and get 250 GB of storage (or maybe it’s double that). At the same time, I’m paying Amazon S3 (& Jugledisk Plus) to backup my files. Why can’t I use my DH space for that?

I realized the reason is that if DH allocated 250 GB per user and kept it available, they couldn’t support the $10/month price. It’s basically the law of averages. Not everyone is going to use the 250 GB, but the few that will are covered. As stated, they’ve had to crack down on people getting a little nuts and using it for personal backup.

However, it is great that they realize that there’s some leeway here. I figure that at 10 cents/GB from Amazon S3, I am saving $5/month through amazon. Plus they don’t talk about charging per GB for bandwidth (which S3 does). In addition, if I go over the 50 GB, I pay 10 cents per GB/month–which is exactly what S3 charges. (Maybe they’re using S3 for storage?).

Anyway, awesome job, Dreamhost. I clearly made the right choice in hosting provider.

P.S. Anyone know of good incremental backup software that supports FTP/SFTP?

Written by PoojanWagh

September 14th, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Web

Tagged with , , , ,