DreamHost Private Server “So, DreamHost has started their own Virtual Private Server hosting business.”

“You kidding?!”

“Yes, it is true!”

From DreamHost Blog’s latest entry, What a CON!, where Josh Jones has again done what he does best — humiliating the whole HostingCon, companies such as Lunarpages, HostGator, Tier 1 Research and OpenHosting. Very enjoyable read for an otherwise boring Friday afternoon.

DreamHost Private Server Homepage DreamHost has also used this opportunity to introduce their latest project — DreamHost Private Server, a Linux VServer based VPS hosting that

  • By invitation only currently.
  • Currently charges $0.1/month for 1MB RAM and 1MHz guaranteed CPU time, scaling from 150MB to 2,300MB.
  • 4 Core 2.3GHz Opterons with 4GB RAM on physical server.
  • Adding/removing resources can be done on the fly from DreamHost control panel, and billing will be adjusted accordingly.
  • Bandwidth and storage comes from your DreamHost shared hosting account, starting from $7.95/month (unless promo code is used)
  • Customised Debian Linux with exactly the same setup as other DreamHost web servers.
  • Use shared MySQL server, DNS, load balanced email and mailing list servers.
  • NO ROOT ACCESS.

It is an interesting but weird product — way too different from other hosts selling Virtuozzo/Xen VPS as a separate product. Without root access, what it gives you is basically:

  1. Guaranteed resource for your Apache server/PHP processes/FastCGI processes.
  2. Long-running persistent long process binding on unprivileged port.
  3. Managed environment like the rest of DreamHost servers.
  4. Utility-computing like scalability where you can alter the size depending on the current load, and pay accordingly.

I.e. a “managed semi-dedicated shared hosting”. It does not feel “fitting” with what market VPS is for (or what I think VPS is for), where users get full administrator access. It does not feel fitting with the grid/cluster/utility computing crowd either, as the most you can scale up is half an Opteron server.

What is it for?

Shared Hosting Customers — I guess it might be useful for DreamHost’s current shared hosting customers, especially those with a growing website that does not warrant a full dedicated box yet. You get the same familiar control panel interface. Just throw your sites in, adjust the resource allocation, and hopefully DreamHost will take care the rest.

Dedicated/VPS Customers — I think it really depends on why you get a dedicated/VPS in the first place. If you need the control? Then I do not think DreamHost Private Server fits in. You don’t have root access, which means you can’t control things like Apache configuration, web server program, firewall configuration, bootstrap services, etc. That pretty much limits what sort of sites you can host.

However if you bought into this dedicated/VPS thing because your previous shared hosting provider kicked you out for over-utilising CPU/memory resources, then moving to DreamHost PS might be an alternative. I still think a cluster approach makes more sense though.

Will you use a DreamHost Private Server? I won’t. I still cannot get around the idea of getting a private server without the administrator access. Obviously DreamHost has done enough market research to determine feasibility before pushing out a new product. Except I don’t get it.

Update: I have just signed up the waiting list for a DreamHost PS. I’ll see how it goes.