Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hell: Day 1

There are a lot of people not happy with DreamHost. The most notable would be the fine folks over at DreamHost Sucks. Well, now I can add my name to the long list of people.

They have had lots of network problems over the last couple of months which has caused lots of slowness, lag, and even occasional downtime. But since I used to own an ISP, I know how these things can be and I decided to stick with them since they came highly recommended from a friend.

They recently fixed all their network issues and the service did improve somewhat. The problems weren't 100% solved, but things were getting better so I was encouraged by the progress.

Then today happened.

I noticed around 11:45 this morning that I couldn't access one of my sites. Then another of my sites were down too. So I logged into their control panel to open a support ticket to see what what up. I got a response within about 10 minutes:

Reply from DreamHost (Sep 27th, 2006 - 11:54:25 / #8630191)
Re: Account Disabled / Sites Broken

Hello Andy,

Your account has been disabled due to illegal content on ftp.nameremoved.com. Apparently there were a large amount of copyrighted movies on that FTP server, and we don't allow any customers to store copyrighted works on their webspace. There is a note on file here that I am not to re-enable your account.

If you have any further inquiries about this issue, please feel free to reply back to the ticket with your concerns.

Regards,
Christian

A large amount of copyrighted movies? I haven't uploaded any copyrighted movies. This must be a mistake. I wrote them back explaining how I felt this must be an error. I work for a record label, so I most definitely understand the importance of upholding copyright laws.

I offered up my only idea of what might have happened. Perhaps someone uploaded movies to the /incoming folder on my anonymous FTP site, which is a service DreamHost provides. If that had happened, that folder is configured to disallow downloading. The whole purpose of that configuration is to prevent the FTP site from being used as a warez repository. If I had seen movies in the /incoming folder, I would have deleted them and not made them publicly available. But again, this is only a guess as my account was disabled without notice so I have no access to know what was uploaded or where or by whom.

And what's with the "There is a note on file here that I am not to re-enable your account." comment? It makes it sound like I am a repeat offender. This is the first time my account has even been disabled, much less for a violation of the terms of services, which they have yet to prove I have violated.

I didn't get any response for a while, so I followed up again and again. Now I am just asking them for a bit more clarification as to what happened and what was the real cause for the suspension of my account.

Finally, I received a very brief response:

Reply from DreamHost (Sep 27th, 2006 - 14:31:32 / #8631063)
Re: Please respond!

Hello,

I'm sorry, but this account closure was is a decision we will not rescind under any circumstances.

Thanks!
James

What? Why?! Again, no clarification at all. And this time the response seems even more harsh. What could have been uploaded that has caused such a response from DreamHost? I have sent multiple follow-ups, but as of the writing of this post, it seems as I am just being ignored.

A couple of my friends, Julio and Jeremiah, who are also DreamHost customers, contacted them on my behalf to try to get someone to respond to my emails. Julio flat out called them "dicks" in his message and not surprisingly he was the first to get a response. They just gave him the usual yadda yadda about not being able to give out details about someone else's account, but suggested that I should appeal the suspension to abuse@dreamhost.com. So yes, I did that too.

Then tonight I decided to give them a call and leave a voicemail. For those of you that aren't familiar with DreamHost, you might be wondering why I didn't do this from the beginning. Well, it's simple. DreamHost doesn't answer the phone. They maintain an email-only contact policy, but I do know that they do occasionally check their voicemail box. So I recapped my entire experience today for whoever may hear it.

I even contacted a lawyer friend of mine who says at the very least I have legal right to my data stored on their servers, which I currently cannot access.

So that brings me to now. Still nothing. I'm still in the dark. This really is a nightmare.

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