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Meet the author:
Jill Olkoski

Jill has a MA in Clinical Psychology, a BS in Computer Science, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

She currently owns Aldebaran Web Design in Edmonds (near Seattle WA) and enjoys educating her clients on topics related to small business website design.

In Jill's previous life, she spent 17 years in the engineering and quality organizations of a Fortune 100 tech company.


Goodbye Dreamhost, Hello BlueHost

November 8th, 2012

After being with DreamHost for over six years, I’ve moved my website and nearly 50 clients to BlueHost. Even though I had been a loyal DreamHost customer, and sent them many new hosting clients, they were not so supportive after they made a change that disabled many of my clients’ contact forms. Their response was simply unacceptable, and so the exodus began. The story is below:

On one day in mid August, I was working on a new website and discovered that the contact form script I had been using since 2006 was not working. I contacted DreamHost (mind you, no easy feat as they don’t have phone or consistent live chat support) and they sent me an article posted on their website that said they had initiated a change to prevent spam in April. This article was not sent out to customers, it was posted on an obscure section of their website. It said this change would impact mail scripts, and indeed the comments below this article were full of angry DreamHost clients – and then they had an update to the article that said they were rescinding the change.

So was the change made or not? And if DreamHost made this change, how was it impacting my clients and what did I need to do to fix their contact forms if they were broken. After a half dozen support tickets, all answered by a different person, gave me a variety of answers, many in direct conflict with each other, I requested a call back. This is the only way you can talk to a real live person.

First DreamHost called at the wrong time. Then they called when I was here, at my requested time. A woman said the change had been implemented in April, and it was a rolling change, and she told me how to fix any broken contact forms. She said she was “sorry” that this happened – but would not agree to notify DreamHost customers of this or any future changes, or offer us any compensation, or even promise this wouldn’t happen again. Wow.

So I went on a week-long binge, notifying all my clients, testing their contact forms, and when they failed, implementing the code fix. Then I went back and changed ALL client contact forms. All of this at my own expense, because I thought it was the right thing to do.

When this was done, I went back to DreamHost one last time, and asked them if they intended to inform customers about these kind of changes in the future – they said only via their website – and oh, yes, we did say the change was pulled back, but it wasn’t, and we just neglected to keep our website up to date. Great. Now I had no choice, I had to find another hosting company because a working contact form is vital.

After creating a big spreadsheet of all the features I wanted in a new hosting company, and then interviewing them one by one, I decided to move to BlueHost. I moved my own website first. Then I moved a few select clients. Then once I was sure that all was working, I sent out an announcement to my clients that I had moved and they were welcome to join me.

Although this was a very painful experience for me and my clients, we have been just delighted to be at a hosting company that has 24/7 phone support with people who are in the United States, and who was delighted to have our business. BlueHost helped me with the transition by walking my clients through how to setup their Outlook accounts to retrieve their BlueHost email – Nice!  I now recommend BlueHost to all my clients, both new and old:

J. Olkoski
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.

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