When I moved this blog to Dreamhost, it was a decision more about features than about uptime/reliability – after all, Dreamhost has had their share of complaints in that area – and so far it’s been Good Enough, and indeed gotten better, in the time I’ve been here. But the main reasons I moved were support for Rails (which I still have yet to take advantage of), support for PHP5 without .htaccess hacks, SSH shell access (my old host had this too, but point is, I didn’t want to give it up), and a better-designed web control panel.

Anyway, as I recently joined the band Why Make Clocks and am a web applications developer by day, the job fell to me to come up with a new web site for the band. Until now, the site has been mainly static html that Dan updates by editing the files in the “File Manager” area of the control panel for the hosting account, which I think he’s has since like ‘99, and gave me the password to in order to work on the site.

It turns out the host doesn’t support SSH access. I personally consider this a crucial feature, but admittedly I haven’t done a ton of shopping around for hosts… a little asking around at work and I’m told that apparently this is really quite common. The majority of shared-hosting joints don’t provide SSH, preferring their customers to work on their site through a combination of FTP and a usually-poorly-designed web interface. Not only does this suck, it strikes me as less secure. At least, for me and my data…

Does anyone know why most hosting companies do this? I wasn’t aware it was so common.

Update/clarification: by shells, i mean, including jailed shells. Just something that lets me manage the files and databases on my little corner of the server, not lets me go tromping all over the server willy-nilly, obviously; I understand the potential problems with that.

Charlie Schiz

Charlie Schiz
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. I've been weird all my life. It's my time to shine.

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