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Phusion Passenger and Dreamhost

By Ninh Bui on May 20th, 2008

Hi guys (and girls),

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably gotten the lowdown on Phusion Passenger being used by Dreamhost. Needless to say, we’re thrilled about the number of people now being able to painlessly deploy their applications using Phusion Passenger. However, we’d like to take this opportunity to clear a few things up.

Firstly, we’ve received a lot of questions of you guys on if Dreamhost is sponsoring the development of Passenger or have financially compensated us for the support that we’ve provided. The answer to this question is no, instead, they’ve done something that we believe was just as important for us as developers: test our product in a large, live shared hosting environment. Fortunately, you guys seem to have been more than favorable in testing Phusion Passenger and through your feedback, allowed us to streamline our solution to deployment even more. Thank you for this!

Secondly, we’d like to reiterate that the support forums of Phusion Passenger are SOLELY for Phusion Passenger. We’ve received a fair amount of questions that were related to Dreamhost as well, and we’d like to kindly redirect those people to Dreamhost’s support department.

By now, you should have probably already inferred that commercial support isn’t something that is going to ensure Phusion Passenger’s future development alone as it seems little to no support is required for a product that is pretty much self explanatory and which already enjoys excellent community support: hmmm, maybe we should remove the forums and installer in a future version 😉

All kidding aside though, what is going to ensure Phusion Passenger’s future development is the people who develop and use it, both of which you guys can help out with by donating time and effort. From this, it should become apparent that we’re grateful for any kind of donation you can come up with in supporting Phusion Passenger. This includes feedback, patches and of course, monetary donations (but only do this if you think the product is worth it).

The latter perhaps requires a little bit more elaboration. A common misconception seems to be that open source is entirely “free of charge”, but we think this only holds true for someone if he or she decides it should be so. Open source is being paid for in terms of time and effort, and from our side, as a company, that translates to allocating human resources for development and support. Needless to say, this also translates to finances and we’ve done a fair amount of this in the past and will continue to do so in the future, but are also dependent of your efforts in this as well!

Thanks for the love people!

Hongli Lai
Ninh Bui

  • For what it’s worth, I’m in the process of switching from Linode to Dreamhost because of this. My sites run faster under Dreamhost’s Passenger setup than they do on my Linode VPS, and I’ll be saving $20 a month. Thanks, Phusion and Dreamhost!

  • K

    Nat, having been a Dreamhost customer, I’d say don’t do it, you will live to regret it if you depend on your site staying up. Dreamhost is great for messing around and test sites, and obviously great value, but cannot compare with your own server (or VPS) for uptime. Your site will be down several times a month for periods of hours, with only retrospective explanations. See their status pages and blog for details of frequent downtime.

    I wouldn’t normally criticise a hosting provider like this on someone else’s site, but Dreamhost has been a very bad experience for me (and others) over the last couple of years, serving simple static sites, not even rails ones. Their infrastructure is not reliable because there are too many people on each server. Support is always friendly and reasonably prompt, but that doesn’t help with the service.

    Re Passenger, this is a great move for them, but I think if you want to run a reliable site, rather than experiment, you’re better off paying a little more for hosting.

  • I’ve been with DreamHost for a few years now – no problems at all! Just enabled passenger on my sites – looks like it now uses less memory (I’m on PS). 🙂

  • sp

    Anyone know what version of mod_rails DH (shared hosting) runs? Can I run rack and/or Merb apps on DH yet, which is a feature of mod_rails 2.x, right?

  • @sp:
    Please consult DH for what version they are currently running. As for Rack, this is indeed supported by Passenger 2.x and you can run your Merb apps on Passenger through Rack.

  • I’ve written a wiki entry for the DreamHost support wiki that gives detailed updated instructions for Installing Merb 1.0 at DreamHost with Passenger.