Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DreamHost: a better Google Apps choice than Google?

[Update: if you enter my promo code on signing up with DreamHost, you get $50 off your 1st year fee (max discount). The code is: KATEVA.]

Lunarpages finally pushed me over the brink.

I suspect Lunarpages is discovering the limits of an outsourcing strategy. I've seen more than one company make that mistake.

The good news is that I'm discovering greener grass at DreamHost, such as WebDav support, full control over DNS CNAME and email MX configuration, SSH/Telnet support and robust Google Apps integration.

As I've noted in prior posts, Google Apps works tolerably well when you do register your domain and sign up for the services at the same time. Google hands off the registrar function to eNom or Go Daddy and everything works. The downsides are you don't have unified management of your domains and you're limited to what Google offers. Meaning no real file management.

On other hand, Google Apps can be pretty frustrating when you try to use a domain held by, say, Lunarpages. The MX and CNAME configuration is complex, and when something breaks there's no-one who owns the problem.

From what I see of DreamHost, it looks like the best of both worlds. Every domain, even the throwaway "dreamhoster" domain I'm using for initial setup, can have a companion Google Apps service. So you get consolidated domain ownership through DreamHost (they're a registrar as well as a hosting service), Google Apps functionality, and file services.

I'll update this post as I learn more during my upcoming domain migrations.

Update 8/30/08:

There are two ways to configure your companion Google Apps with Dreamhost

  1. optimal: In this case and resolve to the files you host at DreamHost. Calendar, docs, mail, sites, and start map via CNAME to You can't change these CNAME values. You can add new ones, but these are fixed.
  2. Google Apps only: and resolve as controlled by Google Apps; there's no real role for DreamHost file hosting. DreamHost assigns fixed, non-editable, CNAME values for calendar, docs, sites, start and www and configures email for Google Apps. Unlike Google's usual Google Apps registrars (eNom for example), you can't change these settings. So if you prefer "wiki" to sites there will still be a CNAME for sites.

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