Troubleshooting an Error when Installing Craft on DreamHost

If you’re trying to install Craft on a DreamHost shared hosting account and keep getting the "Oops" screen before it finishes, you’re not alone.

Craft’s install process usually takes anywhere between 10-20 seconds on the vast majority of server configurations. But for whatever reason, Craft’s SQL queries can take 15-20 times longer on some DreamHost shared hosting servers. When this occurs, PHP will generally time out, resulting in an incomplete Craft installation.

You can try contacting DreamHost and explain to them what you’re seeing. We’ve seen some occurrences where they will “fix” your shared hosting MySQL instance and speed up the queries, but more often than not, they’ll request that you move to a dedicated VPS plan.

Alternatively, enabling SSH access will allow you to run the installer from the command line:

cd path/to/project
php craft install

While this won’t necessarily speed up the process (you’re still dealing with the same database), it should circumvent the max_execution_time imposed for HTTP requests.

To check the configured value, run:

php -i | grep max_execution_time
# -> max_execution_time => 0 => 0

Applies to Craft CMS 3 and Craft CMS 2.