DreamHost no longer offers admin (sudo) access on DreamHost VPS instances.
This article details why this was done along with examples of how to manage your VPS without admin (sudo) access.
Why are admin users being removed?
DreamHost currently manages all private servers to provide quick and reliable updates necessary for the security and stability of the server. However, when users take server management into their own hands with the "sudo" command, it directly limits DreamHost's ability to provide a safe and reliable managed hosting environment.
How can I install software and manage my VPS without an admin user?
Most software does not need to be compiled into the operating system directly as root. You can generally install it to your home directory and run it as your non-root user. This can also be a more secure way to run these programs.
Below are a few examples with links that show how to manage your VPS without admin (sudo) access.
Changing PHP settings
PHP changes such as the following can be done using a PHP.ini file:
Installing PHP modules/tools/frameworks
PHP modules can also be installed locally. View the following for detailed examples:
What other options do I have if I need an admin user?
You could purchase a Dedicated server which allows root access. On this server you can set up a root user and install software using sudo.
Another option is that DreamHost's cloud computing service, DreamCompute, is completely unmanaged.
You can install whatever software you like on it. Don't need a web server? No problem! DreamHost provides you with a base OS install (or you can even upload your own). On this machine, you can use sudo or log in as root if you want.
DreamCompute provides the full and complete remote server control that so many DreamHost VPS users have been craving for years. View the following article for further details: