Ten out of 10
|Plans||VPS, WordPress, Shared, Dedicated|
|Data Centers||California/US & Virginia/US|
|Support||Forum, Help Desk, Knowledge Base & Social Media|
|Uptime||Excellent (100% in the past 6 months).|
|Guarantees||Uptime and 97-Day|
|Migration is free|
|Best for||Web Designers & Small Businesses|
|Strengths||Low cost and decent performance|
|Weaknesses||Support for Small Businesses|
|Promotion||Shared web hosting starting at $2.59/mo|
What is DreamHost?
DreamHost is one the most well-known and established hosting companies online. They’ve been in business since 1997, which is a positive digital milestone. Today they serve over 1.5 million websites and 400,000 customers around the world.
They are employee-owned and independent (i.e. they are not another Newfold Digital or GoDaddy company). They have been a long-standing supporter of open source software and community-built software, such as WordPress.
DreamHost offers all types of hosting options, from shared (most common) through VPS to Cloud and even a specialized WordPress offering with additional services such as email management and domain management.
However, being older and employee-owned does not mean that they are the best fit. DreamHost’s shared hosting plan was something I tried out while moving one of my side projects from an old HostGator virtual private server.
Here is my DreamHost Hosting review. It includes the pros and cons of DreamHost Hosting as well as direct comparisons with competitors. This is based on my own experience as a customer.
Shared Hosting Plans
|Plan||Shared Starter||Shared Unlimited|
|No cost domain name||1 Year||1 Year|
* Prices per month for a 36-month subscription
DreamHost shared hosting
Managed WordPress Plans
|Plan||DreamPress||DreamPress Plus||DreamPress Pro|
|Storage||30 GB||60 GB||120 GB|
|No cost domain name||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
* Prices per month for 12-month subscription
DreamHost Managed WordPress
Alternatives to DreamHost
Here’s how DreamHost compares to the top web hosts I have used as a consultant or customer.
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DreamHost vs. HostGator
HostGator is a well-known brand online. They have helped me with many of my personal projects.
They beat DreamHost in pricing, especially if you need only one website. Based on my tests, they also outperform DreamHost in terms of performance. HostGator uses cPanel as a backend. However, it does have some cluttering ads.
Newfold Digital also owns HostGator – a large hosting company with average customer support. It all depends on your priorities. DreamHost is good if you prefer independent companies.
HostGator will save you money if you don’t care – check out their plans.
GoDaddy vs. DreamHost
GoDaddy is the dominant brand in the domain/hosting business. They haven’t improved much since 2013 (see my GoDaddy review, and comparison with Namecheap).
DreamHost is better on short-term pricing. DreamHost offers better performance and an overall better experience. If you’re not comfortable with GoDaddy, I would recommend DreamHost.
GoDaddy has many plans.
Bluehost vs. DreamHost
Bluehost is a sister brand of HostGator owned by Endurance International. They have been a top choice for hosting that is affordable for a long time. They recently changed their plans and services to their disadvantage.
BlueHost falls to DreamHost in overall pricing. However, BlueHost still has a better backend and phone support. There are also cheaper plans for smaller websites.
Bluehost has many plans.
SiteGround vs. DreamHost
SiteGround is an independent hosting company that is growing fast.
They are located in Bulgaria, but offer excellent service worldwide. They offer better performance and customer service with more options.
SiteGround is also more expensive than DreamHost. It all depends on your priorities.
SiteGround’s plans are available.
InMotion Hosting, a DreamHost-owned company, is one of the oldest independent hosting companies.
InMotion is a better choice than DreamHost in almost all aspects. Dreamhost has a 97-day guarantee while InMotion has a 90-day guarantee. DreamHost offers yearly pricing options.
InMotion offers capped, less expensive plans for smaller websites. Web Hosting Hub is a sister brand to InMotion. It offers even cheaper plans for smaller websites and has more affordable plans. InMotion offers better support and performance.
InMotion is my preferred choice over DreamHost. Check out InMotion’s plans.
Pros of DreamHost
There are many DreamHost reviews available online. Most of them are user-generated reviews, based on personal experience and anecdotes. This is fine, but I prefer a different approach. As I have said in previous hosting reviews, there is no “best” web host. It all comes down to the right fit for your project, based on your budget, experience, and expertise. These are the advantages (pros) of DreamHost.
Simple Pricing Structure
Shared hosting plans can be confusing for anyone who has ever looked into it. One host will limit disk space, while another host will limit the number websites you can create, while another host will limit the number databases you can use. Yet another host will not offer any “bonus” features.
It can be frustrating to determine the best plan for you, let alone compare them with other hosts. However, pricing is an important consideration that you shouldn’t ignore.
DreamHost provides a range of hosting services but their main shared hosting service has only two distinct options.
There are no upgrades or tiers. There are two options available. The price is determined by how long you sign up. The first has one website and no email. One has unlimited websites, while the other includes email.
Their pricing is very affordable and competitive. You won’t find a deep discount or bait-and-switch (for better and worse) that allows you to get your first year at an extremely low price and then renew at a very high cost.
Unlimited databases, unlimited disk space and unlimited email accounts are all included in their unlimited plan. You don’t need to worry about moving websites or getting sticker shock when renewing.
The Starter variant is for those who only have one site and use Google Workspace to send emails. It allows you to save money and still have all the features.
Core & Developer Feature Set
DreamHost, as I have already mentioned in pricing allows unlimited access to all the core features of any web host. This feature set includes:
- The ability to point your domain at a server
- The storage of website files on a web server
- Installation of a database/software for managing your website
DreamHost offers all the core features without any caps, unless you’re running your email through an email service such as Google Apps or Outlook. DreamHost offers a wide range of advanced functionality, including full CGI access and raw server logs.
You will also receive a solid default allocation to memory.
They also use SSD hard drives for shared hosting servers instead of spinning disk hard drives. They should result in better long-term performance.
Hosting Services: Nearly Complete
DreamHost also offers a wide range of hosting services to meet growing and specialized hosting requirements. A shared server is the best option for most websites, depending on their traffic and budget. If your website grows or expands in ways you didn’t plan, it is a good idea to partner with an existing company.
DreamHost’s Managed WordPress hosting service has WordPress-specific features such as Varnish caching and isolated databases on VPS servers.
Other than that, some hosting companies simply use “WordPress Hosting” as a way to charge more for shared hosting. This is fine for most websites using WordPress. DreamHost and competitors such as SiteGround, InMotion Hosting, and WP Engine offer managed WordPress hosting services.
DreamHost offers both traditional upgrades to VPS or Dedicated servers, which can be used to grow websites and cloud hosting for developers.
DreamHost’s features and range of services are an advantage overall.
Customer Support and Transparency
Hosting companies claim to offer exceptional customer service. Every potential customer wonders if they actually do offer stellar customer service – or if they just claim it.
Customer service can be difficult to judge because it is often defined by extremes. A single, careless employee can make a “Worst Company in the World” review. A customer asking a single rockstar employee a simple question can result in a meaningless review of “Best Company in the World”.
It is important to examine how companies manage public parts of customer service and how much money they invest in customer support infrastructure (e.g. user guides, onboarding, knowledgebases etc.). These two factors can help you determine whether customer service is an investment or a cost.
Overall, I have been impressed by DreamHost’s customer service. Their onboarding process is simple but effective. They offer a strong knowledge base, forums, as well as user guides.
Even though they don’t have phone support (see the pros section), their internal team is available 24/7 via email, live chat and Twitter.
DreamHost also maintains a separate status website for DreamHost that provides updates on critical issues, downtime, and system upgrades. This allows DreamHost customers to be more responsive and transparent when something happens.
Excellent Website Performance
You will need a host who can not only host your website but also deliver the files to anyone who requests them.
Website speed, like customer service, has many variables that can affect website performance. You can often improve your website’s performance in a number of ways. Your host will still be the main variable.
Every web host that I work with I check the Time To First Byte. This is the time taken by the server to return the first byte information from a request received from a browser. It’s also known as the server turnaround time.
This is not the only way you can look at web hosts’ performance. However, it’s a quick way to get an estimate. My tests on DreamHost performed well a few years back. Here’s the result.
They performed better than low-quality hosts like GoDaddy and iPage. It’s not as good as hosts like InMotion Hosting and even HostGator. This was surprising considering DreamHost’s new SSD servers.
After a few years, however, I was able to run my tests on several DreamHost websites again. These are my much improved results.
DreamHost performs well overall, not only because the most recent test was positive, but also because they are constantly moving in the right direction.
Independent isn’t always a good thing. Being corporate-owned, however, is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, independent companies miss critical capital and expertise. Corporate-owned companies sometimes take too much cost-cutting and management by numbers.
DreamHost’s longevity and stability, however, makes it a strong advantage to be independent and employee-owned. Many large corporations, such as iPage, own brands that are focused on cutting costs. DreamHost has reinvested in its customers and team numerous times.
DreamHost, like their independent competitors SiteGround and InMotion Hosting, seems to have a better product than large corporate-owned web hosting brands.
Cons of DreamHost
DreamHost is not without its flaws, as with all web hosts. These are some of the cons I encountered while using DreamHost as a hosting provider.
DreamHost’s shared hosting plans are simple and affordable. You won’t find any short-term deep discounts. This is both a good and bad thing.
DreamHost is often more expensive than its competitors, even though it offers an unlimited plan.
- Bluehost Review
- HostGator Review
- Review of InMotion Hosting
- Web Hosting Hub Review
Website owners don’t need unlimited websites. Customers can only pay what they require with tiered pricing. It is possible to manage a site with limited budget. However, it is not necessary.
Website owners can also save money by purchasing hosting from other companies at deep discounts. You can still save $30 if your hosting bill is $100 for one year. You can also renew at the same rate DreamHost renews, which will make you even more ahead.
DreamHost’s pricing model is excellent, but you should make sure that you know exactly what you need. Also, consider your priorities and budget when pricing.
Custom Control Panel
Most hosting companies use cPanel for their server dashboard. Shared hosting. cPanel is industry standard for shared hosting.
cPanel allows you to access your hosting server in a number of ways. You can install any application (e.g. WordPress), set up email addresses, and get FTP information to upload files.
Although cPanel is confusing at times, it’s similar to the old shoes you wear every day. It is familiar and comfortable.
DreamHost doesn’t use this setup. DreamHost uses a proprietary control panel to manage both your account and your server administration.
It is simple and DreamHost can provide a customized experience. However, it is overwhelming and restricting. The majority of core functionality can be found under “Goodies”, which group advanced features such as Cron Jobs and bonuses like Google AdWords coupons.
According to what I can see, the majority of the options you’d otherwise find in cPanel are either in DreamHost’s dashboard or in a series emails they send. Everything is hidden somewhere, not out in the open as cPanel.
DreamHost could theoretically use their proprietary control panel to improve the user experience. However, I believe they end up creating more work and headaches for their customer service system.
Security is the only advantage to a non-cPanel dashboard. Hackers love to attack cPanel servers because cPanel has become so popular. DreamHost will have no problem with this issue because they use a proprietary control panel.
Inadequate Application Installs
You can install hundreds, if not thousands, of software applications on your hosting server. WordPress is the most well-known example. It is a content management system that allows you to create, manage, and update a website. There are many other software options, including Joomla, PrestaShop, Wiki and others.
Although all these applications can be manually installed, there are many web hosting companies such as InMotion that offer free scripts for installation (of which the most popular are Softaculous or Fantastico). Installer scripts automate the installation of your software in just a few clicks, so you can start building what you want.
Apart – You can find my WordPress website setup guide here, which shows how HostGator works.
DreamHost doesn’t have this. DreamHost has a custom application that can link to several applications and will prepare them. They don’t install them.
It’s not too difficult with WordPress. It only takes a few extra steps to install WordPress. For other applications, however, you will need to manually install them.
No phone support
In the pros section, I mentioned DreamHost support. They are available 24/7 on a wide variety of channels …. except phone. According to my research, they may call you back if you have already called another channel.
Source : Google search results
Most customers will be fine with this – it may even allow them to offer better service via other channels. DreamHost will not be able to provide personalized service to customers who only want to talk with someone on the phone.
Although there are some drawbacks, I found DreamHost an excellent web hosting company. DreamHost is a great hosting company if you love their brand, independence and simplicity.
DreamHost shared hosting
InMotion Hosting offers a better deal if you are looking for a hosting company that is independent and doesn’t require recurring payments.
HostGator is a shared hosting company that offers great pricing and affordable services.
You might be more confused than ever, so check out my Best WordPress Hosting and my Best Web Hosting guides.