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DreamHost review – fast and affordable web host?

DreamHost Review

DreamHost hosts over 1.5 million websites around the world. The main shared hosting plan comes with popular apps like WordPress, and a range of website builder options. Alongside a full 97-day money-back guarantee, DreamHost also offers unlimited bandwidth and disk space in these plans.

In this review, we’ll take you through all you need to know about using the platform. From pros and cons, to features analysis and performance reviews, we’ll arm you with all the details, so that you can assess if DreamHost is the web host for you.

Overall score4.0 Great for unlimited storage and bandwidth
Ease of use★★★★Intuitive interface with custom control panel. 
Features★★★★Strong features overall. Missing some advanced tools. 
E-commerce★★★★Easy to set up e-commerce functionality.
Pricing★★★★Reasonable pricing and 97-day money-back guarantee.
Help and support★★★★Robust support available via ticket method, but no phone support.

Pros

  • 97-day money-back guarantee
  • Free domain and SSL certificate
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Unlimited disk space and data transfer
  • High performance WordPress hosting
  • Affordable pricing plans

Cons

  • No cPanel
  • No phone support
  • Missing some advanced features (such as staging)
  • No email account in Starter plan

What is DreamHost?

DreamHost is a web hosting company that offers a full suite of solutions for web development. These include shared hosting, VPS plans, cloud hosting, dedicated servers, and domain management services.

DreamHost has a reliable data center and a reputation for excellent loading speed and technical performance. The company is a leader in managed WordPress hosting, and it provides a wide range of affordable pricing plans.

DreamHost website screenshot

What do the shared web hosting plans include?

DreamHost is known for the strength of its shared hosting. Along with 100% uptime guarantee, all but the cheapest plan include unlimited/unmetered resources for bandwidth, storage, email accounts, and domains. For WordPress users, DreamHost offers both a pre-installed option and manual one-click installs.

Are DreamHost shared hosting plans expensive?

The pricing for DreamHost shared hosting plans is very reasonable. At a low cost, you will enjoy unlimited resources, 100% uptime guarantee, 24/7 support, and the impressive 97-day money-back guarantee.

DreamHost is also unusual in that it offers monthly billing options. Most web host providers we’ve encountered and reviewed bill customers on an annual basis.

There are two shared hosting plans available: Shared Starter and Starter Unlimited.

Shared StarterStarter Unlimited
Price $2.59/month$3.95/month
Websites1Unlimited
Free domainYes Yes
WordPress pre-installedYes Yes 
SSD storageYes Yes
WordPress website builderYes Yes 
Automated WordPress migrationsYes Yes 
Free SSLYes Yes 
Free domain privacyYes Yes 
Email includedNo Yes 
97-day money-back guaranteeYes Yes 

Free shared hosting for non-profit organizations

DreamHost offers a free shared hosting plan to non-profit, charitable organizations registered in the United States. This discount applies to a single shared hosting plan per non-profit for US-based 501(c)(3) organizations. The discount applies for the entire lifetime of the DreamHost account.

Will my WordPress website work well using DreamHost?

DreamHost is officially recommended by WordPress. The company offers both a pre-installed option and manual one-click installs. 
DreamHost claims that its WordPress plans are a lot faster than regular shared hosting. The web host makes it easy to build and manage a WordPress website, and it keeps your site safe with regular updates.

WordPress Hosting Plan feature

WordPress hosting plans

The WordPress hosting plans provide automatic updates, staging areas, and dedicated WordPress support. All of these plans include robust add-ons and features that are designed to make it easy to run your site.

DreamHost works closely with WordPress, so you will always have the newest version of WordPress available in your DreamHost control panel.

There are three WordPress hosting plans available: WordPress Basic, DreamPress and VPS for WordPress. 

WordPress managed hosting: DreamPress review

DreamPress is a managed WordPress hosting service platform for WordPress. Along with robust security, DreamHost provides fantastic features, unmetered bandwidth, and infinite scalability.

Thanks to highly optimized PHP7 and OPcache, you will enjoy improved WordPress functionality and compatibility with third-party WordPress plugins. You can also set up and manage email accounts from your DreamPress plan.  This is a feature that isn’t offered by many other managed WordPress hosting plans, so it really makes DreamPress stand out from the crowd.

Users on the DreamPress get 24/7 access to highly skilled WordPress support. There are no bandwidth limitations or overage charges with either. The plans are relatively inexpensive when compared to other WordPress managed services on the market.

WordPress drag-and-drop website builder

WordPress has a drag-and-drop website builder that makes it easy to build and edit your website. This means you can create, edit, and customize your website layout without writing any code.

What dedicated hosting and server plans does DreamHost offer?

If your site gets lots of traffic, you’ll benefit from a dedicated server all to yourself. With a dedicated hosting and server plan, you will enjoy increased performance, higher security, and a dedicated maintenance team that is responsible for physically managing your server.

DreamHost offers two dedicated hosting and server plans: Standard and Enhanced.

Is dedicated hosting worth the cost?

Dedicated hosting is one of the most powerful options available. It is also one of the most expensive. However, there are a few reasons why dedicated hosting could be worth the cost for your business:

  • You are concerned about the security of your website. Dedicated hosting means you are in charge of your site’s security. As such, you can optimize the features you need for the specific requirements of your site, data, and files. 
  • Your website is growing. If you need to handle growing levels of traffic, a dedicated server will be the best choice for handling spikes in activity and keeping your site running as normal.
  • Control is important. Dedicated hosting gives you total responsibility over how you use your server. This is often appealing to advanced web developers or users with specific, unique requirements. 
  • You want optimal loading time. A dedicated server can help you to optimize your loading time. It will guarantee you have the bandwidth needed to enhance this aspect of your site.

Do you use VPS hosting?

VPS hosting is best suited for people who have outgrown shared hosting. VPS essentially allows fewer users to share allocated segments of hard drive space, processing power, and memory.

DreamHost has VPS plans that start at $10 per month for 1GB of memory and 30GB of storage.

What’s the pricing?

All of DreamHost’s VPS plans include a free trial of the DreamHost MySQL VPS add-on. This places your MySQL databases on its own servers for improved load times.

VPS BasicVPS BusinessVPS ProfessionalVPS Enterprise
Price$10 per month$20 per month$40 per month$80 per month
Ram1GB2GB4GB8GB
SSD storage30GB60GB120GB240GB
Unlimited websitesYes Yes Yes Yes 
Unlimited trafficYes Yes Yes Yes 
Free SSLYes Yes Yes Yes 
Unlimited emailYes Yes Yes Yes 

What features does DreamHost offer?

DreamHost promises a full suite of excellent features designed to grow your website. The custom control panel is user-friendly, and the range of features and tools on offer make it simple to run your business.

We’ll take a look at some key features in the next section.

Does DreamHost use a control panel?

DreamHost has always rejected third-party control panels in favor of its own custom panel. This allows you to control most of the same technical aspects of a hosting account, and it’s provided free with every hosting package.

DreamHost control panel interface

The control panel is sometimes criticized for having a slightly complicated dashboard. It can be a steep learning curve to learn a brand-new custom platform.

Hosted Domains on DreamHost control panel

Does DreamHost offer email hosting?

You can host your emails with DreamHost. Anything above the cheapest shared hosting plan will give you access to unlimited email accounts, which can be linked to your domain. 

Depending on the plan you choose, you could enjoy up to 25GB of storage per mailbox, and built-in ad-free webmail. There are also mobile and desktop sync features, alongside spam, virus, and phishing filters.

SSL certificate and security

DreamHost offers free SSL security for all users. It also offers SSH and SFTP access to enhance security. It supports HTTP/2, the latest versions of PHP 7, and it has its own firewall. 

Additional security options are available through DreamShield, which is a paid security app developed by the web hosting platform. 

Does DreamHost offer unlimited storage space and bandwidth?

Yes, DreamHost offers both, but it can depend on what plan you go for. It doesn’t track bandwidth or traffic, which means every plan comes with unmetered transfer. This means that technically there is no bandwidth limit. 

But the minimum amount of storage space you’ll receive is 30GB. However, many plans actually offer unlimited storage space. 

Does it have CDN services?

With DreamPress Plus (starting at around $24 per month), the web host adds a content delivery network (CDN) for faster site loading. 

Do you get a free domain name included with any web hosting plan?

A free domain name registration is offered for annual plans. This is only available for the first year, and then you will be charged. The number of domains, domain names and subdomains available to you will be dependent on the hosting plan you choose. 

Can you create a VPN at DreamHost?

If you’re looking to create a VPN at DreamHost, your only option is to purchase a dedicated server. Since you’ll have root access on this type of server, you’ll be able to install any VPN software you like. 

This would need to be built entirely by you. DreamHost can’t support or assist in the configuration of your VPN. 

Does DreamHost have reseller packages?

DreamHost doesn’t offer a reseller package, but you can allocate certain chunks of your account to other users. DreamHost also gives you the flexibility of reselling services that you purchase from the company to another client. 

Is it eco-friendly hosting?

Yes! If you want to reduce the carbon footprint of your company, DreamHost is a solid choice. It uses high-efficiency cooling infrastructure at its data centers, and it’s powered by grids that obtain electricity from renewable sources. 

DreamHost implements a wide variety of eco-friendly initiatives and recycling plans to reduce its impact. 

Is there a money-back guarantee?

A key selling point for DreamHost is its impressive 97-day money-back guarantee. This is one of the longest guarantee periods you will find at any hosting company. It gives you plenty of time to try out the services and features without making a serious commitment. 

It’s worth noting that this money-back guarantee window only applies to the shared hosting plans. 

What is DreamHost’s reliability and performance like?

DreamHost has a good reputation for consistently reliable performance. It has enough speed, support, and reliable uptime to guarantee good performance for websites of any size.

What is DreamHost’s uptime?

DreamHost offers an incredible 100% uptime guarantee across all hosting packages and plans. One day of credit is provided for every hour of downtime you experience.

However, this is capped at a maximum of 10% of your hosting fee. Downtime only begins when you open a support ticket, so it’s worth acting fast if you suspect network issues.

Is DreamHost a fast hosting provider?

DreamHost tends to perform well in speed tests. It uses SSD drives, HTTP2 and PHP to ensure fast loading speed. In fact, it has an average loading speed of 2.35 seconds.

DreamHost also incorporates a range of features to improve speed, such as server-level caching.

Where are DreamHost servers located?

DreamHost servers are currently located in the United States. There are two data centers: one in Virginia and one in California. DreamHost hosting services are accessible from anywhere around the world.

What kind of customer service is available?

DreamHost has an in-house customer support team that is available 24/7. You can open a support ticket through the DreamHost control panel, or fill in a form on the website. There is also a live chat feature available on your user account dashboard.

No direct phone support number

Unfortunately, you can’t contact DreamHost support directly over the phone. However, there is a large online knowledge base and extensive customer support forum.

DreamHost forum and other resources

The DreamHost forum is a community of web professionals who engage in useful conversations about web technologies. Additionally, the DreamHost knowledge base is a brilliant resource for finding tips and information about hosting.

Knowledge base on DreamHost website

The knowledge base is a useful resource that provides announcements from DreamHost and information on a wide range of topics to help you on your web hosting journey.

What other services does DreamHost provide?

Alongside web hosting, DreamHost also provides a variety of other services to help your business grow. From building your brand and increasing your visitors, to designing your site, DreamHost experts are on hand to help.

Design services

With DreamHost, it’s pretty easy to get a polished and professional website to reflect your brand and your vision. Opt for DreamHost’s web services and a designer will create a website for you from scratch. All sites are coded with WordPress, so you can easily manage your content in the future.

Web Design services on DreamHost website

Online marketing

DreamHost offers web marketing services to help you get more visitors and grow your business. DreamHost will assist you in leveraging proven online marketing strategies to help more of your target audience find you. It can also help you in expanding your influence and reach through social media marketing guidance.

Web Marketing services on DreamHost website

Web development

If you need assistance with web development, DreamHost has a team on hand. As a DreamHost client, you can tap into over 20 years of development expertise and have all your web development needs taken care of.

Web Development services on DreamHost website

Website management

The web management services offered by DreamHost include website transfers, site optimization, website management and monitoring, software updates, and hacked site repair. Choose web management services and let the experts take care of the back end, so you can focus on growing your business.

Website Management services on DreamHost website

DreamHost review: alternatives

DreamHost is a strong contender on the web hosting market. However, it may not be quite right for your business. If that’s the case, you can check out a couple of decent alternative options below.

Liquid Web

Liquid Web is a leading hosting company that currently manages over 1 million sites. It has services specifically optimized for popular apps like WordPress, and it offers dedicated, VPS, and cloud hosting. Liquid Web does not offer shared hosting. As such, it may not be suited to smaller businesses.

Overall, Liquid Web is known for really fast server speed and stability. Good customer support is available, alongside great loading speed and uptime. It’s more expensive than a lot of its competitors, but you are paying for premium features.

SiteGround

SiteGround hosts nearly 2 million domains around the world. The web hosting service has a 24/7 support team that is available 365 days a year. It also has extremely fast loading speeds and a range of advanced technology.

Prices are a little high with SiteGround, so it perhaps isn’t suited to smaller businesses. However, if you have the budget for it, SiteGround promises advanced backup features and a host of excellent tools.

DreamHost Review: final thoughts

Overall, we recommend DreamHost. It is a solid hosting provider that offers reasonable pricing structures and a generous unlimited storage and bandwidth policy. There is also a strong support network.

DreamHost consistently performs well. It has decent loading times and site speed, meaning your site will run smoothly. It does, however, lack a few professional features, such as integrated caching and staging areas.

One aspect worth flagging is the control panel. The custom panel provided by DreamHost could be exactly what you need, but you may find it difficult to use. If you want to try DreamHost to find out if it’s right for you, the 97-day money-back guarantee will let you do that without being out of pocket.

FAQs

Is DreamHost safe?

Yes. DreamHost promises good performance and has a range of security features in place to keep your website (and your business) safe.

Where is DreamHost located?

DreamHost servers are currently located in the United States. There are two data centers: one in Virginia and one in California.

Who owns DreamHost?

DreamHost is a US-based web hosting provider that is owned by New Dream Network LLC. It was founded in 1996 by Dallas Bethune, Michael Rodriguez, Josh Jones, and Sage Weil.

What does DreamHost offer?

DreamHost offers shared hosting, WordPress hosting, dedicated hosting, and VPS hosting. It also offers marketing, web design, web development, and web management services.

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