Review SummaryUpdated: July 11, 2020
- Highly scalable hosting plans.
- Consistently good server uptimes.
- Extended money-back guarantees.
- Competitively priced plans.
- Carbon Neutral servers (environmentally friendly).
- SSD Servers.
- Feature Inclusive WordPress plans.
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Limited live chat support.
- Paid phone support.
- No reseller plans.
Shared Hosting Review
Best for Portfolio and Basic websites
Plans and Pricing
DreamHost has two main shared hosting plans that offer affordable ways to host your website. The first is Shared Starter, which starts at $2.59 a month and includes one website with 50 GB of SSD storage. This plan comes with several basic staples of all DreamHost packages, including WordPress installation and the WP Website Builder. The second option is Shared Unlimited. Starting at $5.95 a month, customers get all the same benefits of ‘Starter’, plus unlimited websites, storage, and email addresses. What’s more, both plans also include free Domain Privacy and daily backups. These features are typically treated as paid add-ons with most hosts and saves you $20-$40 per year on hosting as a result – with prices varying across hosting providers.
The extremely low initial asking price is an attractive offer and comes slightly cheaper than most shared plans across the market. That being said, expect to pay for three years upfront to get the most discounted rate on hosting. These sorts of discounts on long-term plans are common across the industry, and we’d only recommend them if you’re sure your website will be used for the next 2 or 3 years. If you don’t want to commit to a multi-year agreement, monthly prices are higher. As an example, one-year plans go up to $3.95 for the Starter plan and $6.99 for the Unlimited plan. Choosing a monthly hosting arrangement is even pricier, with $4.95 and $10.95 for each option.
Each plan offers unlimited bandwidth use and inode use – in other words, there’s no limit to how many visitors your site can get per month. of course, this isn’t to say that the Unlimited plan is really all that unlimited. Like most hosts, DreamHost outlines various limitations in their Unlimited Policy, that you’ll want to be aware of. Most notably, your MySQL databases and email accounts cannot be more than a couple of gigabytes in size. However, for most customers, this is a non-issue, and, as we mentioned before, the plan provides more than enough resources for your average website or blog. Furthermore, Dreamhost outlines in their Unlimited Policy; these restrictions are primarily to mitigate any pirating or illegal streaming sites from running on their servers.
Both plans let you choose a free domain name as well, so long as you pick one of the yearly plans. Additionally, customers also get a free “Let’s Encrypt SSL” certificate, which will secure your site against some of the most basic threats. It also provides better peace of mind for your visitors: particularly crucial if your website is selling something and handles or stores personal information.
Pro Migration Service
Customers looking for migration assistance can rely on DreamHost’s Pro Migration service, which cost’s $99 with the purchase of any Shared plan. Their team of expert technicians will migrate your entire website and databases to your new account within 48 hours and promising little downtime. This is the typical price you might expect to pay for website migration with most hosts, and while some offer this free, few provide the same 48-hour promise.
Dreamhost’s shared packages are not limited to beginner or novice users. Developers will be able to have full SSH, Cron, and log file access on both plans.
100% Uptime Guarantee or your money back
One of the biggest draws to DreamHost across the market is their 100% uptime guarantee, which is especially eye-catching for the shared plans. This uptime guarantee is specified right in their terms of service, although they are careful to mention the scheduled maintenance is not included within the guarantee.
Even with that caveat, such an affordable shared web hosting service boasting about fantastic uptime is no small thing. DreamHost is so confident in this guarantee that they’ll provide you with credit for the cost of the service that you missed if your monthly average falls below a threshold of about 99.94%. For sites that depend on consistent uptime for their user base, this is a great deal. Plus, DreamHost does allow for crediting your time if they have any kind of error that messes with your site. Specifically, they provide you with a free day of service for every hour that their end of operations is down.
Three-month money-back guarantee
There’s another guarantee that generates a lot of buzz for Dreamhost, however: the famous 97-day moneyback guarantee. This is industry-leading compared to other shared web hosting services, which mostly rely on 30-day refunds. But DreamHost gives you over three entire months to try out their service before you can get your money back. If you inspect their terms of service, you won’t find any loopholes they might try to exploit to get out of the agreement. It’s relatively cut and dry and reliable when it comes to issues you might have during the trial period. It’s important to know that they only refund credit card payments, so make sure you don’t use checks or money orders if you want to take advantage of this guarantee (not that many would, but still).
WordPress Hosting Review
Best for Blogs and eCommerce sites
For customers looking for a high performance, managed WordPress solution; there’s ‘DreamPress’. Hosted on DreamHost’s high-performance cloud servers, you’ll benefit from having your site hosted in an isolated environment. With these plans, you’ll have much greater scalability and traffic limits than a shared hosting plan. It makes managed hosting plans a particularly good choice for customers who have some experience in growing a website. Having a platform that automates most of the security, performance, and maintenance provides you more time to focus on growing the websites content or traffic.
Plans and Pricing
As we mentioned, greater scalability is one of the best features of these plans. ‘Starter’ offers customers an initial 30GB of dedicated SSD storage. For a single website, this is more than enough room to host a high-content blog or small web application. From there, plans up to ‘Pro’ essentially double your storage. As a result, customers can expect to have to upgrade packages as their site essentially doubles in traffic or size as well.
Like with the shared hosting plans described earlier, you can get better prices for the above managed hosting plans if you sign up for a year, pre-paid. However, for those looking for month-to-month payment flexibility plans only increase by about $4-5 per month, compared to yearly plans.
DreamPress plans are on the upper end of the price spectrum, though it’s the only offering we’ve found for managed WordPress, hosted on an isolated cloud environment. Moreover, when you include a Jetpack Professional subscription, WordPress specialized support and the improved scalability; there proves to be a lot of value for your money on DreamPress plans. We’d recommend DreamPress to customers who are looking for a premium, managed WordPress hosting solution that provides more power and performance than most.
JetPack Professional Included Free
Valued at $299 per year if you were to purchase it otherwise, Jetpack Professional is a powerful WordPress optimization plugin included on the Plus and Pro plans. Many of its benefits are unseen and run in the background, ensuring your site performance and security is optimal. Some of its features include real-time backups, automated malware scans, and security fixes, Content Delivery Network content hosting, and you can even use it to monetize your website with affiliate ads. Most hosts will provide Jetpack included with their WordPress plans; it’s just that good. However, they’ll rarely include a premium membership to it as part of your hosting – at no additional cost.
On DreamPress plans, you’ll get access to WordPress support specialists across the board. Plus and Pro also includes callback support, which is excellent for those who are time-poor, and the latter also includes Priority DreamHost support. Offering a more advanced, hands-on level of support and able to assist with more technical issues.
Included Staging Website
Staging sites are best understood as a safe place to work on a copy of your main website without altering the live site and its data. The DreamPress interfaces allow you to create a staging site with a single click and easily copy changes to your live site once you are satisfied.
It does have a small drawback compared to other WordPress managed hosting services, like WP Engine and SiteGround, as they allow you to choose which components you want to transfer between staging and live environments. The DreamPress system forces you to transfer the whole website, which is resource and time-intensive.
Cloud Hosting Review
Best for high traffic, low redundancy sites.
Like many hosting companies, DreamHost provides a collection of cloud hosting solutions. These types of server orientations spread resources across several servers that may not be physically linked. This is opposed to traditional hosting, which usually pulls resources from one server and has multiple websites that share the space. DreamHost provides three cloud hosting plans, and both, fortunately, come in both Windows and Linux varieties – a significant improvement compared to their dedicated server and VPS options.
However, things get a little complicated as DreamHost gathers all of its cloud hosting plans beneath a single “DreamCloud” umbrella. There are two major aspects to this: DreamCompute, which is the public cloud computing service, and DreamObjects, which is a scalable storage solution. Let’s break both down.
DreamCompute allows you to design the server solution that works best for your needs. Like the dedicated hosting options, you can move up in terms of storage and processing power and pay higher prices accordingly. The chart tops out at $48 per month, which provides you with even more power and storage utility. Regardless of which tier you choose, all DreamCompute packages come with full root access, options of Windows or Linux OS, and open-source code access. Even better, DreamHosts’s professionals will help you migrate to your own private cloud server if you ever needed this option for your burgeoning site.
DreamObjects is the other primary offering. It’s an ideal choice if you want to enjoy seamless and limitless access to various digital objects or secure your WordPress backups consistently. DreamObjects plans are built as a fully scalable object storage solution. In addition, DreamHost’s cloud hosting options aren’t actually billed at a fixed monthly rate; the prices listed are maximum amounts you’ll get billed per month. What this means is, you are only truly charged for what you use each month. This flexible pricing plan makes the cloud hosting solutions a great choice for those who need the affordability of shared hosting but who want more control and greater storage agility.
The main cloud server options come with all the tools you need to modify the code of your site or alter the operating system of your choice. Because the servers can be based on both Windows and Linux, their cloud options have more flexibility than any other plan offered by DreamHost. DreamCompute is exceptionally robust and fast, allowing you to launch and scale virtual machines ready for SSH access in just 30 seconds. Once resources are allocated, you’ll have full control with root access and OpenStack API.
DreamObjects is a great choice for app developers or anyone who uses big data, especially since it’s compatible with OpenStack Swift APIs and Amazon S3 tools. It can integrate automatically with WordPress to automate import or export functions, too, which places less work and maintenance on your hands and lets you get back to more critical tasks. Compared to other web-hosting providers, the cloud RAM limits are about average, hovering between 512 MB and 8 GB.
The biggest advantage of the cloud storage solutions offered by DreamHost is its ability to quickly and accurately scaled to your data storage and resource draw needs. DreamCompute lets you customize and deploy your cloud servers with unprecedented personalization, and it’s much better for individual sites than shared hosting options.
DreamObjects, meanwhile, is one of the best storage services for websites that have the potential to grow quickly but aren’t yet guaranteed to be a big success. It’s a much more financially feasible option to use DreamObjects than it is to purchase a long-term dedicated server for a website that hasn’t yet grown the user base you know it can. Other than the major features described above, both variants come with the trademark DreamHost support teams and maintenance offerings, as well as their primary control panels.
All in all, the cloud hosting services of DreamHost is a little above average and are most likely going to be attractive for those who need flexible billing options or resource draw needs. The DreamPress and shared hosting solutions are still the best in class for this provider, but their cloud options are certainly an attractive offer too.
VPS Hosting Review
Best for High Traffic and Fast Growing sites
DreamHost offers four US-based Virtual Private Server (VPS) packages, best suited for those upgrading from a shared or cloud-based hosting environment. Both new and experienced customers will find website setup and management a breeze through DreamHost’s custom VPS control panel. Plus, DreamHost’s team of technicians will manage all security, OS, and server maintenance for you behind the scenes.
Plans and Pricing
As you might expect, you’ll be able to host an unlimited amount of MySQL Databases, domains, email accounts on all plans. Bandwidth and traffic usage is also unlimited, so long as it doesn’t affect server performance. What’s more, you can even scale your RAM as required, via the control panel, allocation takes less than a minute and is an excellent piece of hosting flexibility not all companies offer. Storage-wise, you’re looking at 30GB – 240GB SSD Storage across plans. With each doubling the included resources of its predecessor.
Also, all the VPS plans operate with the Ubuntu Linux operating system, which may limit its accessibility and ease-of-use for some website builders. They do use a custom control panel, just like all DreamHost offerings, that may negate this difficulty somewhat. Starting at $10 per month on a 3-year term and $15 per month if you opt to pay monthly, DreamHost’s VPS plans are highly inclusive and affordable. Considering the included resources, plans are about the market average in comparison to top competitors. Additionally, perhaps the most prominent feature included with the DreamHost VPS plans is the free trial of the MySQL VPS add-on. This extra service usually costs $15 per month after the trial, but every VPS plan allows you to check it out for yourself before agreeing to subscribe.
In a nutshell, the service places all of your MySQL databases, if you use or have any, onto their separate server. This boosts loading time for you and your users, which might assist with website operation and smoothness, depending on its architecture. Still, this addition will hardly be used by everyone, so it’s more of a niche benefit rather than a general advantage.
Dedicated Hosting Review
Best for High traffic sites, maximum resources & security
DreamHost’s dedicated server packages are a premium, fully-managed hosting solution. One of the more flexible solutions on the market. DreamHost offer nine server configurations to choose from and also have monthly payment options (for a slightly higher rate). Packages start at $169 per month ($149 per month when paid yearly) and are split into two server types; ‘Standard’ and ‘Enhanced’. Both packages include ‘Unlimited’ bandwidth (within fair usage), full root access, and one dedicated IP as standard.
Standard plans utilize an Intel Xeon 4-Core CPU and provide scalable RAM options from 4GB to 16GB, depending on your preference. Storage on this server is also fixed with a 1TB HDD, RAID 1 storage. Compared to other plans across the market, this is the typical price you’d pay for a managed, 4-core server with HDD drives.
Enhanced servers start at $299 per month ($279 when paid yearly), and provide more configuration options. Firstly, these servers use an Intel Xeon 12-core CPU, with RAM ranging from 16 GB to 64 GB. As for storage, you’ll now have a fixed 2 TB RAID configuration with both HDD and SSD options. DreamHost maintains a fair price point for these servers as well, however comparing them to other plans is quite tricky. Namely because only a handful of hosts offer dedicated servers with a 12 core CPU, of these, however, DreamHost provides the most storage capacity.
Performance-wise, Dreamhost provides an uptime guarantee in their terms of service and ensures a 100% uptime – else your money back. How does this work? If you experience any server downtime or performance issues (Where DreamHost is at fault), you’ll receive the following offer, according to their Terms of Service Document:
‘DreamHost credit equal to the Customer’s current hosting cost for one day of service for each one hour (or fraction thereof) of service interruption, up to a maximum of 10% of your next pre-paid hosting renewal fee.’
On top of this, the data center for both servers utilizes 2N+2 redundancy power supplies. Meaning that you’ll essentially have 4 separate UPS modules to rely on, if the worst were to ever happen server-side.
When it comes to website migration and setup, if you’re upgrading from an existing DreamHost shared, VPS or cloud server, their team will move your entire site to the new dedicated server free of charge. This process can take up to three days and must be requested via a support ticket. For all other customers, most configurations will take 48 business hours to be fulfilled once an order has been received.
For developers, both servers run on Ubuntu Linux and support PHP7, Perl, Python, Ruby, and Node.js as standard. Monitoring your server usage can be done via the cPanel as expected, and you’ll also be able to check server RAM usage in real-time via the command log. What’s more, you can also create an unlimited number of sub-accounts for client account management or contractor access. It’s also worth knowing that if your server ever needs to be re-imaged, it does come with a $100 fee.
Overall, DreamHost provides a robust range of dedicated servers that is sure to accommodate a majority of customer requirements. Furthermore, with attractive price points and the included resources to match, we believe DreamHost’s dedicated servers are some of the best offerings on the market for consumers.
Dreamhost Server Performance
To test Dreamhost’s hosting performance we used a few Pingdom reports. Over the span of a year, Pingdom’s probes (located across North America) performed daily checks, on a basic website (less than 100KBs) hosted on Dreamhost’s shared server environment. Additionally, there was no throttling added to these checks, so slower response times can be expected for 3G or 4G connections.
Yearly Server Performance:
Average Response Time
Data shown as monthly Uptime averages for a basic Dreamhost website
Server performance can affect all aspects of your site. Case studies have consistently found that customer wait times (page load and response times) directly affect everything from SEM, revenue, and traffic growth. By a lot too, here’s just one example:
For Mobify, every 100ms decrease in homepage load speed worked out to a 1.11% increase in session-based conversion, yielding an average annual revenue increase of nearly $380,000.
All in all, DreamHost provides a fair amount of security for all of its plans, and you’ll always have 24/7 customer support on hand for any potential issues or security infractions. However, we think the DreamPress services are among the best in the industry, both for WordPress website hosting and general security and peace of mind.
Control Panel Functions and Security
The main control panel features a link to let you control access to the site or set up a password both while it’s under construction and after it’s finished. Spider blocking is an automatic function you can enable or disable on the control panel as well. We’ve also already mentioned that every DreamHost plan comes with free SSL certification.
This is important if your site plans to sell products online, as SSL certification is needed for both consumer peace of mind and to ensure that consumer data is safe. Since the GDPR came about, it’s become even more necessary to make sure that your customers’ data isn’t easily susceptible to being stolen.
You can enable mod_security on all plans regardless of hosting type via the main control panel. This lets you add additional site security to all plans and websites. In a nutshell, mod_security is a WAF that blocks and filters for known malicious HTTP requests, which are some of the most common forms of remote file inclusion, brute force, cross-site scripting, and remote execution attacks. Just go to the Extra Web Security option on the control panel to enable it.
This modification is valuable because it provides WordPress specific security, so it’s more effective than general security measures you might find with other hosting providers. These security measures are also automatically updated regardless of the plan you choose and the hosting solution you pick. While malware is always adapting, it helps to have regularly updated antivirus measures always on hand.
Aside from the general DreamHost security offerings, don’t forget that the DreamPress Pro and Plus plans both include access to VaultPress, which is possibly the best backup security system for WordPress websites. Not only does it automatically backup your website in real-time and whenever changes are detected, but it also provides you the ability to quickly roll back for individual changes.
VaultPress also automatically scans your site for malware threats and lets you monitor for any suspicious activity, plus run manual scans. The Jetpack Professional subscription included with both of the above managed hosting plans also lets you monitor events on your website and displays any activities over the last 30 days.
It’s no stretch to say that, out of all the security benefits that DreamHost provides, its DreamPress hosting plans have the most robust security additions and are the best choice if website security is your primary concern.
On the flip side, DreamHost’s reliance on the Jetpack plan for these additional security features may be seen as a weakness compared to other hosting server providers. We feel that it’s not an issue as the Jetpack plugin is added for free to those plans, but your opinion may vary.
Customer Support Review
24/7 Customer Service
Their site and all plans say that they come with 24/7 customer support 365 days a year. The only trouble is that the DreamHost team can’t easily be reached by you. Instead, you submit a ticket and they’ll reach out to you when they have the time or are on duty. It’s only rarely you can get actual basic customer support during random hours of the night.
If you want to talk to a human, you have to pay a monthly callback fee, which is a huge bummer and a bit of a letdown considering that genuine customer service is one of the main basics you’d expect from a service company.
When they do provide customer support, you might get access to live chat, although this feature is only available when the company’s support staff isn’t currently handling other issues. However, most people won’t experience wait times more than a few minutes or so whenever they try to contact someone.
If you manage to interact with the chatbot, on the other hand, you might find some humorous interactions where the bot can’t understand the simplest of inquiries. This is a bit hit or miss, so you should always try to speak to a human if possible. It’s too bad that DreamHost somewhat makes this difficult for its customers.
There’s also an active forum and a support Twitter, those these methods of support are as traditionally iffy as they are for other service providers. An extra “Knowledgebase” is available for everyone to access, and you may be able to find answers to common or simple questions without having to go to extra customer service steps.
As you might expect, all DreamPress customers get priority support from their team of WordPress experts. This dedicated team is separate from the regular support staff. It helps these customers have even faster customer support access and more specific technical support for a variety of WordPress issues. This team is very valuable, especially for beginners who are still learning the ropes to WordPress site modification and management.
As previously mentioned, the shared hosting plans get a 97-day money-back guarantee, and the DreamPress plans have a 30-day full refund option. The other plans don’t have these additional benefits, which is a bit strange and which only cements the shared and managed hosting solutions as the primary draws for this company.
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