DreamHost was conceived in 1997 in a college dorm room by four students. They had a love for technology and wanted to help people get online easier. Their goal was to create a host that featured open-source software. Today, DreamHost serves over 1.5 million websites, blogs and applications and supports more than 400,000 professionals and entrepreneurs. They are a popular provider for WordPress installations and custom websites. DreamHost is one of the more affordable cloud hosts that is not part of the EIG network of hosting companies – always a bonus.
- Generous money back guarantee
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth
- Unlimited domains
- Free domain with hosting package
- 100% uptime guarantee and generous credit policy
- No free trial
- Billing and uptime issues reported
- No phone support
- Sluggish WordPress sites
DreamHost Scoring and Rating
Hosting Package: (Rating: 10/10)
DreamHost offers a few hosting packages, including shared web hosting, VPS hosting, cloud hosting, dedicated servers and WordPress plans.
Each comes with its own features and you get a domain included with the hosting package. They offer everything from PHP to PostgreSQL to Python and more within their packages. Price-wise, they are competitive too – ranging anywhere from $5.95 per month to as much as $229 per month.
Disk space will vary as well going from as little as 500GB to unlimited. It is important to note, however, that unlimited is not true unlimited. Just like all providers offering “unlimited” storage, you are limited to their fair use. If your storage space goes over what other average users consume, then you will be scaled down.
The shared hosting is based on a Linux operation and is aimed for the budget-seeking customer. The VPS and dedicated hosting are also Linux-based and when you sign up, you get a free domain for one year – then renew domains after that. Dedicated servers are dual-core and quad-core processors and you can also choose to run off Nginx instead of Apache.
Charitable, non-profit organizations can get free web hosting through DreamHost – you’ll have to call to apply for this feature. You will need to be a US-registered non-profit organization.
Features: (Rating: 10/10)
DreamHost offers a plethora of features. Just a few things you can expect with all hosting packages include their hand-crafted control panel, one-click installations, solid state drives, SSL certificates, automated malware scanning, CloudFlare integration, 100% uptime guarantee, SSH, RAID 1 storage, unlimited MySQL databases, unlimited bandwidth, DDoS protections, 24/7 tech support and site monitoring, unlimited email addresses, auto-scaling RAM, automatic updates and backups, and much more.
Security: (Rating: 9/10)
In 2012, DreamHost experienced a hacking on their FTP; prompting them to notify all customers to immediately change their FTP passwords. They resolved the issue within a few hours, but it is still a concern any time a web host has a hacking incident.
Other than that one issue, DreamHost has a good record for security and they take extra precautions to keep their servers secure. They use isolated MySQL databases, real-life humans running and maintaining all servers, automated malware scans with cutting-edge technology, SSL certificates and more to ensure maximum security at all times.
WordPress: (Rating: 9/10)
DreamHost, like many others, jumped on the wagon and joined the group of companies offering WordPress hosting packages. They use virtual private servers and DreamPress 2 for all WordPress accounts to create a faster, more reliable experience. Their DreamPress 2 server is WordPress-optimized too.
When you purchase a WordPress plan, you get up to 2.1 million monthly visitors, 30GB of SSD storage, auto-scaling RAM, 24/7 WordPress tech support, automatic updates and installation of those updates, unlimited email addresses, a control panel, isolated MySQL database and backups for when you upgrade your themes or plugins.
For the most part, they handle WordPress sites very well, but there have been some complaints that certain themes can be sluggish on DreamHost despite their “unlimited” bandwidth and storage capacities.
Ease of Use: (Rating: 9/10)
Unfortunately, they don’t have cPanel. So if you are used to it, you will be disappointed with DreamHost. They do, however, use their own customized control panel created in-house and they try to make it as simplified as possible to use. If you’re used to cPanel, there will be a learning curve and you may feel as though DreamHost is too complicated. But, for new users, picking up how to use DreamHost is much easier and they have plenty of guides showing you how to access all of your features.
They also offer website builders, one-click installations, free domains and cloud storage you’re your files. Basically, they’ve designed themselves to accommodate beginners as well as advanced users.
Reliability: (Rating: 10/10)
DreamHost offers an unusual 100 percent guarantee for uptime. Most companies protect themselves with the claim of 99.99%, but DreamHost is confident in their services and feels they can guarantee 100% across all shared, VPS and dedicated servers. If a fault at DreamHost causes your website, email, FTP or other associated service to go down, you are credited a day for every hour of downtime per their service level agreement (SLA). To get the credit, you must submit a help ticket right away. Then, the time on that ticket is used to calculate downtime credits.
They have two data centers, both located in Los Angeles, California. While they are shared facilities, the company does still run them. Each facility uses state-of-the-art security and redundancy features to prevent from downtime.
Help and Support: (Rating: 8/10)
You can only use the phone to call sales – there is no telephone support through DreamHost. You can pay a premium to have a staff member call you when you have issues – but this is only if you want to pay to upgrade your account. Customers are also to use live chat as long as they pay to upgrade as well; otherwise, they are stuck with the ticket service. DreamHost does reply relatively quickly to their support tickets – usually less than 24 hours – and their staff is extremely helpful.
Most questions can find answers in their Wiki – which addresses everything from FTP to DNS and is used as the company’s knowledgebase. There is also a status blog and support portal where you can find additional information regarding your issues.
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Pricing will vary depending on the type of hosting package you select.
Unlimited storage and bandwidth, unlimited domain hosting, unlimited email accounts, 100% uptime guarantee, 24/7 support, web-based control panel, SSL secure server, $100 Google Adwords credit, unlimited MySQL databases. Starts at $8.95 per month.
- Start Here: 1GB ram, 30GB SSD storage, unlimited domains and bandwidth. Starts at $15 per month.
- Most Popular: 2GB ram, 60GB SSD storage, unlimited domains and bandwidth. Starts at $30 per month.
- Go Bigger: 4GB ram, 120GB SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth and domains. Starts at $60 per month.
- Max It Out: 8GB Ram, 240GB SSD storage, unlimited domains and bandwidth. Starts at $120 per month.
Ranges from 4 to 12 cores, 1TB HDD to 240GB SSD storage, 4 to 64GB ram. Starts at $149 to $379 per month.
Features DreamPress2 with control panel, virtual private hosts, isolated MySQL databases, auytomatic updates and backups, 30GB of SSD storage, auto-scaling RAM, unlimited email addresses, free domains. Starts at $19.95 per month.
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Starting Monthly Price: $8.95 - $150+
# of Domains: 1 to Unlimited
Money Back Guarantee: 90 Days
Disk Space: 30GB to 2TB
# of MySQL Databases: Unlimited
Data Backups: Hourly
Unique IP Address
Optimized Wordpress Hosting
# of Email Addresses: Unlimited
Email Storage: Unlimited
1-Click App Installs
Dedicated SSL Certificate
Shared SSL Certificates
Help and Support
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What we Like About DreamHost
97 Day Money Back Guarantee: Most companies give you 15 to 30 days to try their hosting service and then cancel with a full refund, but DreamHost takes it much further.
Auto-Scaling RAM: This is a nice feature to have. By dynamically auto-scaling their RAM and resources, you know your site will continue to operate and remain functional regardless of how fast it grows.
Homemade Control Panel: While cPanel is great (and well-known), we like that DreamHost has created their own control panel. This panel is customized to highlight their specific features and functionality – so that you get the most out of your plans. While some may feel this is a disadvantage, having a panel constructed to suit the host’s features is extremely important.
Unlimited Storage and Bandwidth: Depending on the hosting plan you sign up for, you may get unlimited storage and bandwidth. This is extremely important if you plan to run a site with a lot of media or you want a site that can grow without having to worry about constantly updating your hosting plan.
100% Uptime: We aren’t sure if this is a positive or negative. We like that they’re confident in their services and offer 100%, but in reality, they aren’t up 100% of the time – is an unattainable goal. We do, however, like that they compensate with a free day of hosting for every hour they are down – talk about confidence.
Free Domain: We like that you get one free domain name for the life of your hosting plan. While most companies only offer free domains for a year, DreamHost is one of the few to offer free domain for life. As long as you renew your hosting annually, your domain stays free.
Free Add-On Services: Unlike other web hosts, DreamHost has free add-ons, such as SSL/TLS certificates that you can activate in your control panel, free setup, free domains and free domain privacy protection. You can add things like unique IP for $5.95 per month and premium support for $14.95 per month too.
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What we Don’t Like About DreamHost
No Free Trial: They have a very generous money back guarantee, but neglected the free trial aspect. People want free trials when it comes to web hosting – because let’s face it, you got to try it before you can really see if it is right for you.
Poor Comparisons: DreamHost likes to compare, but they compare themselves to EIG companies only. For example, they compare their dedicated servers to hosts like GoDaddy, BlueHost and HostGator. Instead, they need to compare themselves to a non-EIG competitor for more accuracy.
Must Pay for Better Support: To get a tech support team member to call you back or to even get access to live chat support, you need to pay $14.95 per month. This is awfully steep – especially when you consider hosting starts as low as $8.95 per month already and that’s not as cheap as other companies that offer live chat and phone support free. For some companies, the extra fee may be worth it though.
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Who Is This Web Hosting Company Best For
DreamHost works for just about any type of site. Whether you’re hosting a WordPress website or blog or you want to host your real estate business, or ecommerce site, you’ll find what you need from DreamHost. They’re user-friendly, excellent for reliability and their affordability makes them definitely a host of choice for most companies.
Dreamhost offers affordable, reliable, user-friendly web hosting for any type of website from wordpress, to blogs, to ecommerce and shopping sites. Plus you can try them for 90 days risk free!