If like us you’ve typed in ‘best web hosting companies’, you may have noticed that DreamHost is not on the top 10 list. Type in ‘DreamHost review’ however, and you will come across a list of reviews rating DreamHost 4/5 or more – but if this is the case, then why not rate it as one of the top 10 web hosting companies?
For starters, the company’s “award-winning” customer service and lengthy relationship with WordPress gives DreamHost the upper hand in comparison to their competitors. However, DreamHost’s technical efforts (funnily enough) were not applauded. If like us you’ve read up about the company, you will have most likely come across the fact that one of the founders of DreamHost, Sage Weil, invented the open source software, Ceph. Though for some reason, none of this was credited by reviewers.
Although many reviews praised DreamHost for their 100% guaranteed uptime, extensive domain and security services, we noticed that readers are left in the dark about the company’s technical capabilities – which (ideally) they should be praised for!
We couldn’t help but feel as if the company was dragged down by their ‘unfair’ pricing, so we decided to do a bit of digging ourselves and created this balanced review which details everything you need to know about DreamHost.
History of DreamHost
DreamHost was initially founded in 1996 by four undergrads who all had an interest in IT and open sourcing and was later registered as an official web hosting company in 1997.
Known for their interest in all things tech, DreamHost has since hosted over 1.5million sites to more than 400,000 international customers and created spin-off services, such as Inktank and Akanda along the way.
Now, DreamHost is recognised for not only being the oldest (and arguably the most experienced) web hosting company on the market, but also the master of WordPress hosting – which is obviously great news for WordPress users. In fact, DreamHost “love WordPress” so much that they have created premium WordPress hosting service, DreamPress, and host more than 750k WordPress sites.
However, if you’re a user that’s serious about web development, then we understand that DreamHost’s recognition for their WordPress services may be off-putting. However, they do offer some good deals with regards to VPS, cloud and dedicated hosting.
If you can read pass DreamHost’s cringeworthy descriptions of their hosting services, then you may come to realise why PC Mag and other tech journalists have rated DreamHost 4.5/5 stars.
DreamHost’s Web Hosting Services
Overall, DreamHost offers the three fundamentals of web hosting: shared, VPS, dedicated, as well the additional hosting services such as WordPress (or DreamPress) and cloud!
According to DreamHost, all hosting plans include a “hand-rolled” control panel, one-click installation of apps (such as WordPress and Zoomla), 24 hours/365-day support, solid-state drives (SSDs), 100% uptime and a “real-life” tech team.
In short, DreamHost’s main selling points are their 100% guaranteed uptime and scalability options. The rest is what you’d ideally expect from any good web hosting company. Nonetheless, their 97-day money back guarantee is one of the longest offers we’ve come across, so there is plenty of time for you to get used to DreamHost’s facilities.
In short, DreamHost’s shared hosting services are ideal for anyone who is looking to run a basic website with a low number of visitors. So, this hosting is going to be good for anyone that is thinking about managing a portfolio site, a blog or even a basic website for a local business.
Although there is no relevant ‘new starter’ or ‘e-commerce’ shared hosting plan, one thing we can praise DreamHost for is their transparent and tierless pricing strategy.
The descending price plans is an attractive pricing strategy to feature on their website and one that is surprisingly beneficial, as it puts into perspective how much money you can save a month. However, money can only be saved if you opt for an annual plan, yet DreamHost values loyal customers more so and to thank them, discounts of up to more than 50% are given to those that stay with DreamHost for more than one year.
Although the shared hosting services aren’t the cheapest on the market, their offers including limitless traffic, storage and websites, free SSL security, domain and privacy protection, and unlimited hosting is what you expect to see in higher priced shared hosting plans.
Other than this, DreamHost also uses SSDs (solid-state drives) which boosts performance “200x more than traditional hard drives”. However, the only downside is that their “100% guaranteed uptime” isn’t 100%. Currently, DreamHost’s uptime averages at 99.97%, which isn’t really a bother as you are still guaranteed better service than DreamHost’s competitors. Nonetheless, if this is still an issue, DreamHost refunds customers a day’s service for every hour of downtime.
DreamHost’s Linux VPS hosting packages provides speed, stability and scalability; suitable for growing websites and perfect for businesses, e-commerce, designers and developers.
All plans offer the same features as shared hosting, as well as one dedicated IP address, bigger SSD storage and scalable RAM. This time the price plans are tiered, so you will be charged double the price for double the amount of storage – which is a pretty fair deal!
For Small Business
For Intensive Sites
For High Traffic
Although DreamHost’s cheapest plan offers limited memory and storage compared to other web hosting companies, customers do have the option to “supercharge” their VPS plan at an additional price.
Within the first week, DreamHost customers are given 2.3GB of RAM for free and afterwards, are supplied with 300MB of RAM and unlimited disk space for an extra $15 each month. However, this offer still comes across as a bit steep, yet DreamHost monitors your website’s usage and creates a pricing plan tailored to your website’s consumption. Therefore, there will be no unpleasant pricing spikes, as you will only be paying for what you need!
If you want to upgrade from DreamHost’s shared hosting services to VPS, then you wouldn’t have to worry about the unfamiliar layout of DreamHost’s control panel. However, if you are used to the popular web-based cPanel most web hosting companies provide, then navigating your way around the server will be a bit tricky to master – to start with, anyway.
Also, another common feature that is noticeably missing is Windows-based VPS hosting, which isn’t ideal, but we can also see why DreamHost doesn’t include this in their plans, as Linux is said to be the most popular operating system.
With two decades worth of knowledge and expertise in OSS, you can see why DreamHost describes themselves as the “Holy Grail of hosting”.
Depending on how much RAM and storage you need, DreamHost’s plans range from $169 per month to $399, the maximum of which provides customers with a 12-core processor, 64GB RAM and 2TB of storage. Better still, these prices are lowered by $20 if you choose to purchase an annual plan.
However, we must mention that you are less likely to get your money’s worth with DreamHost’s lower CPU plans, as other web hosting companies offer the same services at a much lower cost. Nonetheless, if you want high-level performance, you’re better opting for DreamHost’s 12-Core plans which start at $299 a month for 16GB RAM and are otherwise reviewed as an excellent deal.
All dedicated plans provide around-the-clock tech support and server monitoring, 100% uptime and DDOS protection, so developers can better manage their website(s) without worrying about any tech or security issues. However, the ‘unlimited data transfers’ feature makes DreamHost the better web hosting provider when it comes to dedicated hosting.
DreamHost’s customisable control panel, as well as root and SSH access also means that you can effectively manage and customise your server to your accord, without the limitations of the web-based cPanel – perfect for advanced users! However, if you’re thinking about using a Microsoft operating system then it’s best to look elsewhere, as DreamHost’s services are only available for Linux.
WordPress hosting is a service that only a handful of competitors offer. However, we believe DreamHost is the better provider as WordPress, conveniently, recommends DreamHost’s Managed WordPress plans and has done for more than a decade to date! To top it off, DreamHost has also been identified as one of the top five WordPress hosting providers, but what makes them so great?
For starters, DreamHost’s lengthy relationship with the top CMS company means that they are beyond knowledgeable in all things WordPress related and can give noteworthy advice to growing businesses. Their in-house team offers customers unlimited support over the phone, email, live chat and social media through all hours of the day. DreamHost also includes useful advice for WordPress users in the tips, guides and articles section on their website, as well as the site’s community forum page.
DreamHost’s ‘Shared WordPress’ hosting solutions are the same price as their shared hosting plans and offers a personalised email account, SSD hosting, SSL encryption, WordPress pre-installed and hosting for unlimited websites and domains. In comparison to DreamHost’s shared packages, the only added extras are the pre-installed WordPress and WordPress dedicated support, but because of this, it is a better deal for WordPress users as dedicated support is given at no extra cost!
Though DreamHost does offer an alternative WordPress hosting solution at a much better rate.
Managed WordPress (also known as DreamPress) is a worthier WordPress hosting solution. As indicated in the title, DreamHost manages all the operational aspects of your website, so you don’t have to worry about fixing any technical issues.
Like most of DreamHost’s plans, prices vary depending on how many sites you’re looking to host, the amount of storage you wish to use and the amount of traffic your website(s) will receive. The higher the price, the more security features DreamHost provides, so your site(s) will be protected from all angles, giving you further peace of mind.
At less than $20 a month, DreamHost’s ‘Basic’ plan offers extra protection, speed and stability through their cloud platform, resource scaling, SSD storage, basic backups and Jetpack freebie; a premium WordPress security software which covers hacks and data loss. Full details of DreamHost’s Managed WordPress price plans are as follows:
New WordPress Users
Novices to Pros
Although we understand that there are cheaper basic WordPress Management plans, DreamHost’s ‘Basic’ plan is an ideal, stress-free solution which is perfect for WordPress first-timers.
Though there are limitations for the number of sites you can manage (which is arguably irrelevant for beginners), your website is fully protected, as DreamHost effectively manages traffic spikes and can ensure that your website will perform to the best of its ability.
Although you can opt for a shared hosting package to effectively manage your WordPress-based website, DreamPress is designed for extra optimisation as it utilises three different caching solutions (OPache, Varnish and Memcache) simultaneously, along with LEMP stack resources, such as Linux, Nginx, MySQL and PHP under two VPS servers. But, that’s not all.
DreamHost also uses cloud technology for greater stability and speed and allocates additional power if your website receives a surge of unexpected traffic. Their ‘Plus’ plans also gives the option of 50GB storage expandability, daily malware scanning and repair services, as well as off-site backup to further upkeep your website’s performance at no unnecessary expense.
Added extras also include 200+ professional WordPress themes for less than the price of one premium WordPress theme, which is by far a great deal for designers and developers. An extra level of protection is also provided through the Jetpack Pro plug-in and SSL encryption.
Further to this, DreamPress also offers a better deal for e-commerce customers with the Managed WooCommerce plan, which has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For those who are unaware, WooCommerce is a WordPress plug-in which allows WordPress users to sell products and services over the internet in a straight-forward manner. WooCommerce covers all stages of trade and even automatically manages your taxes; allowing you to sell your products online, take payments, manage shipping and stock securely and efficiently.
With this particular hosting package, DreamHost pre-install both the WooCommerce plug-in and a ‘Storefront’ WordPress theme to help you to get services online quicker. In addition to this, you will be provided with Jetpack’s ‘Professional’ plan, as opposed to Jetpack’s ‘Premium’ plan which is offered in DreamPress’s ‘Plus’ and ‘Advanced’ Managed WordPress packages.
With the Jetpack Professional plan, e-commerce businesses are provided with a 100 more WordPress themes and better protection than those who opt for the DreamPress ‘Plus’ or ‘Advanced’ package, as automatic security fixes and real-time automated backups are performed, as opposed to daily backups.
An enhanced search solution tool can also be installed to enable visitors to effectively search for their desired product at a quicker rate, regardless of the number of pages the website has. Better yet, because of the WooCommerce’s unbeatable features, if you were to upgrade to this particular plan they would save around $36 – which in our eyes is a brilliant bargain!
Again, the only issue with this hosting package is the control panel, which is only a problem for those who are used to the web-based cPanel. But, if you have the patience to get to grips with DreamHost’s control panel, then the problem is solved.
However, one thing DreamHost fails to do is implement the same top-level customer service they deliver online, over the phone. However, there are alternative ways of contacting the support team, and with regards to the live-chat feature, responses are delivered in the space of three minutes – and yes, we did try this out.
For those that are savvier with their expenses, DreamHost also offers clients two cloud hosting services, DreamObject and DreamCompute.
Unlike DreamHost’s other web hosting plans, their cloud hosting services are compatible with Windows (finally!) and is said to be the “easiest cloud hosting you’ve ever used”. Better yet, because of the company’s history and expertise in open-sourcing, DreamHost can offer customers advanced cloud technology at a competitive rate.
DreamObjects was the starting point for DreamHost’s cloud services and is constructed on Ceph – an open source software developed by one of the founders of DreamHost.
It is an object storing solution compatible with Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift APIs and works to host data-heavy archives. You can also use DreamObjects as a plug-in feature for WordPress sites for extra back-up, or as an online memory box to store personal files such as photographs and documents in the same way as Google Drive or Dropbox.
Like all DreamHost’s packages, prices are transparent and vary depending on the amount of storage you are looking to use, yet they are still the cheapest on the market!
|Storage||Monthly Price||Price Per GB|
DreamCompute is more appealing to advanced web or app developers, as (like DreamObjects) it is built upon DreamHost’s innovated open-source software (Ceph), as well as OpenStack to allow developers to effectively set up “virtual machines, networks and block devices.”
This hosting package is DreamHost’s only web hosting solution that is compatible with pretty much any OS, database or language (finally!), yet their around-the-clock tech team can give you the answers you need in the space of five minutes if any issues occur.
Full Root and Full Control
Virtually no limits in the operating system choice or software versions. DreamHost’s unmanaged servers can be based on Linux, BSD or even MS Windows.
A Cloud That Grows With You
If your business needs grow enough for you to justify running your own private cloud, we can help you out. All the code is open source and we publicly disclose our architecture.
The web-based dashboard is easy-to-use, meaning that DreamHost’s advanced tech infrastructure is easier to manage. However, if you find that the dashboard is restricting, DreamHost also offers unmanaged servers for full root access, so there are no limits. Their cloud services also provides 100% uptime and page loading times that are a fifth quicker than their competitors.
With regards to the host’s plans, every single one includes 100GB of block storage and free bandwidth, yet this comes at a price. With DreamCompute, upload bandwidth is free, but you are charged for download bandwidth, and if you wish to purchase more block storage, prices for an extra 100GB is $10 more a month. Again, please note these charges were implemented at the time of writing this review.
Website Builder (Remixer)
Despite DreamHost’s association with WordPress, the host has a separate website builder (Remixer) which is completely independent and allows you to try before you buy.
Remixer is said to provide a “new level of simple for artists and small businesses”, however, it is because of this statement that we cannot criticise its simplistic features. From the look of its dashboard, you can tell that Remixer is designed to better support those who either don’t have the time, or the knowledge to develop a website from scratch. For instance, the edit panel is fairly easy to navigate around and the drag-and-drop feature, as well as its integration with video, audio and social media platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube and SoundCloud, makes it a lot easier to upload content.
DreamHost provide a selection of 13 different themes and over 70 layouts to better represent your site’s content or business. Unlike some of DreamHost’s competitors, you can also change the website’s theme at any time, without disrupting or deleting the content; which is a bonus for companies that are rebranding, or even for those who have a change of heart.
The website builder also has an accessible library of 600,000 high-quality images and graphics for better ease of use and you can either crop, filter, scale or rotate your images to enhance the presentation of your website. However, the layout of the website’s images is rather restricting, as Remixer only supplies three different layouts (gallery, carousel and grid) and there is no option to alter layouts, such as adjusting the space between each image.
Further to this, you can add interactive elements like live social feed, comments and email contact forms, google map to engage with your visitors. The SEO section also allows you to market your website further by writing titles and meta descriptions to improve the visibility of your business/site. Nonetheless, this is a very basic SEO technique and if you wanted to integrate different SEO strategies, such as alt tags, Remixer’s basic features won’t allow it.
Prices for the web builder start at $4.95 a month and includes a free domain within the annual plan (like most web hosting companies nowadays). The ‘Standard’ plan does allow you add your own domain, which is ideal if you decide to buy a domain elsewhere for a lower price. The plan also allows you to create unlimited pages and unlimited websites that are optimised to mobile devices, but if you’re looking for a more customisable builder, then we wouldn’t recommend DreamHost’s Remixer.
For an extra $3, the ‘All Access’ plan adds on email accounts and mail forwarding to the list of features detailed in their ‘Standard’ plan. However, DreamHost’s competitors include these added extras in their budget-friendly web builder plans and therefore, this isn’t the best upgrade in comparison to what the web building market has to offer.
Like most all-inclusive web hosting companies, DreamHost also has a domain registrar and includes more than 400 domain extensions, which is more of a variety than main domain competitor, GoDaddy.
Prices of the domains range from $0.99 upwards, the most popular of which (.com) is on sale for $11.95 – note that these prices were at the time of writing.
Although these prices are rather steep compared to other domain registrars, all registers come with free optional domain locking to keep your domain protected from unauthorised changes. In addition to this, you can create as many free subdomains as you want, which is great for SEO purposes!
Speaking of which, DreamHost does well to emphasise the importance of choosing the right TLD (top level domain) to effectively optimise your site – which is rather rare, considering most domain registrars avoid mentioning this topic for money making purposes. DreamHost goes on to mention that by choosing the right domain extension, visitors and search engines can better locate your website. So by doing so, internet users can better identify the niche, or the purpose of your website through the right type of domain extension, making your website more accessible for your target readers – and with DreamHost’s wide array of domains, this is easily achievable.
DreamHost’s Key Features
Performance & Reliability
Uptime is the most important feature to take into consideration when finding the right web hosting provider and no other web hosting company can better guarantee 100% uptime than DreamHost.
For those that are sceptical, others have analysed DreamHost’s uptimes by the month, and many have identified DreamHost as the most stable web hosting company out there, and that’s exactly what DreamHost prides themselves in. In fact, DreamHost’s uptime policy mentions that if uptime is down, DreamHost customers are refunded a day’s service for every hour their website is down.
DreamHost’s extra security features, such as free domain privacy protection and free SSL certificates is a great deal considering many web hosting companies charge extra for this level of security.
Their malware removal, antispam and firewall protection also works well; however, they do not offer antimalware services for email.
Customer service is another factor which most customers should investigate before buying any web hosting plan. Whether you have all the knowledge of an IT technician or no knowledge of web hosting at all, it’s always best to have a customer support team that is on standby around the clock.
DreamHost also provide ‘award winning’ support through the likes of Twitter, email, phone, discussion forums, live chat and user’s control panel. Email and live chat support are available 24/7/365 and are exceptionally handy to have around, as their teams are knowledgeable in sales, tech and even business. However, their phone support is a service that has unfortunately been a let-down, as customers are reportedly spending too long to access the support team.
Like their price plans, DreamHost’s refunds are reasonable and at the same time, exceptional, as the 97-day money back guarantee and flexible free-trial periods are by far the best on the market.
However, the 97-day refund policy only applies to shared hosting plans and does not apply to DreamPress, dedicated or VPS services, nor do they refund services from third party members or DreamHost partners.
DreamHost Pros and Cons
- Longest money-back guarantee (97-days).
- 100% uptime guarantee.
- One-click software installation.
- Better loading times than their competitors.
- Digital customer support is extremely helpful and easy to reach.
- Unlimited number of domains available in DreamHost’s hosting plans.
- The only WordPress recommended hosting site.
- Limited hosting plans for beginners or new starters.
- Pricier than those already on the market.
- E-commerce plan isn’t available on their shared hosting packages.
- No familiar cPanel.
- Poor phone support.
- Unlimited features are not unlimited (all details stipulated in their terms and conditions).
Future of DreamHost
Within the next three years, DreamHost is looking to develop their web hosting platforms to help users quickly get their website online. Though their web builder (Remixer) does this just fine, DreamHost is aiming to make the process of publishing a lot easier and safer, so users will no longer have to worry about the operational side when building their site.
Further to this, DreamHost is working on developing a platform so users can learn how to interact with technologies such as cloud. This platform is looking to tend to the needs and the questions of web developers who have interest in the operational side and are looking for practical ways to further their business services. To answer their questions, DreamHost will give users an insight of how the infrastructure works and how it can be used to better fit their website’s needs
Although not the cheapest on the market, one thing DreamHost can provide users with is stability. It’s 100% uptime guarantee is a no brainer for anyone who wants to ensure that their website is easily accessible – though if there are times when it isn’t, a day’s service is refunded for every hour that is missed (an incredible deal in our eyes).
DreamHost’s pricing is fairly reasonable, as users pay double the price for double the amount of usage, yet their cloud and WordPress hosting plans are arguably the better deal. With their knowledge in open-sourcing and their lengthy, trusted relationship with WordPress, users aren’t only given an ideal platform that adheres to their hosting needs, but their customer support will be more beneficial than any other hosting company. Further to this, these two plans are rated as both the cheapest and the best on the market!
However, if you’re looking for a cost-effective or beginner-friendly web hosting plan, it’s better to look elsewhere, as DreamHost doesn’t provide users easy-start up tutorials or beginner-friendly web hosting tools.