Review of DreamHost: Fast & Secure Website Hosting
Although average internet users may not find DreamHost to be as well-known as GoDaddy and Bluehost, developers, designers, and digital marketers certainly do.
Since their establishment in 1996 (in Los Angeles), they have expanded to host more than 1.5 million websites, including more than 750k WordPress sites, and more than 400,000 clients. Impressive.
One of those service providers that is always recommended is DreamHost. In actuality, WordPress itself recommends them. However, they also suggest Bluehost, which is a much more dubious option, so I'm not sure how seriously I should take this recommendation.
They appear to offer a lot for their low price, including unlimited storage and data transfers, backups, live chat and email support available around-the-clock, and free SSL certificates.
But do they lack any crucial components? And how effective is DreamHost?
In this DreamHost review, I'll provide you with all the information you need to know about their benefits, drawbacks, pricing, and when (and when not) to use them.
What Products Does DreamHost Offer?
Let's go over the other services DreamHost offers, such as dedicated servers, cloud hosting, and more, since their selection goes beyond shared hosting plans.
At DreamHost, in addition to web hosting packages, you can also purchase domain names. Over four hundred top-level domains (TLDs) and other, less common extensions are available for purchase through DreamHost (like .club or .guru). There are also top-level domains (TLDs) that are specific to countries, such as.es,.fr,.co.uk, and.de. The annual cost to renew a.com domain name is $17.99.
The straightforward pricing structure of this entry-level web hosting will allow you to get a lot for your money. The 1-site plan costs $6.99 per month, and the Unlimited tier costs $12.99 per month. It is a good idea to begin with this kind of hosting, but if your project ends up becoming very successful (for example, receiving more than 50,000 visitors per month), you may need to upgrade.
On the DreamHost website, you will also find a hosting option that is referred to as "WordPress Basic." This is exactly the same as the Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited plans that were discussed earlier, and it is broken up into the WordPress Starter plan and the WordPress Unlimited plan.
One way to think of a Virtual Private Server, also known as VPS plans, is as a shared hosting server that has been partitioned off into multiple smaller servers. This indicates that you can customize it to suit your requirements. Because of this, your website will be hosted separately from the websites of other customers, and the resources will also not be shared. DreamHost's Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting plans begin at $15.99 per month on renewal and can go as high as $114 per month in price.
On the DreamHost website, you will also find a hosting option referred to as "VPS WordPress." The standard virtual private server hosting is identical to this in every way.
However, if your website grows to the point where you require your very own dedicated servers, you should think about upgrading to dedicated hosting. However, you should be aware that dedicated hosting accounts tend to be more expensive. DreamHost's dedicated hosting plans start at $149 per month and go all the way up to $279 per month.
In addition to this, DreamHost also provides cloud hosting plans for its customers. Imagine this as a network of cloud servers that are all connected to one another and hosting your website. Because additional resources (like RAM and CPU) can be added as needed with this solution, it is an excellent choice for those who anticipate spikes in the volume of website visitors. It can be difficult to estimate how much you will have to pay because the cost is determined by the resources (such as RAM or storage) that you require. The beginning price for a DreamHost cloud server package is $4.50 per month.
Managed WordPress Hosting
In addition to all of those features, DreamHost also provides managed hosting plans for WordPress websites. You have the option of going with a Managed WordPress hosting account, which begins at a renewal price of $19.99 and comes with features such as automatic updates, staging areas, and dedicated WordPress support (for one site only).
This review of DreamHost is going to focus primarily on the company's shared hosting plans, so from now on, I'm going to be referring to those.
Starter — $6.99
- 1 website.
- 50 GB storage.
- 6 databases.
- Email accounts not included.
Unlimited — $12.99.
- Unlimited websites.
- Unlimited storage.
- Unlimited databases.
- Email accounts included.
Renewal Costs Will Increase
Nearly every web hosting company offers extremely low starting prices in order to entice new customers to sign up with them. However, unfortunately, these costs won't be maintained indefinitely. Once the promotional period has passed, your hosting plan will automatically renew at the regular price.
These renewal prices are typically a significant amount higher in cost than the initial offer prices. The fact that these are the standard prices, however, means that they are a much better representation of the actual value of your hosting plan.
Because of this, you should use these renewal prices when comparing different hosting providers; in fact, we use these very same prices in all of our hosting reviews.
As can be seen, DreamHost provides a very affordable introductory offer, but the price goes up significantly after the first year has passed. However, even after the renewal, DreamHost's prices are still lower than those of the majority of other providers.
But first, let's take a look at what you'll get in exchange for your money...
What Are Included in Their Shared Plans?
Be aware that DreamHost offers attractive price reductions for the initial purchase term of their services. For instance, the monthly cost of the Starter and Unlimited plans under the annual plan is $2.95 when paid annually.
I really value the straightforwardness and transparency of both DreamHost's pricing and the structure of its various plan options. They only offer two shared plans, both of which include the majority of the fundamentals that you will require and do not include any aggressive or costly upsells.
Let's find out what kind of plan you're going to need:
Because the Shared Starter hosting plan can only accommodate one website at a time, you should choose this one if you are only interested in hosting one website. Be aware that if you require email accounts, you will be required to pay for those separately in addition to this plan (starting at $1.67 per month extra), which is a reasonable price in my opinion. The number of databases, which is limited to six, and the amount of storage space, which is capped at fifty gigabytes, are the only other restrictions.
You will need to upgrade to the more expensive Shared Unlimited package in order to host more than one website. This one comes with database access as well as email accounts with unlimited storage space. Due to the fact that the basic plan already includes a generous number of FTP accounts, bandwidth, and other resources, no additional features have been added.
Pros and Cons of DreamHost
- Affordable. DreamHost is an inexpensive web hosting service; even their most advanced shared hosting plan is less expensive than the majority of their competitors' offerings.
- Unlimited bandwidth and generous storage. Every account comes with a substantial amount of storage space and truly unlimited bandwidth. There is no limit on the number of inodes, unlike other systems.
- Modern-looking backend. Their backend gives off a very modern appearance. Those who are used to the dashboards in cPanel may find that it takes some getting used to this new interface.
- No upsells and upgrades. There are a lot of competitors who use aggressive sales tactics to try to get you to buy their add-ons. DreamHost is like a gush of cool mountain air.
- 97-day money-back guarantee. If, after using DreamHost for 97 days (yes, 97), you are dissatisfied with the service they provide, you are eligible for a refund of your payment.
- Performance. The results of DreamHost's speed and uptime tests for this year were below average. Uptime of 99.83% was the second worst of all available options. In addition, the page load time was unimpressive in comparison to the times offered by competing web hosts.
- Not many 1-click installs. They only offer automated installations for a select few content management systems (e.g. WordPress).
- Only US-location. They do not have any servers located outside of the United States. Users coming from other regions might not find these to be ideal (e.g. Europe or Asia).
- No email account in the starter plan. Email accounts are not included in the price of the Shared Starter plan, but they can be purchased separately at a reasonable price.
- Some advanced features are missing. It appears that certain capabilities for larger projects are lacking. For example, there is no staging, built-in caching, or advanced backup solutions; for these features, you will need to upgrade to their more powerful DreamPress hosting.
- Support. Live chat support is only available between the hours of 3:00 AM and 9:30 PM (Pacific Time), so it is not available around the clock. Outside of those hours, the only option for customer support is through tickets, which is a significantly slower method. There is also no phone support available.
When to Use DreamHost’s Hosting?
Well, a lot of website proprietors should seriously consider using DreamHost, particularly those who are looking for web hosting that is dependable and affordable. It is extremely difficult to find a hosting company that offers both affordable prices and high quality in the world of web hosting in this day and age.
I would recommend DreamHost to people working on smaller projects (like a website for a dentist's office), who are looking for the best value for their money.
Despite this, larger websites may also find a reliable partner in the shared web hosting services provided by DreamHost. It provides sufficient speed, has good customer service, and has a reliable uptime, making it suitable for hard-core site developers and avid bloggers.
Even if it is not PCI-compliant out of the box, DreamHost supports this technology, and with a little bit of tinkering, you should be able to make it work. Obviously, this is a huge advantage for businesses that are working on e-commerce projects.
When Not to Use DreamHost’s hosting?
However, there are a few circumstances in which I would not suggest using DreamHost.
Because they do not have servers located in other countries, this option is probably not the best one to go with if your audience is not based in North America. WP Engine, SiteGround, or A2 Hosting are some possible alternatives to consider.
Last but not least, users who are well versed in technology, such as developers or agencies, may find that they are missing out on some advanced features, such as staging areas, an integrated caching system, or pre-installed Git repositories. SiteGround or DreamPress is the way to go if you are interested in having these.
DreamHost Shared Hosting Details
- Ease of use. The control panel provided by DreamHost has a contemporary appearance and a straightforward layout. The left sidebar is where you'll find access to all of the available options. It is not based on the cPanel control panel, and some users may find that some advanced options are missing as a result.
- Domain names. When you sign up for one of DreamHost's annual (or longer) hosting plans, you can get your domain name registered for free. This offer is only valid for the first year; after that, the annual fee for registering a.com domain will be $17.99. The following extensions are available for use with your website:.com,.net,.org,.info,.global,.blog,.shop, or.club. You will only be able to have one domain name and five subdomains if you go with the Shared Starter plan. If you go with the Share Unlimited plan, you will have unlimited domain names and subdomains.
- Email rating. Surprisingly, if you sign up for their Starter plan, email hosting won't be included for free (additional fees begin at $1.67 per month). If you subscribe to the Unlimited plan, you will have the ability to set up and manage an unlimited number of email accounts. The maximum size of each email account will be capped at 25 gigabytes.
- Databases. You have the ability to create MySQL databases when using DreamHost. You are able to create an unlimited number of databases if you subscribe to the Unlimited plan. There are only six databases available with the Starter plan. Although neither of the plans places a cap on the size of the database, it is recommended that you "try to keep it no larger than a few gigabytes in size."
- Applications. This web hosting service provides scripts that make it simple to install several widely used content management systems (CMSs), such as WordPress, Zen Cart, or Joomla. They are only making a limited number available. For instance, well-known content management systems (CMSs) like Drupal, Magento, or PrestaShop don't appear to be supported.
- Webspace limit. The storage capacity is capped at 50 gigabytes when using the Shared Starter plan. Your storage space will not be limited by The Unlimited, but you should be aware that there is a fair usage policy in place (for example, no file sharing sites).
- Monthly data transfer limit. In none of DreamHost's shared hosting plans is there a cap on the amount of bandwidth you can use. Nevertheless, you are obligated to comply with their Terms of Service (for example, you can't use the hosting service you pay for as a backup device).
- FTP accounts and secure FTP. Access to FTP, SFTP, and SSH is all feasible here. The Starter plan will permit you to have up to six of these, while the Unlimited package will not place any restrictions on that number.
- Server location. DreamHost does not operate any data centers outside of the United States (Virginia and Oregon). There are not as many server locations as there are with other competing companies such as SiteGround or A2 Hosting.
- Security features. Because DreamHost is integrated with Let's Encrypt, enabling an SSL certificate on your website is completely free with them. In addition, they provide access to secure file transfer protocols such as SSH and SFTP. Additionally, HTTP/2 is supported, the most recent versions of PHP 7 and PHP 8 are used, and they have their own firewall. There is also the option to enable Multi-Factor Authentication for your panel. DreamShield is a paid security app that was developed by DreamHost themselves. It provides additional security options (such as malware scans) for an additional cost.
- Server speed. DreamHost proved to be a reliable service provider in our speed tests, despite the fact that it was not the fastest. SSDs (solid state drives), HTTP/2, and PHP 7 are what DreamHost employs (faster). Their Shared hosting, in contrast to their Managed WordPress plans (prices for which begin at $19.99), does not come equipped with a server-side caching system by default.
- Uptime. The most recent round of tests that I carried out showed that DreamHost had an uptime of 99.83%, which is not satisfactory. I'm hoping that this year's results are just a fluke because in years past it's been much higher. The good news is that DreamHost provides a guarantee of 100% uptime, which means that you will be entitled to a refund if it falls below this level.
- Backups. They create a backup of all of your files every single day, and you will have access to the most recent 14 backups of your website as well as the most recent 5 backups of your database. Enhanced backup capabilities, such as on-demand retrieval, can be purchased as an add-on (paid separately).
- CDN. Even though DreamHost does not include a content delivery network (CDN), you have the option of adding a third-party provider such as Cloudflare.
- Server features. MySQL version 5 and PHP versions 7 and 8 are both accessible through their control panel. You also have the option of using other programming languages, such as Perl, Ruby, or Python. Even though their servers do not automatically comply with PCI standards, it is possible to do so if you have sufficient technical expertise.
- Refunds and guarantees. A 97-day money back guarantee is included with your purchase of DreamHost, which is a really impressive feature. According to their Terms of Service, they are obligated to compensate you in the event that they do not maintain a 100% uptime.
- Assistance and support. Live customer support is available around the clock via both live chat and a ticketing system at DreamHost (email). There is no customer service available over the phone. My experience with customer service representatives for technical issues has consistently been positive and instructive. Their support materials are clear, up to date, and comprehensive all at the same time.
DreamHost Review: Do I Recommend It?
Yes, I would suggest going with DreamHost.
DreamHost is an option that many people should consider. Advantages such as reasonable pricing, reliable customer service, and a very generous unlimited policy (both for storage and bandwidth) are extremely appealing.
Be aware, however, that if you are searching for professional features such as staging areas, integrated caching, and pre-installed Git repositories, DreamHost may not be able to meet your needs. Additionally, it is not ideal if the majority of your traffic originates from regions other than North America.
DreamHost is a trustworthy service that employs a straightforward business model and offers excellent value for the money. Even though it does not have some of the more advanced features, such as staging areas or pre-installed GIT repositories, it is still one of my go-to providers for websites that are small to medium in size.
Can I get a domain name with DreamHost?
You can purchase domain names from DreamHost at reasonable prices, that is correct. For instance, the initial registration for a.com domain name will set you back approximately $8, and the annual renewal fee is $17.99.
The list of domain name extensions is very long; DreamHost offers hundreds of extensions, ranging from the standard.com,.net,.org, or.co.uk to more unusual extensions such as.vodka,.wtf,.tatto, or.tax. The list of domain name extensions is very long; DreamHost offers hundreds of extensions.
Can I host my WordPress website with DreamHost?
Sure you can. In fact, even DreamHost's most affordable web hosting plan, the Shared Starter package, includes a step-by-step guide that makes it simple to set up WordPress. A couple of minutes is all that is required to finish the installation of WordPress on your website.
Read the question that comes after this one for more information regarding the WordPress-specific hosting plans that are available through DreamHost.
Is Managed WordPress Hosting available from DreamHost?
DreamPress is a managed hosting service that is offered by DreamHost. Website owners who use WordPress and require additional features to manage their website can use DreamPress. They are priced more fairly than shared hosting packages despite the fact that they come at a slightly higher price.
A web hosting service that is optimized for WordPress and comes with a couple of additional benefits, such as the following, can be yours for as little as $19.99 per month (on renewal):
- Daily in addition to ad hoc backups
- Staging areas for the code to be tested.
- WordPress site builder that uses drag and drop
- Integrated caching to help speed up your website.
A CDN, the Professional version of the popular Jetpack WordPress plugin, and priority customer support are some of the additional features that are available with higher-tier DreamPress plans.
One important thing to keep in mind about these WordPress plans is that regardless of which DreamPress plan you go with, you will only be able to host a single website with DreamHost. Something you ought to think about if you are going to be hosting multiple WordPress websites.