DreamHost Review

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Paul Mahony

20 comments

2019 November 22nd

With an experience of over 2 decades and over 1.5 million websites, DreamHost has been a well-known name in the web hosting field for a while now.

DreamHost strives to offer good value hosting deals, aiming its packages towards startups and small businesses. But should those businesses choose this hosting provider, are the services any good?

Watch our in-depth video to find that out:

What is DreamHost?

DreamHost offers more than regular web hosting. As a matter of fact, it has a big range of services, that will be helpful for both complete beginners and experienced users with big demands. It can offer shared, Cloud, VPS, or Dedicated hosting to its customers.

DreamHost Review - Homepage

Pretty much a complete package - only missing the reseller hosting plans.

And for this review, we'll be having a look at by far the most popular DreamHost service - the shared hosting. So let's look at how this provider stands in matters of pricing, plan features, customer support, and performance.

DreamHost Pricing

DreamHost's shared hosting prices begin at $2.95/mo with the Starter plan. It includes 1 website, 50GB of SSD storage space, unmetered bandwidth, and 5 subdomains. Unfortunately, the Starter plan doesn't include an email inbox with your domain name.

DreamHost Review - Shared Pricing

The higher - Unlimited plan - comes at $5.95/mo, it gives you unlimited websites, unlimited SSD storage space, and an unlimited number of subdomains and emails. You also get a free SSL certificate, from Let’s Encrypt, with this and every other plan.

These prices are available only when subscribing for the 3-year period. It's a usual pricing scheme that many providers use, the longer you plan to stay, the lower the price.

If you want to go with a shorter term, the monthly price rises. You can go for a period of 1 month, 1 year or 3 years. Here is a table showing how fees change according to the subscription term:

Shared Starter Shared Unlimited
1 month $4.95/mo $10.95/mo
1 year $3.95/mo $6.95/mo
3 years $2.59/mo $5.95/mo

What is nice, the renewal fees are simple and transparent - no increases, no tricks. After your package runs out, you will be charged the same price for the same period as your first term. 

Also worth mentioning, that DreamHost promises compensation if your site goes down. Since it guarantees 100% uptime, any downtime is unacceptable. Of course, there are some exclusions for scheduled maintenances. But other than that DreamHost will pay back the hosting price of one day for each hour (or fraction) of downtime.

DreamHost Review - Uptime Guarantee

Another great thing, DreamHost offers an outstanding 97-day money-back guarantee for its shared hosting plans. This shows the confidence the host has in its services - they really believe you will want to stay for long. 

DreamHost Review - Money-Back Guarantee

You'll get the standard 30-day refund policy if you buy DreamPress - a managed WordPress hosting package. 

And just a side note for those who already have websites, DreamHost will transfer your WordPress website to its managed DreamPress service for free. Although it will cost $99 if you are transferring to the shared hosting platform.

With an extensive money-back guarantee and unlimited plan below $6 range, DreamHost has a strong package to offer.

DreamHost Hosting Features

Perhaps the biggest feature of DreamHost is the unmetered disk space and bandwidth with its Shared Unlimited plan. It is always nice to have no hard limits on how much data you get to upload. The same goes for unlimited access for your customers!

But what else do you get? This table breaks down the main features of DreamHost shared hosting:

Shared Starter Shared Unlimited
Disk Space 50 GB Unlimited
Bandwidth Unmetered Unmetered
Domains allowed 1 Unlimited
SSL Included (Let’s Encrypt) Included (Let’s Encrypt)
Email accounts Paid upgrade Unlimited (2GB per-account limit)
Customer Support Live chat / email / ticket Live chat / email / ticket
Free Automated Backups Yes Yes

What is not so nice, DreamHost doesn't provide Anti-DDoS protection. And Anti-malware comes as a separate paid feature for $3/mo. This is less than what many other competitors charge, but considering the hosting price, malware protection could be included.

DreamHost Review - Add-Ons

When purchasing the plan, malware protection comes as a pre-marked box. So you may accidentally pay for that, without actively consenting. Although protection is necessary, it a bit weird upselling attempt.

You also get automated backups, DreamHost will make sure your data is safe. It will make daily copies of your WordPress website and content, so if anything goes wrong you could restore it.

DreamHost Review - Automated Backups

There's no cPanel, too. Instead, you get to use DreamHost's own Web Panel. The custom panel doesn't lack intuitiveness, but users who are used to the comfort of cPanel might find this a bit more tricky to use.

DreamHost Review - Web Panel

On the positive side, when purchasing DreamHost, you get a free domain for the first year. It's a simple, yet a very enjoyable perk. However, you have to buy hosting for at least a year, otherwise,

DreamHost Review - Privacy Protection

Talking about domains DreamHost also gives you free Domain Privacy Protection. With many providers, you have to pay extra to hide personal information tied to your domain. 

And when it comes to building a website, DreamHost not only supports and allows to easily download all major CMS options, it also has its own website builder.

DreamHost Review - Remixer Themes

It's called the Remixer. This one has over 12 templates and you can try out how it looks on their website before purchasing the plan. The variety isn't too large, but templates can be customized by colors, images, and font. 

DreamHost Review - Remixer Colors Range

And they are sorted by type to better match the purpose of the website. Overall, the designs are well put together and responsive to all devices.

Looking at all the options, it's clear that DreamHost shared hosting plans have plenty of great features to offer.

DreamHost Customer Service

DreamHost has U.S. based customer support that can be reached by phone, chat, and email. It works 24/7, although live chat is available only Monday - Sunday, 5:30 AM-9:30 PM (PT). And all of its support teams are in-house, so there won't be a redirection hell.

DreamHost Review - 24/7 Support

Ticket and email services are merged together because essentially, they are the same thing. For example, when sending a ticket, you will receive a reply in your email. In our multiple requests, it took from 10 min to 1 hour to get a reply!

For example, when purchasing the plan, I was ‘flagged’ for the authentication process and had to submit a copy of the card and cardholder’s ID. And to get the account activated, I had to wait for around 40 minutes.

DreamHost Review - Email Support

Talking about the DreamHost live chat support agents, they were capable of explaining the plans or directing us to the right articles. The agents have been polite and familiar with my issues.

DreamHost Review - Live Chat

Also, there is a quite large knowledge base available at the support center. There you can find all sorts of helpful articles grouped into different categories.

DreamHost Review - Knowledge Base

And you even have DreamHost Academy - a learning base, where you can read hundreds of WordPress specific tutorials. It's a great way to start learning if you're planning to use this CMS.

To sum it up, DreamHost's customer support is pretty great. And there is quite a lot of articles and helpful information available.

DreamHost Performance

DreamHost boasts with its SSD servers and promises a 100% uptime guarantee. And after more than a month of testing our website showed a perfect 100% uptime. And the response time we got was pretty stable, except for one spike around the end of October.

DreamHost Review - Uptime

The average response time was 162ms, and at points, it went to as low as 119ms. That one spike we experienced raised the max response time to 381ms, so even with this spike, the response speed was still excellent.

Bitcatcha showed our website response time in 10 locations around the globe, and for most parts it was great. In some regions, it was as fast as 8ms or 23ms. The only two locations that responded slower were Bangalore and Singapore.

DreamHost Review - Bitcatcha

The overall grade we got was A+, the highest performance grade. You can expect great performance from DreamHost, especially in the United States and Canada.

Just a small note, all of these tests are done on the Starter plan with a WordPress website with a default theme installed.

Next, we used GTmetrix to see just how fast our website will actually load. It took 2.5 seconds to fully load our website. Now this time isn't perfect, but it's still way better than some more expensive providers.

DreamHost Review - GTmetrix

At the optimization part, it did even better, scoring both A's in PageSpeed (91%) and YSlow (91%).

While DreamHost isn't lightning-fast, it does live up to its promises of great performance and stability.

DreamHost Review – Conclusion

DreamHost is a provider worth your consideration. It definitely has some strong sides going with transparent pricing and rich features. And with fairly expensive prices it gives an excellent performance.

There are a few drawbacks, like no free DDoS or malware protection. You also don't get any email inbox with the cheapest plan, but apart from these things DreamHost has a solid hosting deal.

DreamHost is great if:

You need a hosting with unlimited storage space and bandwidth, great stability, and 97-days money-back guarantee.

Have a DreamHost review? Leave them below.

Pros

  • Unlimited plan
  • SSD disks used
  • Free domain privacy protection
  • Free domain name

Cons

  • No DDoS protection
  • No cPanel

DreamHost User Reviews

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User comments

host review picture
host review

2018 October 11th

Dotster, Godaddy, Pair. There’s probably a lot longer list but those are the ones I’m familiar with.We just had our site shut down by Bluehost/Sitelock.Turns out they recently moved the... Read more

Dotster, Godaddy, Pair. There’s probably a lot longer list but those are the ones I’m familiar with.We just had our site shut down by Bluehost/Sitelock.Turns out they recently moved the site to a different server, the site was hacked right away and they were holding a clean copy of the website for when we paid them. We threatened attouney general and the site was back up in 30 minutes (after waiting 3 days FYI)

Mark picture
Mark

2018 October 5th

Dreamhost is pretty reliable and the cost is not terrible for what you get. But the support sucks. If you need a quick answer forget it. There is no phone... Read more

Dreamhost is pretty reliable and the cost is not terrible for what you get. But the support sucks. If you need a quick answer forget it. There is no phone support available at all. They have chat support but more often that not the chat window never opens. That leaves you with submitting tickets by email. They claim to give you a response within 24 hours and most of the time they do. But their response is often off topic as if the person responding never actually read your email. I wonder if there is a human responding to emails or if they have a robot giving automated responses based on keywords found in your email. I usually know more about how to fix the issue than their support people. I have never actually had a single one of my issues resolved by support. The invalid security certificate for email is amateurish. We had users who never were able to get email from the server. We had database related issues that went on for weeks without resolution. If you have a problem with Dreamhost you either live with it or you move on.

Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features
Don picture
Don

2018 January 3rd

8 dollars the cheapes and for 3 years? What were they thinking? Who'd pay that? With those speeds? As bloody if.

8 dollars the cheapes and for 3 years? What were they thinking? Who'd pay that? With those speeds? As bloody if.

Pricing
D.M picture
D.M

2017 September 12th

Never had problems with support. Then again, I spend my nights sleeping, not irritating chat services, so why would I care how long it works for? Everything is perfect with... Read more

Never had problems with support. Then again, I spend my nights sleeping, not irritating chat services, so why would I care how long it works for? Everything is perfect with the thing except for the fact it has downtimes. plenty, tbf. The review says there was nothing on 7th of July, well my website was down for the entire day then. Clearly shows it wasn't a data centre problem, but instead a thing that made me extremely angry. Farewell, Dreamhost. You were really good but also very offline.

Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features
Luc picture
Luc

2017 September 9th

How are they doing anyway? Out in NameCheap comments everyone slates them for being cheap, here it’s bad cos they are expensive. Who’s doing better for themselves? Two different sides... Read more

How are they doing anyway? Out in NameCheap comments everyone slates them for being cheap, here it’s bad cos they are expensive. Who’s doing better for themselves? Two different sides of the coin.

maverick123 picture
maverick123

2017 September 3rd

i would bet money that this negative review happened just so Paul can write that last line looool.

i would bet money that this negative review happened just so Paul can write that last line looool.

    ffs

    2017 September 10th

    surely not because of the 700ms response speeds wth 80 second glitches. you’re a genius amongst men

    surely not because of the 700ms response speeds wth 80 second glitches. you’re a genius amongst men

chillmaz picture
chillmaz

2017 September 3rd

O.K but consider this: i have never used cPanel in my life. What then? Is it still “awful” or is the reviewer just so used to one panel, he can’t... Read more

O.K but consider this: i have never used cPanel in my life. What then? Is it still “awful” or is the reviewer just so used to one panel, he can’t handle change?

    ffs

    2017 September 10th

    If your idea of a good panel is a text-based nightmare where you can't find anything without Googling then sure, hop in. There are plenty other reviews that talk about... Read more

    If your idea of a good panel is a text-based nightmare where you can't find anything without Googling then sure, hop in. There are plenty other reviews that talk about panel as well. Of course DreamHost is gonna get some stick, cPanel is a golden standard and it WORKS. Besides, in the times of smartphones we are used to menus and icons - this here is completely different. Imagine having a text based smartphone interface. Would you that a person is just "used to Android or iOS"? No. If there is something that works and is popular, there probably is a damn good reason for it.

austin p. picture
austin p.

2017 September 1st

The worst thing about this is the performance. With such prices and gloating, you’d imagine they’d be bang on with their speeds. And here we are and it’s so so... Read more

The worst thing about this is the performance. With such prices and gloating, you’d imagine they’d be bang on with their speeds. And here we are and it’s so so meh.

RileyBradford picture
RileyBradford

2017 August 22nd

It's reliable alright. no downtimes or whatever. But it's super expensive and support is really weak. Honestly wish I got out more from every dollar I paid...cos this isn't too... Read more

It's reliable alright. no downtimes or whatever. But it's super expensive and support is really weak. Honestly wish I got out more from every dollar I paid...cos this isn't too good now. It's good but I think I could have a better provider and spend the money of beer and pizza instead ?

Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features
holly picture
holly

2017 August 22nd

Bought it some time ago. Now looking for a provider to replace it and reading the reviews. I think that tells the story. I wish there was a cool story... Read more

Bought it some time ago. Now looking for a provider to replace it and reading the reviews. I think that tells the story. I wish there was a cool story to tell on why i’m leaving like something cool like fireworks and lawsuits haha. But it’s nothing like that. Just...it doesn’t work well. The panels are unintuitive, it’s slow, loads times are stupid sometimes, i thought internet was bad! Many things are good there but in short, it’s just a lukewarm experience and I think I’ll go for someone in the top 3 here instead! :)

Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features