Review DreamHost

Overall Rating:
7.6
Performance
9.0/10
Pricing
6.5/10
User friendly
7.0/10
Support
6.5/10
Features
9.0/10

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 aims 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?

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. Here's what they are.

  • Shared web hosting
  • Cloud hosting
  • VPS hosting
  • Dedicated hosting
  • Domain names
  • Website builder

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.

And let's find out if the old dog still knows some tricks.

DreamHost Pricing

DreamHost's shared hosting prices begin at $2.95/mo with the Starter plan. The higher - Unlimited plan - comes at $5.95/mo  providing you unlimited websites and emails.

dreamhost review shared pricing

These prices are available 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 with a period of 1 month, 1 year or 3 years. Here is a table showing how fees change according to the subscription term:

Shared StarterShared Unlimited
1-month term$4.95/mo$10.95/mo
1-year term$3.95/mo$6.95/mo
3 years term$2.95/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.

Another great thing, DreamHost offers an outstanding 97-day money back guarantee. This shows the confidence the host has in its services - they really believe you will want to stay for long. But beware that refunds are available only to credit card payments.

And just a side note for those who already have websites and want to transfer. Unfortunately, DreamHost doesn't offer free assistance. If you can't do it yourself, the technical support is there to help, but a website transfer will cost $99.

What Are DreamHost Hosting Features?

Perhaps the biggest features of DreamHost is the unmetered disk space and bandwidth. It is always nice to have no hard limits on how much data you get to upload. Same goes with unlimited access for your customers!

Also, DreamHost has SSD servers for both plans, which means powerful hardware for the best performance of your site. 

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

Shared StarterShared Unlimited
Disk SpaceUnmeteredUnmetered
BandwidthUnmeteredUnmetered
Domains allowed1Unlimited
SSLIncluded (Let’s Encrypt)
Included (Let’s Encrypt)
Email accountsPaid upgradeUnlimited (2GB per account limit)
Customer SupportLive chat / email / ticket
Live chat / email / ticket
Free Automated BackupsYesYes

Every plan includes an SSL certificate. That's a nice touch, although it is already free of charge Let’s Encrypt. But for smaller sites, this one is enough.

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 many other competitors charge but considering the hosting price, malware protection could be included.

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 doesn't justify such upsells.

dreamhost review malware protection

So when buying from DreamHost, pay close attention not to get services you didn't plan to buy.

This trend of DreamHost not offering the important features in its plans tends to continue.

For example, the backups policy is not promising. You get an average of two weeks backed up so you can restore the data. While other hosts tend to offer daily or at least weekly backups, DreamHost doesn't have that. So be ready to do backups yourself.

There's no cPanel, too. Instead, you get to use DreamHost's own Web Panel.

Sadly, it lacks intuitiveness and also has no stock File Manager to easily work with files. So for those who are used to the comfort of cPanel, this will be a disappointment.

But although that WebPanel is slightly confusing, the ‘search’ function works perfectly and I was able to do most basic tasks I wanted.

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, there is an exception when purchasing a Starter package for only one month. In that case, 

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.

It's called Remixer. This one has over 10 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 color, images, and font. And they are sorted by type to better match the purpose of the website. Overall, the designs are well put together and responsive with all devices.

dreamhost review website builder

Looking at all the features, DreamHost shared hosting plans have plenty to offer.

But there are some glaring omissions that still need to be sorted out.

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 - Friday, 8-4PM (PT).

Also, there is a quite large knowledge base with many articles to basic questions.

dreamhost review support

Ticket and email services are merged together because essentially, they are the same thing. For example, if you send in a ticket, you will receive a reply in your email. And you will be offered to continue the conversation there.

Sadly, it doesn't really work too well. In my multiple requests, it took from 10 to 20 hours 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 around 10 hours.

It is not the worst I've seen, but still, I want the support to be responsive and quick to solve the issues.

Another thing I didn't like, they often went with a very simple answer or just sent a link to one of the DreamHost articles. And those weren't the full answers, so I had to do follow-up questions. This made the process even longer.

Talking about the DreamHost chat support agents, they were capable to explain the plans or direct me to the right articles. The agents have been polite and familiar with my issues.

To sum it up, DreamHost customer support is pretty adequate. But it's slow and only available for 40 hours a week. Some improvements have to be done in order to compare to the industry leaders.

DreamHost Performance

DreamHost boasts with its SSD servers and promises 100% uptime guarantee. Let's see if the performance is as good as promised.

First of all, I wanted to see DreamHost's speed during low upkeep. A simple HTML website should show the highest possible performance. After all, it's only a few lines of code. This is how DreamHost performed:

Amazing performance in the US is nothing new - still, it's good to see that. On the other hand, weak performance in Singapore is disappointing.

The second website tested was created with DreamHost website builder. It had some images, text, and a high-resolution video file. So this should show how servers deal with increased performance. And here are the speed results:

These are very similar and only slightly lower compared to the HTML website. The overall grade is being brought down because of the weak performance in Singapore, but overall, it's pretty good.

Now, to check the host's uptime, I set up a WordPress website and put it to test. Here you can see the uptime as well as the response times:

During a week's time, there have been 7 total minutes of downtime - so the total DreamHost uptime is around 99.97%.

That's not a bad number - but also lower than the promoted 100%.

However, the overall performance has been rather weak. Response times are quite inconsistent, averaging around 700 ms but also having several spikes every day. That is not ideal.

So DreamHost isn't bad, but it doesn't live up to its promises of superior performance.

DreamHost Review – Conclusion

DreamHost is a provider worth our consideration. It definitely has some strong sides going with transparent pricing and rich features. However, there are some disadvantages, that cannot be ignored.

With fairly expensive prices it gives only an average performance. And the customer support is due a serious upgrade sometime soon. A lot of the important features are also missing from the plans - such as daily backups, or the malware/anti-DDoS protection.

With all of those things, you can sense that DreamHost lacks that killer edge to really be a great host.

DreamHost isn't bad but it's not even close to being the best web hosting option out there.

Pros

  • Unlimited plan. No limits on email addresses, bandwidth or disk space
  • SSD disks used instead of older HDDs
  • Free domain privacy protection
  • Free domain name for the first 12 months

Cons

  • No free malware or DDoS protection included
  • No cPanel may prove to be problem for some users
  • No true 24/7 customer support
  • Rather weak performance
DreamHost User Reviews

  1. host review picture host review
    2018 October 11th
    Reply
    Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features

    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)

  2. Mark picture Mark
    2018 October 5th
    Reply
    Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features

    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.

  3. Don picture Don
    2018 January 3rd
    Reply
    Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features

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

  4. D.M picture D.M
    2017 September 12th
    Reply
    Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features

    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.

  5. Luc picture Luc
    2017 September 9th
    Reply
    Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features

    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.

  6. maverick123 picture maverick123
    2017 September 3rd
    Reply
    Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features

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

    1. ffs picture ffs
      2017 September 10th
      Reply

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

  7. chillmaz picture chillmaz
    2017 September 3rd
    Reply
    Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features

    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?

    1. ffs picture ffs
      2017 September 10th
      Reply

      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.

  8. austin p. picture austin p.
    2017 September 1st
    Reply
    Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features

    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.

  9. RileyBradford picture RileyBradford
    2017 August 22nd
    Reply
    Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features

    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 ?

  10. holly picture holly
    2017 August 22nd
    Reply
    Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features

    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! 🙂

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