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.
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'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.
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|
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 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.
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|
|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.
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.
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.
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,
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
- Unlimited plan
- SSD disks used
- Free domain privacy protection
- Free domain name
- No DDoS protection
- No cPanel