Which DreamHost Plan Is Right for You?
Whether you’re searching for your first-ever web hosting provider or looking to switch to a new one, the decision-making process can be overwhelming. Choosing from all of the plans and prices out there starts to feel like staring at a menu with too many options – eventually, you just want to give up and shout “surprise me!” at the waiter.
The best way to avoid such an impulsive, albeit metaphorical outburst is to read up on each hosting option. This way, you can relax knowing that you’re making an informed decision.
One of your options is DreamHost, which we’ve already reviewed in full. This article will get into the particulars of DreamHost’s different pricing options. First we’ll talk about general expenses, and then we’ll take it plan by plan. If you’re thinking of choosing DreamHost as your web hosting provider, this article will help you decide which pricing plan is your best fit.
*This price renews at $7.95/month after the first year
*This price renews at $9.95/month after the first year
As you can see, DreamHost offers a wide range of pricing plans that fall under different types of web hosting. Below, we’ll explain what each type of hosting is, and detail the differences between each type’s different pricing plans. We’ll also explain why DreamHost’s Dedicated plans are a little different from the rest.
DreamHost allows you to choose between monthly and yearly payment options for each of its hosting plans. The Shared and VPS hosting plans also come with a three-year payment option. For all DreamHost hosting plans, if you make the commitment to a yearly or three-year payment option, you’ll save anywhere from 8% to 48% compared to the corresponding monthly option.
For example, you could get the Shared Starter plan for $4.95/month paid monthly, $3.95/month paid in advance for the year, or $2.59/month paid in advance for three years. In this instance, you save 20% by moving from the monthly price to the yearly price, and 48% by moving from the monthly price to the three-year price.
Now that we’ve got a brief overview to work with, let’s take a closer look at each DreamHost pricing plan.
Shared hosting means that a single web server hosts multiple websites. When you sign up for a shared hosting plan, you share the server’s resources with other sites. Put simply, it’s like having your own room (read: website) in a shared house – you might have to take a few cold showers, but you also get to let the landlord deal with any maintenance issues (read: complex techy stuff).
Because shared hosting plans are generally the cheapest hosting option, and because the provider takes care of all the technical maintenance, shared hosting is usually the best option for those just starting out online. It’s also great for newer websites, and businesses with a smaller budget.
If you’re looking to save the most money, check out the best cheap shared hosting providers.
Site loading speed is slower than on other types of servers, especially when your site traffic begins to increase. But despite this, the amount of storage and resources provided on a shared plan will likely be enough when you’re starting out – and you can always upgrade your plan if/when you outgrow it.
DreamHost offers two different shared hosting plans:
As we outlined earlier, the price ranges so much because each plan can be paid for on a monthly, yearly, or three-year basis. Features vary between the Starter and Unlimited plans, as we’ve outlined below:
|Feature||Shared Starter Monthly ($4.95)||Shared Unlimited Monthly ($10.95)|
|Domain Registration||Additional cost $8.99||Additional cost $8.99|
|Additional cost $1.67/month||Included|
We’ve already talked about domain registration, SSL certificates, and email. But you might be wondering what SSD (solid-state drive) storage is. It’s basically just a more modern type of storage in comparison to a hard disk drive, and it ensures that data won’t be lost when a computer is turned off. “Websites” here just means the number of different websites you can have at once on your DreamHost plan.
This table outlines the features included when you pay by month. If you decide to pay in one or three-year sums, the overall cost will go down, and that $8.99 domain name will be included for free – but only for the first year, after which you’ll have to pay to renew it.
That’s the only major difference between the monthly and yearly plans, but here’s a complete rundown of the three-year payment option for shared hosting plans:
In short, a DreamHost Shared hosting plan is best for you if your website is new, or if you’re running a smaller operation and trying to keep things economical. As for choosing between Starter and Unlimited, the biggest benefit of Unlimited is its unlimited email @ your domain. If you’re looking to lend legitimacy to your site, then Unlimited is worth the few extra bucks.
DreamPress hosting is DreamHost’s managed WordPress hosting option. This means that when you choose this plan, DreamHost will optimize your site specifically for WordPress and take care of any server resources specific to your WordPress installation, such as keeping the platform updated and running backups.
DreamPress plans have a lot more scalability than shared hosting plans, which means your site can handle increasing traffic. However, one DreamPress plan is only configured for a single domain. If you want multiple domains, you have to activate a separate DreamPress hosting plan for each one.
Dreampress is also specifically tailored to WordPress sites, which is excellent – if you have (or want) one! WordPress is a powerful and widely used platform, but it’s worth putting in the research before deciding on DreamPress to make sure that it’s right for you.
…And if it’s not, no worries – we’ve already researched the best WordPress alternatives.
|Feature||DreamPress Basic Monthly ($19.95)||DreamPress Plus Monthly ($29.95)||DreamPress Pro Monthly ($79.95)|
Bandwidth basically refers to the amount of traffic your site can support, and “unmetered bandwidth” means that DreamHost won’t charge you any overage fees for exceeding a certain amount.
All three DreamPress plans also come with automatic daily backups to ensure that the most up-to-date version of your site is always safe, and you can restore your site to a saved backup file at any time with one click. You can also create a “staging” site with one click, which is essentially an unpublished clone of your live website that lets you see how everything looks before you publish. DreamPress sites also come with the perk of many powerful WordPress plugins.
Here’s a closer look at the features of each DreamPress plan on the three-year schedule:
A DreamPress plan is for you if your top priority is growth, and you know you want a WordPress site to help you achieve it. If you’re not sold on WordPress, then a different type of hosting plan will suit you better.
Choosing between the DreamPress Basic, Plus, and Pro plans comes down to the kind of performance you need from your site. A large personal site is best off with Basic, while small businesses and blogs should spring for Plus. If your site is more of a large-scale business, then DreamPress Pro is your best bet.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is when you share a server with other websites, with some of the server’s resources isolated just for your use. This is different from shared hosting because while a VPS is technically a shared server, you don’t have to share resources between the other sites on the server. VPS sites are more expensive and much faster than shared sites.
Not sure what type of hosting is right for your site?
Check out our shared vs VPS hosting comparison.
DreamHost has four different VPS hosting plans:
- VPS Basic ($10-15/mo)
- VPS Business ($20-30/mo)
- VPS Professional ($40-60/mo)
- VPS Enterprise ($80-120/mo)
Here’s a breakdown of each plan’s monthly payment features:
|Feature||VPS Basic Monthly ($15/mo)||VPS Business Monthly ($30/mo)||VPS Professional Monthly ($60/mo)||VPS Enterprise Monthly ($120/mo)|
Unlimited traffic means your site can handle any number of visitors (perfect for the big goal-setters out there!), while RAM is the memory that stores the data needed to run your site.
Here’s DreamHost’s breakdown of VPS plan features on the three-year payment schedule:
DreamHost’s VPS hosting is the best plan for someone looking to scale up from the limited resources of a shared server. It’s a lot more expensive, but if you’re running, say, an online store with a large inventory and a growing customer base, then VPS is the option for you.
Just as VPS helps you scale, the type of VPS plan you’ll need simply depends on the size of your site and the amount of traffic it gets (or the amount of traffic you’d like it to get). The Business, Professional, and Enterprise options pretty much cover the spectrum in terms of what you’ll need, from “small business” to “huge entity”.
We’ve talked about how shared hosting means “living” on a server along with other websites, and sharing the server’s resources accordingly. Dedicated hosting is pretty much the opposite – your website exists entirely on its own server, and all of that server’s resources are at your disposal. This means that your site can run faster, and accommodate a lot more traffic.
Because they’re like upgrading from an apartment to a huge house, dedicated hosting plans are much more expensive than shared or VPS hosting plans. Dedicated plans are best left to large companies with a lot of stake in their web presence.
Looking to save? We’ve also ranked the 6 cheapest dedicated hosting plans.
|RAM | Storage||Monthly Price Paid by Month||Monthly Price Paid by Year|
|4GB | 1TB HDD||$169||$149|
|8GB | 1TB HDD||$209||$189|
|16GB | 1TB HDD||$249||$229|
The Dedicated Enhanced plan comes with the following options:
|RAM | Storage||Monthly Price Paid by Month||Monthly Price Paid by Year|
|16GB | 2TB HDD||$299||$279|
|32GB| 2TB HDD||$349||$329|
|64GB | 2TB HDD||$399||$379|
|16GB | 240GB SSD||$299||$279|
|32GB | 240GB SSD||$349||$329|
|64GB | 240GB SSD||$399||$379|
DreamHost’s dedicated plans also come with everything you’d expect from a top-notch service, including 24/7 tech support and server monitoring. But again, dedicated plans are only worth the cost if you have a huge website that serves a large business.
It’s when you start to look at DreamHost’s various add-ons that the pricing details can get a little complicated. We’ve done the digging and consolidated the nitty-gritty details below, but first, we’ll explain exactly what each feature does.
- Domain registration is the process of reserving the name that will serve as your website’s address – for example, websitebuilderexpert.com. You can usually purchase a domain name for one year, and then automatically renew that name.
- SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates are a means of securing the connection between a website and a browser, and signify to visitors that their data is safe. If a website has an SSL certificate, its URL will begin with https, and you’ll see a padlock symbol in the address bar before the URL.
- Email hosting gives you the ability to operate an email server ‘@ your domain’. For example, you’d be able to set up an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org, instead of having to use the domain of a large email service provider. Having your own email service can lend your site a lot of legitimacy!
And now on to the pricing…
Domain registration is…
- Included free for one year when you sign up for any one or three year Shared plan (Starter or Unlimited)
- Included free for one year when you sign up for any one year DreamPress plan (Regular, Plus, or Pro) (note: there is no three year DreamPress plan)
- Not included in monthly Shared plans, but can be added for $8.99
- Not included in monthly DreamPress plans
- Included in all VPS plans (Basic, Business, Professional, and Enterprise)
Domain registration usually costs about $10-12 on its own.
SSL certificates are…
- Included free with every DreamHost plan, across every category (Shared, DreamPress, and VPS)
- Pre-installed with any DreamPress plan (Regular, Plus, or Pro)
Different hosting providers offer SSL certificates at a range of prices. GoDaddy charges $79.99/year to protect one website with SSL, while HostGator’s cheapest SSL plan comes in at $39.99/year.
Email hosting is…
- Not included in the Starter Shared plan, but can be added for as little as $1.67/month
- Included in all other DreamHost plans, from Starter Unlimited to every DreamPress and VPS plan
Most basic email hosting services are priced between $2-10/month.
That being said, we gave DreamHost 3/5 for Value for Money. It’s a great platform, but some of its peers rank better for cost. In total, all of the DreamHost hosting plans range from $4.95-120/month. Here’s how that stacks up to the price ranges of its top competitors:
- Bluehost ($2.95-119.99/month)
- HostGator ($2.75-289.00/month)
- InMotion ($2.49-603.49/month)
- A2 Hosting ($2.96-142.95/month)
Hosting Cost Comparison Chart (per month)*
|Provider||Shared Hosting||WordPress Hosting||VPS Hosting||Dedicated Hosting|
*Note that almost every hosting provider’s website puts a deceptive emphasis on promotional first-year prices. The prices listed in the table run the full scale, from first-year only promotional shared plan pricing all the way up to renewal pricing on dedicated plans.
Prices vary between providers, but you’ll notice that each type of hosting plan is priced in the same ballpark. The price difference between a provider’s shared plans and dedicated plans doesn’t matter nearly as much as the price difference between all of a provider’s shared plans. When looking at cost, it’s best to pay attention to the small details that differ between similar plans – there’s no point in saving money on a cheaper plan if your top priority feature doesn’t come included.
Where DreamHost really stands out from its competitors is its refund policy. Most hosting providers, such as InMotion and A2 Hosting, offer conditional money-back periods that usually only last about 30 days or so. However, if you purchase a DreamHost shared hosting plan with a credit card, then you’re guaranteed a full refund for 97 days! Only shared plans are covered under this policy, but since that’s the logical plan for most beginners, it’s likely to come in handy for a number of users.
In short, DreamHost offers four different types of hosting plans:
- Shared hosting: $2.59 to $10.95 per month
- DreamPress hosting: $16.95 to $79.95 per month
- VPS hosting: $10 to $120 per month
- Dedicated hosting: $149 to $399 per month
Each plan has different pricing options, each of which come with different features. DreamHost also offers domain registration as a service, so you can keep all of your website needs in-house and convenient.
We recommend DreamHost for beginners and intermediates looking for a quality hosting experience. Although it’s not the cheapest hosting provider, it is pretty cheap for the quality of service provided. If you go for the shared hosting plan, then DreamHost’s 97-day money-back guarantee means you’ve got nothing to lose. So why not try it out?
DreamHost accepts credit card, PayPal, check, or money order, and all payments can be made through the web except for money order. However, it’s important to note that the 97-day money-back guarantee is only applicable to payments made via credit card.
Shared hosting is the most popular choice out of DreamHost’s offerings. In fact, there are 1.5 million websites currently powered by DreamHost’s shared servers! Since it’s the cheapest place to start, shared hosting makes the most sense – and you can always upgrade to a different plan later.
These two are easy to mix up! A domain name is the .com/.net/.anything address where your site exists on the web, like a postal address for your house. But you can’t have an address without an actual house to store all of your stuff – and that’s where a hosting provider comes in. Put simply, it provides the server space necessary to store your site.