Having sleepless nights over your web hosting? Read our detailed review of DreamHost and see if it’s the right provider to help you rest easy.
DreamHost currently hosts over 1.5 million websites worldwide. It’s known for offering every type of web hosting under the sun, and for its generous storage space.
Whether you’re in need of shared, VPS, dedicated, or cloud hosting, you can rest assured DreamHost has a plan that’s got you covered. But the real question is, are these plans any good?
Well, we’re here to answer that.
At Website Builder Expert, we’re not just committed to helping you get online – we want to set you up for the best possible chance of success once you’re there. That’s why we independently research a wide range of web hosting providers.
Our in-house research team has been hard at work, scrutinizing the best hosting services on the market so we can recommend you the best possible fit for your needs.
Below, you can take a sneak peek at what we made of DreamHost; its overall rating, and how it scored across some key areas:
Read on as we discuss all things DreamHost. By the end of this review, you’ll know exactly how good DreamHost is, and whether it’s the perfect provider for you.
|#1||Great for Cheap Hosting |
DreamHost offers shared hosting plans for as little as $4.95/month. It’s the cheapest quality provider we’ve tested (excluding first-term discounted rates).
|#2||Excellent Storage Space Limits|
The minimum amount of storage space you receive on any plan is 30GB, while many offer unlimited storage space. This is ideal for media-heavy websites.
|#3||Supports WordPress Websites|
DreamHost provides dedicated WordPress hosting that comes packed with handy features, like one-click installs and automated WordPress updates.
|#1||No Direct Phone Support|
Unlike many of its competitors, you can’t call DreamHost directly. You can request a call back, or reach out via live chat, by submitting a ticket, or using its online help center.
DreamHost’s uptime is 99.95%. This is by no means terrible, but it isn’t in the same league as providers like HostGator, which guarantees 99.99% uptime.
|#3||Bad for Dedicated Hosting|
If you’re a large business who needs its own dedicated server, you’re better off looking at brands like HostGator, Bluehost, or InMotion, which offer far better features.
|#4||Poor Customization on Cloud Hosting Plans|
We certainly wouldn’t recommend DreamHost for cloud hosting. You can’t even set your own resource limits.
Setting up your web hosting with DreamHost is easy. Before getting into that, though, you’re going to need to choose which type of hosting you need.
This largely depends on what your website is, and what its requirements are. In most cases, personal sites and startups will be fine using shared hosting. More established businesses may want to look at VPS hosting, while enterprise-level companies will need a dedicated hosting plan.
Once you know what type of hosting you need, signing up to a DreamHost plan is a breeze.
Want to learn more about the different types of web hosting? Have a read of our beginner’s guide to hosting here.
Firstly, you’ll be presented with a list of optional extras. Things like registering a domain name, enhanced security, and email hosting can all be added into your plan at this stage.
After you’re happy and your payment has been processed, you’ll enter DreamHost’s dashboard. Unlike most leading hosting providers, DreamHost doesn’t use a cPanel dashboard.
Instead, DreamHost has its own custom-made dashboard that’s easy to use and super responsive.
If you’re used to working off a cPanel, it will take a little time to get used to. But with plenty of tutorials out there, it’s a pretty gentle learning curve.
Uptime is a number that gets floated about a lot. Essentially, it means the amount of time your website is up and working online.
But what constitutes as good uptime? Aren’t 99.00% and 99.99% both really good? And why does no provider have 100% uptime? These are all valid questions, so allow us to explain.
Most hosting services offer 99.9-something percent uptime. For that reason alone, anything less than that is seen as poor. No provider can physically have 100% uptime, simply due to the nature of the internet.
DreamHost guarantees uptimes of 99.95% for the sites it hosts. That means, on average, your website will be online and in good working order for all but four and a half hours each year. That roughly equates to five minutes each week.
While this is by no means bad, there are providers out there who can offer an even better uptime. HostGator, for example, has the best uptime of any provider we’ve tested, coming in at 99.99%.
For context, that means sites hosted by HostGator are down for less than an hour in total over the course of a single year.
|Uptime||Annual Downtime||Weekly Downtime|
|99.90%||8.75 hours||10.1 minutes|
|99.95%||4.38 hours||5.04 minutes|
|99.99%||52.6 minutes||1.01 minutes|
I guess what we’re saying is this: DreamHost offers perfectly adequate uptimes, but they’re not the best on the market.
Unless you’re powering something of vital importance – like a voting website – the amount of downtime on DreamHost really isn’t an issue.
DreamHost is often unfairly labelled as a jack of all trades. It’s said that while it covers all the major types of hosting – shared, VPS, dedicated, WordPress, and cloud – it fails to really shine in any of them.
Well, from our independent testing, it soon became clear that in fact, DreamHost does offer excellent shared hosting and shared WordPress hosting.
It also has its very own website builder, an online tool that helps non-techy folk create their very own website – but more on that later.
On the flip side, you’d be better served looking elsewhere if you need a VPS, dedicated, or cloud hosting plan. For those, check out our expert guides on each:
Below, we’ll run through each type of hosting to give you a quick snapshot of what you can expect from DreamHost.
DreamHost Shared Hosting
Best for personal sites and startups
As you can see, DreamHost’s shared hosting service actually fared very well. And it offers the cheapest non-discounted starting price of any top-rated provider.
DreamHost VPS Hosting
Best for SMEs
DreamHost also has a sound VPS service. The difference is, it didn’t come out as the best provider for anything we tested. Its main issue was that you don’t get root access. Other than that, it’s a sturdy choice.
DreamHost Dedicated Hosting
Best for large businesses
Dedicated hosting is far from DreamHost’s forte. In fact, it’s a rather large weakness. Its middle-of-the-road pricing and lack of competitive features make its appeal a little less enticing.
DreamHost WordPress Hosting
Best for WordPress websites
WordPress hosting is split into two services: shared and managed. And it really is a tale of two halves with DreamHost – its shared WordPress hosting service is one of the best on the market, whereas its managed plans are relatively lackluster.
DreamHost Cloud Hosting
Best for growing websites
Cloud hosting is perhaps DreamHost’s biggest flaw. The biggest problem is that you can’t customize your package to tailor resource limits to your needs.
The features DreamHost offers are mostly consistent across all its plans, but can sometimes vary. This depends on two things: the type of hosting you have, and the tier of pricing plan you’re on.
To make it easy for you, we’ve broken down some of DreamHost’s key features, discussing what they are and what you get.
Backups and Domain Name
DreamHost provides all its customers with free daily backups, regardless of what plan you’re on. This is a brilliant feature, and really gives you peace of mind should something go wrong.
If you still need to purchase a domain name, that’s also free for the first year. To qualify for this, you’ll need to register a domain ending in any of the following: .com, .org, .club, .net, or .info.
SSL Security Certificate
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate helps protect your visitors’ personal information. It’s symbolized by a small padlock icon next to your URL, which tells people that your site is safe to browse.
It’s also useful for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), as unsecure sites are usually punished by Google in search results rankings. DreamHost provides a free SSL certificate to every site it hosts.
Because DreamHost doesn’t track bandwidth or traffic, every plan comes with unmetered transfer. This means there is technically no bandwidth limit.
Of course, you may run into other issues if you experience a huge spike in traffic, but it’s a great bonus that you don’t have to worry about bandwidth limits.
Random Access Memory, or RAM, is how all your site’s information is stored on its server. The larger your site is, the more RAM is required to store and load it.
If you opt for a cloud hosting package, you can expect RAM limits between 512MB and 16GB. On a dedicated hosting plan, however, that jumps to between 4GB and 64GB.
To give you some context, those RAM limits for dedicated hosting are right up there with the best providers around. The cloud hosting RAM limits, though, are pretty average.
One-Click Installs and Automated Updates
These features are specific to WordPress websites, and act as a real time-saver. One-click installs allow you to set up your DreamHost account with your WordPress site in exactly that – one click.
DreamHost also automatically keep tabs on any software updates WordPress rolls out, meaning you don’t have to worry about staying up to date. It doesn’t do the same for WordPress plugins, though, so you will have to manage that yourself.
DreamHost offers support via call backs, live chat, tickets, forums, and its help center. You cannot contact DreamHost directly over the phone, but given all the other ways you can get help, it’s not really a problem.
Live chat support is available from 5:30am to 9:30pm Pacific time, seven days a week. If English isn’t your first language, you can also speak to Spanish support staff.
Fair warning – waiting times can be fairly lengthy when DreamHost is inundated with support requests. Most of the time, though, you’ll receive a response within a couple of minutes or so.
The ticketing system works by you raising an issue and submitting it as a ticket. DreamHost’s support staff can then investigate your issue and respond. You’ll be sent alerts when your ticket has been responded to, so you won’t have to waste time constantly refreshing the page.
DreamHost’s help center is an online resource where you can search any queries – a bit like typing a question into Google.
There are dedicated help articles and guides that come packed full of useful information to teach you how to do certain tasks. This should normally be your first port of call, so as to avoid clogging up the live chat requests, and save yourself some time!
The same level of help and support is offered to all customers. This is great if you’re on a cheap hosting plan, but it’s kind of annoying that you’re not seen as a priority if you pay a little extra.
The overall support service isn’t as good as say, A2 Hosting – where its staff undergoes rigorous training to ensure it offers the best possible quality of help – but it’s more than reasonable, and shouldn’t cause you any headaches.
Across all of its plans, DreamHost’s prices range from $2.59/month to $399/month.
The cheapest form of web hosting is shared hosting, while DreamHost’s most expensive plans are for dedicated hosting.
It’s important to know that the longer you commit to your hosting plan, the cheaper it will be. For example, paying a year’s worth of hosting fees upfront works out cheaper than paying monthly for the year. Think of it as loyalty discount.
To give you an overview of what to expect, we’ve noted the monthly price of every plan, along with the discount you can save if you commit to a long-term deal.
Shared Hosting Prices
|Name of Plan||Monthly Price||Yearly Price||Saving||3-Year Price||Saving|
VPS Hosting Prices
|Name of Plan||Monthly Price||Yearly Price||Saving||3-Year Price||Saving|
Dedicated Hosting Price
DreamHost’s dedicated service is slightly different, in that it’s done on a personal quote basis. Each price point is named after the moon – like Blue Moon or Super Moon – and these range from $169/month to $300/month. DreamHost’s plans may be otherworldly, but it’s good to know there’s a limit when it comes to pricing.
WordPress Hosting Prices
|Name of Plan||Monthly Price||Yearly Price||Saving||3-Year Price||Saving|
Cloud Hosting Prices
Cloud hosting is a more modern, flexible service where you only pay for the resources you use – a bit like a pay-as-you-go SIM for your mobile. It’s charged at an hourly rate, which varies from a minimum of $0.0075 to a maximum of $0.16, depending on things like the amount of bandwidth and RAM you’re using.
DreamHost may not be the best provider for overall features, but it can stake a claim to be the host with the most.
On top of offering five different types of hosting, you can also purchase any of these three services.
If you don’t already have one, it makes sense to purchase your domain name with DreamHost. That way, everything’s kept under one roof, and you don’t have to worry about bills coming from lots of different places.
Companies can also host their emails with DreamHost. Anything above its most basic shared hosting plan will give you access to unlimited email accounts, which you can link to your domain. For example, if your domain was websitebuilderexpert.com, you could set up emails like firstname.lastname@example.org for your site’s visitors to contact.
Just starting out and don’t even have a website to host yet? Not a problem. You can create and customize one using DreamHost’s own DIY website builder, Remixer. There are tons of professionally designed templates for you to work off, and its editor makes it easy for technical novices, too.
There are two price plans for Remixer – Standard ($4.95/month), and All Access ($7.95/month). Both plans include your hosting costs, come with a free domain and 24/7 support, and are mobile optimized. You can even export your site to WordPress, should you outgrow the platform.
DreamHost has some clear strengths and weaknesses. However, with an ever-growing customer base of 1.5 million, it’s only improving.
There’s still some way to go before it can be considered on par with the likes of HostGator and InMotion, but DreamHost is a sleeping giant – both in name and service.
DreamHost Review Recap
|Ease of Use||The sign-up process is as simple as it comes, but it may take some to get used to DreamHost’s custom dashboard.|
|Reliability||Guarantees an uptime of 99.95%, which is about average among the top-rated providers.|
|Types of Hosting||Offers the five biggest types of hosting: shared, VPS, dedicated, WordPress, and cloud hosting.|
|Features||Free backups and one-year domain, built-in SSL security, unmetered bandwidth, generous storage and RAM, and one-click install and automated updates for WordPress.|
|Help and Support||Available via call backs, live chat, tickets, and the help center. No direct phone service.|
|Cost||Monthly rates range from $4.95 to $399 across all six types of hosting. Discount is available if you commit to longer term plans.|
|Other Services||You can purchase a domain name, host unlimited email accounts, and even create your website with DreamHost’s own website builder.|
We’d Recommend DreamHost If…
DreamHost is ideal for anyone who needs a cheap web hosting plan, but doesn’t want to sacrifice too much quality. Its shared hosting service – both for WordPress and in general – is up there with the very best on the market.
It also comes with a 97-day money back guarantee, so if you’re not satisfied with the service, you can get your money back in full within the first three months. So why not turn your dream into a reality, and give DreamHost a go?
Can you use DreamHost for free?
If you are a non-profit organisation, DreamHost offers shared hosting totally free of charge. There are also further discounts for nonprofits on its VPS hosting plans. Unfortunately for the rest of you, $2.59/month is the cheapest rate you’ll get!
What is DreamHost’s best service?
From our independent research and testing, DreamHost is best for shared hosting. It offers the cheapest non-discounted prices of any top-rated provider, and has all the features you need. Its WordPress hosting isn’t bad either, with one-click installs and automated WordPress software updates.
What are the best DreamHost alternatives?
Bluehost is the best overall hosting provider. Bluehost excels for WordPress hosting, and is great value for money while providing top-notch help and support. HostGator and InMotion are some other top providers. InMotion specializes in shared and VPS hosting, while HostGator has an excellent dedicated hosting service.