DreamHost WordPress Hosting Review: User & Expert Reviews

DreamHost may not be the most popular hosting service, but it’s pretty well-known among digital marketers, designers, and developers. They claim that they have everything you need to grow your business, from domain registration to web hosting service and that they’re the perfect choice for big companies and new bloggers. It’s time to put their claim to the test. It has thorough optimization, and that’s why it’s one of WordPress’s official recommendations. Does a WordPress recommendation mean that DreamHost is the best hosting service out there? It’s time to find out!

I decided to test the award-winning hosting service and determine if it’s a reward-deserving service. I raised my expectations as soon as I found out about their reward, and instantly I was intrigued to learn more. In my mind, an award means top-quality service, so I need to make sure that their service really is at the top.

DreamHost was founded in 1996 in Los Angeles, and during their 25-years on the market, they managed to grow their company and power around 1.5 million WordPress sites and more than 400.000 customers. They offer backups, 24 hours support, unlimited storage and bandwidth, and free SSL certificates.

So, if you’re in the market looking for a hosting service for your business or blog, I’m here to help. Today, I will explore all that DreamHost WordPress has to offer and report to you to help you decide whether to purchase this service or not.

Getting Started With DreamHost

DreamHost‘s mission is to give users everything they need to succeed on the web. They deliver top speed and performance, making them one of the best.  Even their motto is eye-catching and attracts attention – Unbeatable WordPress Hosting; reliable, lightning-fast hosting solutions specifically optimized for WordPress.

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Below their motto, you can see some characteristics that make the hosting service special.

The first thing is their recommendation by WordPress, which might indicate that they’re most proud of this achievement. Another thing they’re proud of? Their In-House WordPress experts, Optimized services, and the fact that they have more than 1.5 million websites. Now, this seems like a promising start, right? I have to admit that I got more interested when I entered their site.

I scrolled down a bit and learned that DreamHost offers three plans: WordPress Basic, DreamPress, and VPS for WordPress. There wasn’t a lot of information at first glance, so I clicked on Learn more to get more details on each plan.

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The most affordable plan, which they call WordPress Basic, is perfect for people new to WordPress. They claim that it’s the best plan to get all the basics for your WordPress. The basic plan has two sub-plans, each created for your needs. Both WordPress Starter and WordPress Unlimited plans offer free domain, pre-installed WordPress, Free Automated WordPress migrations, WP website builder, fast SSD storage, free SSL certificate, and 30GB SSD storage.

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Note: They might seem the same at first glance, but there are differences between the two basic plans, other than the price. WordPress Unlimited offers unlimited websites, while the WordPress Starter provides only 1. The other difference is that the more expensive one has unlimited emails, while if you want to add an email to the other, you need to pay some extra money.

DreamPress or the second plan is presented as fast, secure, and WordPress-optimized. It also has sub-plans, three sub-plans to be exact – Dream Press, Dream Press Plus, and Dream Press Pro.

Characteristics that the three sub-plans have in common are unlimited emails, unmetered bandwidth, 1-click staging, pre-installed SSL certificate, daily backups, included Jetpack, free automated WordPress migrations, and WP website builder. Since we explained everything they have in common, it’s fair to demonstrate their differences, as well.

Well, for starters the price, DreamPress is the cheapest while DreamPress Pro is the most expensive. Depending on the price you’re willing to pay, you can get 100k, 300k, or more than 1 million monthly visitors with 30GB, 30GB, or 120 GB SSD storage.

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Warning: DreamPress doesn’t offer Unlimited CDN.

Slowly, but surely we arrived at the 3rd plan, which offers US-based VPS, expandable RAM and storage, Unhindered performance, and managed security. Like its predecessors, VPS for WordPress also offers sub-plans: VPS Basic, VPS Business, VPS Profesional, and VPS Enterprise.

All four sub-plans offer unlimited websites, unlimited traffic, free SSL certificates, and unlimited email. VPS Basic and VPS Business are great for new and small businesses since they have 30/60 GB SSD storage and 1GB/2 GB Ram. On the other hand, VPS Professional and VPS Enterprise are specially created for resource-intensive sites, offering 4GB/8GB Ram and 120/240 GB SSD storage.

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Important: Each plan can be purchased for one month,  one year, or three years.

Now that we have discovered the basic characteristics, it’s time to shop. As you already know, I always purchase the cheapest plans anytime I do these reviews since I’m only purchasing for research. I firmly believe that an insight into the basic plan will give me all the information I need to decide whether the hosting service is worth your money and attention. So keep on reading to find out if it’s worth it to buy DreamHost!

My choice for today is the WordPress Starter Plan. It already says it’s a great place to start, so let’s do exactly that! I scrolled down a bit and then clicked on Sign Up Now. When I hit that button, DreamHost offered me three options: choosing a domain later, registering a new domain, or using my existing domain.

Note: DreamHost offers a free domain with all annual terms.

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What’s weird for me, at this point, is the following. I went for a monthly plan, the Shared Starter. DreamHost says the temporary domain is free. So, how do they get to the amount DUE TODAY? I hate these types of untransparent offers. If you are going to charge me for something, at least tell me what it is!

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Anyways, since I already have a domain that I use while doing these researches, it’s pretty clear what will be my choice. I click on I already have a domain, and then a tab opens where I need to type in my domain. I typed in my domain and clicked on Assign. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to purchase the plan with my domain. I received a message saying that they weren’t able to add hosting for that domain at this time.

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They suggested I try the option “Get the domain later,” and since I didn’t want to lose any more time, I decided to go with that option. I clicked on Go Back, and then I clicked on ‘Get the domain later.’ The suggestion worked, and I finally got to the secure checkout.

Note: DreamHost assigned me a temporary domain.

Finally, I got a detailed review of what they are charging me. See, DreamHost will pre-install WordPress for free. Also, you will get the WP Website Builder without spending a dime. However, they automatically check the box next to the DreamShield Protection. If you don’t plan on getting this add-on, make sure to uncheck the box.

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Once again, I am confused. What’s going on, DreamHost? Who’s doing the math here? How can $1.99 plus two free add-ons result in $3.98?

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I’m pretty angry, but nonetheless, I will go on. As you can see, you have an option to pay with a credit card or through PayPal. You need to fill in the empty spaces with correct information. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to fill in the billing information and the account setup.

The next step is to fill in the billing information. Type in your billing address, your country, city, state, and your zip code. Make sure that you fill in all the wanted information, so that you can continue to the next step towards purchasing.

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Once you’re done with this, you need to click on Add Credit Card. You fill in the Account setup section when the credit card is processed.

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When it comes to the Account setup, you can sign up with your email or sign up with Google. I decided to sign up with my email. I typed in my first and last name and phone number, and I was done in just a couple of minutes. Before submitting your order, you need to check out the additional options once again. If you want your plan to automatically set up WordPress on your account, you just need to click on the small box next to it.  If you want your plan to include DreamShiled protection and DreamHost Email, you’d also need to check the little empty boxes and so on.

Warning: You will need to pay some extra money if you want DreamShiled protection and DreamHost Email. If you don’t want those things into your plan, make sure that you don’t check on the small empty boxes, or otherwise, they will be charged.

I finally got it. See, DreamHost charges the plan, even though it’s not in the calculations, and the email is another charged add-on. These two together account for the final price. Apparently, you have to be some kind of an investigator to do this. I appreciate transparent offers and calculations, but in my view, this is not one.

Warning: Beware of the automatically added paid add-ons.

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Finally, submit the order, if everything is well according to your needs.

Note: You cannot ‘Submit Order’ until you have clicked on ‘Add Credit Card,’ and DreamHost has processed it.

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And, we’re done!

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Next, you can create your password and continue to the Control Panel.

Setting Things Up at DreamHost WordPress Hosting

Welcome to the Client Area! DreamHost is currently setting up my hosting service. So, I will need to wait a couple of minutes before going on. I have to admit; I like how fast it worked. Usually, WP providers can be dull in this regard and take a lot of your precious time. With DreamHost, all is fast and easy.

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First things first, you have the option to choose the language you’re going to use, English or Spanish. In my case, since I’m better at English, I clicked on that. Once that’s out of the way, I will explore the Home section.

To create and manage your website’s content, you’re going to need to install WordPress. If you want to install the most popular content management system, you just need to click on Install WordPress Now.

If you’re not sure what to do and need a little help you set up with your WordPress, DreamHost has a free tutorial that can help you get started. All you need to do is click on Need help? Check out our WordPress Tutorial to get the help you need. If you’re a beginner in the WordPress world, this section will show you everything you need to learn. They have more than 30 tutorials which will come in handy every step of the way.

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DreamHost provides a free, browser-based FTP client for editing your site files. You can start managing your files without any login required. The basic plan also includes MySQL service to configure your database and hostname in your panel easily. Just one click on Create Database, and your configuration will start. The last thing that you can spot in the Home section is Email. One-click on the Manage Emails, and you’ll be able to get a professional email at your domain, spam and virus filtering, ad-free webmail, and mobile access.

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The Websites section, which can be found below Home, will help you manage your websites, FTP users and files, SQL databases, and secure certificates.

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When you click on Manage Websites, right on the right upper corner, you’ll see +Add Website. A simple click on +Add Website, and you get the opportunity to start with the domain.

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DreamHost has three offers for you in this section: enter a domain or subdomain you already own, create a subdomain to a domain you already own or register a new domain. I decided not to choose any of these options, so I clicked on Choose a domain later. This click led me to something I liked. I was offered to create a free DreamHost subdomain that can help me build a website without a custom domain or to stage content when migrating an existing website.

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My next stop is the FTP Users&Files sections. This section will help you access your website’s files through their web-based FTP client. Another awesome thing about this section is that it can help you create and manage user credentials for use with a third-party file management client.

screenshot of dreamhost wordpress file management

MySQL databases offer MySQL Recycle Bin, which will restore a database you deleted before purging from the recycle bin. Anyway, I need to host a domain to take advantage of the SSL options. Here you have two options: Manage hosting or Register a domain.

Note: If your domain is hosted elsewhere, you need to buy a certificate. You can get the free Let’s Encrypt Certificate or pay some extra bucks to get Sectigo DV Certificate. Unfortunately, although you have both options presented, I couldn’t click on the free Let’s Encrypt Certificate

to get, it showed that the option is unavailable. This means that if you want a certificate, you’re going to spend some extra dollars.

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Slowly but patiently, I got to the Domains sections. In this section, you can add hosting to a domain or register a new domain.

In Registration, you get the chance to register a domain. I liked the fact that they have SALE on a few domains, which means that you can register your domain for a reasonable price, meaning not having to spend tons of money.

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Warning:The sale prices apply only on the 1st year of a new registration.

Something I liked about DreamHost is that they offer to take in domains and give them a loving home. Such a loving host, right? Well, not everything comes for free in this “home.” DreamHost will transfer your domain for a certain amount of money in about 7-10 business days. So, if you want to transfer your domain, and spend some extra money, you can easily do that with a few clicks.

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The section One-Click Installs will lead you to a beautiful place, where with just one click, you’ll install the most popular website builder. The WordPress Hosting at DreamHost will make it super easy for you to build and manage your website. To start this journey, all you need to do is click Learn More and Install.

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The identical One-Click Installs can also be found in the WordPress section. I didn’t lose much time here because it was the same thing that I clicked on before, so I just clicked on Managed WordPress to see what that’s all about.

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Managed WordPress Hosting was supposed to be everything you need to power a successful business online. This plan also claims that it will make my website faster, more secure, and easier to manage. Unfortunately, I couldn’t test their claims because this plan was an upgrade, and I had to pay extra money to get it.

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Since I wasn’t planning on spending more money, I decided to move on to the next section and see what it had to offer.

And just like that, we got to Mail. I started with Managed email. Here, I saw that I needed to pay extra money to set up a custom, personalized email address for my domain. Anyways, I expected this because I skipped on this add-on earlier.

Now, I’m not going to click on that either, because, as we said earlier, we’re not spending extra money. As I scrolled down a bit, I saw something that caught my eye. DreamHost offers a professional Gmail, Google Docs, Drive, Calendar, and Meet for free at your domain, but the free offer only lasts for 30 days.

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In Billing and Account, you can find everything you need to manage your account. This section will give you an insight into your account, security, disk usage, bandwidth usage. You can also manage your payments and backup your account. I found this section to be pretty straightforward, a nice little section that can give access to all the information for my account in just one click.

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Performance, Speed and Uptime

When it comes to performance, DreamHost performs well. It may not be the best provider out there, but it certainly offers reliable results for the price. The hosting service has SSD storage, Integrated caching functionality via multiple solutions accompanied by DreamHost-designed plug-in-Varnish, Http Purge, flexible resource scaling, video, and image content delivery network CDN. DreamHost also has several different data centers in Los Angeles, Irvine, Portland, and Virginia.

Note: The hosting service doesn’t run data centers outside the USA, but that doesn’t cause any problems for people who use WordPress in other parts of the world, thanks to the CDNs. 

DreamHost’s average loading time has been 1350 ms, which puts them somewhere in between. I can easily say that although DreamHost isn’t the fastest provider, it’s certainly a reliable one. I also need to mention that they use SSD drives, HTTP/2, and PHP 7 for more speed.

Uptime is also a vital element of the hosting experience. I found DreamHost to be incredibly stable and a solid foundation.

Level of Support at DreamHost WordPress

DreamHost’s support system offers many other things other than 24/7 support. They offer countless tips that will make your hosting experience easier and faster. They also have FAQs about hosting, so If you have a question, I guarantee that you’ll find your answer there.  In addition, you can also ask for help on the community forums.

Lastly, I’ll test their live support. I typed in my question and patiently waited for an answer.

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Warning: If you’ve purchased DreamHost through PayPal, you’ll be charged a 3% transaction fee.

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Note:They have a 97-days return policy. During that 97-days period, they claim that you can get your money back, but if you’re only a day late, you get no refund. If you’ve purchased the yearly plan, you have a 30-days return policy

Unfortunately, I didn’t get an answer from a person. Instead, I received a couple of articles to choose from, depending on my issue. This means that I had to find the solution myself, but since I wanted to chat with a live person, I acted like I still needed help, so I clicked on Contact Support.

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Finally, I got to talk to support. Let’s click on that and see if DreamHost really has 24/7 support.

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Imagine my disappointment when I saw this popup. Still no live support, just empty spaces to fill in. I admit that I was getting a bit angry, but I won’t give up until I talk to a live person.  So I click on Chat with an agent now. Another brick wall, I wasn’t able to select Chat With an agent now. Another thing that pissed me off was that I need to pay more money If I want to get a call-back from DreamHost.

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As I said, I’m not giving up, although I found this process very time-consuming. I decided to fill in the empty spaces, and luckily Chat With An Agent Now turned blue, which meant that I was able to click on it. A small win for me, but let’s see what awaits me on the other side.

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I waited for a couple of minutes, and finally, I got human contact. JB Borja sent a few links showing how I can deactivate my account and get a refund. To be honest, I expected a bit more from the live support than a few links, but since this took a lot of time, I was grateful I could finish things up.

Finally, I got to close the Account.

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Note: My account will be closed instantly, while my money will be returned in 5-7 working days.

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I checked the small white box, and Confirm turned red; this means that now I can click it and wrap things up.

Security and Backups

I found DreamHost to have incredible security. They have their firewall, and they support HTTP/, the latest versions of PHP 7 and PHP 8.

As a customer, you can also benefit from SSH and SFTP access.

When it comes to backups, they’ll keep a daily backup of all files, and you’ll be able to access the last 14 backups of your website and 5 of your databases.

All in all, they offer excellent security and backups. If you need more, you can quickly get it by spending some money.

Specific Features of DreamHost WordPress

Here’s a list of the specific set of features that DreamHost offers:

  • Instant WordPress Setup: 1 Click WordPress Installer
  • Auto WordPress Updates: Preconfigured WordPress Updates
  • Free Domain
  • Free Privacy Protection
  • SSL Certificate
  • Advanced, Easy To Use Panel
  • Automated Backups
  • Email Hosting
  • Extreme Speed And Performance

Pros and Cons of DreamHost WordPress Hosting

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Good performance
  • Unlimited bandwidth and generous storage
  • No upsells and upgrades
  • 97- days money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Only US locations
  • No email account in the basic plan
  • No live support 24/7

Summary

All in all, I found DreamHost to be really affordable for the features it offers. Even the basic plan has everything you need if you have a small business or just starting as a blogger. It’s simple to use, and even if you’re not familiar with it, it offers countless tutorials that will help you learn everything the host has to offer.

On the other hand, if you have a bigger business, you’ll need more than the basic package. The bottom line is, the more money you pay, the more features you get.

FAQ

Why choose DreamHost for WordPress?

DreamHost and WordPress are the perfect pair. DreamHost was built for WordPress. DreamHost has been hosting WordPress websites and blogs for more than 20 years. DreamHost is the easiest way to get your site up and running fast, and it’s specially designed for WordPress operations.

How much does DreamHost WordPress cost?

It all depends on the plan you need for your business. DreamHost offers three WordPress plans with nine sub-plans. You can easily choose the right plan for you and your company, depending on what you need and the price you’re willing to pay.

What is Мanaged DreamHost WordPress hosting?

With managed WordPress hosting, your web hosting provider takes care of many of the key responsibilities of site management and performance, so you’re freed up to focus on other important site duties, like creating content and marketing your website. All you need to do is build your brand, and they will handle the rest.

How much does a WordPress site cost?

It depends, but WordPress isn’t a budget breaker. In fact, WordPress is free, open-source software that anyone can access. To get a fully-functional website running,  you need to register a domain and secure web hosting. When you team up with DreamHost, you can get a domain name for free with an annual hosting plan. If you need premium plugins and themes, you’ll need to spend some extra dollars.

Should I buy managed WordPress hosting or Shared hosting?

It depends. Managed WordPress hosting is an excellent option if you need your web host to keep your platform updated and secure. This way, you’ll have more time to focus on your content and not the technical details. Shared hosting also has its own benefits. It’s a great starting place if your website is brand new. It offers fewer features than managed WordPress hosting but it’s a good starting point. You can build your site and audience at a more affordable price before having to upgrade.