Last Update | September 2021
Monthly Update - September 2021
|Hosting Plans||Shared Hosting; VPS; Cloud Hosting; Dedicated Servers; WordPress and WooCommerce Hosting;|
|Top Features||100% Uptime Guarantee; Pre-Installed WordPress With 1-Click Installs; Drag-and-Drop Builder; Over 200 Starter Site Templates; Easy-To-Use Control Panel; Free Domains And SSL Certificates; Custom Email Addresses For Your Domain; Free Privacy Protection For Domains; Fast SSD And Unlimited Traffic; Free Automated WordPress Migrations; Unlimited MySQL Databases and SFTP Users; PHP, Rails, Python, Perl Support; Daily Automated Backups; 97-Day Money-Back Guarantee; Recommended by WordPress.org; Carbon Neutral (Green) Company|
|Customer Support||Live Chat (Limited Work Hours); Ticketing System; Knowledge Base; Email Support|
During September, DreamHost:
- Hosting Flash Sale: Starting at $2.59/mo for a limited time
- Performed system maintenance on its customer control panel, had a partial service disruption
During August, DreamHost:
- Had server and network connectivity issues, a dedicated server outage, and email service interruption
I’ve been browsing on the Internet, reading some reviews regarding DreamHost. I came to realize; different sites provide contrasting opinions. So, I instantly recognized – it’s time for me to test it out! After all, you, my loyal followers, deserve my unbiased opinion regarding DreamHost.
DreamHost dates back to 1997, making it one of the oldest web hosting providers on the market. It was founded by four friends who were undergraduates from Harvey Mudd College in California - Sage Weil, Michael Rodriguez, Josh Jones, and Dallas Bethune.
Over the years, DreamHost has proudly hosted over 1.5 million websites, WordPress blogs, applications for designers, developers, small businesses, and more. In turn, its customer count has grown to over 400,000, spanning throughout more than 100 countries.
Since the beginning, DreamHost has offered WordPress integrations with improved code, community contributions, and expert-level support. Up to date, the company has performed over 750,000 WP Installations, which is quite impressive.
Better yet, DreamHost was PCMag’s “Editors’ Choice” Winner 5 years in a row!
Currently, DreamHost offers Shared Hosting, VPS, Cloud Hosting, Dedicated Servers, WordPress and WooCommerce, Domains, Email Hosting, Website Builder, along with Pro Services. So, its poll of opportunities is indeed endless.
Regardless of your needs, you will most probably find what you are looking for on its site. But should you be looking here or elsewhere? You’ll know after reading the full review.
My research question for the day is, is DreamHost the web host from your dreams? Or is it more of a nightmare? Let’s check!
Getting Started with DreamHost
Here’s how DreamHost greets you.
As soon as you visit its site, you can find many discounts to get you started.
All is well organized within the Menu, and you can instantly spot what DreamHost has to offer – WordPress, Hosting, Websites, Domains, Email, Pro Services, and its Academy.
DreamHost has a comprehensive offer regarding WordPress. You can find Shared, Email, Managed WordPress with staging, catching, and on-demand backups, WooCommerce, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting for WordPress.
The same applies to the hosting plans. DreamHost offers Shared, VPS, Dedicated, and Cloud Hosting.
As for specific website services, DreamHost provides WP Website Builder and Custom Web Design.
Furthermore, DreamHost offers over 400 unique TLDs for your business, including .club, .io, .online, .org, .xyz, .tech, .blog, .com, .art, and so on.
Each domain name at DreamHost comes with free private registration, free subdomains, easy domain transfers, and simple domain management.
Furthermore, DreamHost anonymizes your domain’s WHOIS registration details for free. See, not many web hosting providers do so. Usually, they charge an initial price or increase the fee with time.
DreamHost provides Email hosting for your domain and a Google Workspace to bundle up your team regardless of their locations within the Email section.
DreamHost is a bit unique web hosting provider since it offers Pro Services. Here, you can find Design, Marketing, Website Management, and Custom Web Development Services. Furthermore, DreamHost offers Custom Web Design, SEO Marketing, and Social Media Marketing to improve your website’s performance further.
Onto purchase we go!
I always go for the cheapest available option. Now, you might think to yourself, oh sure you do, you are so cheap! But there’s another reason behind it!
I like getting the most basic plan as it shows what the web hosting provider grants at its minimum. See, with the more expensive plans, the features are logically going to improve. You get what you pay for. So, if you don’t find the cheapest plan satisfactory for your needs, you can always choose to upgrade.
So, I will go for Shared Hosting today!
At this point, you can either click on Get Started or scroll a bit down. Either way, you will get to the plans. DreamHost offers two Shared Hosting plans – Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited.
Sure, the plans offer different features. But what amazed me the most, at this point, was DreamHost’s 97-Day Money-Back Guarantee. I haven’t seen this yet with a web hosting provider, so that was a first!
The Shared Starter and the Shared Unlimited both provide a free domain, unlimited traffic, pre-installed WordPress, Free Automated WordPress Migrations, the new WP Website Builder, fast SSD Storage, and a free SSL Certificate.
They differ in the number of websites they support and email features. While the Shared Started supports a single website, the latter provides unlimited websites (the root of its name).
Furthermore, you can add an email to the Starter plan for a fee, while Unlimited provides an email @ your domain.
You can get the plans for a month, a year, or three years. Usually, web hosting providers allow for better discounts on longer-term plans. However, that isn’t mainly the case with DreamHost.
At my purchase, I had to pay the full price for the monthly Shared Starter plan. The annual plan came at a 63% discount, while the 3-year plan was 68% off. However, DreamHost provided a better deal on the yearly plan for the Unlimited Plan. It was at 79% off, while the 3-year plan came at 72% off.
In other words, the best deal at the time of my purchase was the 1-year Shared Unlimited plan. Anyways, I didn’t get it, as it doesn’t fit into my agenda.
Before I buy a plan, I would also like to mention the advanced features you get with the shared hosting plans. As a user, you can benefit from Unlimited MySQL Databases, Subversion Repository (SVN), Server Side Includes (SSI), Support for PHP 7.1, 7.2, and 7.3, DreamHost Control Panel, and Full Unix Shell.
Furthermore, you get access to Raw Log Files, Crontab Access, Full CGI Access, Canned CGI Scripts, Reseller & Sub Accounts, Secure Shell (SSH) Access, IPv6 Support, Rails, Python, Perl Support, and Unlimited SFTP Users.
I went for the monthly Shared Starter plan when suddenly I noticed something. DreamHost doesn’t offer a free domain in this plan. I’m not too fond of this.
I pursued to Signup. Here, you can change the language from English to Spanish or ask for assistance via the Chat now button.
The first step refers to the Domain. Here, you can register a new domain, use your existing one, or leave the task for later.
I have a domain that I usually use for testing purposes, so I went with the domain transfer.
I picked the plan, chose a domain, so the last step within the registration is the payment.
At this point, you need to enter your Card Details, Billing Information and perform the Account Setup.
Then, if you scroll down, you will find additional options. DreamHost automatically adds specific features to your card. However, if you don’t want the extra spending, you can uncheck the boxes.
Within the additional options, you can find Pre-Install WordPress, which is free, DreamShield Protection, DreamHost SEO Toolkit, DreamHost Email, and Google Workspace.
Once you have set up everything to your liking, you can check your order in the box on the right.
Then, click Submit Order. Everything is fast and easy! The next thing you will see is the following.
That’s about it! Now we test!
Setting Things up at DreamHost
I’m in! Here’s how DreamHost welcomes you to its Control Panel. The setup process takes only a few minutes. So, as soon as it’s complete, you can manage your site.
On the left side of the screen, you can find the Control Panel menu, divided into a few sections – Home, Websites, Domains, WordPress, Mail, Billing & Account, Support, and More.
In the Home tab, you can find the options to build your website, free migrations, and pro services.
WordPress, Email and Productivity Apps, the File Manager, and MySQL Database are all part of Build Website.
Free Migration takes you to the Automated WordPress Migration Plugin. What I like at this point is that DreamHost provides clear instructions for the process. You can follow the step-by-step guide and even ask for additional assistance from the support team. Better yet, you can expect zero downtime in the process.
Within the Pro Services, you can find the Paid Migration Service or Upgrade to Managed WordPress.
The Websites tab is divided into Manage Websites, Files, MySQL Databases, and Secure Certificates.
If you click on Manage, DreamHost will take you to the following screen.
Here, you can find various options regarding your Website, Hosting, and DNS.
The Website tab takes you to Manage Your Site covering Files (SFTP) and Database (MySQL).
Here, you can also modify PHP. DreamHost recommends using the 7.4 FastCGI. However, you can also switch to PHP 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 8.0 CGI or Fast CGI.
Furthermore, you can register a domain, manage DNS records, or change your WordPress site to run under a different domain name.
Within security, you can add SSL/TLS Certificates or the DreamShield Malware Removal.
Finally, DreamHost allows you to get Email or Google Workspace, or its SEO Toolkit for more website traffic.
Under Manage Websites, you can find Files. Here, you can access your website’s files through our web-based FTP client or create/manage user credentials for use with a third-party file management client.
MySQL Databases allows you to create a New MySQL Database or restore the one you deleted before it gets purged from the recycle bin.
If you scroll a bit down, you can find your Current MySQL Databases. At this point, you can add a user, restore DB, Modify or Delete it.
The last subsection in Websites is Secure Certificates. As you can see, I have none on my domain. However, DreamHost offers me to add the Standalone Sectigo DV Certificate.
Next, in Domains, you can Manage Domains, Registrations, Reg. Transfer and One-click Installs.
In Manage Domains, you can add hosting to a domain or sub-domain or register an entirely new domain. Also, you can access DNS, WebFTP, or UniqueIP, edit, upgrade, or remove your web hosting. At last, you can manage the security and email features.
If you click on DNS, DreamHost will transfer you to the following screen.
At this point, you can manage DNS records using the DreamHost nameservers.
Also, you can add records to your domain.
As mentioned, you can also get a Unique IP. DreamHost offers two plans – monthly and annual. Better yet, you can add an IPv6 address to your domain.
In Registrations, you can search for a domain name or manage your registered ones.
Going on to Domain Transfers, DreamHost specifies the process within this tab. Here, you can also find your pending transfers at the bottom of the page.
In the last subsection of Domains, you can manage your applications.
Next, WordPress covers One-click installs and Managed WordPress. I already covered the first. The second provides the option to upgrade to DreamPress, cloud-powered, fully-managed WordPress hosting to make your website faster, more secure, and easier to manage.
DreamPress comes with 1-Click Staging, Built-In Caching, Bulletproof Backups, and a Managed Cloud Platform.
In Mail, you can Manage Email, access Webmail, Custom MX, Announce Lists, Anti-spam, Discussion Lists, Message Filters, and Autoresponders.
Then, Billing & Account consists of Manage Account, Account Privileges, Privacy Settings, Manage Payments, View Invoices, Security, Backup your Account, Bandwidth Usage, and Disk Usage.
Now, I’ll skip on Support, as I will cover it later on.
So, what’s left is the ‘More’ tab. It grants you access to SSH Keys, Cron Jobs, Htaccess/WebDAV, Block Spiders, Proxy, and Site Statistics.
Performance, Speed, and Uptime
As you are well aware, not all web hosting providers are created equal. To make your mark within the competitive market today, you need a superior web host to keep your site up and running at all times. In other words, you need lightning-fast speeds and reliability, top-level tech, and priority customer support to assist you in all quests.
DreamHost has two data centers, an East Coast facility in Virginia, and one near Portland, Oregon. So, they cover both the East and West of the US.
I have to say, I am amazed in this regard. DreamHost is so confident in its quality so that it provides a 100% Uptime Guarantee. The company has high-tech systems with multiple data center locations, redundant cooling, emergency generators, and constant monitoring. These are specially designed to keep your website fully functional around the clock. So, if your site ever goes down, DreamHost promises to put some money back in your pocket.
However, uptime is not the only factor you need to consider. It would help if you also thought about speed, as your visitors shouldn’t be waiting for the site to load.
DreamHost provides for fast Solid State Storage (SSD). With SSDs, your website, caching, and database queries are faster. More precisely, SSDs are approximately 200% faster than old-school HDDs. In turn, your visitors will get to enjoy your website without being bogged down by lagging load times.
Furthermore, DreamHost’s servers are designed with optimum WordPress performance in mind. More precisely, you will get the best configurations for your website, automatic updates, and one-click installs.
Now, onto testing we go! DreamHost delivered quite average speeds during my testing period, neither the best (as they promise) nor the worst. The performance was an extraordinary one, close to 100% (but not precisely). It was more of a 99.99%.
As a customer, you can also check the operation of your server from the System Status tab within Support in the Control Panel.
Level of Support at DreamHost
DreamHost promises web geniuses at your service!
They offer a comprehensive Knowledge Base summing up years of web hosting-related FAQs from users.
DreamHost’s Knowledgebase is divided into three categories – Getting Started, Announcements, and General Hosting Topics.
The company further facilitates the work for you as a user. It features popular topics from its site, such as Security/Policies, Domain Registrations, Troubleshooting, and so on.
Still, what makes DreamHost unique is its Academy consisting of 42 Premium WordPress Tutorials. This series of expertly written guides loaded with images and videos can help you quickly master the platform without the need for any experience.
Now, if you are not a DreamHost user, you can use its ticketing system. Here, you can choose from Sales, Billing, Tech Support, or Other departments. There’s also one specific option if you cannot log in to your DreamHost account.
However, if you have an account, therefore, access to the Control Panel, you can contact support from there. Here’s how it looks.
As mentioned earlier, DreamHost comes with an incredible money-back guarantee. If you are a shared hosting user, you can receive a prompt refund within the first 97 days of your purchase. However, if you are a DreamPress customer, the money-back covers 30 days.
So, let’s check whether it works using DreamHost’s support.
First, you need to select the topic with which you need assistance. Here, you can go for Account Management, Billing, Sales, Professional Services, Websites, Email, or Other.
Then, you can choose the domain with which you have an issue.
I have to admit; I like this feature. DreamHost asks for your level of expertise, so they can better assist you. See, there’s no point in explaining the basics to an expert or using tech words and top-level explanations with a beginner in web hosting. That’s why I find this option incredibly helpful!
The next field is Subject. DreamHost automatically offered me two options – Account Activation or Refund. I went for the second.
At last, there’s space for an explanation. Better yet, you can attach files or request a callback.
When you fill in all required information, you can choose to submit a ticket or chat with an agent. I wanted to check the responsiveness of the agents. I went for the second option due to this (even though I don’t need any help from them – it’s a straightforward task).
Once I clicked on Chat with an agent now, I got the following message.
I received instant support – in seconds!
The agent was super friendly and offered to help me further, asking about the issue with my account. I told him I don’t need further assistance, as I am sure about canceling the service and getting a refund. Either way, we had a great conversation, and I have only positive words for their customer service.
However, keep in mind, DreamHost’s customer support chat is available from 3 AM to 9:30 PM PT each day through the panel. So, I guess I was also lucky to hit them at the right time. If not, you would have to wait for hours for them to reply.
Back to the conversation, at last, the live chat agent specified I need to use the ticketing system for refunds (as I expected).
Within Customer Support in the Control Panel, you can also find your Recent Messages.
And that’s all about it!
Security and Backups
For such an affordable brand, DreamHost sure takes your security seriously. It comes with a Malware Remover to discover and fix malware found on your websites. It also features domain privacy, free by default, which is pretty cool.
Its Nginx offerings include http/2 support, the next standard for the worldwide web, and encrypted by default. Better yet, DreamHost offers mod_security, the industry-standard web application firewall for apache. At last, you can benefit from lua-resty-waf, the web application firewall for Nginx built on OpenResty.
DreamHost provides for a free SSL Certificate with each shared hosting plan. An SSL might help your visitors feel safe interacting with your site, especially if you run an e-commerce site. Sure, an SSL certificate isn’t an end-all, be-all defense against internet baddies. Still, it’s an excellent first step in the right direction to put your site visitors at ease.
As mentioned before, you can also choose to add DreamShield Protection to your shared hosting plan. It scans your site regularly to monitor its reputation and identify malicious code, out-of-date software, broken permissions, and more.
Other worthy mentions are the options within the Control Panel (easy-to-find link for editing the .htaccess file, Cron Jobs, SSH, and SFTP access, the latest PHP version, or Multi-Factor-Authentication).
DreamHost automatically creates a daily backup of your site. However, you can also create an additional manual backup once per day. DreamHost stores the backups for up to two weeks, both automatic and manual. Furthermore, you can find the option to restore a backup within your Control Panel.
Specific Features of DreamHost
DreamHost is sure superior in some aspects of web hosting. Here are the features that make this web host unique and worthy of your time (and money):
- Incredible 100% Uptime Guarantee
- Pre-Installed WordPress With 1-Click Installs
- Drag-and-Drop Builder to Make Changes Easily
- Over 200 Starter Site Templates Covering Every Industry
- Advanced, Easy-To-Use Control Panel
- Free Domain And SSL Certificate
- Free, Custom Email Addresses For Your Domain
- Free Privacy Protection For All Domains
- Fast SSD And Unlimited Traffic
- Free Automated WordPress Migrations
- Unlimited MySQL Databases and SFTP Users
- PHP, Rails, Python, Perl Support
- Daily Automated Backups
- 97-Day Money-Back Guarantee
- Recommended by WordPress.org
- Carbon Neutral (Green) Company
DreamHost is very likely to satisfy your demands as it has a wide range of available plans. It’s an affordable provider with great features, even at the most basic level.
DreamHost might not offer many advanced features like some other web hosting providers on the market. Still, as a customer, you can benefit from helpful add-ons, such as the Website Builder, SSDs, or free domains (except in the monthly plans). DreamHost also lists many “unlimited” features on their pricing and plans, such as disk space and bandwidth.
DreamHost further makes up for the lack of features with its reliability and ease of use. It doesn’t provide the standard cPanel. Even so, its Control Panel is clean and easy to navigate. Better yet, the DreamHost team assists in all points of your operation - from registration to managing your site, etc.
You can expect average speeds. DreamHost has two data centers, which is quite inferior compared to its competition. Even so, it provides for a 100% Uptime Guarantee, which is incredibly rare. I have to say; it’s promising!
Still, the best part about DreamHost is that it actively contributes to the open-source movement and WordPress. It creates and contributes to code snippets, community libraries, and more. Other worthy mentions are DreamHost’s strong dedication to security and its 97-day money-back guarantee.
As you can notice, DreamHost is overperforming in so many aspects. Still, it needs to improve in some. For instance, the company offers 24/7/365 customer support. Yet, its live chat feature has limited work hours, and they don’t provide phone support. So, that’s not as true as it’s supposed to be.
I have only compliments regarding their live chat agents. I received instant support and excellent guidance. However, I contacted them during work hours. So, they might expand their availability, and they will be perfect in this regard. Furthermore, DreamHost should work on its speeds, as it’s too average.
Overall, I give this web hosting provider the green light. It’s sure more of a dream than a nightmare!