DreamHost Web Hosting Review (2019)
DreamHost has been around for nearly two decades. More than 1.5 million websites are hosted by this provider.
They have over 400,000 customers, and more than 750,000 WordPress installations throughout 100+ countries worldwide.
These figures alone show that DreamHost is definitely a top player in the web hosting industry.
But how good is their web hosting service? Like most providers, DreamHost offers a wide range of web hosting types, plans, and services.
I’ll give you an in-depth analysis of everything they offer, so you have enough information to decide if DreamHost is the best web hosting service for your website.
DreamHost Web Hosting Plans
Compared to other web hosting providers, DreamHost definitely has one of the most extensive lists of hosting options to choose from. They offer a wide range of hosting types and price points to meet the needs of nearly any website.
DreamHost has two tiers of shared hosting plans; Starter and Unlimited. They offer three-year, one-year, and month-to-month contracts for each plan. Although the longer you commit, the less expensive your rate will be.
Pricing for the Starter plan starts at $2.59, $3.95, and $4.95 per month, depending on the length of your contract terms. The Unlimited plan goes for $5.95, $6.95, or $10.95 per month.
As the name implies, the Stater package is made for new websites that are just starting out.
The Unlimited plan doesn’t have a cap on how many websites you can host. It also comes with free email for your domain, which is a paid add-on with the Starter plan.
Both of these shared plans are best for beginners who are on a tight budget.
The virtual private server plans offered by DreamHost are definitely a step up from the shared options. You’ll benefit from managed performance, along with enhanced security and updates.
A VPS from DreamHost gives your website its own server resources, which speeds up the loading times.
As your website grows, your VPS plan allows you to upgrade your storage and RAM in less than 10 seconds. It’s extremely easy for anyone to set up, regardless of your technical skill level.
All VPS plans are managed, meaning you won’t have to worry about dealing directly with any servers. This is fully handled by the support and operational teams at DreamHost.
The VPS hosting options also support reseller and sub accounts for those of you who plan to manage websites for your clients.
There are four different tiers of VPS pricing from DreamHost. Here’s a comparison of all four.
As you can see, they have plans that support a wide range of website types and business needs. All of the pricing shown above is for three-year contracts.
The price per month will increase if you go with a one-year contract or month-to-month plan.
DreamHost’s dedicated servers can be rented annually or month-to-month. Unlike the shared and VPS plans, they don’t offer three-year contracts for dedicated hosting.
With that said, the dedicated hosting plans provide the most extensive and customizable options.
Plans are segmented into two categories:
But within each category, you can choose how much RAM and disk space you want.
The Standard plan has three options, and the enhanced plan has six options. So overall, you can choose between nine different plans for your dedicated server.
As expected, price increases as you add storage. Rates range from $149 per month to $379 per month for annual contracts.
The dedicated servers from DreamHost are for those of you who want complete control. You’ll have full root access, and the ability to fully manage your websites, email addresses, and domains.
DreamCompute is the cloud hosting service offered by DreamHost. It’s a great choice for those of you who want more control, without the added cost.
Cloud hosting gives you the ability to change your settings on-demand. This highly benefits people with growing websites that see traffic spikes.
The best part about this plan is that the pricing is flexible.
Unlike every other plan we’ve seen so far offered by DreamHost, the cloud hosting is not billed at a fixed monthly rate.
Instead, they have a maximum amount that you’ll get billed per month, depending on the size of the server you choose. But you only get charged for what you actually use.
Flexible pricing is definitely one of the top benefits of cloud hosting in general. Not every web hosting provider offers cloud hosting plans, so it’s nice to see that a reputable company like DreamHost has this option for its customers.
DreamHost has plans that are specifically intended for WordPress users as well. Considering that more than 30% of the entire Internet is powered by WordPress, it’s a great option to have if you’re using this CMS.
Along with BlueHost and SiteGround, DreamHost is one of the three web hosting providers that are “officially” recommended on the WordPress website.
- Shared hosting for WordPress
- Managed WordPress hosting
- VPS for WordPress
If you take advantage of one of these options, DreamHost will install WordPress for you. You’ll be able to set up everything with just one click. You’ll also benefit from automatic WordPress updates and automated daily backups of your WordPress site.
Benefits of DreamHost for web hosting
Now that you’ve had a chance to get familiar with the wide range of web hosting options offered by DreamHost, it’s time to look at the top features and benefits of this provider.
Sufficient loading speeds
Truthfully, DreamHost doesn’t have the fastest loading speeds we’ve seen compared to other web hosting providers. This metric is definitely one of the most important factors to take into consideration when you’re evaluating a web host.
But with that said, they definitely aren’t the slowest either. Here’s a look at the average response times on a DreamHost test website through the first half of this year.
Overall, the average response time for the year is 740 ms.
In reality, that’s very fast. But again, I’ve seen sites that load in roughly half the time of DreamHost. With that said, I’d say these averages are sufficient. They aren’t necessarily the fastest web host on the market today, but you should still be happy with their speeds.
High uptime rates
If you look at the uptime rates on the same chart above, you’ll see that DreamHost has a 99.928% average uptime so far this year.
According to a recent case study conducted by Hosting Facts, the average uptime of 32 popular web hosts is 99.59%. So DreamHost is above that average.
With that said, they fall outside of the top 10 hosts in terms of uptime.
You can look at this the same way you look at their page loading speed. It’s a high number, and more than sufficient for your website, but it’s just not the best compared to the competition.
According to the DreamHost terms of service, they guarantee a 100% uptime rate. So if they don’t meet that standard, you’ll receive a credit for one day of service, for every hour that your site is down.
However, that credit will max out at 10% of your next prepaid hosting renewal. This means that it’s a credit toward the next time you’re billed, as opposed to a refund for what you’ve already paid.
It’s also worth noting that any scheduled maintenance or user errors that cause downtime don’t apply to this promise.
Web hosting providers don’t typically offer free trials. In order to see if you’re happy with their service, you’ll need to sign up.
We’ve seen lots of web hosting providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. So if you’re not happy with your service in the first month, you’re entitled to a refund.
But DreamHost goes above and beyond anything we’ve seen in terms of a money-back guarantee.
Yes, you read that correctly. Your eyes are not playing tricks on you.
DreamHost offers a 97-day guarantee! That’s more than three months to try out their web hosting plan to see if you’re satisfied.
It’s worth noting that this only applies to web hosting fees, and not any add-ons that you paid for.
But when I see a hosting provider offer something like this, it tells me one thing—they stand behind their services. If they thought that the majority of their customers would be asking for refunds, they wouldn’t set up this policy.
This guarantee reduces your risk and makes you feel more confident about your purchase. I’m always more inclined to buy services from companies that stand behind what they’re selling.
DreamHost is a “green” web hosting provider, which means they are environmentally conscious.
I know that this doesn’t necessarily impact your site’s performance, but it’s still an important factor to take into consideration.
In order to reduce their carbon footprint, DreamHost uses LED and low-mercury lighting, optimized HVAC plants at their offices. DreamHost data centers have high-efficiency coolers, use renewable energy sources, and participate in “clean wind” programs in certain areas.
Low renewal rates
It’s a common practice for web hosting providers to offer low introductory rates, and then jack up the prices when it’s time for the contract to renew.
Depending on the web host, those prices can nearly double.
But DreamHost is one of the few providers that doesn’t use this pricing strategy. Prices don’t automatically increase when you renew your contract.
Instead, DreamHost offers price breaks based on the length of your contract, which we saw earlier when I showed you their plans.
DreamHost offers lots of “unlimiteds” with their web hosting plans, which isn’t always common in the industry.
With a couple of exceptions, you’ll get unlimited disk space and bandwidth with your web hosting plans. They also offer unlimited network transfers and unlimited email options.
DreamHost isn’t perfect. Even in the benefits listed above, we learned that although they have high uptimes and fast loading speeds, they’re not industry leaders in those categories.
That aside, there are a few other things that you should keep in mind when you’re evaluating DreamHost as a potential service provider for your website.
Paid site migrations
Lots of web hosts will throw in a free site migration as an incentive to switch to their service. But that’s not the case with DreamHost.
Unless you have a managed WordPress hosting plan, you’ll have to pay $99 for this service.
While it may not be a big deal if you’re only moving one site, this can add up quickly for those of you who are managing websites for your clients.
There are some restrictions for migrations as well. They can’t move multisite WordPress sites or website builder sites.
You can find a step-by-step instruction guide on how to do this manually on their website, but it’s not an easy task. I wouldn’t recommend this process if you’re a beginner.
This piggybacks off of our last point. It seems like other web hosts out there are more willing to do some heavy lifting for their customers.
Beyond that, they have a knowledge base and forums that can be helpful for finding solutions to any questions or problems you might have.
They claim to have 24/7 support, but if you call or try to get help via live chat after hours, you won’t always get what you’re looking for.
The chatbot on their site seems to have limited responses, even in the middle of a weekday.
This is a clip of a conversation I had when I was browsing for cloud hosting plans. The fact that “sales rep” or “sales team” didn’t register another triggered response from this AI bot is kind of surprising.
DreamHost is a reputable web hosting provider. While they don’t lead the way in every performance category, they still have great options for you to consider.
Would I recommend DreamHost? Absolutely.
I like this provider because they have such a wide range of hosting types and plans for you to choose from. Unlike other providers out there, DreamHost is transparent with their pricing, and won’t jack up your rates when it’s time to renew.