Bluehost is one of the most popular hosting companies in the entire world, but is it right for you? With name recognition and improved customer support, it's a solid choice for beginners.
DreamHost is another one of those large, cheap shared hosting companies that's just been around forever. Founded in 1996, they have some satisfied customers going 20+ years strong. If you're looking for cheap mass-market hosting, DreamHost is one of the best.
Bluehost has some of the most affordable entry level pricing, with shared hosting being the most popular at rock-bottom prices. We deducted half a point for pricing because of the 3-year term required for the best deal, but overall it's about as cheap as it gets:
DreamHost used to be more expensive than other shared hosts, but now they're right up there with the cheapest. With a yearly shared hosting plan you can get in the door at just $2.59 a month. If you don't want the commitment you can go monthly at just $4.95/mo. The best part? DreamHost doesn't jack up the price on you after the initial period - they're cheap and fair all around.
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In our opinion, Bluehost is a tremendous value. With pricing starting at just $2.95/mo (promo price), you still get the backing of a very large company with the expected customer support and quality of service. Some of the top features included in the rock-bottom starter pricing that add to the value are unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, and 50 SSD in storage.
We think the Plus shared hosting is a better deal with unlimited websites included, unlimited storage, and unlimited domains. Moving onto other plans, you'll see an overall great value for the money you're spending. You're truthfully not going to get super premium features, but the value will be very high.
When it comes to value, DreamHost is one of the best. Low pricing combined with helpful features and a super-generous 97-day money-back guarantee is a win for small businesses.
Plus, they offer unlimited bandwidth, free domain names, free SSL certificates, and compensate you for dips in uptime. They truly provide one of the greatest service level agreements available.
Bluehost customer support is a mixed bag. Some recent reviewers have never had a problem, others have stories of waiting for a long time and getting subpar support.
With 24/7 support via both phone and live chat - you can always get ahold of them. Unlike other, more premium, support however you may not get the highest quality tech nor the fastest service.
One area DreamHost just isn't perfect in is customer support. Support is provided via email and live chat, or you can request a callback. Hmm, kind of a head-scratcher. They don't have the 24/7/365 support that most hosting companies have.
In addition, even while on the site as a prospective customer you're told to come back during business hours. The reality is that hosting support is a 24/7 job - and DreamHost isn't up to snuff.
Reports across the web show Bluehost uptime fairly strong at 99.99% to 100%.
However, it's hard to find if they offer any specific uptime guarantee like HostGator (sister company) does. Their server uptime agreement page only promises vague promises of less than 15 minutes of downtime before being fixed.
Their shared hosting page doesn't make any references to a specific uptime promise. So even with great uptime reports overall with minimal downtime, we're docking them a half a point because of a lack of transparency on this issue.
Reports across the web show DreamHost uptime fairly strong at 99.99% to 100%.
The best part? Their 100% uptime guarantee. If for any reason your website is down, they will credit your account with one day of free hosting for every hour that it’s down.
The good thing is that their uptime in the past year has been about 99.98% on average - so don't expect a need to cash in that credit.
Bluehost has made significant speed advancements in recent years. There used to be scores of user complaints, but they've upgraded their hardware to take this seriously.
However, you only need to pop over to Twitter to see tons of complaints. Now a lot of the speed problems come from your website overall setup and not just hosting, so be sure to take that into account. Bluehost also has tons of customers so there's bound to be some complaints.
Bluehost made the honorable mentions in our fastest web hosting comparison post. Check that post if you need the ultimate in site speed.
DreamHost has great reports on speed and is solidly in the top 25% of hosts as far as load time. They don't focus on it as a main feature, but you're not seeing many complaints from customers.
On their DreamPress plan they've optimized their databases just for WordPress, as well as implemented Memcache. So they have speed in mind for sure. Be sure to chat with their support if it's a huge concern for you.
Bluehost has all the basic features you need to get started, and a very affordable way for beginning bloggers to start. They include a free SSL from Let's Encrypt, which is a must, as well as unmetered bandwidth.
However, when you compare to other companies like SiteGround and A2 Hosting, Bluehost is lacking some extra features that are very helpful. One complaint is the fact that you have to pay for migrations, which is annoying.
You also have to upgrade to some of the more expensive shared plans like Choice Plus and Pro in order to get site backups - which are critical for every site.
Pound-for-pound, DreamHost offers some the of best features of any cheap hosting company. Their cheapest shared plan includes a free domain, unlimited bandwidth, WordPress pre-installed, and a free SSL certificate. Their DreamPress WordPress hosting is a strong value-proposition for fully-featured WordPress hosting that can compete on some level with WP Engine and Kinsta.
You don't get free migrations, and you're missing out on 24/7 phone support that other hosts offer, so we have to dock them a point. Overall - great host, great features.
Final Decision: Bluehost vs DreamHost
DreamHost and Bluehost are ancient in internet years, and have had loyal customers from the beginning.
That being said, between Bluehost and DreamHost, we’ll break it down by a few scenarios.
Compared to DreamHost, we don’t see much of a strong argument for Bluehost. We may give them the edge for only their 24/7 customer service, but not much else. You could make the argument for faster site speed, but that’s a toss-up as both are firmly average.
We’d suggest DreamHost for those looking for absolutely the lowest cost of entry (when GoDaddy isn’t running a $1/month sale), and great overall value. We just like their independence and overall fairness as well.
On a final note, just because these two hosts are old, popular, and cheap doesn’t mean they’re the best. In our honest opinion if you’re looking for a perfect combination of features and low pricing, go with SiteGround – now on sale at a huge discount. Or, you may want to check out another low-cost-of entry host with up to 20x speed and more features, such as A2 Hosting. Looking for premium WordPress hosting? Try WP Engine or Kinsta.