DreamHost Hosting Reviews
What is DreamHost?
Founded in 1997 by undergraduates at Harvey Mudd College, DreamHost is among the veterans of American web hosting companies. The privately owned company hosts 1.5 million sites worldwide and is based in Los Angeles, California with offices in Portland, Oregon.
How Good are DreamHost Plans?
DreamHost has some of the best uptime averages and page load speeds of any shared hosting on the market. 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. So what’s the catch? Dreamhost is pricier than your average shared hosting company, and you can only be billed annually. The upfront cost turns many people away.
- Unlimited Bandwidth and Disk Space
- Single-Click Application Installation
- 97-Day Money Back Guarantee
- Multiple Hosting Option
- 100% Uptime Guarantee
- Support for Shared Hosting Extremely Limited
- No Website Design Tools
- Pricier than Most Shared Hosting
- Annual billing only
Our Official DreamHost Review
DreamHost Hosting prides itself on using open source software. They are an OpenStack Foundation Gold Member utilizing Ceph storage – a storage solution using open-source software created in their own in-house labs. And while DreamHost is among the more expensive shared hosting options available, they offer a tremendous value. With excellent speeds, uptime, features, support, and unlimited bandwidth, you’ll get your money’s worth. That said, their custom dashboard isn’t everyone’s favorite, and the enormous amount of money you have to shell out upfront is understandably off putting to many.
Best Features of DreamHost Plans
DreamHost offers one of the best web hosting packages around. They’re super reliable, use open sourced software, and give you unlimited bandwidth.
Unlimited Bandwidth and Disk Space
Lots of websites say they offer unlimited bandwidth and diskspace. But what they really mean is that they don’t set a clear limit for you; they can decide at any given time if you are using too much space. One too many spikes in traffic and you may find your account has been suspended for abusing the capacity of the shared server. Or, your hosting company may passively aggressively insist that you upgrade to a more expensive hosting plan. Bluehost is a good example of a company that has irritated many customers for doing just that.
DreamHost only has the one shared hosting plan, and they truly do offer unlimited bandwidth and diskspace. No suspensions for overuse. No pricier plan to force you into. And the hardware to actually support heavy traffic. When you couple that with the fact that you can always upgrade to a VPS server or a dedicated server, then the sky is the limit.
Single-Click Application Installation
DreamHost runs their scripts in such a way that you can install WordPress – along with many other different applications – at the click of a mouse. These other applications include photo galleries, shopping cart software, CMS software apps and more.
The beautiful thing about scripts is that you can use someone else’s script without the need to know any code whatsoever. Take the scripts – many of them are free – and install them on your website with a single click. As a webmaster, you can enjoy the fact that you can make your site look and feel however you want it to with this feature.
97-Day Money Back Guarantee
This is actually longer than most of hosting providers. The standard is a 30-day money back guarantee. DreamHost offers a 97-day money back guarantee – isn’t that something? The 97-day money back guarantee works like this: if anytime you cancel within the initial 97 days after signup, they will refund 100 percent of the money you paid. Anytime you cancel after the 97 days, they’ll refund you a prorated amount.This is really generous, and also seems especially important for DreamHost given that you may have to pay up front for at least a year (but more on that later). They beat out InMotion Hosting and WebHostingHub’s 90 day money back guarantee by an additional week.
100 Percent Uptime Guarantee
While most other providers boast about a 99 percent uptime guarantee, DreamHost offers a 100 percent 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. But lucky for you (and for DreamHost’s billing department), they don’t go down very often. DreamHost has averaged a stellar 99.98% uptime in the last year. The only hosting company that does better than that is A2 Hosting, at 99.99%
Perhaps they can’t really be called free since you do pay for the plan, but we like that DreamHost includes a bunch of extra features in their standard shared hosting plan that most other hosts charge extra for. You’ll get malware scanning, an SSL certificate, multiple domains, a free domain name, unlimited email addresses and capabilities, and a $100 in Google AdWords credit to boot.
Free Web Hosting for Nonprofits.
This is a unique feature for a Web hosting company. If you are in the United States and you run a nonprofit business, such as a charity or a church, DreamHost will host it for free. By providing the right documentation from the IRS namely, the IRS-issued 501(c)(3) determination letter, DreamHost will work with you and provide you for with free hosting.
Downsides of DreamHost
DreamHost has some of the most comprehensive features on the market, but there are a few catches. Consider these points carefully before you pull the trigger.
DreamHost Plans are Some of the Most Expensive in Shared Hosting
If you want to pay month-to-month for hosting with DreamHost, be prepared to shell out $11 monthly. That is a huge number in the shared hosting world, given that most hosting plans are priced below $5/month. Otherwise, you can pay up front for a year at for $10/month, or three years for $8/month. Even at those reduced rates, DreamHost is still one of the most expensive options, especially if you are paying up front. With such a huge amount to be forked over all at once, you’ll be glad for that 97-day guarantee.
We maintain that DreamHost is a tremendous value, but it’s not right for everyone. We’d recommend them to folks who have considered upgrading to a more expensive shared hosting option as their page grows. The features offered rival lots of the premium plans that other shared hosting providers charge extra for. But if you just want a simple site at a cheap price and don’t intend to use a ton of diskspace or bandwidth, you’re probably better off going with a cheaper option that has clear limits.
DreamHost Customer Service Lacks Phone Support
Sure, their email ticket system is pretty darn good and they are quick to help out via chat support. But sometimes you really just want to talk to a real person with a real voice. If you’re the type that likes to get the same agent on the phone each time, DreamHost isn’t for you. SiteGround is our far and away leader in the customer service department (plus you can call them!).
Only One Shared Hosting Plan
In some ways, this is a benefit. Having just the one plan takes out a lot of the analysis paralysis of choosing between varying levels of shared hosting plans, and keeps you from paying extra for features you don’t need just in case. However, not everyone is really in a position to make the most out of DreamHost’s unlimited bandwidth and many features. A site with only 100 visits a month will pay the same as a site with 100,000. Sure, the busy website is getting a great deal. But not so much the little guy.
Love cPanel? DreamHost Does Not.
DreamHost has their own control panel and does not use the typical industry standard cPanel. This isn’t so much a con as it is a matter of preference. DreamHost’s dashboard is significantly more modern looking than cPanel, but can also be intimidating to the uninitiated. And sometimes it can just be irritating to have to learn a new interface, especially if you already interact with dozens of different ones on a daily basis. If you’re really comfortable with cPanel and reluctant to adopt something new, DreamHost may disappoint.
If you know what you’re doing, DreamHost can be a dream come true. Unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth coupled with a dedicated server means that your website can grow from inception to a true blockbuster without the need to switch hosting companies or upgrade plans. However, if you’re new in the game, you may not be in a position to truly take advantage of all that DreamHost has to offer, making the high upfront cost squarely not-worth-it.
Dreamhost Questions and Answers
- I am comfortable using a Linux based hosting operations system. What type of hosting system does Dreamhost offer?
- You are in luck because Dreamhost does not offer its customers the opportunity to utilize a Windows based hosting system. Customers are only given access to Linux based web hosting services. With this system you receive a number of bells and whistles that work to ensure that your new hosting account is up and running as soon as possible.
- How long is the introductory price valid?
- The introductory price that you pay Dreamhost when signing up for a new hosting account is valid until the end of your current renewal period. At that time, the price you pay increases each year you remain a Dreamhost customer.
- Will I be able to receive a dedicated server and managed services when I elect to become a customer with Dreamhost?
- Dreamhost offers you a wide variety of dedicated server platforms that are varied enough to meet any hosting need that you have in mind. Likewise, the hosting company also offers managed service plans that provide you with a hassle free hosting experience.
- Does Dreamhost offer any free domain names with their hosting plans?
- Yes! Dreamhost provides you with free domains names when you sign up for any one of their shared web hosting plans. You have over 350 different website domain extensions to select from, which gives you more opportunities for a unique web name that goes beyond the traditional .com or .net that everyone commonly sees online.
- Can I register a domain name with Dreamhost at the time that I sign up for one of their hosting plans?
- Yes! Dreamhost readily provides its customers, potential customers and members of the public with the opportunity to purchase domain names for registration. You have the option of selecting a .com, .net., .info, and more when creating your hosting plan. All domain name registrations come with domain privacy protection at no additional cost to you.
- If I an not happy with the hosting service that I am receiving after signing up with Dreamhost, is there a chance I will get my money back?
- Yes! Dreamhost offers all of its customers a 97 day money back guarantee. If after that time you are not happy with the service you are receiving, you can request a refund. The company sends you the full amount that you paid with no questions asked. There is no refund option available for domain name purchases or other products the hosting company offers.
- Does Dreamhost provide me with the option of having a Virtual Private Server (VPS)?
- When you set up a hosting plan with Dreamhost, you have four separate VPS options that are available on your account. Each option is powered by SSD which enables you to receive high performance with CPU processing, hard drive configurations, memory and bandwidth on your account. The latest technology allows for you to also receive a fast read and write server as well.
- What are my available options for contacting technical support whenever a problem with my hosting account arises?
- You have three main options to select from when you are in need of technical support. There is a callback support program in place where you place the initial call, leave a message describing your problem and a support tech returns your call. You also have an email support option and an online customer ticket system option where tech support will assist you online.
- When I contact the customer support team at Dreamhost, what language can I expect the technicians to be speaking?
- All of the customer service and technical support technicians for Dreamhost speak English. That includes any email, support ticket response or any other type of verbal and written communication you will have with the company. Each of their customer service and technical support teams are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also find support through the social media channel of Twitter.
- How long has Dreamhost been in business?
- The company opened its doors in 1997 when four college friends decided to venture into the online realm of business. They started the company from a college dorm room and aimed to help people find a place in the online community. Fast forward to today where the company is home to approximately 1.5 million different websites that offer blog, application, e-commerce and more to the virtual world. They currently serve approximately 400,000 customers across the globe each day.
- Where does Dreamhost keep its data center servers?
- Dreamhost maintains its network of data center servers in a remote location in Los Angeles, California. The centers are temperature controlled and feature security around the clock to ensure your data and that of other customers remains safe at all times.
- Will I have a variety of programming languages to select from when using Dreamhost for my hosting services?
- Yes! Dreamhost offers you the opportunity to use one of several popular programming languages when setting up your account. You can select from PHP, Perl, Ruby on Rails and Ruby language for your programing needs.
- Will I have any reseller options available by using Dreamhost?
- Dreamhost has a valuable reseller program that you certainly will want to take advantage of when setting up your hosting account. Each of their reseller options gives you the chance to earn extra income through various DIY custom options.
- Will I have the opportunity to engage in an affiliate program upon creating an account with Dreamhost?
- Absolutely! Dreamhost proudly offers interested users the chance to earn extra income from their websites that reside on the Dreamhost network of servers. You can place text links throughout the content of your website and each time a site visitor clicks on that link, you earn money. Each time you refer a friend or family member to Dreamhost for their web hosting needs, you will receive $97 for each new account that remains with the company.
- What is included with my domain name registration from Dreamhost?
- It will feel like Christmas morning when you register a new domain name with Dreamhost. In addition to having over 350 domain extensions to chose from, you also receive DNS management, making it easy to update your name servers and point your web visitors in the right direction. You will have the option to customize those name servers to something that reflects your personality or your business name. You can forward that domain name to any other web hosting company that you desire and you have the opportunity to lock your domain as protection against scammers or hackers as necessary.
- I would like to use WordPress for my website that I want to host on a Dreamhost server. Is this option available to me or do I need to pick a different option?
- You will love the hosting opportunities that Dreamhost makes available to you and other users who want to utilize the tools of a WordPress site. To create a WordPress hosting account you just sign up for a shared hosting plan or a DreamPress hosting plan. Each plan comes with the ability to have the support of a knowledgeable technical support staff that is available 24/7 and can help with any issue that arises. You also receive automatic system backups and updates and access to a hosting network that is available 100 percent of the time that you need service. When creating your WordPress account, you can add in any theme or plug-in that you want in a matter of minutes.
- I want to open a hosting account with Dreamhost, however, I currently have a website that is on another hosting server. Will Dreamhost transfer my old account information into their servers when I open up a new account with them?
- Unfortunately Dreamhost does not go through the steps of migrating your website from its current hosting location. They do however offer you access to a friendly and helpful technical support team that will help you navigate your way from the old hosting location to your new spot on the Dreamhost servers. You also have access to the customer forums where you will find valuable information and tips from other users who have successfully transferred their accounts over with no problem. Dreamhost gives you additional assistance by making a library of downloadable help files that can assist you in the task of transferring over your site as well.
- I want to run several websites for my various hobbies, personal interests and business ventures. Is this possible with one Dreamhost account or will I need to open several accounts to accommodate each domain name?
- Dreamhost operates an extensive network of web servers that allows the company to offer its customers the opportunity to own and operate as many domain names as they desire. You can easily have a different domain name for each interest, hobby or business venture that comes to mind. Each domain name receives separate treatments t,, making it eligible for the host of domain name benefits that Dreamhost provides. You will have the opportunity to select from over 350 different extensions for each of your domain names. You can add subdomain names to each site for no additional cost if you desire and each name will have privacy protection in place, keeping all of your domain accounts as safe as possible from online threats.
- I like using Prestashop software on my websites because it is easy to use and meets the needs I have for running an ecommerce website that gets a significant amount of traffic. Will I be able to continue using Prestashop if I switch everything over to a Dreamhost account?
- Yes you will be able to continue using Prestashop with ease on your newly hosted Dreamhost account. Dreamhost has the ability to support this type of software and provide you with all of the necessary tools to successfully allow your website to function properly in the process. Your ecommerce website will reap the benefits of having access to a fast processing infrastructure. You will like the network system capabilities and the shared network hosting platform that Dreamhost provides for your new account.
- One of the reasons that I am looking for a new hosting company is the control panel options. My current hosting company does not offer a user-friendly control panel feature and I find that to be very frustrating when I am trying to make changes to my website. What type of control panel does Dreamhost offer?
- Rest assured that you will not have a frustration problem when using the control panel that Dreamhost provides on your account. By using a Linux based operating system, Dreamhost gives you a c-panel control center from which you can easily manage every aspect of your hosting account. The c-panel gives you access to all of your account files, database information, software installations and anything else that you need to successfully manage your account.
- My current hosting provider lacks in the tools department. I often find myself spending hours online searching for plugins and other relevant options that will help make my website easier to operate. If I switch over to Dreamhost, what can I expect to receive that will help make my hosting life a little easier?
- The sky is the limit in terms of what you can expect to receive from your new hosting account at Dreamhost. You will be able to easily manage your account through the functional c-panel control system that serves as the central hub for all of your website and hosting activities. You have the ability to install any plug-in or website app with the click of a button thanks to their ‘1-click’ installer program. There are state-of-the-art SSL certificates in place that keep hackers and spam companies from accessing your website information. You are given further protection from continual malware scans that take place behind the scenes. When all else fails on your account, there is a reputable team of customer service and technical support members standing by 24/7 to help you with anything that you need.