DreamHost Review: Is It Reliable & Fast?

Ah, DreamHost. Of all the companies we’ve looked at, DreamHost is certainly one of the most recognizable.

Having purportedly serviced 1.5 million websites, DreamHost is up there with the other major players in the hosting game.

Another reason it’s such a major player and viewed so credibly is its history: DreamHost has been running since 1997, which might as well be a few decades in internet years.

So you’ve been looking into your next potential hosting platform. Maybe you have no idea where to start, or maybe you’re already thinking of specific companies and specific plans.

We’re here to help you figure out what different companies can offer you, and right now I’m about to tell you how DreamHost performs based on my own experience with them.

Does DreamHost’s reputation far outweigh its performance?

Or are things pretty aligned?

Keep reading to find out!

DreamHost Review: Cons

Almost invariably, I proceed with the “cons” section by treating it as bad news. This is one of the few times when the cons section is not bad news.

Well, maybe a little bit—nothing is perfect, and that includes DreamHost.

So, here’s the first of the minor drawbacks: domain names.

There’s no included free email service for the entry-level shared hosting package—you have to buy it as an upgrade if you want it, which is also uncommon.

This might be enough to discourage someone who is just looking for a small, cheap personal website, but outside of that, I don’t expect these deficiencies to count too much against DreamHost.

Overall the main flaws are that a couple things should be included in DreamHost’s entry-level shared hosting package that is not.

Other than that, DreamHost isn’t suffering much–anything it is, is endemic to every other hosting company.

DreamHost Review: Pros

Okay, now we can enjoy the sun!

A couple notes on the flaws that I mentioned—one benefit to DreamHost is cheap pricing.

The cheap pricing on shared hosting packages (but everything else as well) kind of moderates the absence of an included domain name and email service for the first tier, though not entirely.

Add in the fact that Shared Starter, the first tier, has unlimited traffic and an included SSL certificate, and things balance out a bit.

I still think they should at least include the domain, but those are two other positives that are not always included with other companies’ rival packages.

On that note, DreamHost overall is pretty well-featured.

I think each type of hosting is well-packaged with DreamHost and aside from shared hosting, there isn’t a whole lot to complain about.

Dedicated hosting, in particular, has great accommodations.

One of the best things DreamHost has going for it is its ease of use. It’s super slick and intuitive, from the control panel to account management to the website builder.

On top of that, they have great customer support.

As far as security goes—yeah, it’s true their site doesn’t say a whole lot beyond the standard stuff.

But the good news is their money-back guarantee extends for 97 days, which is a walloping amount of time and should be plenty for you to measure your uptime and get accustomed to your product.

Overall, DreamHost did indeed have a few flaws—but it’s still got a lot to counter them.

DreamHost Review: Pricing

Presumably, a major force in the hosting market such as DreamHost would be able to offer competitively priced products.

Is that so?

Overall, I think so—but let’s go package by package to see what DreamHost has.

Starting us off, as usual, are the shared hosting packages. The first tier, Shared Starter, is $2.59 a month and second is Shared Unlimited at $7.95 a month.

 

These are the only two tiers, so it’s pretty simple.

However, those prices are if you pay per year of service: if you pay month-to-month, Shared Starter increases to $4.95 a month and Shared Unlimited increases to $10.95 a month.

WordPress hosting is pretty close to shared hosting, with a similar annual/monthly payment option and has two types of tiers to choose from.

The first type is actually the two shared-hosting options, with the same prices mentioned above.

DreamPress tier starts for $16.95 a month if paid per-annum. Paid monthly, it’ll rise to $19.95.

DreamPress Plus is $24.95 or $29.95, and DreamPress Pro is $71.95 .

VPS Hosting actually has four tiers, but without the monthly/annual option.

Basic VPS is DreamHost’s entry-level VPS offering, going for $13.75 a month.

Business VPS, Professional VPS, and Enterprise VPS go for $27.50, $55, and $110 a month respectively.

Cloud hosting with DreamHost is exceptionally cheap: a 512MB RAM Server, the cheapest option, is $4.50 a month max.

The 2GB option is max $12 a month and the 8GB option is 48 max. Don’t worry, there are a few more options, which you can view here.

The reason theses say max is that you get charged per hour of usage, with a maximum charge of 600 hours per month.

The maximum price is assuming you use that plan for 600 hours in a given month—all in all, it’s really not too shabby.

DreamHost does not have preset dedicated hosting plans: you need to contact them directly to figure out wat your price would be.

The most they say is their starting price: $169 a month.

In sum, DreamHost does pretty well with pricing. Cloud hosting, in particular, seems a pretty solid deal—for those who just want to experiment, the first tier of cloud hosting would be an excellent option that I doubt you could find easily elsewhere.

WordPress hosting is alright—I think the DreamPress plans can be a little on the pricier side, but you can use shared hosting for your WordPress site and that’s a pretty solid deal that DreamHost is more than willing to accommodate.

VPS hosting has a very low starting price, but everything else is about normally priced.

Finally, the best thing about DreamHost’s pricing: the money-back guarantee.

Most hosting companies offer approximately thirty days for their money-back guarantees—two weeks on the stingier side.

DreamHost shoots past all of them with a massive 97-day money-back guarantee.

That’s a lot of time, and should be enough time for you to properly evaluate your uptime and see if you click with your service.

Overall, DreamHost has a pretty standard pricing structure, with a few points that are particularly advantageous.

Their money-back guarantee is by far one of the best in the business.

DreamHost Review: Ease of Use

Related to the features is a company’s ease of use factor. How difficult of a time will your customers have figuring out the control panel, their account settings, and setting up their websites?

With DreamHost, not much time at all. DreamHost is so confident in their easy to use tools that they emphasize it repeatedly on their site—more so than with other places, it seems to me.

As a matter of fact, they’ll even let you experiment with their website builder free of charge.

Their control panel is also stylized to look sleek and it’s equivalently easy to use.

I don’t have much to say about DreamHost’s ease of use: I kind of recommend you play around with their website builder and get a feel for it because the rest of their site is pretty much on par or even easier to deal with.

It’s especially nice that DreamHost’s easiness does not oversimplify the products themselves, or constrict the number of features you have.

As you have seen, DreamHost is competitively stocked with features, but this does not take away from its user-friendliness.

DreamHost is not the easiest hosting service ever, but it’s made it to the top tier, more or less sharing the top spot with a few other companies.

Ease of use is not the rarest accomplishment these days, but it’s still great to see.

DreamHost Review: Customer Support

Easy as DreamHost already is, the whole deal gets even easier with its customer support.

As is typical of most hosting companies, you have two main forms of customer support: on-site educational/informational material, and options for contacting representatives.

For the on-site material you can consume, the main place to go is the knowledge base.

Dreamhost has one of the nicest knowledge bases I’ve seen, though this is due in no small measure to my own personal tastes.

I say this because many knowledge bases look ugly, or cluttered, or are too simple.

DreamHost gets a perfect mix of the two: a search bar that is a quick scroll up from well-organized article categories.

Another thing DreamHost offers (which only a few other hosting companies do by the way) is a forum for the DreamHost community.

DreamHost offers the standard live chat and email support options, 24/7. Although they do not have phone support, they do offer social media communication—which isn’t very common.

The thing is, you can only access live chat if you have an account.

If you don’t have an account, you can still contact support—for example, if you have a question—but you’ll need to use an email/ticket system.

But that’s okay. My experience with DreamHost, as a customer, is that their live chat and email support have been very good.

You can typically expect a response within a minute or a few minutes at most.

In all, that makes for a pretty solid customer support factor.

Very solid representatives and comprehensive informational material on-site make DreamHost one of the top-notch companies for customer support.

DreamHost Review: Do we recommend DreamHost?

When it comes down to it, DreamHost seems to have overall earned its status.

It does not have many flaws, and the few it does have are largely insignificant.

The lack of an included domain name for Shared Starter is unfortunate, but not the end of the world.

The same goes for the lack of an included email package.

These things are mostly relevant only to people who are seeking a lightweight product: a small, probably personal website for a low price.

For those people, DreamHost is so close to being perfect, but these two things are common on other platforms for similar prices.

For that reason, I would not recommend DreamHost to those people.

For everyone else, DreamHost is likely a top choice.

Even for the aforementioned section of hosting consumers, I would recommend trying it out first, to see if you can part with a little extra cash for a company you’re comfortable with.