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DreamHost – An Unbiased Review with Pros & Cons

Punit Makwana Web Hosting Reviews Leave a Comment

DreamHost offers a free domain, unlimited websites, unlimited bandwidth, and even unlimited storage. After looking at the price, you’re probably wondering what’s the catch?

Today we’re going to look at an in-depth DreamHost review filled with all of the information you need to make an educated decision about your hosting.

We’ll cover a quick overview of the company before delving into my personal experience using DreamHost.

Finally, I’ll take you through the various plans they have and leave you with everything you need for a decision. Let’s get started!

  • URL: www.dreamhost.com
  • Plans: Shared, VPS, Dedicated hosting, Cloud Storage
  • Starting price: $7.87 per month

DreamHost Overview

DreamHost began life back in 1997 inside a college dorm room. Four friends who had a penchant for technology got together to create what they believed would be the ideal open-source solution for people to connect on the web.

Fast forward to now and DreamHost has left its college dorm roots behind. Now the company has over 400,000 customers and 1.5 million websites in its care. To this day the company is still laser-focused on open-source software solutions, customer service, and flexible options.

Hosting PlanDreamHostA Small OrangeInMotion HostingA2 Hosting
Starting Price$7.87 per month$8.33 per month$7.49 per month$9.31 per month

My Experience With DreamHost

DreamHost hosting plans range across all the different types you would expect. Whether you’re a blogger, a business owner, or the representative of a national brand, DreamHost has something for everyone.

They even promise a 100% uptime guarantee! It’s hard to believe all of this is real, which is probably why they named is DreamHost, since it’s a dream come true. Read on to learn how my experience went with this hosting company.

What I Liked: Price, Support, Uptime

The first thing I do with any hosting service is check the terms of service. Many of these are confusing and filled with loopholes. That’s not something exclusive to the hosting industry either. Many terms of service documents are like this, but you’ll find that DreamHost takes a more refreshing approach:

  1. DreamHost guarantees 100% uptime. A failure to provide 100% uptime will result in customer compensation pursuant to guidelines established herein.
  2. Customer is entitled to compensation if Customer’s web site, databases, email, FTP, SSH or webmail become unusable as a result of failure(s) in DreamHost systems for reasons other than previously announced scheduled maintenance, coding or configuration errors on the part of the Customer.
  3. Customer will receive DreamHost credit equal to the Customer’s current hosting cost for 1 (one) day of service for each 1 (one) hour (or fraction thereof) of service interruption, up to a maximum of 10% of customer’s next pre-paid hosting renewal fee.

As you can see, the 100% uptime guarantee isn’t lined with fine print. Instead, Dreamhost’s uptime guarantee comes in an easy to read package.

For every hour that this guarantee isn’t true, you receive a free day of hosting. Most companies will promise a 99.9% uptime to cover themselves, but DreamHost stands out by showing confidence out of the gate.

The next thing I loved about DreamHost was their trial period. Unlike other hosting companies, DreamHost offers 97 days to give the service a spin. If we look at DreamHost vs Godaddy, you’ll see that the trial period there is only 30 days.

DreamHost also offers SSD hosting which stands for “Solid State Drives.” These types of storage devices are much faster than your standard hard drive. Faster caching means faster website loading speeds, which means more happy customers and visitors.

To test out my experience with DreamHost, I purchased the the cheapest hosting plan they had to see what the entry-level experience was like. I was able to get set up with WordPress within a few clicks. Fast forward several months and I’m perfectly happy with the performance thus far.

I consider myself a fairly technical person, but I can’t stand a complicated setup process for hosting. I like to get into the writing and designing of the site as quickly as possible, without a bunch of unneeded obstacles in my way.

If you’re also looking for more bang on your buck, you should take a look around at Dreamhost pricing compared to other hosting services. You’ll find you get a lot more for a lot less.

The other major benefit of DreamHost is their customer service, which is stellar. Whenever new and experienced customers run into issues, the Dreamhost customer service team gets back to you quickly, usually within a few hours if you contacted them via email. I reached out to them several times and I was very pleased with the responses. They were detailed and concise.

What I Didn’t Like: No Loyalty Discounts, Bewildering Dashboard

Like any dream, we all have to wake up eventually. The reality is, DreamHost is fantastic, but it’s not perfect. The dashboard itself isn’t very user-friendly or attractive even. An average website owner may have some trouble navigating it without some help.

The other thing is a lack of incentive for loyal customers. For web owners that want to host several websites, a discount for loyal users is something they’ll be on the lookout for. DreamHost’s prices aren’t the cheapest around, but if they offered some kind of discount to choose them over the competition, especially when hosting multiple sites, they’d probably be better off.

That’s about it, though. I didn’t find much to complain about when it came to DreamHost plans and pricing. Next up, let’s take a look at what people are saying about the company.

DreamHost Pros

  • Guaranteed 100% uptime
  • Compensation for errors or failures (1 day per hour of downtime)
  • 97 day trial period
  • SSD drives for hosting
  • Stellar customer service

DreamHost Cons

  • Confusing dashboard
  • Lack of incentive for loyal customers

DreamHost Plans and Features

Our first stop on the list of DreamHost plans is their shared hosting options. These plans start at $7.87 per month with an initial discount. Here you get storage space on SSD servers with a free domain name and the unlimited storage/bandwidth. If you have a blog, a portfolio, or a small website, these plans are perfect.

You can also save money by signing a longer term:

DreamHost Pricing

The shared hosting plan comes with free SSL/TLS certificates, a domain name, domain privacy, unlimited storage, unlimited email accounts, and unlimited bandwidth.

If you’d like a unique IP address, it’s only $5.95 extra per month. Combine this with their 100% uptime guarantee, 24/7 customer service, and a 97-day money back guarantee, and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect host. All of the features you expect are also included:

  • Control Panel
  • PHP5 Support
  • Full Unix Shell
  • Rails, Python, Perl Support
  • SSL secure server
  • Crontab Access
  • Canned CGI scripts
  • Access to Raw Log files
  • Full CGI access
  • Server Side includes SSI
  • Subversion Repository (SVN)
  • Unlimited MySQL Databases
  • IPv6 Support
  • $100 Google Adwords credit

VPS Hosting Plans

DreamHost offers four VPS hosting plans to customize your experience and the power you need for your site. Let’s take a look at each plan and what it is included:

  1. Start Here

This plan is $15 per month and offers 1GB of RAM, 30GB of SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth and domains.

  1. Most Popular

This plan is $30 per month with 2GB of RAM and 60GB of SSD storage space. You’ll also have the unlimited features mentioned above.

  1. Go Bigger

Here we have a plan that runs $60 per month and grants you 4GB of RM, 120GB of SSD storage, unlimited Bandwidth, and unlimited domains.

  1. Max it Out

The final plan for DreamHost VPS hosting is $120 per month with 8GB of RAM, 240GB of SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited domains.

Like many high-quality VPS options, DreamHost provides features like scalable RAM from 1GB to 8GB. You can increase the amount you have on your server as needed. You’ll also find the same unlimited bandwidth and SSD storage options ranging from 30GB to 240GB.

Finally, you’ll be able to have as many hosted domains as you desire without fear of limits or the ability to build the sites you have in mind. Each VPS server includes 24/7 support, a control panel, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with five years of security updates.

All of the shared features are included, along with password protection for .htaccess, unlimited email accounts, and unlimited FTP users.

Managed WordPress Hosting

DreamHost offers a comprehensive managed WordPress package for only $19.95 per month. This gives you access to DreamPress 2 which is the latest in WordPress hosting. You’ll have a WP optimized server with 30GB of SSD storage, support for up to 2.1 million visitors, auto-scaling RAM, automatic updates, unlimited email accounts, and more.

You’ll be pleased to know that you also have a VPS server of your own without anyone else sharing those resources. The MySQL databases on your site will also be hosted on an isolated VPS server.

Everything about your site will be tailored for maximum speed. New Hip Hop Virtual Machine software, which is replacing PHP, works in tandem with WordPress. Varnish caching and Memcached settings also limit requests from the database which means support for more visitors than ever before.

Dedicated Servers

If you’re done with the whole sharing thing, then move on to a dedicated server where everything is in your control. You won’t have to worry about anyone else stealing your thunder because you’ll be king of the mountain.

Choose between the following options:

  • Cores: 4 or 12
  • Storage: 1TB HDD or 240GB SSD
  • RAM: 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 gigabytes
  • Payment: monthly or yearly

Depending on your choices, a dedicated server can cost anywhere from $149 per month, to $399 per month depending on your choices. Each server includes RAID 1 storage, Ubuntu Linux, full root & shell access, PHP/Perl/Python/Ruby support, and of course the 100% uptime guarantee.

Of course, that’s not everything. You can also expect unlimited MySQL databases, 24/7 support, 1-click WordPress installation, DDoS protection, unlimited bandwidth and as many domains as you would like.

Dedicated hosting is a great solution for those with the following situations:

  1.  High Traffic

If your site experiences a lot of traffic, shared hosting may not give the performance you need or what your users want. A dedicated server will ensure you have the power and resources to keep your site up and running.

  1. Large Business Websites

Any business owner knows that downtime is killer on your conversions and revenue. With DreamHost’s 100% uptime guarantee, you don’t need to worry about losing money because your hosting service is slacking off.

  1. Reseller Hosting

Some business owners will set up a website to sell hosting on their dedicated server. If you have clients lined up, you’ll need the space and power to handle their unique visitors and users. This is a great way to make extra money while still running your own site.

  1. High Profile Clients

If you’re trying to make a website for a famous author, musician, or artist, then you want top-of-the-line options. You’ll find just that with a dedicated server.

All of DreamHost’s servers are located in Ashburn, Virginia. This place is known as “Data Center Alley” because it has 2N+2 power redundancy with two utility substations, and dual water lines for redundant cooling.
The internet connection is a blazing 1GBps and emergency generators are on standby for technical security. There’s even a 24/7 staff on call for ultimate peace of mind.

The Final Verdict

As it turns out, after compiling this DreamHost review, I’ve discovered that it truly is hosting that feels like a dream. I’ve never been so floored with the amount of value and at the sight of a 100% uptime guarantee. Truly this is a host that is deserving of all the praise they receive.

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Punit Makwana is the founder of VScripts and a passionate blogger. When he’s not writing and brainstorming content ideas, this Mumbai native spends his time reading books, hanging out with his friends and watching movies

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