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DreamHost is a company that was formed in 1997. Four friends in college that were passionate about technology decided to form a web hosting company to help set the bar high for webmasters that were looking for a quality web hosting company. DreamHost is a powerhouse in the web hosting industry much like GoDaddy, Hostgator, BlueHost, and JustHost. They have over 400,000 customers, 1.5 million websites hosted with them, and over 750,000 active WordPress installations.
So, when I review any web hosting company I like to look at all the plans they offer, their features, performance, uptime, and then their customer support. At the end of my DreamHost review, I like to write a summary that gives you an overview of the company. I will then either recommend the company or point you elsewhere. Now let’s get started with this DreamHost review so you can decide if they will meet your hosting needs.
One thing I like about DreamHost pricing is that it is upfront. You don’t see “starting at” in tiny print in front of the prices for each package. DreamHost offers a variety of exceptional benefits and features. They are currently offering shared, WordPress, VPS, and dedicated plans.
DreamHost does offer only 1 shared plan. Depending on how you pay your bill is going to determine the price you will pay. For a month to month contract it’s going to cost $10.95/month, for one year it’s going to cost $9.95/month, and if you sign up with them for 3 years it’s going to cost you $7.95/month. A couple things I do like about DreamHost is you get a free SSL certificate when you sign up with them, there are no setup fees, and you do get domain protection for free.
DreamHost does use the whole unlimited sales pitch, though. They do clarify it in their unlimited policy page, though. Your MySQL databases can’t be over a couple of GB, email accounts can’t use more than 2 GB of bandwidth per month, and you can’t use an excess of CPU or RAM on their shared plan or you will be asked to move your website to a VPS server.
DreamHost does offer a WordPress plan for $16.95/month. This plan is called the “DreamPress” plan. You do get 30 GB of SSD storage, too. This plan is up to five times faster than DreamHost’s shared servers because the servers that host your WordPress sites use Varnish Cache. This puts an extra layer of caching between your website and helps with performance substantially. Overall, this WordPress plan will perform like a VPS server. You also get these features too:
- Can support 2.1 million visitors per month.
- Servers only have WordPress installation (no other applications).
- Unlimited email accounts.
- No restrictions on themes or plugins you can use.
If yours is a rapidly growing business, this package should be able to keep up with you. It’s also the one you want if you have a lot of traffic on your website, or have complex apps. Simply put you can get a VPS for $15, what’s not to love about that? The other packages for VPS go anywhere from $30-200/month. Here is a breakdown of their prices for VPS servers:
- $15/month (300 MB)
- 30/month (600 MB)
- $50/month (1,000 MB)
- $100/month (2,000 MB)
- $200/month (4,000 MB)
Dream Host offers dedicated web hosting which is as follows:
- New Moon 2 is $109/month.
- Half Moon 2 is $115/month.
- Half Moon 4 is 125/month.
- Blue Moon 4 is $149/month.
- Blue Moon 8 is $189/month.
- Blue Moon 16 is $229/month.
The dedicated hosting package has 6 levels, ranging from $109 to $249 per month. The features range from 2 to 4 cores, from 2 to 12 GB, and from 500 GB to 1 TB of disk space.
DreamHost uses their own custom control panel. I got the chance to explore it’s functions. They only allow Debian Linux at this time so if your looking for Windows you’re going to have to look elsewhere. The unique control panel allows customers to have complete control over every aspect of their account. One click software installation is at your fingertips. This saves time as well as a great deal of money. The one click installer virtually takes care of all the technical work for you. Therefore, you can utilize your time taking care of other business matters. DreamHost offers cost effective web hosting which is perfect for bloggers, web designers and small business owners.
Uptime is always one very important factor you should strongly consider before signing up with a web hosting company. Some host like MochaHost and Network Solutions have had major issues with uptime over the years. Let’s face it, the more our website is down the more money we are losing, and if we rely on our website to generate money any downtime literally cost us money. So, how is DreamHost’s uptime?
DreamHost does have a 100% uptime policy. Typically, I am not a fan of host that will tell you their network is going to be up 100% of the time. However, their TOS page states that your website will be up 99.99% of the time. If ever you have any downtime DreamHost will credit your account. They will refund your money and divide your hours by your monthly bill and compensate you for the actual minutes/hours of downtime.
DreamHost does do a wonderful job at updating their clients if there are any problems with their servers, security updates, DNS problems, etc. They have a special section at http://www.dreamhoststatus.com/ which you can check on if you’re having any problems.
I have taken the time to search the internet for articles and blog post that complain about downtime with DreamHost. From the research I have done on DreamHost it looks like their customers are praising their uptime. They do have a decent uptime policy and you will be compensated if ever you have any downtime.
When you develop and maintain a website you want the website to load quickly. A lot of times web hosting companies have issues with performance because they are using outdated hardware or try to cram way too many customers on a single server. So, how good is DreamHost’s performance?
Excellent is one word that comes to mind when I think of DreamHost’s performance. They use SSD hard drives and limit the number of customers on their servers. Their team does a wonderful job at monitoring websites on their servers and make sure that websites that are using to many resources are move to a VPS or dedicated server.
From the research, I have done it looks like DreamHost gets very good feedback from their clients about their performance. Nearly all of their customers are praising them in that aspect of their business. Therefore, I can firmly stand behind DreamHost and tell you that their performance is top notch.
DreamHost Customer Support
As webmasters, we need to rely on customer support if ever we should have any problems with our websites. I can’t stress enough the importance of using a host that knows what they are doing and handles issues in a timely manner. So, how good is DreamHost’s customer support?
In one simple word, great! One of the best-personalized support teams I have ever worked with over the years. The technical knowledge of DreamHost support staff is at a very high level. In plain English, this means they know what they are talking about and pretty much can troubleshoot any kind of problem you have. How can you get ahold of DreamHost?
The best way to get ahold of DreamHost is through their live chat feature. This is my preferred way to get ahold of them. It only takes under a minute to get in contact with an agent. DreamHost does offer live chat customer support. It’s available 24/7, too.
DreamHost does have a support ticket system in place to help assist their customers. You can contact them anytime you want and they typically respond to your tickets in 1-4 hours.
There is no telephone support with DreamHost. A number of a very dependable host like NameCheap and GlowHost have also completely done away with telephone support, too. It works for DreamHost too so I don’t have any issues with them not offering any telephone support.
Knowledge-base & Community
DreamHost does have a very active community, too. They have a forum where their administrators troubleshoot problems and actively help out their paying customers. Also, DreamHost does have a Wiki based knowledge-base which covers any problems from PHP, SSL certificates, security, troubleshooting, advanced topics & customization, dedicated hosting, domain registrations, DreamPress, email, MySQL shared hosting, VPS hosting, WordPress, cloud servers, and account management.
I have done a lot of research on DreamHost’s customer support and the feedback seems to be very positive. I’m not stating that everyone that has worked with DreamHost has been blown away by their customer support. They do have several complaints from their past customers, but every company has a handful of complaints from novice webmasters. Therefore, I can say with 100% confidence that DreamHost has excellent customer support and I can rate them very highly on tbwhs.com.
DreamHost Web Hosting Review Summary
So, do I recommend that you sign up with DreamHost? Yes! They have almost half a million happy customers and are one of the most trustworthy hosting providers on the market. Their plans for shared hosting are a little higher than other companies, but their VPS plans are cheaper than other companies in the industry. Managed WordPress plans are cheaper than WP Engine, Traffic Planet Hosting, and Page.ly, and their dedicated and cloud plans are also cheaper than other hosts.
Their uptime is fantastic and you shouldn’t ever really have to worry about downtime. DreamHost does use SSD hard drives with all of their hosting plans and websites that are hosted with DreamHost do perform much faster than websites hosted with other hosting companies.
Customer support is DreamHost’s strongest point. They do a wonderful job at answering your questions and their technical knowledge is on a much higher level than companies like 1and1 and A Small Orange. If you’re considering hosting with them I would go ahead and give you the green light, because I’m confident that you’ll be happy with them.
However, if you’re on a tight budget and only want a shared plan I would recommend you read my WebHostingHub review. They are very cheap for shared plans and I have been working with them for over 8 years.
Also, if not having telephone support really bothers you or you want to use cPanel and you want a dependable VPS and dedicated plan I would encourage that you read my InMotion Hosting review, LiquidWeb review, or RoseHosting review. Those three companies are very solid dependable companies, too.
Research on DreamHost.
Interviews with DreamHost customers.