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DreamHost has been around for 18 years, and is known for making web hosting easy. You get a custom dashboard, 1-click WordPress install, automatic WordPress updates, unlimited space, unlimited bandwidth and free SSDs which makes your site 200% faster. DreamHost powers over 1.5 million WordPress blogs and websites. They’re also an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider. WPBeginner users get an exclusive 72% off and a free domain + free SSL certificate.
DreamHost is a popular award-winning hosting company, and one of WordPress.org’s officially recommended hosts. They offer domain registration and web hosting services, including managed WordPress hosting. Their platform offer everything you need to grow your website, whether you’re a new blogger or an established business. See our expert DreamHost review to decide if it’s the right choice for you.
In this detailed DreamHost hosting review, we’ll put their promises to test. For a comprehensive overview, we’ll look into the following areas:
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- Performance: Speed is critical for making successful websites. How fast will your website load with DreamHost?
- Reliability: Will your website will be up all the time without any service disruptions?
- Customer Support: How good are DreamHost support options?
- Features: What features do they offer to make it easier to run your website?
- Pricing: How much it would cost you? Are there any DreamHost deals that can save you money?
This is a comprehensive DreamHost review with lots of details. If you don’t want to read the full review, here is the quick scorecard with our verdict right below it.
DreamHost was founded in 1997 by four friends at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California: Dallas Bethune, Josh Jones, Michael Rodriguez and Sage Weil. Since then, DreamHost has become one of the most well-known and popular web hosting companies. They now host over 1.5 million websites, including over 750,000 WordPress installations. They’ve won PCMag’s Business Choice Awards for Best Web Hosting Service for 2014-2016.
DreamHost is also a certified carbon-neutral host, and makes every effort to conserve resources in their own offices. They’re also a member of the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce.
Pros and Cons of DreamHost
DreamHost is a popular web hosting provider, but it may not be right for everyone. Consider these pros and cons before choosing a plan.
- Award Winning Hosting – DreamHost has won the PCMag Readers’ Choice Award for best business hosting. They rated high in reader surveys for their reliability and tech support.
- Money Back Guarantee – DreamHost offers a 97-day money back guarantee. That means you can cancel your account within 97 days of signing up and get a full refund.
- Free Domain and Privacy – Every DreamHost plan includes one free domain name registration plus domain privacy, so your contact information isn’t made public on the web.
- Monthly Billing With No Setup Fee – DreamHost pricing plans allow you to pay month-to-month, without having to pay a setup fee.
- Automatic Daily Backups – DreamHost plans come with automatic daily website backups. Although we always recommend users to set up their own real-time WordPress backups.
- Support Isn’t Immediate – DreamHost has set times for live chat support and an emailed based ticket system. This means it may take a while before you can get a response.
- No Email – DreamHost doesn’t offer email accounts for the Starter plan of their WordPress shared hosting. Though you can get it for $1.65/ mo or use an external business email provider.
DreamHost Performance Tests
WPBeginner users trust our reviews of WordPress products and services because we only recommend the companies that we have used ourselves.
For our WordPress hosting reviews, we sign up for each top hosting provider. After that, we set up demo websites so that we can properly test their claims with our own performance tests.
For this DreamHost review, we signed up for a hosting account and installed WordPress. We used the default theme and filled our test site with Theme Unit Test Data including media and images. This way our test site looked and behaved like an actual WordPress site.
DreamHost Speed Test Results
No one likes a slow website. A faster website is crucial for a better user experience and SEO.
That’s why we ran the website speed test first. For this test we used Pingdom and here are the test results:
Our test site loaded in less than half a second, which is excellent. However, this test alone does not show the full picture because our test site has no traffic at all.
DreamHost Stress Test Results
Next, we wanted to see how well DreamHost handles website traffic during peak hours. To measure this, we used a tool called K6 (formerly called Load Impact).
We gradually built up to 100 unique visitors at once to see how the server would handle increased requests from multiple connections at the same time.
Here is our first stress test result.
The blue line represents page load time and the green line represents the number of users on the site.
As you can see, our site remained available throughout the test. However, the response time went up as users increased.
That’s because we turned off DreamHost’s pre-installed WordPress caching solution. Once we enabled a caching plugin, the stress test result improved dramatically.
As you can see, our test site handled 97 requests per second (16,000 requests total) with an average response time of 77 ms.
DreamHost Response Time Test Results
Next, we wanted to test how our DreamHost test site responds to requests from different geographic locations. To measure this, we used a tool called Bitcatcha.
As you can see our response times remained steady across the globe. They were particularly great in North America and Europe.
DreamHost Uptime Test Results
It is also important to notice that our website didn’t go down during testing. We enable the downtime tracker because often during stress tests, some hosting servers will crash.
This is another sign that DreamHost is a reliable hosting platform.
DreamHost Hosting Plans and Features
DreamHost specializes in providing hosting for web designers, developers, bloggers, and online businesses. They support and use open source technologies, apps, and platforms like WordPress and Joomla.
Their one-click installer includes configurations for many open source apps. As a Dreamhost customer, you get expert support, free migrations, and built-in security features.
Their hosting options include: shared hosting, email hosting, managed WordPress hosting, VPS hosting (Virtual private servers), and dedicated servers. They also offer cloud hosting packages and cloud storage.
All of DreamHost’s plans use SSD drives for faster loading. DreamHost also uses a proprietary control panel instead of cPanel.
Shared hosting includes:
- 1 free domain registration and Let’s encrypt free SSL
- unlimited storage and bandwidth
- Easy to use control panel
- Unlimited email accounts and subdomains (with WordPress unlimited shared plan)
- 1-click installation of WordPress
Shared Hosting Pricing
DreamHost’s shared hosting plans start at $2.59 per month (3-years billed). You can also choose to pay monthly for the Shared Starter plan, but the price goes up to $4.59 per month.
For additional functionality and email accounts, you can upgrade to WordPress Shared Unlimited plan which starts at $3.59 (billed 3-years). This plan also allows you to add unlimited websites to your account.
Managed WordPress Plans
DreamHost also offers a managed WordPress hosting plan called DreamPress. DreamPress is over 5 times faster than shared hosting. The linux servers are optimized for WordPress, and they can handle traffic spikes (millions of visitors) without your website going down.
Managed WordPress hosting also includes:
- Automatic WordPress core updates for security
- Private IP address and SSL certificate pre-installed for eCommerce sites
- SSD storage and unmetered bandwidth
- Web application firewall to block malware and brute-force attack mitigation.
- One-click staging site set up
- Free website builder along with on-demand as well as daily backups
- DreamPress Pro and Plus plans also include unlimited CDN and Jetpack Professional add-on features.
- Dedicated hosting with your own CPU server resources for maximum performance
In our DreamHost review, we found that they provide high-quality, reliable hosting at very affordable prices. Their plans include everything you need to build your website and room to upgrade when your site grows.
Support and Customer Service
DreamHost offers 24/7 email support via a ticket system. You can open a request for support through your DreamHost account dashboard.
They also offer Live Chat support between 5:30 AM and 9:30 PM Pacific Time through the panel. You can also request a callback service for an additional fee.
They also maintain a comprehensive Knowledge base and a forum on their website where you can post your questions. The support team is active in the forums, and most questions are answered within 24 hours.
Many reviews mention the quality of their support, though some reviewers were frustrated by not having access to immediate phone or live chat support (24/7).
While live chat and phone support can be useful for simple questions, customers with more complicated issues are usually directed to open a support ticket anyway.
DreamHost maintains an extensive knowledge base on their website that answers the most common questions users have about hosting. If you have a more complicated issue, it probably could not be answered immediately via live chat or phone even if it was available.
Conclusion: Is DreamHost Right for You?
Now that you have read through our entire DreamHost review, you might be wondering whether DreamHost is the right web host for you.
After reviewing DreamHost services in detail, we are awarding them with the title “Best DIY Hosting” for WordPress users.
DreamHost is highly rated for its fast and reliable hosting. They’ve won numerous awards and get rave reviews from their customers. But it may not be the right choice for you if you need a lot of help getting started.
They have limited live chat hours and email-based support can be slower. We recommend DreamHost to DIY users who want affordable prices, high uptime guarantee, and are comfortable figuring things out on their own using the comprehensive knowledge base.