Currently, DreamHost hosts more than 1.5 million sites for 25 years. During all that time their performance didn’t fall a bit. They maintained an above-average uptime which is 99.94% and page speed of 648ms.
The main shared hosting plan of DreamHost comes with WordPress, website builder options of their own, and others like Wix or Weebly. Those plans have unlimited bandwidth and disk space. Also, you will get a full 97-day money-back guarantee.
When considering the disadvantages, the customer support is somewhat li7 mited, migrations are a burden as they won’t allow any imports from other cPanle sites and even charge you $99 per each.
Now, let’s take a look at the detailed review of DreamHost.
General info & Hosting Overview
- OUR VERDICT: Good Value
- SPEED: 648ms (February 2018 to January 2020 average)
- UPTIME: 99.94% (February 2018 to January 2020 average
- SUPPORT: Ticket & Callback
- APPS: WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, Shopify, Wix, and more
- FEATURES: Unlimited bandwidth and storage, free SSL, free domain 1st year
- HOSTING PLANS: Shared, Cloud, WordPress, VPS, and Dedicated Servers
- SITE TRANSFER: Not Free
- PRICING: Starting at $2.59/mo (same renewal price)
Advantages of DreamHost Hosting
As I have mentioned before DreamHost has above-average speed and uptime including a lot of ‘unlimited’ features. They offer a 97-day refund policy which is longer than the average ones. Thereby you will be able to select another host without any problem if you are not satisfied with their service.
And another good thing is that you don’t have to pay a huge price increment when you are renewing the plan. Now, let’s look at the advantages in a more detailed way.
1. Above Average Speed (648ms)
DreamHost was able to maintain a pretty good average loading time of 648ms during the past two years. So it remains in the upper half of our list but well below the top five. The averages of the top five hosts range from 317ms to 405ms.
However, the good thing is that DreamHost has been able to maintain this average constantly. Even though they had a loading time of 1316ms in September 2017 they were able to manage it as now since then. I think you can expect the same in the future.
Average load times:
2. Above Average Uptime (99.94%)
As given above the average uptime of DreamHost during last two years is 99.94% and it is above average. Sounds pretty good, right?
But there is more. DreamHost also has an uptime guarantee as other hosts. If your monthly average drops beyond that threshold you will get credit for the cost of the service.
The most uptime guarantees fluctuate over 99.98%. That means those hosts stand behind their service. When considering DreamHost they guarantee 100% uptime in their Terms of Service. But you have to keep in mind that scheduled maintenance and user errors are not covered in this guarantee. All other DreamHost issues that are with your site, database, email, or webmail can trigger the guarantee. You will get a free day worth service for each and every hour of interruption. But there will be a 10% max of the next hosting renewal fee.
Average uptimes during last year:
- January 2020 average uptime: 99.99%
- December 2019 average uptime: 100%
- November 2019 average uptime: 99.80%
- October 2019 average uptime: 100%
- September 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- August 2019 average uptime: 100%
- July 2019 average uptime: 99.64%
- June 2019 average uptime: 99.97%
- May 2019 average uptime: 99.80%
- April 2019 average uptime: 99.92%
- March 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- February 2019 average uptime: 99.94%
3. 97 Day Money Back Guarantee
Most of the hosts we have tested offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. That means you have a month to check out their services and make a decision to be with them or leave them. Some like WebHostingBuzz will give you 45 days.
And the money-back guarantee of DreamHost is valid for 97 days! Furthermore, they don’t have hidden terms or clauses even. There are only a handful of situations where your refund might be not given. Most of them are very reasonable actually. The exceptions are given below.
- Only credit cards will be refunded. Even though they accept other payment methods like check or money order, they will not be refunded.
- Additional services and anything purchased via another party (domain names, SSL certificates, AdWord credits likewise) will not be refunded.
4. High Basic Plan Limits
The shared starter option of DreamHost starts at $2.59 per month but includes a lot of impressive features. You will get a free domain name and a free SSL certificate with a website that can handle unlimited traffic and storage!
Though DreamHost has its own website builder; Remixer they allow access to SquareSpace, Weebly and Wix in their app library. Moreover, Joomla, phpBB, Zen Cart, Drupal, Magento, Shopify, and Tumblr will be waiting for you.
Another good news is there will be pre-installed WordPress. So you will be able to set it up using the one-click installation option.
When we tested DreamHost for the first time, they had a manual verification system that took about few hours following signup. Now their verification system will only take some time if there is a payment issue. So, that won’t be a problem anymore.
5. Unlimited Disk Space and Network Transfer Limits
As DreamHost has listed unlimited storage and bandwidth you don’t need to worry about them in the future. But this policy has some reasonable conditions.
- Your site needs to be a properly built one. If the site is hogging server resources and causing problems with their sites, they may attempt to move your site to their private servers.
- DreamPress, VPS servers, and email do not fall into the unlimited category.
- Email is limited to 2 GB.
- MySQL databases must stay below “a few GB in size”.
In conclusion, we think that DreamHost shared plans will be perfect for smaller sites.
6. They are ‘Green’
DreamHost is within the list of web hosts who are trying to be more environmentally friendly going beyond offsetting the carbon footprint of their servers.
They have high-efficiency cooling and processors in their data centers. Additionally, they are involved in state-level ‘clean wind’ programs. Moreover, their offices are LEED and EnergyStar certified and all are energy efficient.
7. No Higher Renewal Price Increment
As same as the other hosts, DreamHost offers a lower monthly price if you are prepaying for three years rather than paying for a year or two. But there is a special thing with DreamHost. They won’t increase the price when it’s time to renew. So, your plan will be renewed on the same pricing that you originally signed up for in the beginning.
In a nutshell, you won’t be able to save a lot in the first few years but you could save hundreds over the long term.
Disadvantages of DreamHost Hosting
As we have discussed earlier, almost everything in DreamHost is above average including uptime, page speed, and the default features on their shared plans.
But there are a few things you have to consider before signing up with them. Let’s take a look.
1. Limited Live Chat Support
DreamHost has an obligatory knowledge base and discussion forums to help customers. And they also claim to give “24/7 in house support”. But the tests revealed the exact opposite of that!
You will see a messaging icon in the right-hand corner of the DreamHost screen. Just click on it. Then you will be opted to select from a set of answers. Yes, they are trying to automate the live chat process with a phone tree or something. We wanted to get a sales rep as soon as possible. So, we tried bypassing them. But none of the agents were available at that time. That was really not 24/7!
At first, we tried to contact them during business hours. So we came back again to test the process. A few minutes later a sales rep joined and he was very knowledgeable and helpful.
Unfortunately, it is not good to wait until a good time comes when you are facing a real problem.
2. No cPanel (Custom Panel)
Instead of cPanel DreamHost uses their own panel to help you find all the features. Even though this may not be an issue for inexperienced site owners or bloggers, might be an issue for advanced users.
The next thing is you have to manually migrate all your files via FTP and MySQL as DreamHost doesn’t have an automated way to import .tar.gz files. (.tar.gz files are the backup option for migrating sites out of cPanel)
3. Provides only Paid Migrations
DreamHost doesn’t offer any free site migrations in their shared hosting plans. They will cost you a $99 one time fee to move each site. This will rise depending on the number of sites you are trying to migrate. Sadly, there are some other limitations too.
You can’t move multisite WordPress sites. Even WordPress.com transfers will only grab content inside posts or pages. Therefore you have to reinstall and set up your theme and plugins. Furthermore, you can’t move any website builder site on Weebly, Wix, or SquareSpace. However, they offer some documentation to manually move your site.
DreamHost Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
You will see a quick review of the shared hosting plans of DreamHost.
- Shared Starter
$2.59 per month for three years
A free domain name
A free SSL certificate
- Shared Unlimited
$5.95 per month for three years
A free domain name
A free SSL certificate
Unlimited email addresses at your domain
DreamHost also offers three Managed WordPress hosting plans.
$16.95 per month for a site that gets up to 100,000 monthly visits
30 GB SSD storage
An SSL certificate
- DreamPress Plus
$24.95 per month for up to 300,000 monthly visits
60 GB SSD storage
Unlimited CDN ( Content Delivery Network)
- DreamPress Pro
$71.95 per month for a million monthly visits
120 GB SSD storage
Apart from those plans, DreamHost has VPS, Dedicated, and Cloud Hosting options too.
- Ease of signup
No. Long and complicated.
- Free domain
For the first year and all annual hosting plans
- Payment Methods
Credit Card, PayPal, Check, Money Order, Checking Account
- Hidden Fees and Clauses
- Account Activation
Quick, if there are no payment issues
- Control Panel and Dashboard
A custom DreamHost Control Panel, which is not user friendly
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc)
Do We Recommend DreamHost?
Our favorites were their reliable uptime, page loading times, unlimited space, bandwidth, and no price increment at the renewal. The only bad things were the limited customer support and paid migrations.