Hosting

DreamHost Hosting review 2023

DreamHost Hosting review 2023

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Help Desk, Forum, Knowledge Base and Social Media

Working hours
Excellent (100% last 6 months)

Guarantees
Part-time and 97-day

Free migration

best b
Small businesses and web designers

Strengths
Low price and good performance

Weaknesses
Small business support

Promotions
Shared web hosting starting at $2.59 per month

What is DreamHost?

DreamHost is one of the largest and most established hosting companies online. They’ve been operating since 1997 (positively ancient by digital standards) and have grown to serve over 1.5 million websites and 400,000 customers worldwide.

They are independent and employee-owned, not another New Fold Digital or GoDaddy brand. They are also one of the longest-standing supporters of open source and community-developed software, ie, WordPress, etc.)

DreamHost offers a full range of hosting solutions from shared (most common) to VPS to cloud – and offers a unique WordPress offering with complementary services such as email and domain management.

But just because they’re older and employee-owned doesn’t mean they’re right for everyone. I decided to try DreamHost’s shared hosting plan while I was booting one of my side projects from my old HostGator VPS.

Based on that experience, here’s my DreamHost Hosting review – composed of pros, cons, and direct comparisons with competitors.
DreamHost price
Shared hosting plans

  • Price per month for a 36-month subscription
    Managed WordPress plans
  • Monthly price for a 12-month subscription
    Advantages of DreamHost

As I always mention in reviews, there is no such thing as a “best” web host. It’s all about finding the right fit for your project based on your goals, budget, experience and expertise. With that in mind, here is my list of DreamHost pros.
Simple pricing structure

Dreamhost offers two plans that are clearly priced depending on how many years you sign up for. There are no levels or upgrades. One has only one website and no email included. Another has unlimited websites, and email included.

Their prices are affordable and very competitive. There is no deep discount bait and switch (for better or worse) where you get the first year for super cheap and renew for super expensive.

Dreamhost’s Unlimited plan offers unlimited databases, disk space, email accounts and websites (*all subject to abuse policy). If you’re in charge of multiple websites, you don’t need to worry about migrations or post-update shocks.

If you only have one site and use Google Workspace for email, the starter variant saves you money while keeping access to all the same features.
Core and developer feature set

DreamHost offers users an unlimited set of “core” features, which is on par with any good web host.

The ability to point your domain to a server

Storage of website files on the server

Installing a database/software to manage your website

Unless you’re running your email through a service like Google Apps or Outlook, hosting should provide email functionality, and DreamHost offers a full suite of core features with no caps. DreamHost offers robust advanced functionality such as full CGI access, raw server logs, cron jobs, and reverse storage.

Dreamhost assigns a hard default memory allocation to your account, and all shared hosting servers are hosted on SSD hard drives instead of traditional spinning hard drives. These should theoretically lead to better long-term performance.
Hosting services tailored for WordPress

DreamHost’s managed WordPress hosting service includes WordPress-specific features such as isolated databases on VPS servers and Varnish caching. Not all web hosts do.

Some hosting brands simply use the term “WordPress Hosting” for a shared hosting fee, which is sufficient for most websites running on WordPress.

DreamHost, along with competitors such as InMotion Hosting, SiteGround, and WP Engine, offer customized hosting services for WordPress.

DreamHost also offers traditional upgrades to VPS and Dedicated servers (think upgrading to a townhouse or apartment) for websites and cloud hosting for application developers.

Overall, DreamHost’s feature set and spectrum of services is a huge plus for them.
Customer support and transparency

Every hosting company claims to offer stellar customer service. And every prospective client wonders if they really do — or say they do.

One way to measure a company’s service level is how they handle customer service public parts and how much they invest in customer support infrastructure (ie user guides, onboarding, knowledge base, etc.), both of which can give you a good idea. Whether the company treats customer service as an investment or an expense.

Overall, I’m impressed with DreamHost’s customer support.

Their onboarding process is clear but useful. They have a solid knowledge base, forums, and user guides.

And although they don’t have phone support (see the cons section), their in-house team is available 24/7 via live chat, email and Twitter.

DreamHost has a separate DreamHost Status website that keeps updates on critical issues, downtime, and system updates. It allows DreamHost to be responsive and transparent to customers whenever something happens.

Website performance

In addition to hosting your website, you want a host to deliver your website files to anyone as quickly as possible.

Just like customer support, website speed has many variables that affect performance. There are often dozens of ways to improve your website’s performance. But your host will always be the main variable in the equation.

I like to check Time To First Byte (TTFB) to measure performance. It tells me how fast the server returns the first byte of data after receiving a request from a browser. In other words, it’s server turnaround time.

It’s not the only way to look at web host performance, but it’s an easy way to get a ballpark estimate. A few years ago, my tests on DreamHost performed well. Here’s a screenshot of the results:

Their performance was better than cut-rate hosts like GoDaddy or iPage, but nowhere near hosts like InMotion Hosting or HostGator. Since DreamHost announced their new SSD servers, the results were strange.

A few years later, however, I ran my tests again on a selection of DreamHost websites. Here are the most improved results:

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