Online Business

DreamHost Review

We want to find out in this article if DreamHost is, in any way, better than BlueHost or HostGastor?

Currently, DreamHost is ranked “Number 9” out of the existing 32. DreamHost has hosted more than 1.5 million websites and has been in operation for over 25 years.

There has never been a drop in their performance over the years; they have been able to record an above-average uptime (99.96%) and page speed of about (719ms).

The Dreamhost’s major shared hosting plan comes with popular apps like WordPress, website builder which includes theirs and those of others like Wix or Weebly. These plans are not limited in terms of bandwidth and disk space. And you get a full 97-day money back guarantee to test the service out.

Though the customer support is a bit limited, migration is also a pain, not approving any other import from the cpanel sites and charging a total cost of $99/each.

This shows a well-detailed look at how DreamHost has functioned over the last 16 months. Their customer support is a bit limited, however.

General Info & Hosting Overview

RANK: Rated number 9 out of a total of 32 web hosts
SPEED: 719ms (December 2017 to March 2019 average)
UPTIME: 99.96% (December 2017 to March 2019 average)
SUPPORT: Ticket Migrt & Callback
APPS: WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, Shopify, Wix, and more
FEATURES: Free SSL, Unlimited storage and bandwidth, and free domain (for the first year)
HOSTING PLANS: Shared, Cloud, WordPress, VPS, and Dedicated Servers
SITE TRANSFER: Not Free
PRICING: Starting at $2.59/mo (same renewal price)

Pros of Using DreamHost Hosting

Dreamhost speed and uptime are above average with so many “unlimited” features.

Their refund policy is mostly longer than 97 days and they make sure you are happy with the service before getting locked in. And when your plan renews, there won’t be any need to pay a huge 2-3x price increase, just like in some other hosts.

Below is an in-depth check into the results from our hands-on test:

1. Slightly Above Average Speed (719ms)

DreamHost’s 719ms average loading time over the past 16 months has been really good. It puts them in the upper half of hosts that has been tested, but far below the top five that have literally cut this average in half ( between 350-400ms).

The good news is that DreamHost has been really able to hold this average consistently. About two years ago, on September 2017, a 1,316ms loading time that made people worry was posted by them. This should help you expect the same.

2. Above Average Uptime (99.96%)

As at the last check, Dreamhost’s 16-month average uptime is also above average at 99.96% that is equivalent to around 17 minutes of downtime each month or around three and a half hours a year. That is a pretty good result, but it is not even close to the best part.

Dreamhost comes with an uptime guarantee. Just like some other hosts, if your monthly average falls below the threshold, you will surely get a credit in return for the cost of your service.

Most uptime guarantees that we have seen around is always between the range of 99.98% mark. It means these hosts believe in and stand for their services; they are also providing a wiggle for themselves in case normal fluctuations hit.

Even though Dreamhost guarantees a 100% uptime in their agreement and terms of service, always have it in mind that maintenance or user errors are not included in this guarantee.

If you ever encounter any Dreamhost issue with your site such as database, email or webmail, this can promote the guarantee. You will likely get free days worth of service for each hour of the service interruption.

The only gain is that there is a 10% max of your ‘Next prepaid hosting renewal fee’ (so, it is also applicable in the future, as opposed to the discount or refund.

Below are the results over the last 16-month period:

Last 16-month average uptime:

  • March 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
  • February 2019 average uptime: 99.94%
  • January 2019 average uptime: 99.96%
  • December 2018 average uptime: 100%
  • November 2018 average uptime: 100%
  • October 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
  • September 2018 average uptime: 99.96%
  • August 2018 average uptime: 100%
  • July 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
  • June 2018 average uptime: 100%
  • May 2018 average uptime: 99.96%
  • April 2018 average uptime: 99.75%
  • March 2018 average uptime: 99.94%
  • February 2018 average uptime: 99.85%
  • January 2018 average uptime: 100%
  • December 2017 average uptime: 100%

3. 97-Day Money-Back Guarantee

The best of all the 32 web hosts that have been reviewed will give you a 30-day refund time. This will allow you to test the services for a full month before putting your prepaid amount.

Only few other hosts such as WebHostingBuzz will give you 45 days. And there comes Dreamhost with a money back guarantee up to 97 days, which is more than three good months to keep you happy.

DreamHost has no hidden terms to go through that will affect your refund either. There are just minor cases where your refund night be deducted or held on to, but they are mostly standard.

The major exception is that only the payment made with credit cards will be refunded; meaning, payment methods such as check or money order won’t be refunded.

The second exception is that added services or things purchased through third parties won’t be refunded; these include domain names, SSL certificates, AdWords and other related services.

4. High Basic Plan Limits

  • The DreamHost’s Shared Starter option begins at just $2.59/month. But it does come with a ton of features right out of the gate.
  • You will get one website with a free domain name and SSL certificate; this site can handle unlimited traffic (or bandwidth) and storage.
  • Dreamhost has its own website builder called Remixer, and they offer access to SquareSpace, Weebly, and Wix in their app library.

You will as well be able to find Joomla, PhpBB, Zen cart, Drupal, Magnento, Shopify, and Tumblr in there waiting for you, too.

WordPress comes with tools pre-installed on it; it is easy to set up on most servers with a single-click install option. But the truth is – it is instantly ready when your signup is perfect for novice webmasters.

The Good news about these plans is that there is a delayed verification system. It requires a manual verification that can easily postpone the ability of a user to utilize the service for a few hours before signing up.

But thankfully, their customer support rep informed us that they only need extra verification steps if you encounter a problem with your payment.

You should be able to get up and running after completing the signup.

5. Unlimited Disk Space and Network Transfer Limits

Dream Host makes a list of some “unlimited” features that depend on their pricing and plans, which include disk space and bandwidth.

This means you don’t have to bother about disk storage or network transfer when your website becomes popular. There are a few tweaks to go about, but that is not legit.

The first crucial thing is that your site needs to be built properly. If its server resources are creating problems with other sites, they may likely try to get over you to their private servers but instead, DreamPress, VPS servers and email don’t come under this unlimited policy.

Email is mostly restricted to only 2 GB limits, while MySQL databases also need to stay under “a few GB in size.” This means DreamHost’s shared servers are perfect for the relatively small sites.

6. They’re Carbon Neutral (AKA Green)

Their data generating centers include “High-efficiency” cooling and processors. They are also included in state-level “clean wind” programs to help process renewable resources.

Their offices are specially LEED and Energy Star-certified, and everything from lighting to HVAC systems is sufficient.

7. No Higher Renewal Price Increase

DreamHost offers a lower monthly price if you prepay for three years vs. just one or two. Most web hosts also do that. However, the final piece of good news is that Dreamhost doesn’t increase the price when it is time to renew.

For example, some other hosts may give you a special discount of a dollar or two per month for the first few years. When the time comes for your plan to automatically renew, the pricing might just go up to anything between $7-10/month on the lowest plans. So, it is like you are paying two or three times more for the same exact service.

In comparison to this, DreamHost doesn’t do that. Your plan will renew on the same pricing since that is what you originally agreed and signed up for.

This means you may not save a lot in the first few years, but as time goes on, you could save hundreds of dollars.

Cons of Using DreamHost Hosting

All features of DreamHost are above average. These include their uptime and page speed, as well as the default features on all of their shared plans.

Sadly, there are still few challenges we encountered while testing the services. Unfortunately, there were still a few drawbacks we ran into while testing out their services.

Listed below are some of the cons we encountered:

1. Good, but Limited Live Chat Support                                  

DreamHost comes with basic knowledge base and discussion forums to help customers get rid of their own problems. They claim to provide “24/7 in-house support”, though the tests actually revealed the opposite.

There is a little messaging icon on the lower right-hand icon of their screen. Click on it and instead of seeing an open box, you need to select from a few pre-set answers.

To put it straight, they are trying to automate the live chat process with something that looks like a phone tree, i.e. they are trying hard to mimic a phone tree.

There were so many attempts by us to bypass these options and try getting a sales rep as soon as possible. At that moment, we tried but there was none available.

We tried to check back in the later hours during the day to test the whole thing over again. It took us a few minutes for sales reps to finally join, and they were both knowledgeable and helpful.

It is quite sad enough that you need to jump through hoops (show up at specific hours) just to have access to anyone in the first place.

2. No cPanel (Custom Panel)

DreamHost doesn’t offer cpanel access to customers. They have created their own panel to help you locate all the features.

Most inexperienced site owners or bloggers won’t really think about this fact. But advanced users do that for a different reason.

DreamHost doesn’t provide an automated way to bring on .tar.gz files (the alternative option for switching sites out of cpanel). So, it means you are going to manually switch all of your files through FTP and MySQL.

3. Only Paid Migrations Offered

DreamHost doesn’t offer any free site migrations on their shared hosting plans. Instead, they charge you a one- time fee of $99 to move each site. This can really sum up if you are trying to move several clients or company accounts at the same time.

There are also more few challenges about how DreamHost migration services work. Some sites can’t be moved such as the multi-site WordPress sites. WordPress.com transfers will only take content inside posts or pages. So, you will need to reinstall and set up your theme and plugins.

So also website builder sites such as Wix, Weebly, or SquareSpace, cannot be moved. They also offer some documentations manually to move your site. But that’s below satisfaction provided other services will do all of the heavy liftings for you.

Multisite WordPress sites cannot be moved. WordPress.com transfers will only grab content inside posts or pages. So, you’ll have to reinstall and set up your theme and plug-ins.

Do I Recommend DreamHost?

Of course I do, but I believe that there are better options out there if you are to pick just one hosting provider. DreamHost’s performance is really good across the board from a reliable uptime to quick loading times.

Their default plan limits are pretty high, and we kind of like the fact that there’s no price increase when your hosting plan renews.

Though the DreamHost performance is quite solid, I think it’s nowhere near the best in any given category. Their customer support is also limited to only few hours throughout the week.

The paid migrations can add up, especially if there is no cPanel offered to automatically move the sites yourself.

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