Dreamhost Review

Nearly 25 years old, DreamHost has grown to more than 1.5 million sites. During this time, its performance hasn’t slipped with an average uptime maintained of 99.94% or more and average page speeds of 648 ms.

Its shared hosting plan comes with several apps you’ll recognize, such as WordPress, as well as top-notch options for website builds, such as Weebly, Wix, and its own system. You will enjoy unlimited disk space and bandwidth. You can rest comfortably testing the services out because it offers a 97-day full money-back guarantee.

Overall, you may find the host’s customer support a bit limited. In addition, migrations are costly at $99 each and can be difficult, as imports from other cPanel sites aren’t allowed.

Below, we have a transparent review of how the services and performance DreamHost provided over the last two years.

Hosting Overview and General Info

In our last two years of research, we found DreamHost to offer solid value overall. Between February 2018 and January 2020, it held an average speed of 648 ms. They kept an average uptime of 99.94% during this time, as well.

DreamHost offers callback and tickets for support. There are plenty of recognized apps, such as Wix, Shopify, Blogger, WordPress, Drupal, and more. You can enjoy such features as a free domain in your first year, free SSL, free unlimited storage, and free unlimited bandwidth. Site transfers aren’t free, and hosting plans include dedicated servers, VPS, WordPress, Shared, and Cloud. Pricing starts and stays at $2.95 a month.

Advantages of Using DreamHost Hosting

When using DreamHost, you will enjoy an above-average uptime, above-average speed, and plenty of unlimited features.

With a 97-day satisfaction guaranteed policy, it may just be worth trying its services and seeing if they are for you before you’re locked in. On renewal, you can stay at the same price and not expect the 2–3x increase in price many other hosts require.

Here is a list of some of the advantages we found during our time with DreamHost.

Higher-Than-Average Speeds (648 ms)

Over the past two years with DreamHost, we found an average loading time of 648 ms. This is at the upper end of hosts we have used and reviewed, yet still below our leading five who use, on average, half this time (around 317–405 ms).

A single instance of a 1,316 ms load time that was worrying. Ever since, we have experienced much faster speeds, and you should be able to expect this from the host.

The following chart shows the average load time for DreamHost in our experience:

MonthAverage UptimeAverage Load Time
February 201999.99%827 ms
March 201999.99%646 ms
April 201999.9%833 ms
 May 201999.90%634 ms
June 201999.7%667 ms
July 201999.9%453 ms
August 2019100%342 ms
September 201999.8%421 ms
October 2019100%388 ms
November 201999.80%463 ms
December 2019100%621 ms
January 202099.99%772 ms

Higher-Than-Average Uptime (99.94%)

In the two-year review, DreamHost’s kept a 99.94% average uptime. Even though this is a great result, it’s not the best part.

You will love that DreamHost offers a guarantee on uptime. Like with other webhosts, you will get a credit for the service cost if your monthly average uptime falls below the threshold.

These uptime guarantees hover at the 99.98% mark. Even though the host stands behind its service and believes in it, it gives a bit of room in case something does happen.

DreamHost stands apart in guaranteeing 100% uptime in its Terms of Service. User errors and scheduled maintenance do not factor into this guarantee. If DreamHost has an issue that messes with your email, webmail, database, or site, the guarantee can be triggered. You receive a day’s worth of free service for every hour your service is interrupted. There is a small catch, as it applies to the future instead of acting as a refund, with a max of 10% of the following hosting renewal prepaid fee.

The following shows the average uptime on DreamHost in the past year:

  • February 2019 — 99.94% average uptime
  • March 2019 — 99.99% average uptime
  • April 2019 — 99.92% average uptime
  • May 2019 — 99.80% average uptime
  • June 2019 — 99.97% average uptime
  • July 2019 — 99.64% average uptime
  • August 2019 — 100% average uptime
  • September 2019 — 99.99% average uptime
  • October 2019 — 100% average uptime
  • November 2019 — 99.80% average uptime
  • December 2019 — 100% average uptime 
  • January 2020 — 99.99% average uptime

Money-Back Guarantee Is 97 Days Long

We’ve reviewed more than 31 webhosts, and the majority only offer you a 30-day period for refunds. This is one month to test its service before risking more money. Some, like WebHostingBuzz offer a 45-day refund.

And DreamHost tops them all. Your satisfaction guarantee is good for 97 days. That is more than three months to try its services and consider if they suit you.

There are no hoops or hidden terms to deal with that may risk you losing your refund, either. There are just a couple of pretty standard instances where your refund may not be given or deducted.

One exception is that refunds only work if you used a credit card to pay. If you used money orders or checks, both of which are accepted payment methods, you aren’t eligible for a refund.

The next exception is anything purchased through another party or additional services won’t get refunded. This means SSL certificates, AdWords, domain names, and other similar purchases.

Basic Plan Limits Are High                      

The base Shared Starter option at DreamHost is $2.59 per month. The advantage is it comes with many features free from the start.

This includes unlimited bandwidth or traffic, unlimited storage, a free domain name, and a free SSL certificate. You will also appreciate that DreamHost has Remixer, its unique website builder. This is in addition to free access to Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace.

Other familiar faces you can expect to see include Shopify, Magento, Drupal, Tumblr, phpBB, Joomla, Zen cart, and more.

DreamHost already comes with WordPress installed, saving you time. Most servers have an install option that is simply one click. However, having it already to go can be a real timesaver for the new webmaster.

Many people also love that there is no longer a verification system that is delayed. When first reviewed, DreamHost had manual verification. It took a few hours after signing up before you received service.

Now, there is only extra verification needed if there is a problem with your payment.

Disk Space Is Unlimited and Network Transfer Limits

There are a lot of “unlimited” features in DreamHost’s plans and pricing, such as bandwidth and disk space. You no longer have to worry when your site gets popular that you will run out of network transfers or disk storage.

You will find some exceptions to the policy, but they are also pretty standard. If your site isn’t properly built and hogging server resources or creating problems, they may try to transfer you to a private server.

Email, VPS servers, and DreamPress don’t fall within the unlimited terms. You have 2 GB limits on email, and your MySQL databases need to keep it less than a few GB.

Basically, DreamHost’s shared servers are best for those sites that are fairly small.

DreamHost Is Carbon-Neutral or Green

DreamHost is part of a number of webhosts who are working hard to be more environmentally conscious. It goes the extra step to offset its servers’ carbon footprints.

This includes high-efficiency processors and cooling. DreamHost also participates in “clean-wind” programs for utilizing renewable resources at the state level.

It has Energy Star Certified and LEED offices that are increasingly energy-efficient.

You Have No Price Increase

Unlike the many webhosts who offer discounted services for a term if you sign up and prepay for several years instead of just one, before bumping it up, DreamHost has consistent pricing throughout. Initially, you may get a couple of dollars off for signing up for several years, but there won’t be a price jump after.

Other sites will jump the price as high as $8–10 a month for the cheapest plans, DreamHost doesn’t do that.

This means you may have an opportunity for savings initially, but you won’t have to pay more than the plan originally stated.

Disadvantages of Using DreamHost

During our time with DreamHost, we found most of its services above average. This includes page speed and uptime as well as plan default features.

Even with all the advantages, we did discover a few lackluster qualities. Here are some drawbacks to consider.

Live Chat Is Limited

You will find the standard discussion forums and knowledge base that other web hosts have where you can solve your own issues. The site also states it has “24/7 in-house support,” but we didn’t find this to hold true.

When you click on the messaging icon in the lower-right screen corner, you will get preset answers instead of a chatbox. We tried to bypass it and get a real salesperson, but no one was available at the time.

This means it is less than the 24/7 promised. While it is true the hours overlap normal business hours in most of the U.S., it doesn’t for the rest of the globe.

When we came back, it was the same process, but we did get a sales rep in the end.

No Custom Panel

Instead of offering a cPanel, DreamHost has its own panel it created where the features are found. Newbies generally miss this fact or don’t mind.

Advanced users tend to be bothered, and you’ll see why.

You don’t have automated options for tar.gz file imports or migrating site backup options for moving out of cPanel. In this case, files will need manually migration from MySQL and FTP.

All Migrations Are Paid Migrations

The shared hosting plans from DreamHost do not offer any site migrations for free. You will instead incur a $99 fee for each site you move. If you have several company accounts or clients to move at the same time, this can add up quickly. The migration services, though paid, still have some limitations. You won’t be able to move multisite WordPress. Transfers for WordPress only cover content on pages or inside posts, and you will need to reinstall your plugins and themes. 

Any builder sites such as Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, or others won’t be able to transfer, either. However, there is some documentation for moving your site manually. This proves unsatisfying when most sites do the majority of the work for you.

Quick Facts and Hosting Plans for DreamHost

Here is an overview of its plans:

Shared StarterShared Unlimited
Great for beginners, even those looking to use WordPress.Good for those with multiple sites, using WordPress, and those who need @ domain email hosting.
1 websiteWebsites are unlimited
Free domain includedDomain is free
Unlimited trafficTraffic is unlimited
WordPress preinstalledPreinstalled WordPress
WP Website BuilderWP Website Builder
SSD storage is fastSSL certificate is free
SSL certificate is freeSSD storage is fast
Add email for only $1.67/monthlyUnlimited @ your domain emails
3-year or 1-year monthly plans1-year and 3-year monthly plans

Shared Starter

This plan from DreamHost only costs $2.95 a month for three years. This comes with unlimited traffic, a free domain name, one site, and a free SSL certificate.

Unlimited Shared Plans

This plan comes in at just $5.95 a month for three years. This comes with unlimited traffic, a free domain name, unlimited sites, a free SSL certificate, and unlimited domain email addresses.

Managed WordPress Plans

After these plans, you can select from the three plans DreamHost offers that are Managed WordPress.

These include:

  • DreamPress Pro: For $71.95 a month, you get a million visits, unmetered bandwidth, daily backups, 120 GB SSD storage, unlimited CDN, and an SSL certificate.
  • DreamPress Plus: For $24.95 a month, you have 300,000 visits, unmetered bandwidth, 60 GB SSD storage, daily backups, an SSL certificate, and unlimited Content Delivery Network, or CDN.
  • DreamPress: For $16.95 a month, you get 100,000 visits, daily backups, an SSL certificate, unmetered bandwidth, and 30 GB SSD storage.

Cloud Hosting, Dedicated and VPS options are also available from DreamHost.

Some Takeaways

  • All annual hosting plans give a free first-year domain.
  • PayPal, Credit Cards, Money Orders, and checks are accepted payments.
  • No major hidden clauses, fees, or upsells.
  • Custom control panel, which can be tricky.
  • Sign up is lengthy and complex.
  • Account activation is quick unless there are problems with payment.
  • ●       Joomla, WordPress, CMSs apps are easy to install, and WordPress is one-click.

Is DreamHost Recommended?

Overall, yes, we do recommend DreamHost. It offers a solid experience across the board with fast loading times and solid uptime. There are plenty of unlimited features with its default plans, and when limits exist, they tend to be high. There is also no increase in price when your plan renews! The downsides include limited customer support and available hours. Paying to migrate sites can get expensive, and the cPanel can be tricky.

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