DreamHost Review: Hosting Dream or Hosting Nightmare?

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Known for its straightforward, irreverent approach, DreamHost is a provider with a full range of hosting services who want you to “Imagine the Web, Your Way.”

dreamhost screenshot

In business since 1997, the company is focused on providing outstanding customer service and cutting-edge technology that remains user-friendly.


DreamHost offers a variety of hosting options: Shared Hosting, WordPress Hosting (managed too), Cloud Hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS), WooCommerce Hosting, and Dedicated Hosting. All of their service plans rely on Linux-based servers.

Shared Hosting Features

  • 1 Free domain
  • 50GB SSD (solid-state drive) storage
  • Unlimited* data transfer/bandwidth
  • 6 MySQL databases
  • 100% uptime guarantee
  • Free SSL certificate via Let’s Encrypt
  • Free 24/7 customer support via live chat, and email (phone support at an additional cost)
  • Automatic daily server backups
  • WordPress comes pre-installed
  • Proprietary one-click installer for apps like Drupal and Joomla
  • “WP Website Builder” – a drag-and-drop builder to create WordPress websites
  • Proprietary user control panel (comparable to cPanel)

*As a rule, “unlimited” in the context of shared (or VPS) hosting generally denotes “limitless until you negatively impact server performance, at which point you may be billed or transferred to a more costly service tier.”

Shared hosting also includes FTP/SFTP/Shell access for a minimum of 6 people. (The Shared Unlimited plan provides for unlimited users.)

DreamHost’s shared plans come with one of the longest money-back guarantee periods in the industry—97 days. And you can add additional features like premium support and enhanced security to your package for a small fee.

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Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting Features

Have the demands of your site surpassed the capacity of shared hosting? DreamHost’s VPS hosting is a great fit for sites “on the grow” as well as those who need more direct control over their server configuration.

dreamhost vps plan

There are 4 tiers of the VPS plan available. The VPS Basic plan offers:

  • 1 GB RAM Memory
  • 30 GB SSD Storage
  • Unlimited domains
  • Unlimited monthly bandwidth
  • Unlimited email accounts for your domain
  • Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate included
  • Choice of Apache or Nginx
  • Automatic security and software updates
  • Optional unique IP (IPv4 or IPv6) for additional fee
  • Support for PHP 7, Perl, and Python
  • Phusion Passenger, Subversion, Ruby Version Manager, OPCache
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP)/SFTP access for your server (unlimited users)

As with shared hosting, these plans offer upgrades for security, support, and dedicated IP addresses. VPS customers can also add an additional low-resource VPS server to their account. (All service upgrades and additional VPS servers carry additional fees.)

For full root access opt for Dreamhost cloud computing or a dedicated hosting plan.

WordPress Hosting

Both managed or unmanaged, DreamHost offers multiple WordPress-optimized hosting packages, too.

dreamhost wordpress plans

These “WordPress on steroids” plans add optimized WordPress servers, expert WordPress support, and robot-assisted WordPress migration.

The three available WordPress plans are:

  • Shared WordPress Hosting
  • Managed WordPress Hosting
  • WooCommerce Hosting

Available features include:

  • WordPress comes pre-installed
  • All WordPress software updates handled for you
  • Automated backups
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free email hosting
  • 100% uptime guarantee

If you opt for the DreamPress Plus or DreamPress Pro managed plans, phone support is included. DreamPress Pro also includes priority support, described as “immediate” and “hands-on” support.

All WordPress and VPS hosting packages are covered by the company’s 97-day money-back guarantee.

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Dedicated Hosting Features

A dedicated server offers the ultimate in server control and configuration. DreamHost offers nine dedicated plans in three categories: Standard, Enhanced, and Enhanced SSD.

You can get your own physical Ubuntu Linux server, and:

  • Processor options ranging from “desktop-grade” to “server-grade”
  • from 4GB to 64 GB of RAM
  • Up to 2 TB HDD or 240 GB SSD storage
  • Total root access for your server

Like the other hosting plans, DreamHost’s dedicated plans can be upgraded with additional domains, more robust support plans, and SSL/dedicated IP options to enhance e-commerce (additional fees apply).

They’re also covered by DreamHost’s 97-day money-back guarantee.

Benefits Breakdown

Where does DreamHost finish strong and where do they fall short? Let’s wrap it up with the good, the bad, but luckily no ugly.

The Good

In business since 1997, DreamHost is employee-owned and operated, and while their marketing can be irreverent, it’s clear they’re quite serious about customer satisfaction.

High-Quality Add-Ons

DreamHost has a nice selection of add-on services, including domain registration, WordPress optimization, cloud-based storage, and cloud-computing services.

These services add value and are ideal for those who need a little more direct support, a little more WordPress wisdom, or a little more power (or even a live testing area) when developing custom applications or e-commerce sites.

Comprehensive Website Building Tools

DreamHost lays out an impressive selection of website building services like their 2 proprietary website builders (Remixer and the WP Website Builder), and WordPress and WooCommerce plans.

More, DreamHost offers website design services from a team of in-house professionals. Prices start at $249.

Pricing and Support

Pricing levels throughout all plans and services are very competitive, and even though phone support is extra, the 24/7/365 email and live chat support option should prove sufficient for most customers.

The company’s impressive 97-day money-back guarantee gives unexpected peace of mind for those who might still be finding their way online, and a satisfaction guarantee that grants customers credit for downtime is a nice touch.

The Not-So-Good

While DreamHost offers the full array of standard hosting options, some pretty basic options—such as a dedicated IP address or built-in eCommerce support—are only available a la carte.

No Popular Control Panels Available

The lack of industry-standard tools like cPanel, Softaculous, and WHM may prove unattractive to those who are accustomed to working in those applications.

However, the “home-grown” custom control panel provided by DreamHost has similar functionality and features, so there may just be a learning curve.

Limited To Linux-Only

DreamHost is a Linux-only host, so if your site requires support for Windows applications or application development tools like ASP.NET, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Note: DreamHost’s Cloud Computing page does state that “DreamHost’s cloud servers can be based on Linux, BSD or even MS Windows.”

We contacted DreamHost for additional clarification, and they explained: “Windows can be installed as a separate instance in DreamCompute, but is not supported by us.”

For most website owners, DreamHost offers some attractive features at a dreamy price, but keep one eye open for e-commerce, security, and support fees that can add up quickly.

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Your Dreamhost Review

Are you a current or past customer of DreamHost? Would you recommend them? Feel free to post your comments below and let us know what you think of DreamHost’s speed, features and customer service.

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