DreamHost Review (2022)Can You Trust Their Shared Hosting?

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Josep Garcia

Josep Garcia

Author

Cai Ellis

Cai Ellis

Researcher

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DreamHost may not be as popular as GoDaddy and Bluehost among average internet users, but believe me, it’s a remarkably well-known brand among developers, designers and digital marketers.

Since they were founded in 1996 (in Los Angeles), they’ve grown to host over 1.5 million websites (750k+ are WordPress sites) and have over 400,000 customers. Impressive.

DreamHost is one of those providers that you can find recommended everywhere. In fact, WordPress themselves endorses them. However, I’m not sure how seriously I’d take this endorsement, since they also recommend Bluehost, which is a much more questionable choice (compare DreamHost vs Bluehost or read our full Bluehost review).

dreamhost recommended wordpress

For their small price tag, they seem to offer a lot: unlimited storage and data transfers, backups, 24-hour support (not always live chat) and even free SSL certificates.

But do they lack important features? And how does DreamHost perform?

I am going to answer all of these questions and more in this DreamHost review so you can learn all about their pros, cons, pricing and when (and when not) to use them.

But if you don't have much time to read this in-depth DreamHost review, check out the video below:

Check out our full review for more information:
https://www.tooltester.com/en/hosting/dreamhost-reviews/?utm_source=youtube

DreamHost is one of the most affordable hosting providers. It’s also a very solid one, according to our tests. Check out our video review to find out if it’s for you.

Content:
0:00 Intro
1:07 Prices
1:35 Backend
1:41 User management
2:11 DreamHost & WordPress
2:48 Backups
3:19 Security
3:51 Performance
5:03 Support
5:22 Conclusion

Please, leave a comment if you have any questions about DreamHost.DreamHost Review - Pros, Cons and Fees Evaluated2020-03-20 14:43:38 UTChttps://i.ytimg.com/vi/jvo2qgncPek/default.jpg

Try DreamHost risk-free for 97 days

What Products Does DreamHost Offer?

As their offering is not limited to shared hosting plans, let’s review what other services you can get with DreamHost like dedicated servers, cloud hosting and more.

dreamhost offered products

Domain Names

Alongside hosting packages, you can get domain names at DreamHost. DreamHost offers over 400 TLDs (like .com, .org, .net) or more exotic extensions (like .club or .guru). Country specific TLDs such as .es, .fr, .co.uk or .de are also available. A .com domain name is $15.99 at renewal.

Shared Hosting

This entry-level web hosting will give you a lot for your money, they cost $6.99 a month for the 1-site plan or $12.99 for the Unlimited tier - straightforward pricing. This type of hosting is great to start, but if your project grows a lot (e.g. more than 50,000 visitors a month), you may need to upgrade.

VPS

You can imagine a Virtual Private Server (VPS plans) as a shared hosting server that has been divided into smaller servers. This means that you can configure it to your needs. Therefore, your website will be hosted independently from other clients’ - the resources aren’t shared either. VPS hosting plans at DreamHost start at $13.75 a month and can go all the way up to $110 a month.

Dedicated Hosting

But, if your website gets so big that you need your own dedicated servers, that’s when you should consider getting a dedicated hosting account - beware, these are a bit more expensive. Dedicated hosting at DreamHost starts at $149 per month up to $279 monthly.

Cloud Hosting

That’s not all, DreamHost also offers cloud hosting plans. Imagine this as a series of interconnected cloud servers that host your website. This solution is ideal for those expecting peaks of traffic as more resources (e.g. RAM and CPU) can be added as you need them. Figuring out how much will you pay it’s tricky as the price depends on the resources (e.g. RAM or storage) that you need. DreamHost cloud server packages start at $4.50/mo.

Managed WordPress Hosting

On top of all that, DreamHost offers also offer managed WordPress hosting plans (they even have special WordPress packages for their shared and VPS hosting). If you’d like automatic updates, staging areas and dedicated WordPress support, you can opt-in for a Managed WordPress hosting account. Shared WordPress hosting starts at $6.99 a month, VPS at $13.75 and Managed WordPress at $16.95 (for one site only).

The focus of this DreamHost review is their shared hosting plans, so from now on, I’ll be referencing those.

DreamHost Pricing

$6.99

Starter

  • 1 website
  • 50 GB storage
  • 6 databases
  • Email accounts not included
$12.99

Unlimited

  • Unlimited websites
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited databases
  • Email accounts included

What Do Their Shared Plans Include?

Feature Starter Unlimited
Websites 1 Unlimited
Tech support & customer service

24-hour

Live chat support and ticket (email) *

24-hour

Live chat support and ticket (email) *

Free domain name registration First year First year
Web hosting Storage 50 GB Unlimited
Max. files (inodes) Unlimited Unlimited
Bandwidth Unlimited bandwidth Unlimited bandwidth
Databases 6 Unlimited
Free SSL certificate Included Included
Email accounts $1.67 a month for 25 GB Included
Daily backups 5 days database

14 days website

5 days database

14 days website

Monthly pricing 1st month $1.99,
thereafter $7.99 a month
1st month $2.99,
thereafter $13.99 a month
Annual price 1st year $2.95 a month
thereafter $6.99 a month
1st year $2.95 a month
thereafter $12.99 a month
3-year deals 1st 3-years $2.59 a month,
thereafter $5.99 a month
1st 3-years $3.95 a month,
thereafter $10.99 a month
More information DreamHost.com

*Free domain name the first year for annual and 3-year plans. Chat customer support is limited to 5:30AM to 9:00PM Pacific Time (no phone support). DreamHost has an ‘Unlimited Policy’ and they don’t accept certain projects like file distribution sites.

Be aware that DreamHost offers interesting discounts for the first purchase term. For example, the annual plan comes out at $2.95 a month for the Starter and Unlimited plans.

I really appreciate that DreamHost’s pricing and plan structure are both transparent and simple. They only have 2 shared plans which come with most of the basics you’ll need – no aggressive and expensive upsells.

Let’s check out what plan will you need:

The Shared Starter hosting plan is limited to 1 website, so if you are only looking to host 1 site, this is your best option. Be aware that if you need email accounts, those are paid separately in this plan (start at $1.67 a month extra) – a fair price if you ask me. The only other limitation is databases (6) and 50 GB of storage – this is plenty for most small to medium websites.

To host more than 1 site you’ll need the (still affordable) Shared Unlimited package. This one includes email accounts, unlimited storage and databases too. There aren’t any other features added as the basic plan is already pretty generous with FTP accounts, bandwidth and so on.

There are also optimized pricing plans for WooCommerce users, that you can find here.

DreamHost Review: Pros & Cons

  • Pros
  • Cons

Pros

  • Affordable

    DreamHost is an affordable web hosting services, even the top shared hosting plan is cheaper than most alternatives.

  • Performance

    In our tests (uptime & speed), DreamHost performed good. It wasn’t the best provider, but offered reliable results.

  • Unlimited

    All accounts come with truly unlimited bandwidth and generous storage. Unlike others, no inodes limitation.

  • Modern-looking backend

    Their backend looks very contemporary. It may take a bit of time to master for those used to cPanel dashboards.

  • No upsells and upgrades

    So many competitors push you into buying add-ons with aggressive pitches. DreamHost is a breath of fresh air.

  • 97-day money-back guarantee

    DreamHost offers a money back guarantee, if after 97 days (yes 97) of using them, you are unhappy with their service.

When to Use DreamHost’s Hosting?

Well, a lot of site owners should think about using DreamHost, especially those looking for reliable, cheap web hosting. It combines both low prices and high quality, something that’s very difficult to find these days in the hosting world.

I would say that small projects (e.g. a dentist’s site) looking for the best value for their money should consider DreamHost.

However, larger sites could find a good partner in DreamHost’s shared web hosting services too. It has enough speed, good customer service and reliable uptime for avid bloggers and hardcore site developers.

Even if it’s not PCI-compliant out-of-the-box, DreamHost supports this technology – you could make it happen geeking around. This is obviously a massive pro for ecommerce projects.

When Not to Use DreamHost’s hosting?

But there are a few cases where I would not recommend DreamHost.

As they don’t have servers outside the US, if your audience doesn’t come from North America, it’s probably not the best choice. WP EngineSiteGround or A2 Hosting could be a better fit.

Finally, tech-savvy users like developers or agencies may miss some advanced features like staging areas, integrated caching system or pre-installed Git repositories. If you fancy having these, SiteGround or DreamPress (by DreamHost) is the way to go.

DreamHost Shared Hosting Details

Ease of Use

DreamHost’s control panel looks modern and has a clean design. You can access all the options from the left sidebar. It’s not cPanel-based, and perhaps some may find that a couple of advanced options are missing.

Domain Names

DreamHost offers a free domain name registration is offered for annual (or longer) plans. This is only available for the first year, from then on a .com domain will cost you $15.95. The available domain names are: .com, .net, .org, .info, .global, .blog, .shop, or .club. With the Shared Starter plan you’ll only be able to have 1 domain name and 5 subdomains, which are unlimited with the Share Unlimited plan.

Email Rating

Oddly enough, you won’t have free email hosting with their Starter plan (they start at $1.67 a month extra). With the Unlimited tier, you will be able to create and manage unlimited email accounts. Each email account size will be limited to 2 GB max.

Databases

With DreamHost, you can create MySQL databases. With the Unlimited plan, you can create as many databases as you need. The Starter plan databases are limited to 6. Neither of the plans limits the database size, but you should “try to keep it no larger than a few GB in size”.

Applications

This web hosting service scripts for easily installing a few popular CMSs like WordPress, Zen Cart or Joomla. They only have a few available. For example, popular CMSs like Drupal, Magento or PrestaShop seem to be missing.

Webspace Limit

With the Shared Starter plan, the storage is limited to 50 GB. The Unlimited won’t cap your storage, but be aware that a fair usage policy is in place (e.g. no file sharing sites). *

Monthly Data Transfer Limit

The bandwidth isn’t limited on any of DreamHost’s shared hosting plans. However, you have to respect their Terms of Use (e.g. don’t use your hosting service as a backup device).

FTP Accounts and Secure FTP

FTP, SFTP and SSH access is possible. The Starter plan will allow you to have 6 of these and the Unlimited package won’t limit it.

Server Location

DreamHost has data centers available in Virginia and Oregon. Not as many server locations as other competitors like SiteGround or A2 Hosting.

Security Features

Enabling the SSL certificate is free with DreamHost as they integrate with Let’s Encrypt. They also offer SSH and SFTP access to enhance security. They support HTTP/2, the latest versions of PHP 7 and PHP 8 and they have their own firewall. Multi-Factor-Authentication for your panel can be enabled too. Additional security options (e.g. malware scan) are offered via DreamShield, a paid security app developed by DreamHost themselves.

Server Speed

In our speed tests, DreamHost was a reliable provider, although not the fastest. DreamHost uses SSD (solid state drives), HTTP/2 and PHP 7 (faster). Unlike their WordPress plans (which start at $16.95), their Shared hosting doesn’t have a server-side caching system built-in.

Uptime

In the tests I carried out, DreamHost got 99.96% uptime, in the past it has been higher. It’s not the best result, but it should be good enough for most projects.

Backups

They keep a daily backup of all your files, and you’ll have access to the last 14 backups of your website, and 5 of your database. Advanced backup features (e.g. on demand) are available with an add-on (paid separately).

CDN

Even if DreamHost doesn’t include a CDN, you can add a third-party provider like Cloudflare.

Server Features

MySQL 5 and PHP 7 and 8 are available from their panel. Additionally, you can also use other programming languages like Perl, Ruby and Python. Their servers aren’t PCI compliant out-of-the-box, but with some technical knowledge, you can make it happen.

Refunds and Guarantees

DreamHost comes with a 97-day money back guarantee, which is really impressive. Their Terms of Service state that they will compensate you if they don’t provide 99,9% uptime, which is not a wonderful percentage.

Assistance and Support

DreamHost offers customer support via live chat (limmited to business hours) and a ticket support system (email). Phone customer service isn’t offered. I’ve always felt that tech support agents were friendly and helpful. Their help materials are easy to follow, up-to-date and detailed.

Overall Rating

4.5

DreamHost is a reliable provider with a simple concept and delivers good value for your money. It lacks some advanced features like staging areas or pre-installed GIT repositories, but it’s actually one of my favorite providers for small to medium websites.

* They have a truly unlimited policy (storage and bandwidth), but they do make some exceptions that seem to ‘affect to less than 1% of the users’. Basically, they don’t seem to want people abusing their Unlimited Policy (e.g. file distribution sites).

DreamHost Performance Tests

Is DreamHost slow and/or have constant service interruptions?

Before you commit and leave your website’s ‘well-being’ to a new web hosting provider, you should check out their performance.

Of course, I don’t expect you to have time to go and test 5 or 6 hosting providers over a number of weeks. To make your life easier, I’ve recently tested DreamHost’s performance and benchmarked it against their competitors.

DreamHost Web Host Speed Test

No one wants their website to take ages to load. This can harm your user engagement metrics (e.g. conversion rate) and mess up your organic (search engines) rankings. And of course, a fast hosting company is a fundamental player for your website to load quick.

Provider GTmetrix Pingdom Webpage test PageSpeed Insights Total
SiteGround 0.71 0.71 1.78 2.94 1.54
GreenGeeks 0.81 1.49 1.79 2.2 1.56
Namecheap 0.99 1.40 1.92 2.08 1.6
Hostinger 0.97 2.07 1.77 1.62 1.61
WP Engine 1 1.99 1.46 2.2 1.65
Cloudways 0.80 1.39 1.89 2.84 1.73
Kinsta 0.78 2.18 2.17 1.98 1.77
DreamHost 1.16 1.72 2.56 1.92 1.84
GoDaddy 1.14 2.27 2.23 2.1 1.94
IONOS 1.21 2.08 1.74 2.78 1.95
A2 Hosting 0.96 1.40 3.78 1.9 2.01
InMotion 2.02 2.86 2.61 3.52 2.75
iPage 1.76 2.82 2.73 3.74 2.76
HostGator 2.4 5.21 1.87 1.65 2.78
Bluehost 1.74 4.5 2.42 2.82 2.87

Results in seconds

DreamHost came out 8th out of 15 providers tested with an average speed of 1.84 seconds when we evaluated the performance of the test site. Not too far from the winner of the tests (SiteGround) with a loading time of 1.54 seconds.

I was a bit reluctant about DreamHost’s speed as they aren’t the most expensive and are also missing a couple of other features. However, as you can see in the table above, their speed performance was very good during our tests.

So check out DreamHost if speed is an important factor for you.

Is DreamHost’s Web Hosting Uptime Good?

Some web hosting providers have constant interruptions and their availability (uptime) suffers. As you can imagine, this can be a big issue for hosting-dependent projects like online stores or digital marketing agencies. On top of that, Google and other search engines won’t treat you too favorably.

In light of this, I constantly monitor hosting providers’ uptime. Let me share DreamHost’s with you.

Provider 2019 Uptime 2020 Uptime 2021 Uptime Starts at
Kinsta No data 100% 100% $35/month
Cloudways No data 100% 100% $10/month
SiteGround 99.98% 99.97% 100% $14.99/month
Namecheap No data No data 100% $2.40/month
WP Engine No data 99.99% 99.99% $25/month
Bluehost 99.98% 99.96% 99.99% $9.99/month
HostGator 99.94% 99.91% 99.99% $8.95/month
A2 Hosting 99.93% 99.99% 99.98% $8.99/month
GreenGeeks No data 99.98% 99.98% $10.95/month
DreamHost 100% 99.99% 99.96% $6.99/month
GoDaddy 99.97% 99.9% 99.96% $8.99/month
InMotion 99.97% 99.73% 99.95% $13.99/month
IONOS – Uptime test 2 months No data No data 99.93% $4/month
Hostinger 99.62% 99.48% 99.92% $5.99/month
iPage 99.66% 98.45% 99.85% $8.99/month

To monitor uptime I use StatusCake, a tool that checks each website every 5 minutes.

DreamHost uptime results are good, for the last 12 months they have had 99.96% uptime. As you can see in the table, other providers achieved better rates, but it’s not a bad one. They also provide an uptime guarantee.

DreamHost Review: Do I Recommend It?

Yes, I do recommend DreamHost.

In fact, at Tooltester we are using Dreamhost for apptooltester.com using the DreamPress plan since it’s a WordPress website. Overall our experience has been a really positive one, with just one minor hiccup. We booked DreamShield, which is a security add-on that protects you from malware.

However, we still got hacked! Someone managed to put a spam link into our navigation menu, which only showed up on the mobile version of our website. The disappointment was that DreamShield didn’t protect us from that. However, in all fairness, it’s a malware detection system, which probably doesn’t work for this type of attack.

Dreamhost can be a good option for many. Fair prices, solid support and a very generous unlimited policy (for storage and bandwidth) are remarkably appealing perks.

They are a particularly good option for WordPress users that are looking for good value for money, and in fact we found them to be the best cheap WordPress hosting in our tests.

Be aware however, that if you are looking for professional features like staging areas, integrated caching and pre-installed Git repositories, DreamHost may fall short. Also, it’s not ideal if your traffic comes mainly from outside North America.

> Try DreamHost for 97 days without any risk

DreamHost FAQ

Yes, with DreamHost you can purchase domain names at a fair price. For example, a .com domain name registration will cost you around $8 and the yearly renewal is $17.99.

DreamHost Domain Name Extensions & Prices

The list of domain name extensions is vast, DreamHost offers hundreds of extensions – from typical .com, .net, .org or .co.uk to more exotic extensions like .vodka, .wtf, .tatto or .tax (yes all of these are real extensions).

Sure you can. In fact, even the cheapest web hosting you can purchase at DreamHost (Shared Starter), comes with an easy-to-install WordPress wizard. You’ll be able to have your WordPress installation completed in a couple of minutes.

Of course, DreamHost also comes with WordPress-focussed hosting plans, read the next question for more information.

WordPress site owners that need further features to manage their website, can use DreamPress, DreamHost’s managed hosting service. They are a bit more expensive (than Shared hosting packages), but fairly priced too.
For as little as $17 a month, you can have a hosting service optimised for WordPress with a couple of additional perks such as:

  • Daily + On-demand backus
  • Staging areas to test your code
  • A drag-and-drop WordPress site builder
  • Built-in caching to speed your site

Superior DreamPress plans offer extra features such as CDN, the Professional version of the well-known Jetpack WordPress plugin and priority support.

One caveat of these WordPress plans is that DreamHost will only allow you to host 1 single website regardless of the DreamPress plan you pick. Something you should consider if you have several WordPress sites to host.

DreamHost Alternatives

Alright, I have to say that I do think DreamHost can be a good match to host most websites. However, let me suggest a couple of alternative web hosts for some scenarios:

  • Along with DreamHost, SiteGround and InMotion Hosting offer the best support (compare them here).
  • For those looking for a Windows-based shared web hosting service, I would suggest looking into InMotion Hosting or GoDaddy.
  • In my experience, SiteGround is a top-performing and reliable hosting. On top of that, they offer a fully-featured web hosting service and are a great match for WordPress users.
  • If you are looking for a top WordPress host and have some money ($25/month+) to spend, you can also check out Kinsta.

> If you still want to go with DreamHost, you can try them for free for 97 days

I hope I answered all your questions about DreamHost in this review. But please, if you do still have some questions, leave a message and I’ll do my best to help you.

The authors

Learn more about us

Josep Garcia

Content Manager

Hi there, I am Josep Garcia. Since 2014 I've been testing and writing about website builders and hosting services, and I share all my learnings at Tooltester.com. Today I am not an active staff member anymore, but I do hope you enjoyed this article. And if you have any questions, please leave me a comment below.

Cai Ellis

SEO Manager

Hi! My name is Cai. Over the years, I've used countless hosting providers, built innumerable ecommerce stores and picked up a bit of SEO know-how too. If you've got questions about these or any related subjects, I'll be happy to help!

Learn more about us

We keep our content up to date

18 May 2022: Price updates and other smaller additions
03 Feb 2022: FAQs added
18 Jan 2022: Information on free domain added
27 Aug 2021: Performance and general update
05 Oct 2020: General DreamHost hosting review update and performance test
23 Sep 2020: Dedicated server, WordPress hosting plan information added
12 Sep 2020: DreamHost 1.5 million websites hosted
01 Aug 2019: First review

THE BEHIND THE SCENES OF THIS REVIEW

This article has been written and researched following a precise methodology.

Our methodology

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