DreamHost is the dinosaur of web hosts.
It’s ginormous. Claiming over 400,000 active customers and hosting over 1.5 million sites. That’s a lot.
It’s ancient. Founded waaaaaay back in 1996 by a few undergrad students at Claremont College in California.
And it’s well respected. Bringing home PCMag’s ‘Best Web Hosting Service’ award for the second year in a row.
They even go so far as to offer crazy things like a 97-day money back guarantee and promise 100% uptime (or you get refunded).
Here’s our quick recap.
Dreamhost Cons & Pros (2016-2017)
After 17+ months of tracking here are detailed cons & pros:
1) Uptime: 99.98%
Dreamhost is a reliable web host.
1) Cost: $7.95/mo
Dreamhost is ~2x more expensive.
|2) Load time: 551ms|
Dreamhost is faster than 78% of web hosts.
2) No Phone Support
Ticket and Live Chat option only.
3) User reviews: 92% positive
Lot of people recommend Dreamhost.
3) No cPanel
Instead, they use their own admin panel.
PROS of using Dreamhost Hosting:
There’s a lot to like about DreamHost.
They promise great uptime and customer support. They even throw in a few freebies to make your experience even better.
Here’s an overview of their best attributes.
1. Phenomenal Uptime of 99.98% (last 12 months)
It’s fair to say that DreamHost stands by their uptime. They’re so confident, that they’ll provide an extra day of service for every hour of downtime your site experiences with them.
Fortunately for their accountants, that doesn’t happen very often (99.98% is less than 10 minutes of downtime per month)
Over our 12-month review process, DreamHost delivered 99.98% uptime, easily placing them among the industry’s elite. In fact, only two other company – A2 Hosting & HostGator Cloud – recorded the same in our analysis of almost 30 different web hosts to date (with most usually around 99.90% or lower).See uptime % 2015 to 2017
- June 2015 average uptime: 99.99%
- July 2015 average uptime: 99.99%
- August 2015 average uptime: 99.98%
- September 2015 average uptime: 100%
- October 2015 average uptime: 99.97%
- November 2015 average uptime: 99.99%
- December 2015 average uptime: 100%
- January 2016 average uptime: 100%
- February 2016 average uptime: 99.99%
- March 2016 average uptime: 99.89%
- April 2016 average uptime: 99.98%
- May 2016 average uptime: 100%
- June 2016 average uptime: 100%
- July 2016 average uptime: 99.98%
- August 2016 average uptime: 99.99%
- September 2016 average uptime: 99.99%
- October 2016 average uptime: 100%
- November 2016 average uptime: 99.94%
- December 2016 average uptime: 99.99%
Dreamhost Load Time & Uptime: (Last 12 months, detailed data can be found here.)
2. Page Load Time 21% Faster than Average Competition
DreamHost’s page loading times didn’t let us down either, clocking in at 574ms over the same twelve-month period. That’s about 19% faster than the average of 700ms we’ve seen in analyzing other web hosts.
You can check more stats below:Dreamhost load time 2015 to 2017
- June 2015 average speed: 556ms
- July 2015 average speed: 559ms
- August 2015 average speed: 597ms
- September 2015 average speed: 580ms
- October 2015 average speed: 619ms
- November 2015 average speed: 625ms
- December 2015 average speed: 593ms
- January 2016 average speed: 598ms
- February 2016 average speed: 555ms
- March 2016 average speed: 502ms
- April 2016 average speed: 505ms
- May 2016 average speed: 548ms
- June 2016 average speed: 543ms
- July 2016 average speed: 540ms
- August 2016 average speed: 539ms
- September 2016 average speed: 557ms
- October 2016 average speed: 503ms
- November 2016 average speed: 535ms
- December 2016 average speed: 854ms
3. Knowledgable, Friendly Support
The best uptime and fastest loading times mean nothing without great support to back it all up.
Here, DreamHost excels. Within 5 minutes we were connected to a live chat agent, getting detailed responses after a few seconds.
Their support is not outsourced (which is evident), and is available 24/7. The only catch? No phone support.
Quick chat with Dreamhost support agent
4. Get ‘Free Days’ for Downtime
DreamHost offers the longest money back guarantee in the industry, coming in at 97 days for shared hosting plans.
But that’s not all.
They will also credit you a day’s service for every hour of interrupted service. They aren’t kidding around about standing behind their service. In my opinion, that’s just awesome…
P.S: We used that perk in March when our uptime was slightly lower than promised (99.89%).
5. Unlimited (Really!) Bandwidth
All companies say they provide unlimited hosting. But most don’t come close.
DreamHost truly does offer unlimited bandwidth and data transfer according to their ‘Unlimited Policy‘ terms.
This service is incredibly rare for a reason (read: cost). So here are the exceptions:
- Copyrighted content to which you do not hold usage or distribution rights.
- File upload / sharing / archive / backup / mirroring / distribution sites.
- A site created primarily to drive traffic to another site.
- Making your account resources available (whether for free or pay) to the general public.
If root canals were given away free of charge, I might take them up on that offer. Because, free.
DreamHost gives away free domain names, free privacy protection for said domain names, and even free SSL/TLS certificates (among other things).
Not thrilled with this stuff? No worries, just get a refund.
(Just kidding – they were free, remember?)
CONS of using Dreamhost Hosting:
DreamHost is a perfect choice for most people.
However, there are a few potential pitfalls which might be a deal breaker for others.
Starting with cost.
1. Among the More Expensive Options Available
Five bucks a month is more than enough for most web hosts, assuming you’re signing up for at least one year’s worth of service.
But DreamHost starts at $7.95. IF, you pay for three years at once.
Otherwise, the one-year minimum will set you back $9.95 per month.
2. ‘One Size Fits All’ (in most cases it’s enough)
Most web hosts offer tons of different hosting plans that make it difficult to differentiate between what each provides, and which is the best option for you.
DreamHost doesn’t do that, offering only a single shared hosting plan to get started.
Sure, that makes it easy to choose. But that also means a beginner with a simple site is going to pay the same as a pro who regularly gets over 300,000 monthly uniques.
3. No cPanel – is it really a con? Hard to tell…
DreamHost has created their own control panel to provide a streamlined version for non-techies.
However, those professionals accustomed to using cPanel or Plesk (like we do) probably won’t like this approach.
4. Possible Delayed Setup
New customer accounts need to be verified prior to activation. That means while registration is instant, provisioning can take a few hours. Factor that into your new launch plans if you’re trying to get up-and-running ASAP.
Overview on Dreamhost hosting plans & quick facts
Here’s a quick overview of Dreamhost’s hosting plans:
- Shared Hosting: Unlike most other web hosts, Dreamhost offers one simple shared hosting plan that costs $7.95 per month. They do not use the three-tiered approach like most web hosts and this makes it easy for their users to make a decision. Their shared hosting plan is powered by SSDs, and it comes with a forever free domain name as long as you keep paying for hosting.
- Managed WordPress Hosting: Their managed WordPress hosting costs $19.95 per month (billed annually). It comes with 30GB SSD storage. Their WordPress hosting has no limits and they boast that it can handle 2.1 million monthly visits. It comes with support for unlimited email accounts and 1 free dedicated IP address.
- VPS Hosting: Their VPS hosting starts at $15 per month (with 1GB RAM and 30GB SSD storage) and can cost up to $120 per month (with 8GB RAM and 240GB SSD storage). All their VPS plans come with unlimited bandwidth and allow support for unlimited domain names.
- Dedicated Hosting: Their dedicated server starts at $149 per month and can cost up to $379 per month. For $149 per month, you will get 4 cores, 1TB HDD, and 4GB RAM. Their dedicated servers come with full root and shell access, unlimited MySQL databases, RAID-1 storage, Ubuntu Linux, 1-Click WordPress installer, unlimited bandwidth and DDoS protection.
- Ease of Signup: Long and complicated sign up process. Signup should be easier.
- Free domain: Yes.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card, PayPal, Check, Money Order, Checking Account
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: None. Yay! 🙂
- Upsells: A few upsells. Boo.
- Account Activation: Account activation can take a while. Go grab a cup of coffee (or two).
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: Custom Dreamhost control panel. This can be a bit difficult to use, blah. But who knows, maybe you’ll like it?
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): One-click installer for WordPress and other apps/CMSs.
Do We Recommend Dreamhost?
DreamHost might cost you 2X what another option does.
But they’re worth it.
They’re super reliable, offering incredible money-back guarantees if you experience any downtime or other hiccups along the way.
Their support is exceptional across the board. And they throw in a few freebies which can offset the higher initial cost.
If you value reliability and support that’s second-to-none (and money’s not as big of a concern), look no further than DreamHost.
P.S. If you want to see hosting providers that ranked above Dreamhost, check our best performing hosts here.
Are you a satisfied (or unsatisfied) DreamHost customer? Please leave a review below! We accept all reviews (good or bad) in an effort to provide the most transparent and honest ones possible.
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27 user reviews for DREAMHOST
Service is terrible
Terrible service. Website was down for over a week. No support number to call. All you can do is email or submit a trouble ticket while your company is bleeding money. They call you back, but if you’re away from your desk or on another call they won’t leave a voicemail. Their number comes up as anonymous so you can’t call them back. One of the supposed owners was emailing me. Didn’t work on a business day (Monday) so I had to wait yet another day before he would call me back. Then he was rude and nasty on the phone. After making me wait a week, he couldn’t understand why I was frustrated and kept making snarky comments. Don’t use them. Plenty of other options out there.
Used to be Good
Been with Dreamhost since 2010, finally switched. They used to be rock solid, with fast and friendly support. I also liked that they were a local company.
Things have gone downhill, support is terrible, and the server outages got to be too much. Happily moved to a new comapny.
This service has been going downhill for the last year or two. Their email services are barely functioning and we miss emails all the time!
Dreamhost is good for beginners
I have been using Dreamhost since 2014 and it’s been terrific. Hardly I have ever saw the downtime for my sports blog.
I really like Dreamhost
I’ve used Dreamhost for many years hosting my own domains and some for friends and family. I’m a developer with limited server admin knowledge and I find the control panel extremely helpful and easy to use. Whenever I’ve needed support I’ve got the answer I needed within a few hours although UK/US time difference affects the wait. One thing I love is that you can reply to their automated emails and support will get back to you directly – why can’t everyone do this? So much more customer friendly than “Do not reply” emails
The domain registration is simple but could be enhanced by allowing multiple domains to be registered simultaneously – maybe the answer is to prepay some money to my account?
Overall I’m very satisfied although I am a probably a pretty light user of the service
Exceptional quality and value
I have been using Dreamhost for about a year now, I moved over our 8 sites from our last host which was a WHM/VPS server.
The simplicity of running multiple domains and stores on Dreamhost is a breath of fresh air. You have to be willing to get used to their custom dashboard, but it is worth it.
I have heard complaints about the email system, which I cannot comment on as I use Google for Business instead of their servers.
I never write reviews, but I have been so impressed I wanted to so that others could have the confidence to give them a chance.
Pros: Speed, reliability, good support, ease of use
Cons: No phone support (which doesn’t matter to me)
We recently moved from GoDaddy to Dreamhost after reading reviews about a lot of companies out there. With that, we chose DreamHost. I will start by saying, THE WORST IDEA EVER! If you are small company with maybe 5-10 employees. Great, use them. Anything bigger, would never recommend them to anyone. Their email is clunky, slow, and pounded with SPAM. Their filters are crap, their customer support is the worst, and the knowledge base (which they brag about) is meant for people that have a degree in Computer Science, not for the casual web user just starting out (which again, they brag about.) In the end, WORST DECISION EVER!
Everything is perfect
I use Dreamhost services for many years now and have never had any issues that they are unable to solve.
Their systems are fast and efficient, very responsive and with many possibilities of configuration and customization for the experts, but with excellent guides that explain to beginners how to juggle.
The domain management panel, the spaces, the mailboxes and databases is very simple to use and contains useful function “One-Click Install” which allows you to configure in a few seconds the most common software like web forums, wiki, blogs, etc.
Finally, their customer service is one of the best in the world for any problem you contact them, there is always someone helpful and courteous ready to help you in the best way!
My experience has been great...
I used Dreamhost to set up my personal website when I wanted to learn more about web development. I found a great deal (less than $10/month). Their managed WordPress option was surprisingly simple to set up and I love the fact it auto-updates WordPress so I don’t have to every couple of months.
About 1.5 years later I helped my friend make his personal website and I set him up with a Dreamhost account too. It had been a while since I did it and I was running into an issue installing WordPress on his hosting (an issue on my part, not theirs – I had simply forgotten how to do it). I had to contact customer support. I opted to do the chat support and my customer service person was able to point me in the right direction within probably 5 minutes.
As a comparison, I now manage my company’s website and their hosting provider is Godaddy, and when I have to deal with their support staff it usually takes a LOT of explaining so they fully understand the problem. This was not an issue at all with Dreamhost. Overall my experience with Dreamhost has been great with the minimal amount of features I take advantage of; I’m sure others would find its other features just as helpful and easy to use.
Reliable host, confusing pricing..
I’ve been with Dreamhost for 2 or 3 years now, and I’ve never had any problems with the hosting. It’s been fast and reliable, two things you expect most from a hosting provider.
OK for beginners; web vets, not so much
I signed up with Dreamhost a few years ago because it was cheaper than my then-current host, and because unlike said host, it offered Ruby On Rails, which I really wanted to learn.
Well…except that the version of RoR that Dreamhost supported was outdated and to this day has not been updated and requires user hacks to be able to use a current version — user hacks that may or may not work.
E-mail is a huge issue. Delays in receiving e-mails — especially over the web — can be a major hindrance, and Dreamhost can go weeks before resolving issues, or often be dismissive and say that they don’t see any signs of problems on their end.
E-mail filters leave much to be desired; unfortunately no way to block e-mails by top-level domain.
Long term betterment for small bucks
I’ve been with Dreamhost for 16 years, hosting multiple sites on a shared environment. I host multiple sites with multiple needs, from SMF to WordPress, archive file storage, and more. The flexibility is great. The customer service is top notch. The availability is high. And, added bonus, whenever there’s a better deal, they’ve lowered my fees to match.
Most dependable hosting I've ever had
I started hosting 1 host at Dreamhost in February 2007, and this morning, April 18, 2015 I just hosted my 14th and 15th sites! I love the reliability of the support staff, the ease with which I can control certain features and the fact that in over 8 years I have had little to no downtime that I did not cause for myself.
The cost of the hosting plan that holds all 15 of my domains is so affordable and with multiple payment options I can always do what works best for me at the moment.
DreamHost is, well, a dream
I have hosted various websites with DreamHost for about one year, during which time I have dealt with many other hosts used by my clients. As an overall value, DreamHost is really hard to beat, even when stacked up against big name hosts like SiteGround and WP Engine. I can host unlimited sites, with unlimited storage, and unlimited free SSL certificates. Like I said, they’re hard to beat.
My experience with DreamHost’s customer support has always been top notch. If it’s a low priority issue, I’ll send an e-mail and they usually respond within a few hours. If it’s a higher priority issue then I open a live chat, which always connects me to a qualified tech within a couple minutes. One way or another, my issues (which have been very few) have been resolved promptly.
Thoughtful, intelligent support
I have a number of different sites in my Dreamhost account. I’ve hit problems here and there, mostly of my own making. The most telling example of the great support was when I needed to use a specific version of PHP for a particular experiment, one that Dreamhost had moved beyond as part of their normal process of keeping things up to date. The response I got was first the expected “we don’t offer older builds”, but then an unexpected “here’s how you can install it yourself”, followed by detailed specific instructions!
I’ve had similar experiences over the ten years I’ve been with Dreamhost; thoughtful consideration of the question followed by intelligent answers or suggestions. It’s not perfect, but this shows why it is actually very, very good.
Customer for 8 years - great host
I’ve used Dreamhost over the last 8 years to casually host ~8 websites on shared hosting. This clocks in at about $200 per two years, which while is perhaps a little pricey for what I’m using it for, I always have the option of adding more sites whenever, switching to VPS/cloud etc.
Why I stick with Dreamhost mainly is because whenever I’ve had issues (my fault or otherwise) their support is fast and knowledgeable and can be relied upon to sort you out.
Good job Dreamhost!
Best value for a developer's site hosting
At Dreamhost, the cheapest shared hosting plan offers the usual stuff all others do (phpmyadmin, databases, ftp, etc), plus unlimited domains, storage, bandwidth and 99.9% uptime.
Since I’m developer, one of the main pros is having SSH access (with tunnel support) along a good set of tools (e.g. git, java, gcc, crontab). That makes me a lot easier to manage sites, deploy, automate tasks and work on prototypes. When they find suspicious files they send a warning e-mail, and when the files are 100% sure malicious they are quarantined (and the user advised). The support staff is kind and really willing to help.
Highly recommend it to all my fellows developers. The panel interface is not brilliant but quite good compared to the majority.
A solid B+ host
I’ve been on Dreamhost since 2010, and I haven’t had any major problem over that time. The machine I’m on doesn’t appear to be oversold and when the migrated my sites to a newer server it was seamless. Their interface is a bit dated (some part look like they are straight out of the 90’s) and it’s sometimes difficult to find what you’re looking for.
They are generous with space, domains and bandwidth, and technically I’ve found it good. Some downside are I’ve found their support sometimes to be a little less knowledgeable than I would expect, and their backups aren’t the best.
Overall I would say they are a good hosting company that you can trust but they don’t meet the bar of outstanding.
Value for money
I host around 20 sites/domains, and I chose Dreamhost 6 years ago, and I’m happy! They provide a very reliable hosting, with lots of services and options, for a simple price. Unlimited domains, one-click installs, I don’t give 100% rating because it will sounds strange, but 95% seems honest, regarding the services I used during 6 years. Support is always available, always smiling, and I never had to complain.
Great and easy to use hosting provider
I use DreamHost for my personal (and business) web hosting. Everything is always quickly set up.
I have used one-click installs for WordPress that have worked beautifully, as well as installed on my own (which meant, creating databases!) and that went smoothly too.
If I’ve ever had issues, DreamHost is always very attentive and quick to assist in any way they can. The price is a steal too.
Cheap and reliable. Highly recommended if you don't need Ruby.
I’m using Dreamhost to host a few personal websites, my blog, and a couple of landing pages for mobile apps. I’ve been paying $10 per month for unlimited bandwidth and storage for nine years now. Their service is reliable, the admin panel is easy to use, and I’ve never had an issue with speed.
That said, it works best for WordPress or PHP websites. If you are looking to do host a Ruby on Rails site then turn elsewhere.
Host of dreams
I’ve used Dreamhost for 8 years. They were relatively inexpensive, but with new cloud providers, they have lost that edge. Their interface is outdated. But their core service is solid – a C+ service.
Premium level service for a premium price...
I would like to start off by saying that the service (both, the actual servers & customer support) is excellent. That, though, comes at a somewhat premium price tag. As a student it’s hard to find a hosting provider that gives 100% of what I have to offer them in exchange. It’s 21’st century and I feel like the price we pay for a premium service today is a bit odd. I get it that people have to pay their bills, but so does everyone else as well.
Good prices, OK hosting
I used Dreamhost for several years and never had any issues with downtime or outages. They offered loads of space and bandwidth, but their entire control panel system is all proprietary software. I was used to the industry standard of cPanel, but got used to their system eventually.
Their support teams were very responsive and quick to resolve minor issues and answer my questions. Additionally, their referral system allows you to offset the cost of your hosting, or even pay for it entirely.
Love the admin UI - don't love speed issues
I love how simple the Dreamhost makes to install WordPress, manage domains, or anything really. Their email support is quite good as well (if you choose the critical option when emailing).
I don’t love the speed of my sites and how they go down quite frequently..thought not for long. That’s the only reason I wouldn’t recommend Dreamhost.
Great support, but lacking some features
I signed up to Dreamhost around 8 months ago, after being suggested by other friends in the design/development industry. I liked their modern interface (which is hard to come by compared to other hosts), which provided quick and easy access to the main features across their site. Their support is second to none, however the waiting times for a live chat session can sometimes peak at 15 minutes, which can be a little hectic if something goes wrong.
Their hosting services are speedy and their newly released one-click SSL certificates (courtesy of LetsEncrypt) make it very easy to get up and running securely and quickly.
Great, but no cPanel...
I find Dreamhost to be a definite place for you to start your website endeavors. But it’s not perfect.
To start out, it provides an excellent speed coupled with a very reliable uptime that you can count on every single day of the week. It’s customer support isn’t bad as well, as they certainly know what they are doing.
And the good ends there. The price isn’t exactly targeted towards a very large customer base, and by that I mean that it may not be that expensive but there are cheaper web hosts out there. And the final thing that holds Dreamhost back is that fact that it is not very user friendly. Its interface is complicated and it lacks key features and tools especially for a beginner. I just wish that it had a CPanel.