We’ve been a paying customer for DreamHost for the last 16+ months. During that time, we’ve monitored their performance – avg. load time and uptime.
This review relies strongly on data, such as uptime, load time (speed) and customer support experience.
What is DreamHost?
DreamHost is the dinosaur among 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, too. 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 as far as to offer crazy features e.g a 97-day money back guarantee and a 100% uptime (or you get refunded).
Here’s our quick recap:
Pros of using DreamHost Hosting
There’s a lot to like about DreamHost.
They promise great speed and customer support. They also throw in a few freebies to make your experience even better.
Here’s an overview of their best attributes:
1. Page Load Time 23% Faster than Average Competition
DreamHost’s page loading times didn’t let us down, clocking in at 709ms over the same eight-month period. That’s 23% faster than the average of 890ms we’ve seen in analyzing other web hosts.
You can check more stats below:
Last 10 month average load time:
- December 2017 average speed: 773ms
- January 2018 average speed: 778ms
- February 2018 average speed: 809ms
- March 2018 average speed: 817ms
- April 2018 average speed: 678ms
- May 2018 average speed: 598ms
- June 2018 average speed: 562ms
- July 2018 average speed: 733ms
- August 2018 average speed: 658ms
- September 2018 average speed: 688ms
2. Knowledgeable, Friendly Support
The best uptime and fastest loading times mean nothing without great support to back it all up.
In that area, DreamHost excels. Within 5 minutes we were connected to a live chat agent, getting detailed responses after every few seconds.
Their support is not outsourced (which is evident) and is available 24/7. The only catch? No phone support.
A quick chat with a Dreamhost support agent
3. 97-Day Money Back Guarantee and ‘Free Days’ for Downtime
DreamHost offers the longest money back guarantee in the industry – 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 April when our uptime was slightly lower than promised (99.75%).
According to DreamHost’s Terms of Service, you’ll only be eligible for free days if:
- The DreamObjects service is unresponsive
- DreamObjects gives a server error response to valid user requests for more than a minute of consecutive requests.
Scheduled maintenance that may cause downtime is excluded.
It’s also important to note that DreamHost doesn’t offer automatic refunds for certain payment methods:
- Check (written checks or electronic checks)
- Money Orders
- Gift Certificates
It’s awesome that DreamHost offers such a long period to receive your money back. If they’re that confident that you’ll love them, you should be too.
If you don’t want to get stuck committing to DreamHost until you are 100% sure that you’ll love their services, be sure to pay for your subscription automatically with a debit or credit card.
That way, you’ll be able to receive your refund automatically.
4. New Tiered Plan Options
DreamHost used to only offer a single shared hosting option.
While that was great for some people who don’t want to dive into the weeds, it was also priced pretty high (more on that in the next point below).
So on the surface, it looked like a good option for beginners who didn’t want to compare a bunch of complicated plans. But it ended up costing them more in the end.
Thankfully, DreamHost has made many improvements to their plans, opening up all kinds of affordable options.
5. Among the Cheaper Options Available
DreamHost was on the expensive side the last time we reviewed them. It was one of the biggest cons we had with the service.
But since then, they’ve come out with (a ton) of new tiered options that drop the price considerably.
Their most basic, shared hosting for simple websites now only runs $2.59/month for the first year.
Many other hosts will require two or even three year contracts for similar pricing. You’re getting a good value here.
And if you need something more robust, they have an unlimited shared upgrade, or you can move over to their managed WordPress hosting (DreamPress), VPS, or dedicated servers. So you can now start small and save a few bucks, upgrading only when your site grows.
6. Unlimited (Really!) Bandwidth
All companies say they provide unlimited hosting. Unfortunately, most don’t even come close.
DreamHost truly offers unlimited bandwidth and data transfer according to their ‘Unlimited Policy‘ terms.
This service is incredibly rare for a reason (read: cost). 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 (either for free or not) to the general public.
7. They’re Carbon Neutral (AKA Green)
Being a web host takes tons of resources. Only the amount of electricity it takes to run servers alone is tremendous.
That’s why DreamHost is committed to reducing their impact on the environment. One way that they do this is through the purchase of carbon offsets.
In fact, DreamHost has been a carbon neutral company since 2007. In just 10 years, the company has neutralized a whopping 29,298.1 tons of greenhouse gases.
According to their website, that’s not the only way that the company stays committed to energy efficiency.
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.
1. Slightly Below Average Uptime
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 (99.90% is less than 10 minutes of downtime per month).
However, over the last 10 months since we’ve been reviewing them, their uptime has slipped slightly below industry average to 99.95%. That’s about four hours of total downtime, significantly less than A2 Hosting, HostGator Cloud and SiteGround.
Last 10-month average uptime:
- December 2017 average uptime: 100%
- January 2018 average uptime: 100%
- February 2018 average uptime: 99.85%
- March 2018 average uptime: 99.94%
- April 2018 average uptime: 99.75%
- May 2018 average uptime: 99.96%
- June 2018 average uptime: 100%
- July 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- August 2018 average uptime: 100%
- September 2018 average uptime: 99.96%
Dreamhost Load Time & Uptime: (Last 10 months, detailed data can be found here.)
2. 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.
Professionals accustomed to using cPanel or Plesk (like we do) probably won’t like this approach.
3. 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.
Dreamhost Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
Here’s a quick overview of Dreamhost’s hosting plans:
Shared Hosting: DreamHost offers two straightforward shared hosting plans. The first, Starter, will only set you back $2.59/month for the first annual payment for a single website. If you’re looking for more, the Shared Unlimited option gives you exactly what it sounds like: unlimited websites for $7.59/month for the first year.
Managed WordPress Hosting: DreamHost’s managed WordPress hosting is called DreamPress. The basic option gives you one site up to 10,000 monthly visits, with 30GB SSD, for $16.95/month. DreamPress Plus opens your site up to 30,000 monthly visitors with 60GB of SSD storage for $24.95/month. And DreamPress Pro allows 100,000 monthly visits, plus a staging site, with 120GB SSD storage for $71.95/month.
VPS Hosting: Their VPS hosting starts at $13.75/month that gives you a single GB of RAM and 30GB storage for unlimited hosting domains. If that’s not enough, they have three other tiers, including Business, Professional, and Enterprise, that each increase your RAM(2GB, 4GB, 8GB), storage (60GB, 120GB, 240GB), and unlimited bandwidth for all. Those plans start at $27.50/month, $55.00/month, and $110.00/month respectively.
Dedicated Hosting: Their dedicated server starts at $169 for the month and includes a 100% unlimited uptime guarantee, DDoS protection, plus full root & shell access. These dedicated servers include up to 12 max cores, 64GB max RAM, 2TB of storage, RAID 1, and unlimited bandwidth.
- Ease of Signup: Long and complicated sign up process. Signup should be easier.
- Free domain: For the first year on all annual hosting plans.
- 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 which 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?
Yes, depending on what you’re looking for.
DreamHost is 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 when switching over. Pricing is also pretty affordable for what you’re getting.
If you value reliability and support that’s second-to-none, 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 feedback (good or bad) in an effort to provide the most transparent and honest reviews possible.