Pros and Cons of using DreamHost for more than 2 years…
DreamHost hosts more than 1.5 million sites and is almost 25 years old.
Its performance has not decreased during that time, maintaining above-average uptime (99.94%) and page speeds (648ms).
DreamHost’s main shared hosting plan comes with popular apps like WordPress, website building options including your own, et al. like Wix or Weebly. These plans have unlimited disk space and bandwidth. And you get a full 97-day money-back guarantee to verify service.
However, your customer support may be a bit limited. Migrations are also a problem as they don’t allow any imports from other cPanel sites and charge you $ 99 for each.
Here’s a transparent look at DreamHost’s performance over the last 24 months.
General Info & Hosting Overview
|PRICING:||648ms (Feb 2018 to Jan 2021 average)|
|UPTIME:||99.94% (Feb 2018 to Jan 2021 average)|
|SUPPORT:||Ticket & Callback|
|APPS:||WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, Shopify, Wix, and more|
|FEATURES:||Unlimited bandwidth and storage, free SSL, free domain 1st year, automated backups|
|HOSTING PLANS:||Shared, Cloud, WordPress, VPS, and Dedicated Servers|
|SITE TRANSFER:||Not Free|
|PRICING:||Starting at $2.59/mo (same renewal price)|
Pros of Using DreamHost Hosting
With several “unlimited” functions, DreamHost has above-average speed and uptime.
They have a 97-day refund policy longer than average to make sure you’re proud of the service before you get stuck. And when your plan is finally renewed, you won’t have to pay a whopping 2-3x increase like with many other hosts.
Here’s an in-depth look at the results of our practical test:
1. Above Average Speed (648ms)
DreamHost’s 648ms average load time over the last 24 months has been good. It places them within the top half of the hosts we’ve tested, but well below the top five that have literally cut this average in half (between ~ 317-405 ms).
The silver lining is that DreamHost has been ready to maintain this average consistently. In September 2017, they posted a load time of 1,316ms that had us worried. But since then, things have gone smoothly. Therefore, you should be prepared to expect an equivalent.
DreamHost average load time:
2. Above Average Uptime (99.94%)
That’s a reasonably good result, but it’s not even the simplest part.
DreamHost has an uptime guarantee. Like other hosts, if your monthly average falls below that threshold, you’ll get a credit for the value of the service.
Most of the uptime guarantees we’ve seen could hover around the 99.98% mark. So these hosts create and support their services, but they are also giving themselves a touch of flexibility in case of normal fluctuations.
DreamHost, however, guarantees 100% uptime in its Terms of Service. Please note that user care or mistakes are not covered under this warranty.
However, the other DreamHost issue affecting your site, database, email, or webmail can trigger the warranty. You will get one free day of service for every hour of service interruption. the only downside is that there is a one-tenth maximum of your “next prepaid hosting renewal fee” (so it applies in the future, versus a retroactive discount or refund).
Last 12-month average uptime:
- January 2020 average uptime: 99.99%
- December 2019 average uptime: 100%
- November 2019 average uptime: 99.80%
- October 2019 average uptime: 100%
- September 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- August 2019 average uptime: 100%
- July 2019 average uptime: 99.64%
- June 2019 average uptime: 99.97%
- May 2019 average uptime: 99.80%
- April 2019 average uptime: 99.92%
- March 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- February 2019 average uptime: 99.94%
3. 97-Day Money-Back Guarantee
The vast majority of the 31 web servers we’ve reviewed will give you a 30-day refund period. That gives you a full month to test your services before risking your prepaid amount.
Some hosts will send you 45 days, including WebHostingBuzz.
And then there is DreamHost.
Up to 97 days of your money-back guarantee is true. That’s more than three full months to be really happy.
DreamHost also has no hidden terms or obstacles to overcome that could jeopardize your refund. There are only a few cases where your refund can be deducted or not awarded, but most are pretty standard.
The first exception is that credit cards can only be returned. Therefore, other payment methods such as checks or money orders will not be refunded (yes, they accept them).
The second exception is that additional services and anything purchased through another party will also not be refunded. That includes items like domain names, AdWords credits, SSL certs, and similar extras.
4. High Basic Plan Limits
The Shared Starter option of DreamHost starts at $2.59/month only. But right off the bat, it comes with a lot of features.
You get a website with a free name and SSL certificate included. Unlimited traffic (or bandwidth) and storage can be managed on this platform.
You’ll even be ready to find Joomla, phpBB, Zen Cart, Drupal, Magento, Shopify, and Tumblr there waiting for you too.
WordPress also comes pre-installed. It’s pretty easy to keep up with most servers with the one-click install option. However, the fact that it is ready immediately once you sign up is ideal for newbie webmasters.
The last great little news about these plans is that there is no delayed verification system.
They wanted a manual search when we first checked DreamHost, which would delay being able to use the service for a few hours after signing up.
Fortunately, your customer support representative told us that they now only require additional verification steps if there is a snag along with your payment.
You should be ready to hit bottom now after signing up.
5. Unlimited Disk Space and Network Transfer Limits
In their pricing and schedules, DreamHost lists lots of “unlimited” functionality, including disk room and bandwidth.
This means that as your site gets famous, you don’t need to think about disk storage or network transfer.
There are a couple of caveats to the current policy, but it is mostly legitimate.
First of all, your site must be built correctly. If you are hogging server resources and causing problems with other sites, they might try to transfer you to their private servers.
This unrestricted strategy would not come under DreamPress, VPS servers, and email.
Email is restricted to a limit of just 2 GB, while MySQL databases must also stay under “a few GB in size”.
In other words, for very tiny locations, DreamHost’s shared servers are fine.
6. They’re Carbon Neutral (AKA Green)
Among the number of web servers striving to be more environmentally friendly, you should include DreamHost.
However, they are going above and beyond just offsetting the carbon footprint of their servers.
Its data centers provide “high efficiency” processors and cooling. To harness natural energy, they are also active in statewide ‘clean wind’ projects.
Their offices are LEED and EnergyStar certified and energy efficient too, from lighting to HVAC systems.
7. No Higher Renewal Price Increase
If you pre-pay for three years vs. just one or two, DreamHost provides a lower monthly price.
Most web servers do this too.
However, the last great news is that DreamHost does not increase in value when it comes time to renew.
For example, other hosts may offer you a special discount of one or two dollars a month for the first few years.
But when it’s time for you to decide to auto-renew, the price can go up to ~ $ 7-10 / mo on ultra-low plans.
So overnight you are literally paying two or three times as much for an exact equivalent service.
DreamHost, by comparison, doesn’t do this. Your plan will renew at a price equal to what it was originally just signed up for.
That means that you may not save much in the first few years, but you will save a lot of dollars in the future.
Cons of Using DreamHost Hosting
Almost everything is above average at DreamHost. That includes your uptime and page speed, as well as all of your shared plans with the default features.
Unfortunately, while testing their services, we still ran into some drawbacks.
Here is a complete list of the biggest cons to consider:
1. Good, but Limited Live Chat Support
DreamHost provides the mandatory knowledge domain and discussion forums to help customers solve their own problems.
They also claim to offer “in-house support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” Although, our tests actually revealed the other.
In the lower right corner of your screen, there may be a small message icon. Click here, and instead of finding yourself with an open box, you have to choose from a couple of preset answers:
In other words, they are trying to automate the live chat process with something that mimics a phone structure.
We tried to bypass these options to urge a sales representative to do so as soon as possible. But no one was available at the time we attempted.
So not really “24/7” then. These times overlap with business hours in most US time zones, but not if you are in other parts of the planet.
We had to come back later during these hours to check the method everywhere again. It took a sales rep a couple of minutes to finally join in and see that they were both knowledgeable and helpful.
It’s unfortunate that you simply have to go through the hoop (show up at specific times) to urge access to anyone in the first place.
2. No cPanel (Custom Panel)
DreamHost does not offer cPanel access to clients. They created their own dashboard to help you discover all the features.
Most inexperienced bloggers or site owners probably don’t mind this fact.
But advanced users could do it for an additional reason.
DreamHost does not provide an automatic thank you for importing .tar.gz files (the backup option for migrating sites outside of cPanel).
So, you will need to manually migrate all your files via FTP and MySQL.
3. Only Paid Migrations Offered
DreamHost does not offer free site migrations on their shared hosting plans.
Instead, they will charge you a one-time fee of $ 99 to maneuver each site. This will really add up if you are trying to maneuver multiple clients or company accounts at the same time.
There are a couple of other limitations on how your paid migration services work.
Multi-site WordPress sites cannot be moved. WordPress.com transfers will only take content within posts or pages. So you will need to reinstall and discover your theme and plugins.
Website building sites, on Wix, Weebly, or SquareSpace, can’t be moved either.
In order to manually move the site, they provide some documents.
But that’s still not very satisfactory when most other services will do all the heavy lifting for you.
DreamHost Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
Here is a short summary of the Shared Hosting plans of DreamHost:
|Shared Starter Plan||Shared Unlimited Plan|
|Email Accounts||Costs extra ($1.67/mon)||Unlimited|
|Other Feature||–||• Unlimited Subdomains & MySQL Databases|
• Unlimited FTP/SFTP/Shell Users
DreamHost also provides three Managed WordPress Hosting plans outside these two solutions.
|DreamPress Plan||Dream Press Plus Plan||DreamPress Pro Plan|
|Email Accounts||Unlimited||Un limited||Unlimited|
|Other Features||–||• Unlimited CDN||• Un limited CDN|
• Priority Support
- Ease of Registration: Long and sophisticated registration process. Signing up should be easier.
- Free domain: during the first year in all annual hosting plans.
- Money back: 97-day money-back guarantee.
- Payment methods: MasterCard, PayPal, check, money order, bank account
- Hidden rates and clauses: none important.
- Upsells: a couple of upsells.
- Account activation: Account activation is quick unless you have payment problems.
- Dashboard and Dashboard: Custom DreamHost dashboard that can be a bit difficult to use.
- Application and CMS installation (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): One-click installer for WordPress and other applications / CMS.
Do We Recommend DreamHost?
DreamHost’s performance is pretty good across the board, from reliable uptime to fast load times.
The limits on their default plan are quite high and offer a lot of “unlimited” options for disk space, bandwidth, and more.
We also really liked that there is no increase when your hosting plan is renewed.
On the downside, customer support was pretty limited to just a couple of certain hours during the week. And so paid migrations can add up, especially when cPanel isn’t offered to automatically move sites.
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Hey. P.S. Check out our top performing hosts here if you want to see hosting services that rate above DreamHost.
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