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Founded by friends Michael Rodriguez, Dallas Bethune, Sage Weil and Josh Jones (while they were still undergraduates) in 1997 in Claremont, California, Dreamhost is one of the oldest hosting companies in existence. The company was originally registered as New Dream Network LLC. In the present day, Dreamhost hosts over 1.5 million websites and WordPress blogs and applications for small businesses, designers and developers, and the customer count has risen above 400,000!
The company has over 200 employees, multiple data centers and a number of products and services such as DreamCompute (cloud computing service), DreamPress (Dreamhost is one of the few hosts recommended by WordPress) and DreamObjects. The company also offers 4 types of web servers that the customers can use to host their websites such as Dreamhost VPS, shared, dedicated and cloud.
Dreamhost has stood hand-in-hand with the development of OpenStack, committing financial backing, community leadership and code to the project and is an OpenStack Foundation Gold Member. Consequently, they also spun off InkTank (which has now been acquired by RedHat) and Akanda (a separate company), both open source projects. In 2017, Dreamhost won a challenge against the United States Department of Justice, who was asking for personally identifiable data and IP addresses belonging to DisruptJ20, a blog that helped organize anti-Trump protests.
In this review of Dreamhost web hosting, we will see if the company lives up to all the hype.
Dreamhost offers many support options that includes trained staff that is available 24/7 to its customers. Existing customers can raise a ticket request through their control panel, or they can use a form available on the website.
Dreamhost has a chat functionality, but unfortunately, it is only available to existing customers and mostly available when their ticket system is not available. The chat functionality is available perpetually to paying customers and they claim that no problem is too basic or too complex.
Dreamhost offers phone support, but the catch you yourself cannot call them up unless they offer a call back. And this option is available for a small fee. They do not display a telephone number on their website unlike a few other hosting companies.
Dreamhost has an excellent customer forum where you can virtually find solution to almost any problem you may come across. The forum has been in use for many years and is well maintained and active. Quite a lot of users are experts in their fields and are quick to respond to queries.
They are quite active 0n Twitter, and have more than one handle on the platform. Existing customers who are in a hurry to get answers to their queries can use this platform for quick and timely responses.
Dreamhost’s features just go on to say that even after being so many years in business, the hosting provider is still keen to prove that it is among the best. Let’s take a look at the feature set:
100% Uptime Guarantee
This is one of the most important feature if uptime is what you seek and the company guarantees it. Their terms of service states that failure to provide a 100% uptime will result in customer compensation of one day of service for each hour the service is down.
The “remixer” is an easy-to-use website building tool that does not require the user to have any coding skills. It is great for those who are just getting into website building.
Money Back Guarantee
Dreamhost offers a full refund on shared hosting plans if you cancel your plan within the first 97 days of opening your account. This is one of their selling points and one of the longest guarantee periods you will find with any hosting company.
Dreamhost has remained privately owned since its inception, so that means their core operating values have not changed and they have maintained the commitment to the community of their customers.
Support for Open Source
They have always been a big supporter of open-source software and try to provide open source solutions to their customers whenever possible.
You don’t have to look for documentation for your installations, WordPress, Joomla and other such apps are installed with the click of a button.
From a company that has been around for this long, one can expect a lot of pricing plans and Dreamhost does not disappoint. Dreamhost web hosting offers shared, VPS, dedicated and cloud hosting. It also offers shared and managed WordPress and WooCommerce hosting. Let us take a look at some plans:
These plans are what you would need if you are just starting up. The company is also offering a free domain with the purchase of a yearly starter plan where a Dreamhost promo code can be applied at checkout for further discounted rates. The offer is for a 1-year registration.
- Shared Starter: The entry level price for $2.59 per month is for new sites including WordPress and offers a saving of 47%. It includes 1 website, 1 free domain, unlimited traffic (so there is no pesky overage fees), pre-installed WordPress, fast SSD storage, free SSL certificate, can be upgraded to add mail and has 3-year, 1-year and monthly plans.
- Shared Unlimited: This plan is great for multiple websites and starts at $7.95 per month, with savings of 26% monthly and includes unlimited websites, unlimited traffic (so there is no pesky overage fees), pre-installed WordPress, fast SSD storage, free SSL certificate, unlimited email @ your domain and 3-year, 1-year and monthly plans.
All these plans come with a 100% uptime guarantee (owing to the redundant cooling, emergency generators, constant monitoring and multiple data center locations), an advanced, modern control panel (to quickly gain admin access to your website), a powerful 1-click installer, solid state drives (which are 200% faster than HDDs) and unlimited email access.
For those expecting great unhindered performance, VPS hosting is the way to go. Dreamhost offers 4 plans:
- VPS Basic: Perfect for small and new businesses, this plan is priced at $15 a month and offers 1GB RAM, 30GB SSD storage, unlimited websites and traffic, free SSL certificates and unlimited email @ your domain.
- VPS Business: Perfect for small businesses, this plan is priced at $30 a month and offers 2GB RAM, 60GB SSD storage, unlimited websites and traffic, free SSL certificates and unlimited email @ your domain.
- VPS Professional: Perfect for resource intensive sites, this plan is priced at $60 a month and offers 4GB RAM, 120GB SSD storage, unlimited websites and traffic, free SSL certificates and unlimited email @ your domain.
- VPS Enterprise: Perfect for resource intensive sites, this plan is priced at $120 a month and offers 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD storage, unlimited websites and traffic, free SSL certificates and unlimited email @ your domain.
All the plans come with an easy-to-use custom control panel (you can have your site up within minutes), unlimited traffic and bandwidth, RAM and storage that is expandable (this can be done under 10 seconds), security, updates and performance that is managed, along with US-based VPS. Resources are allocated so that only your website can use them. All plans are also available on a yearly basis.
You also get automatic software updates such as security patches, the latest versions of WordPress, Ubuntu OS updates and PHP releases. You can also grant access to people you trust with unlimited SFTP. Choose between Apache or Nginx, availability of PHP7, Perl and Python, futureproof your account with unlimited number of free IPv6 addresses and you also have SSH access.
Dreamhost’s fully-managed dedicated server hosting is perfect for large e-Commerce websites, reseller hosting, agencies with high-profile clients and high-traffic websites. These servers are big enough to handle any demand and have plenty of room to grow, so you will never have to worry about disk space, RAM or bandwidth. They offer one plan:
Starting at $169 per month, the plan offers max cores of 12, maximum capacity RAM at 64GB, SSD storage, a maximum storage of 2TB, availability of RAID 1, unlimited bandwidth, and free SSL certificate (after 1 year).
You can know more about Dreamhost’s dedicated hosting by writing to them.
This is divided into two sections; DreamCompute and DreamObjects.
DreamCompute offers three plans:
- 512MB RAM Server: This plan is ideal for those who like to tinker and is priced at $4.50 or $0.0075 an hour, this plan offers 1 vCPU, 80GB SSD disk, free bandwidth and 100GB block storage.
- 2GB RAM Server: This plan is ideal for websites, and is priced at $12 or $0.02 an hour, this plan offers 1 vCPU, 80GB SSD disk, free bandwidth and 100GB block storage.
- 2GB RAM Server: This plan is ideal for databases, and is priced at $48 or $0.08 an hour, this plan offers 4 vCPU, 80GB SSD disk, free bandwidth and 100GB block storage.
You get charged for only 25 days in any given month and free bandwidth and 100GB block storage are standard with these plans. For more information on prices, head here.
Cloud hosting provides you with unmatched speed (the servers are ready for SSH in less than 30 seconds thanks to next-gen processors and accelerated networks and are fully scalable any time). There are also virtually no limitations on the choice of software versions and operating systems (they can be based on MS Windows, BSD or Linux).
The DreamObjects plan is discounted for larger storage and comes with a pay-as-you-go option:
Priced at 2.5¢ per GB of storage per month, you get reliable redundant servers, S3 + Swift compatibility, free API requests and uploads, fully scalable storage and 24/7 email and chat support. What’s more is that Dreamhost is offering a 30-day free trial on this.
Dreamhost lets you enable extra security for domains. You can find details about them in their knowledge base and we will list some of these for you:
By default, this is enabled for free with your account, but this can be disabled/enabled under the “extra web security” option in the control panel. It is a web application firewall that can block malicious HTTP requests such as remote file inclusion, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, brute force and remote execution.
This is an evasive measure for that extra layer of security for your account and helps you protect it from hackers or website hijackers. You are provided the choice of Yubikey or Google Authenticator app.
You can purchase a professionally-signed certificate for $15, or you can use an unsigned (free) certificate. You can get a complete tutorial on how to do this here. Dreamhost offers free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates as well. WildCard certificates are not supported.
Pros and Cons
- Your site loads incredibly faster compared with other hosts, thanks to the inclusion of solid state drives (a lot faster than regular HDDs), PHP7, Gzip compression, CloudFlare (which also provides acceleration) and OPcache.
- You can build a website from scratch without any prior web-design experience using the Remixer website builder which comes with mobile-friendly themes, custom color and fonts, no page limits, built-in SEO optimization and individual media library.
- With their domains, you get exciting features such as auto-renewals (so that your domain remains yours), unlimited sub-domains, custom nameservers optional domain locking and domain forwarding.
- True 100% uptime guarantee that ensures that your website is running at all times and a promise to compensate you if it does not.
- Unheard of 97-day money back guarantee, where most hosts only provide you with a 30-day guarantee.
- Great customer support that is well-informed and equipped to solve any problem, big or small.
- Lack of cPanel could be a deterrent to some users, since it is a popular commercial web panel application and could make the going tough for those who are new to hosting.
- In case there is a tearing emergency, there is no telephone number to call and you would have to rely on a paid call back, whereas other hosts offer these services for free.
Dreamhost has been around for quite some time and it is apparent from their services why they are a success story. It offers great features, competitive prices and transparent hosting plans that should go a long way in running a fairly-sized website. If you are a blogger or run a WordPress site, Dreamhost would be a perfect companion for you with their tailor-made plans. On the other hand, lack of phone support and cPanel could be a deterrent to some potential customers.