DreamHost was founded in 1996 by four college students in Claremont, California and remains independently owned to this day. After over twenty years of business, the company now has over 400,000 customers and hosts over 1.5 million websites.
These statistics are astounding but when a hosting service becomes too large, it often moves at a snail-like pace when providing anything from customer support to other basic services.
We signed up with the service to answer a simple question…Is @DreamHost a dream or a nightmare? Click To Tweet
Pros and Cons
- DreamHost offers great security features like SSL certificates and automated malware scans.
- The web host guarantees 100% uptime — something no other service does.
- A 97-day money back guarantee is the best in the industry.
- DreamHost is one fo the most expensive options on the market.
- The service requires user verification following sign-up, which can take hours to complete.
- There is only one shared hosting plan available.
Users can sign up for DreamHost using a five-step process.
- Create Your Account – You will first be required to enter your username and password.
- Choose Your Domain – Next, DreamHost will ask you to choose your domain. You can opt to skip this step and choose it at a later time. Domain registration costs extra on the service, but it is free for your first year with an annual hosting plan.
- Choose Your Plan – Shared hosting plans come in a single flavor (for better or for worse), but you can choose to pay for one on a monthly, annual, or triannual basis.
- Additional Options – Like most other services, DreamHost offer several different add-ons, including a site monitor for $3.00 additional per month, a free WordPress installation, and MySQL VPS for $15.00 per month.
- The Money Part – Finally comes the payment. This is also where you’ll find out that WHOIS domain privacy is free!
Once we completed registration we ran into our first problem. DreamHost requires new users to provide identification and, as a result, the signup time was significantly lengthened.
After hours of waiting and confirming that we are who we are, we were finally ready to use the service.
DreamHost comes with many of the features one might expect from a web host, but some which surprised even us.
All shared plans include unlimited hosting services, including storage, bandwidth, and domains. This means that if you are run a large and popular site you will get more than your money’s worth.
On the other hand, if you’re just starting, there are no basic options to choose from. In other words, you will pay the same amount no matter what your needs. This might turn some users away, especially if they never intend for their site to grow to the level where it makes sense to have an unlimited plan.
Also included are a free domain in your first year of using the service, free SSL/TLS certificates, and free domain privacy – a necessary service that often costs extra.
DreamHost uses solid-state hard drive servers, which enables the service to provide speeds of up to 200% faster than those who do not.
They also have a 100% uptime guarantee, which is the first service that we’ve encountered to promise such a thing. For every hour of downtime your site has, you will receive a full day of additional service for free.
DreamHost does not make use of a conventional cPanel, instead opting for a proprietary dashboard.
This well-designed user area provides you with everything you need to know at a glance. Upon signing into the site, you will be presented with the latest updates from the service in a What’s New section.
You can navigate through different parts of your control panel using a sidebar menu which is reminiscent of WordPress, and you can use the page to do anything from upgrade to cloud services to change your billing information.
The Goodies section includes add-ons which are mostly complex in nature but also offers one-click installs for WordPress, concrete5, and Joomla.
DreamHost support is available 24/7 via Twitter, live chat, and email. There is no support number but, let’s face it, how many of us still prefer calling customer service?
Technical support is well-trained and they were able to manage all of the issues we threw their way. They were extremely friendly and it only took us about four minutes to connect with someone.
Responses were clear and concise enough to guide us through our problems that to a support team that is not outsourced and which is required to reach a high level in their training before interacting with customers.
DreamHost might be a case of getting what you pay for, with one of the most expensive plans we have ever encountered.
There is only one shared hosting plan option, which is broken down into payment plans as opposed to feature plans.
DreamHost offers a monthly rate of $10.95, a yearly rate of $9.95 per month, and a three-year rate of $7.95 per month. This puts the service on the pricey side and, despite its rich features, may appeal only to those who want or need unlimited everything. Three years is a long commitment for an untried and untested website.
That said, the service offers a 97-day money back guarantee. This means that if you want to cancel for any reason within that time period, you may do so – no questions asked.
DreamHost is an excellent web host, providing new users with a simple interface and advanced users with plenty of fancy tools. It is pricey, but you may find that it’s worth your money, especially considering the service speed and uptime.
The service should be considered strongly by anyone looking for a new web host.