Getting To The Bottom Of Dreamhost With A Complete 2016 Review
This article marks the first in my series of hosting reviews. I came across Dreamhost easily enough by searching “hosting” on the big Google engine. Dreamhost seemed to be asking more than the other recommended hosting companies, so I thought I’d take a look and find out why!
Product: Dreamhost. A website hosting service and more.
Overall Ranking: 80 out of 100.
Shared Hosting –
$7.95 per month $5.95 per month 25% off sale + 1 free domain. Offer ends 6/30/2016.
Optimized WordPress Hosting – $19.95/month or $16.95/month with annual plan.
Managed VPS Hosting – Starting at $15/month for 1GB RAM with scaled options as your site need increases.
Dedicated Server Hosting – Starting at $149/month. For those that want a server dedicated to their site alone.
Open Source Cloud Hosting – Rates by usage, and as low as $4.50/month for 512MB of memory.
Cloud Storage – 30 day free trial. Rates by usage or prepaid, and as low as 2.5 cents/month per GB of storage, and 5 cents/month per GB of downloads.
Domain Service – $13.95/month with no hidden fees.
Owner: New Dream Network, LLC.
Introduction To Dreamhost
Dreamhost is one of many web hosting services available on the internet today. It is one of the longer running services, getting its start in 1996. The original idea was created by four college friends in a dorm room (I’m beginning to sense a pattern here). I’m always a sucker for the small startup gone big as long as it’s not too big!
Today Dreamhost serves over 400,000 customers, and hosts over 1.5 million websites. Around the clock support is available to all members, and a team of wordpress experts serves the high amount of wordpress websites they host. Add to that domain registration, open source cloud servers, and cloud storage to round out their services.
Dreamhost makes a fine presentation of services, and is a 100% legitimate company. They offer a 97 day money back guarantee! A long trial period for any site to offer, and shows true confidence in their own product. The couple dollars more that Dreamhost asks a month is starting to look like it could be worth it. First, let’s see if Dreamhost holds up in its claim of high value.
If you see anything that might be missing in this review, or have an experience with Dreamhost you’d like to share please use the comment box at the bottom. I’ll get right back to you .
Pros And Cons Of Dreamhost
Website hosting is no joke for the serious entrepreneur. Poor hosting can
mean a slow or unavailable site, which all but guarantees you’ll never be found on search engines. There’s a lot of components that go into good hosting so here’s a look at what Dreamhost offers.
- New Solid State Drives – Dreamhost has made the switch from outdated mechanical drives to state of the art SSD’s. These drives provide faster caching and database queries which lead to better performance of your site. Speed also plays a factor in search engine ranking.
- Unlimited Storage And Bandwidth – You can add as much as want to your site, and you can also have an unlimited amount of visitors on your site. There are no traffic limits at Dreamhost.
- An Unlimited Amount Of Websites – Although you might spend a bit on themes and domain names, Dreamhost will allow you to host as many websites as you want for the same price.
- Limitless Email Accounts – Create and manage your heart’s desire of email accounts using POP/IMAP/SMTP accounts. A service all it’s own with auto responder among other features.
- WordPress Installer – Get your site live and online with as little as 1 click.
Sounds tough doesn’t it?
- Around The Clock Support – Get the help you need anytime either day or night. Problems don’t wait for you to happen and Dreamhost doesn’t make you wait.
- Control Panel – Access and manage every feature of Dreamhost in one easy to use in house control panel.
- Online Guarantee – If your hosting and site go down Dreamhost will provide 1 free day of hosting per hour of outage at your current plan rate. They will deduct up to a maximum of 10% off your next bill.
- Wide Selection Of Services And Hosting – Dreamhost provides shared, managed WordPress, managed VPS, and dedicated server hosting. They also offer open source cloud hosting for applications, cloud storage, and domain services. There is no shortage of services at Dreamhost!
- 97 Day Full Money Back Guarantee – Dreamhost will give you all your money back if you’re not satisfied for any reason.
It’s hard to get a good idea of a company just by looking at its features and promises. When I scour the web and can’t find any bad posts about a business it says a lot. Unfortunately this isn’t the case with Dreamhost. It seems they’ve had more than a few unhappy customers.
I scrubbed the web for a while and ended up on WebHostingGeeks.com’s review of Dreamhost. They have posted 46 Dreamhost customer reviews of which the majority are negative. You’ll find complaints about everything from hosting outages to poor customer service.
I’m also concerned about the value of the website giving the review so I did some research on WebHostingGeeks.com. I did learn that they’ve been up since 2004 providing honest reviews of online companies. WebHostingGeeks.com is legit which means there’s no reason to doubt the legitimacy of their customer review comments. Here’s a list of the complaints I found about Dreamhost.
- Poor Support And Customer Service – There are some pretty harsh words and poorly handled circumstances here. Online chat support wait time has been said to be up to 2 or 3 hours.
- Billing Issues – I cringe at these. Someone wanted cancellation but they were downgraded instead. They were charged for three extra months with “pass the buck” support along the way.
- Email Service Problems – Servers have been reported to be constantly crashing and effecting business as a result.
- CPanel – Dreamhost offers a completely in house built control panel. It can be frustrating for newcomers to have to learn a new system instead of the shared one they’re used to.
- Reported Outages – This is a huge concern and one that quite obviously would cost a business sales. It appears a lot of this came as a result of changing over from mechanical to solid state drives.
There are positive comments mixed in, and a lot of the negative ones are coming from long time customers who are experiencing recent issues.
Who Is Dreamhost Best Suited For?
Dreamhost’ services works well for start up websites through their shared
hosting plan. More serious and experienced individual site owners can use either the Managed WordPress, Managed VPS, or Dedicated hosting service. Finally, website developers can use any or all of these services to satisfy their customer’s needs.
If you’ve already started looking at themes and also need a domain name, you might be trying to find the best price to keep your overall cost down. You should be advised that programs like Wealthy Affiliate offer all these things, trainings, and more for 1 very reasonable rate. They also offer a 7 day free trial.
Is there something about this review that you find different and above the rest? Do me the courtesy of using the social icons to share, like, or follow.
Dreamhost Training, Tools, And Support
Dreamhost doesn’t offer any kind of official training program. They do
have a basic website guide, but if you get tripped up during any process you’ll have to contact customer support.
The tools offered by Dreamhost are covered in the description of each of their services. It’s important to take a look at these if you’re not sure which plan is for you. I’ll cover them in detail below.
Shared hosting is the Dreamhost basic plan. It works for start ups, blogs,
stores, or most other individual needs. The unlimited website feature can also be used by web developers or those with multiple blogs. Dreamhost has also recently made the change to Solid State Drives which makes site speed and conversion even higher. Here’s what Dreamhost Shared Hosting offers to its clients.
- 1 Free Domain Name – A value of $13.95 at their own rates.
- Website Hosting – The ability to manage 1 or all of your websites in the same location.
- 1 Click WordPress Installer – If you already have a wordpress based blog, Dreamhost can have it live and online in one simple click.
- Solid State Drives – Top technology claims to increase website speeds up to 200%.
- Unlimited Storage And Bandwidth – Dreamhost won’t put any limits on site space, or limits on amount of traffic to your site.
- Unlimited Email Accounts – Dreamhost offers POP/IMAP/SMTP email accounts to its customers.
These are the extra features and don’t include the standard shared hosting features at no extra charge. Here’s what the standard features include.
Web Based Control Panel PHP5 Support Full Unix Shell
Rails, Python, Perl Support SSL Secure Server
Crontab Access Canned CGI Scripts Access To Raw Log Files
Full CGI Access Server Side Includes
Subversion Repository Unlimited MySQL Databases
IPv6 Support $100 Google Adwords Credit
You can see that Dreamhost does offer quite a bit, even in their most basic package.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Dreamhost offers it’s second plan which they call DreamPress 2. Optimized WordPress Hosting is for those that want faster speeds and better performance out of their hosting. Designed specifically for WordPress websites, here’s a view of what Dreamhost gives you with Managed WordPress Hosting.
- Easy Installation – DreamPress 2 is already prepared for wordpress sites and as a result installation takes only moments.
- Optimization – DreamPress 2 offers top level performance with multiple caching, isolated servers, and a premium version of PHP.
- Auto Updates – Keep your site updated to the current version automatically which will ensure you never miss a security update.
- ECommerce Able – Provides a private ip address and a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate which can be placed on your page, easing customer’s fears about information security.
- High Security – A WordPress specific firewall that adds strong protection to your site, and to all your visitor’s and client’s information.
- Increased Bandwidth – Bandwidth that increases as your traffic does, making it perfect for busy seasons or sales promotions.
It’s not hard to see that if you have a WordPress website, Dreamhost’ DreamPress 2 is fully prepared for your business.
Managed VPS Hosting
Dreamhost provides Virtual Private Hosting for those websites that largely depend on software. They offer several price points which allow their users to add memory and storage. The result is an effective system for a growing company that starts small but needs to be able to scale quickly. Below is a list of Dreamhost’ VPS features.
- SSD Hosting – Also hosted using Solid State Drives.
- Server Management – Don’t worry about having to manage the server because Dreamhost does it for you.
- Scalable RAM – Dreamhost gives you the option to start small at 1GB, and easily scale up to 8GB. All within a click’s reach on your control panel.
- Unlimited Bandwidth And Domains – Just like the other plans, bandwidth and amount of domains hosted are all covered within the single price you pay.
- Ubuntu 12.04 LTS – Dreamhost employs the use of Ubuntu Long Term Support which gives you 5 years of security updates, and meshes well with new software.
Just like the shared hosting plan, Dreamhost’ managed VPS offers several other standard features at no extra charge. These include:
PHP5/Perl/Python Node.js Ruby Version Manager
$100 Google Adword Credit Secure Shell Phusion Passenger
One Click App Installer Crontab Access
Subversion Repository Access To Raw Log Files IPv4 And IPv6
SSL/TLS Certificates From Let’s Encrypt Password Protection
Unlimited Email Unlimited FTP’s And FTP Users
Dedicated Server Hosting
DSH is top level hosting made for the busiest of websites. Dreamhost’ Managed Dedicated Server Hosting offers features above and beyond other popular hosting platforms like HostGator, BlueHost, and GoDaddy. Let’s see what Dreamhost has that these companies don’t.
- Fully Managed – An expert dedicated server staff provides around the clock monitoring, and performance management.
- Several Scaleable Plan Options – Dreamhost offers a plan building tool that lets you select the specifics of your dedicated server. Plans start with 4 cores, 1 TB HDD storage, 4GB Ram, and available by either monthly or annual payment. The tool allows you to mix any of these plan specifics which enables you to build the plan you desire.
- Maximum Cores – Dreamhost can offer 12, while the competitors mentioned offer a max of 4.
- Maximum RAM – Dreamhost tops out at 64GB, while GoDaddy offers up to 32GB. BlueHost and HostGator max at 16GB RAM.
- SSD Storage – The other three companies don’t offer SSD Storage.
- Max Storage – GoDaddy matches Dreamhost at 2TB, while the other two offer 1TB.
- Raid 1 – All platforms offer Raid 1.
- Max Bandwidth – It’s unlimited at Dreamhost, and HostGator comes in next with 25TB. Third is GoDaddy with 20TB, and BlueHost trails behind offering 15TB.
- Host Your Own Sites – There’s enough power in your Dreamhost dedicated server to build client sites and charge them for your hosting!
*Note: These stats were gathered June 16th, 2015.
Other standard features that come along with your package are Full Root and Shell Access, DDos Protection, Ubuntu Linux, PHP/Perl/Python/Ruby Support, Unlimited MySQL Databases, and the 1 Click WordPress Installer.
Public Cloud Computing
Dreamhost offers an open source cloud service they call DreamCompute. Their cloud service is compatible with hundreds of applications and tools like Ansible, Vagrant, Chef, and Puppet.
DreamCompute gives Full Root Access and is compatible with OpenStack API and you are given the option to choose your desired OS (Operating System). DreamCompute is powered by OpenStack and Ceph, and offers a potent solution for application and web developers.
Dreamhost offers storage solutions for those businesses or organizations in need of extra digital space. The service goes by the name DreamObjects and can be used to host your site’s static data, keep several versions of website backups, file storage, or to build your next big website/application. The features of DreamObjects are:
- 30 Day Free Trial
- Powered By Open Source
- S3 + Swift Compatible
- Scalable Storage
- Redundant Servers
- Free Uploads And API Requests
One of the better features of DreamObjects is that it contains a Content Delivery Network called DreamSpeed. It does come with an extra cost and is only available after you’re signed up for DreamObjects. DreamSpeed copies and delivers your site data to servers all around the world which ensures that your visitors are receiving the data from the nearest geographical location. Known to greatly increase site speed, DreamSpeed is a valuable service for those who prospect international clients.
Full Domain Service
Last but not least, Dreamhost has a full domain service and all domain names are sold at one set price. They provide a list of 330 name extensions which gives you the ability to find the right name to match your business. There are also no hidden costs for privacy or annual price increases. The main features of Dreamhost’ domain service include:
- Domain Name Server Management – Facilitates the process of updating your name server info.
- Domain Forwarding – Forward your domain name to any website you wish.
- Free Privacy – Missing the hidden extra charges!
- Free Subdomains – Create as many subdomains as you like to help build out your site.
- 3 Auto Renewal Options – It’s your choice whether to set auto renew to the off, on, or “ask me” setting.
- Domain Locking – An option provided to protect your domain from unauthorized transfer requests.
Dreamhost offers 24 hour 7 day a week support. The forms of support communication offered are through a live chat feature or email back and forth. It’s also notable that Dreamhost dedicates separate teams of support experts to each of their hosting options. As stated earlier, customer reviews are documented with both negative and positive comments when it comes to Dreamhost’ Support.
I listed all the base prices at the beginning of the article for your reference though the pricing options are quite extensive at Dreamhost. If you’re interested in how these prices are scaled please visit Dreamhost.com for all the details.
I started the article by asking why Dreamhost came in at slightly higher price than many peer competitors. After a considerable investigation I feel the extra cost is worth it for the services that Dreamhost provides. I had Dreamhost ranked in the low 90’s until I came across the negative reviews. Even still, I’m giving them a score of 80 out of 100 and will raise or lower it as feedback comes in.
I do appreciate you taking the time to peruse this review. I wanted to cover all the qualities of Dreamhost in its current state and I do hope the info you wanted was provided here. Please like, share, follow, and/or leave a comment at your pleasure.