Dreamhost Review: Is it the Dream Host?8 min read
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Dreamhost host over 1.5 million websites across the US and the company itself is about 25 years old, founded on April 10, 1996, but the question we’re all asking is it the hosting of our dreams? Well we are going to find out just that in this Dreamhost review
According to our monitoring service, Dreamhost has had an average of 99.98% uptime during the span of 12 months. Their performance isn’t bad either with the average page-load just taking 495 ms.
Like other hosting providers, Dreamhost comes with popular apps such as WordPress, and Joomla. In addition to having their own website builder, they also include 3rd party site builders like Wix or Weebly.
Their shared hosting plans offer unlimited features, such as storage and bandwidth. On top of this, they offer a very generous 97-day money-back guarantee to try the service out, well above other providers in the same market.
|Speed||495 ms Page load time|
|Technical Specs||Unmetered Bandwidth, Unlimited Storage|
|Website Transfer||Paid Site Transfer, free plugin for WP|
|Hosting Plans||Shared, WordPress, Cloud, and Dedicated|
|Apps||WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, phpDB, Shopify and Tumblr.|
|Support||E-mail, Ticket, and phone|
|Pricing||Starting at $2.59, Renews at the same entry price|
Fast Page Load Time – 495ms
Fast page load times are essential for any site really, especially business ones. Having a slow site can result in both lower revenue and rankings. We have all noticed how some websites are just really, really slow and how annoying that can be, and you wouldn’t want that to be your website or brand, would you?
On top of that, Page speed has been a ranking factor on google ever since 2010 and according to Sean Work, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Because its significance, we have gone ahead and set up a temporary WordPress site with Dreamhost, and tested the page speed of it from 8 different locations, across the globe:
|Location||First Visit||Repeat Visit|
|New York, US||490 ms||433 ms|
|Seattle, US||460 ms||420 ms|
|Amsterdam, NL||800 ms||637 ms|
|London, UK||831 ms||730 ms|
|Paris, France||731 ms||521 ms|
|Tokyo, Japan||4.2 sec||929 ms|
|Brisbane, Australia||3.8 sec||1.4 sec|
Among the Best Uptime Record: 99.98%
Uptime is among the most important merit when choosing a web host, even more, important than speed since if the site is down the average load time goes up
Due to its importance, we have gone ahead and monitored Dreamhost’s uptime during the span of 12 whole months. Here’s the result:
Dreamhost 12-month average statistical uptime:
- March 2020 average uptime: 99.99%
- February 2020 average uptime: 100%
- January 2020 average uptime: 99.93%
- December 2019 average uptime 99.99%
- November 2019 average uptime: 99.98%
- October 2019 average uptime: 99.97%
- September 2019 average uptime: 99.98%
- August 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- July 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- June 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- May 2019 average uptime: 99.98%
- April 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- March 2019 average uptime: 100%
In other words, this means that your website is down on average 16 seconds per day.
Quick information about our monitoring tool:
Our monitoring tool visits the website every minute, every hour, 24/7 a day and reports any downtime before calculating an average at the end of each month. As a result of this, we are able to see it’s true uptime, rather than if we just noticed it manually.
Dreamhost Uptime Guarantee
Dreamhost states that it has an uptime guarantee of 100%. You could think that this means that if your website is down you would get compensation for it, but it isn’t quite that easy.
According to their terms of service, the compensation becomes invalid if the downtime is due to “previously announced scheduled maintenance, coding or configuration errors on the part of the Customer.”
You will get a free day’s worth of your current hosting service for every hour that it is down. However, There’s another catch to their so-called “100% uptime guarantee”. You can only get up to 10% of your next renewal fee.
97-day Money-back Guarantee
According to SiteGround’s refund policy, they offer a full 97-day (over 3 months) money-back guarantee. In comparison, this is way more than any other hosting provider. Both SiteGround and Bluehost only offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
There are some exceptions to this refund though. For one, addons such as SSL certificates and domain names do not qualify for this. The same thing is true for other extras such as CDN or Google Adwords credit.
The other exception is that they only issue refunds if you have paid with a credit or debit card. Any other payment gateway, such as via a paper check does not qualify either. So if you decide to buy hosting from them, make sure to pay via card.
Customer Support – meh
Dreamhost claims to offer a 24/7 in house support, but in reality, this does not seem to be the case. I tried reaching their live chat on two separate occasions but to no effect. It looked promising to start with, only to be let down at the end.
On the bottom of their site I could find their actual support availability time:
Sales Chat: MON-FRI 8AM-4PM PT through the chat widget.
Customer Support Chat: Every Day 5:30AM–9:30PM PT through the panel.
Still, it seems very strange to me seeing two different statements. One saying that their support is only available during certain times, and the other claiming 24/7 expert support. It seems as if they count their knowledge base, and self-support as 24/7, therefor advertising their support as 24/7, but this can be misleading.
Dreamhost’s Pricing & Plan Features
In addition to Dreamhost’s shared hosting plans only starting at $2.59 per month, it comes with a lot of features as well.
You get one website with a free domain name and SSL-certificate by Let’s Encrypt included. On top of this, it comes with unlimited bandwidth/traffic and storage.
All the hosting plans also come with their in-house website builder called WP Website Builder. They also offer 3rd party alternatives in their app library, such as Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix.
This is the same “library” or section in the panel where you can find other popular apps waiting for you, such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, phpDB, Shopify and Tumblr.
Talking about apps such as WordPress, they actually have a 1-click installer for all of them, meaning that it’s perfect for novice webmasters to get set up without any technical know-how.
Same Renewal pricing
What really impressed me is that Dreamhost offers the same price for renewals as they do for new customers. Most companies in the hosting industry usually tend to offer a promotional price for the first billing period, before raising it on plan renewal. This is clearly not the case for Dreamhost as the renewal is just $2.59 per month.
You also have the possibility of automatically pre-install WordPress when ordering.
Different Plans Overview
Dreamhost only has two different plans to choose from when it comes to shared hosting, Shared Starter, and Shared Unlimited.
Shared Starter: Dreamhost’s Shared Starter plan starts at $2.59 per month when choosing the 3 years billing cycle. It comes with one website with a free domain name and SSL-certificate by Let’s Encrypt included, unlimited bandwidth/traffic and storage.
Shared Unlimited: Dreamhost’s Shared Unlimited plan starts at $4.95 per month when choosing the 3 years billing cycle. It comes with one website with a free domain name and SSL-certificate by Let’s Encrypt included, unlimited bandwidth/traffic and storage. In addition to all the features the Shared Starter plan has it also includes unlimited emails at your domain. ([email protected])
Summary & Do we recommend Dreamhost?
Yes, we recommend Dreamhost.
+ Average Uptime (99,98%)
+ Average page-load (495 ms)
+ Same Renewal Cost
+ Free SSL-Certificate
+ 97-day refund guarantee
– Limited 24/7 Support
– Paid Migrations
Dreamhost shared web hosting services has an above-average speed and uptime. Their entry-level plan is very affordable and starts at just $2.59/mo. What’s more, is that the renewal cost is the same.
However, their support is not reachable 24/7, instead you have to rely on their knowledge base and self-support articles when they are not around.
They also have a very generous money-back guarantee of 97 whole days, hence if it doesn’t meet up to your expectations you’re free to cancel the plan with no risk.