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Brad Smith

Hosting Reviewer

DreamHost was founded in 1997 and hosts over 1.5 million websites.

DreamHost hosting review

DreamHost’s main shared hosting plan comes with popular apps like WordPress, website builder options including their own, and others like Wix or Weebly. These plans have unlimited bandwidth and disk space. And you get a full 97-day money-back guarantee to test the service out.

Their customer support is a bit limited, however.

Here’s a transparent look at how DreamHost has performed over the last 12 months.

General Info & Hosting Overview


Our Rating:

Our Verdict: 4.0

SPEED: 1320 ms (April 2020 to March 2021)
UPTIME: 99.90% (April 2020 to March 2021)
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: Free for WordPress Sites
PRICING: Starting at $2.59/mo (Renews at $5.99/month)

Pros of Using DreamHost Hosting


DreamHost comes with lots of “unlimited” features.

They have a longer-than-average 97-day refund policy to make sure you’re happy with the service before getting locked in.

Here’s a deep dive into the results from our hands-on test:

1. Month-to-Month Hosting (Cancel Anytime)

The vast majority of all 40+ web hosts we’ve reviewed will give you a 30-day refund period. That gives you a full month to test out their services before risking your prepaid amount.

A few hosts, like HostGator, will give you 45 days.

And then there’s DreamHost.

Their money-back guarantee is good for up to 97 days. That’s over a full three months to really make sure you’re happy.

DreamHost doesn’t have any hidden terms or hoops to jump through that might jeopardize your refund, either. Furthermore, you can pay month to month and cancel anytime. This is very rare in the web hosting industry.

2. Good Basic Plan Features

DreamHost’s Shared Starter option starts at only $2.59/month. But it comes with a ton of features right out of the gate.

DreamHost features

You get one website with a free domain name, and SSL certificate included. This site can handle unlimited traffic (or bandwidth) and storage.

DreamHost has its own website builder called Remixer, but they also offer access to SquareSpace, Weebly, and Wix in their app library.

You’ll also be able to find Joomla, phpBB, Zen Cart, Drupal, Magento, Shopify, and Tumblr in there waiting for you, too.

WordPress also comes pre-installed. It’s pretty easy to set up on most servers with the one-click install option. However, the fact that it’s immediately ready when you signup is perfect for novice webmasters.

The final bit of good news on these plans is that there’s no longer a delayed verification system.

The first time we reviewed DreamHost, they required a manual verification that could postpone you being able to use the service for a few hours after signing up.

Thankfully, their customer support rep told us that they now only require extra verification steps if there’s a problem with your payment.

You should be able to hit the ground running now after signing up.

3. Unlimited Disk Space and Network Transfer Limits

DreamHost lists a lot of “unlimited” features on their pricing and plans, including disk space and bandwidth.

This means you don’t have to worry about disk storage or network transfer when your site gets popular.

There are a few caveats to this policy, but it’s mostly legit.

First and foremost, your site needs to be built properly. If it’s hogging server resources and causing issues with other sites, they might try to move you over to their private servers, instead.

DreamPress, VPS servers, and email do not fall under this unlimited policy.

Email is restricted to only 2 GB limits, while MySQL databases also need to stay under “a few GB in size.”

In other words, DreamHost’s shared servers are perfect for relatively small sites.

4. They’re Carbon Neutral (AKA Green)

You can add DreamHost among the list of web hosts who’re trying to be more environmentally conscious.

They’re going above and beyond just offsetting the carbon footprint of their servers, though.

Their data centers include “high-efficiency” cooling and processors. They’re also involved in state-level ‘clean wind’ programs to harness renewable resources.

Their offices are LEED and EnergyStar-certified, and everything from lighting to HVAC systems is also energy efficient.

5. Custom-Made Control Panel

DreamHost uses a custom-made control panel instead of the industry-standard cPanel. For cPanel fans, it can be rather a con than a pro, but it’s actually very easy to grasp and beginner-friendly.

DreamHost control panelFrom there you can manage your databases, email, billing, and websites. The WordPress editor is also just a click away.

6. Free WordPress Site Migration

Not so long time ago DreamHost didn’t offer free site migration. But, now, they have included a free site migration option in their WordPress and shared hosting plans. Moreover, migration is promised to be done with no downtime.

DreamHost site migrationHowever, there’s a small catch.

Site migration is free only for WordPress sites. Meaning, if you’re using some other CMS (Wix, Weebly, etc), you’d still have to pay a one-time fee of $99.

For WordPress users, this is good news, for others not so much.

Cons of Using DreamHost Hosting


DreamHost has a lot to offer, including its handy features and free WordPress site migration.

Unfortunately, there were still a few drawbacks we ran into while testing out their services.

Here’s a complete list of the biggest cons to consider:

1. Slow Average Speed (1320 ms)

Loading time is one of the most important factors while choosing a host. Not only does page speed affect visitor bounce rate but slow loading time can also affect your overall SEO (not to mention Google rank). This, however, calculates to lost profit.

So needless to say, the faster your website loads the better.

Unfortunately, DreamHost’s 1320 ms average loading time over the past 12 months hasn’t been good. It puts them in the lower half of the hosts we’ve tested.

Dreamhost Page Speed Apr. 2020 - Mar. 2021
DreamHost average speed See stats

That’s a pity, because not a long time ago, DreamHost still managed to deliver above-average speeds, but lately, their performance has gone gradually worse.

2. Average Uptime Not The Best (99.90%)

DreamHost’s 12-month average uptime is also nothing to brag about – 99.90% with more than eight hours of downtime.

That’s bad and could potentially mean lost website visitor traffic and profit for you.

However, the good news is that DreamHost has an uptime guarantee. Like other hosts, if your monthly average falls beneath that threshold, you’ll get a credit for the cost of the service.

Most uptime guarantees we’ve seen might hover around the 99.98% mark. So these hosts believe and stand behind their services, but they’re also giving themselves a little wiggle room in case normal fluctuations hit.

DreamHost, though, guarantees 100% uptime in their Terms of Service. Keep in mind that scheduled maintenance or user errors aren’t covered in this guarantee.

However, any other DreamHost issue that messes with your site, database, email, or webmail can trigger the guarantee. You’ll get a free day’s worth of service for each hour of service interruption. The only catch is that there’s a 10% max of your “next prepaid hosting renewal fee” (so it applies in the future, as opposed to a retroactive discount or refund).

DreamHost last 12-month uptime and speed statistics
DreamHost average uptime | See stats

Last 12-month average uptime:

  • March 2021: 99.76%
  • February 2021: 99.97%
  • January 2021: 100%
  • December 2020: 99.99%
  • November 2020: 100%
  • October 2020: 100%
  • September 2020: 99.78%
  • August 2020: 99.62%
  • July 2020: 99.84%
  • June 2020: 99.98%
  • May 2020: 99.93%
  • April 2020: 99.98%

3. Good, but Limited Live Chat Support

DreamHost provides an obligatory knowledge base and discussion forums to help customers solve their own issues.

They also claim to offer “24/7 in-house support.” Although, our tests actually revealed the opposite.

In the lower right-hand corner of their screen is a little messaging icon. Click on it, and instead of being met with an open box, you have to select from a few pre-set answers.

dreamhost live chat

In other words, they’re trying to automate the live chat process with something that mimics a phone tree.

We tried bypassing these options to get a sales rep on as soon as possible. But at the time we tried, no one was available.

So not really “24/7” then. These hours (Monday-Friday 8-4 PM PT) overlap with business hours in most time zones in the U.S., but not if you’re in other parts of the world.

We had to come back later during these hours to test the process all over again. It took a few minutes for a sales rep to finally join, and they were both knowledgeable and helpful.

It is unfortunate that you have to jump through hoops (show up at specific hours) to get access to anyone in the first place.

DreamHost Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts

Here’s a quick overview of DreamHost’s Shared Hosting plans:


Shared Starter Plan Shared Unlimited Plan
Pricing $2.59/month
Renews at $5.99/mo
$3.95/month
Renews at $10.99/mo
Websites 1 Unlimited
Bandwidth Unmetered Unmetered
Storage Unmetered Unmetered
Email Accounts Costs extra ($1.67/mo) Unlimited
Other Features • Unlimited Subdomains & MySQL Databases
• Unlimited FTP/SFTP/Shell Users

Beyond these two options, DreamHost also offers three Managed WordPress Hosting plans.


DreamPress Plan DreamPress Plus Plan DreamPress Pro Plan
Pricing $16.95/month $24.95/month $71.95/month
Websites 1 1 1
Bandwidth Unmetered Unmetered Unmetered
Storage 30GB 60GB 120GB
Email Accounts Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Other Features • Unlimited CDN • Unlimited CDN
• Priority Support

DreamHost also has VPS and Dedicated servers, too.

Quick Facts

  • Ease of Signup: Long and complicated sign-up process. Signup should be easier.
  • Free domain: For the first year on all annual hosting plans.
  • Money Back: 97-day money-back guarantee.
  • Payment Methods: Credit Card, PayPal, Check, Money Order, Checking Account
  • Hidden Fees and Clauses: No major ones. Site migration costs extra for CMS’ that are other than WordPress.
  • Upsells: A few upsells.
  • Account Activation: Account activation is quick unless you have payment issues.
  • Control Panel and Dashboard: Custom DreamHost control panel.
  • Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): One-click installer for WordPress and other apps/CMSs.

Do We Recommend DreamHost?

Yes, we do.

Even though DreamHost’s uptime and speed have gone worse over the past year, they still showed reliable results not so long time ago, which makes us believe that current low performance is just a temporary setback.

Furthermore, you can test out DreamHost’s services for a whole 97 days and there’s also a 100% uptime guarantee that should make you feel even safer to try them out.

Moreover, their default plan limits are pretty high, offering a bunch of “unlimited” options for disk space, bandwidth, and more. Also, if you’re a WordPress user, site migration is now free for you.

On another note, the customer support was pretty limited to only a few certain hours throughout the week.

Visit www.DreamHost.com

Are you a satisfied (or unsatisfied) DreamHost customer? Please leave a review below!

149 user reviews for DreamHost

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    Fred L

    5  — March 25, 2021

    Hosting My Dreams Since 2011

    I’m very happy with the shared hosting option as I am only hosting my personal website. As ideas come, I add another domain and I’ve got unlimited hosting of domains, so my monthly hosting costs the same. I even host a simple website for a friend.

    I jumped into 2021 by joining a coding bootcamp which meant I was learning more things, and when I learned about NodeJS, I naturally wanted to know if DreamHost would be able to host what I’m making. They do! I had to contact support, which has been amazing. I followed the guide and my NodeJS project is running! I was worried I was about to outgrow DreamHost, but they have proved they are ready for what’s next.

    Doug E

    5  — March 24, 2021

    Big difference

    I had a major struggle getting changes to my domain on GoDaddy and spent too much time on the phone with their techs so I moved to Dreamhost and things got better immediately. They made these changes simple and easy. The website is much better also.

    Paul H

    5  — March 21, 2021

    Best, Most Responsive Customer Service I’ve Ever Experienced

    I moved my sites to DreamHost back in 2013, after tiring of another GoshDarned service which dinged me for every little thing, including email addresses(!).

    I should note that I currently have six sites, give or take, so I have a more comprehensive package. I believe the starter kit offers fewer goodies, but it’s still a good service.

    DreamHost’s prices are very affordable, from domain registration to hosting. Setting up email addresses — in fact, pretty much all the technical stuff — is easy. If there’s a problem, I don’t hesitate to hit up their very responsive customer service. They offer ticket support, and most issues are remedied within an hour (and that’s on the long side). They’re unfailingly cheerful, helpful, and responsive.

    They’re generous with storage, and I like that they offer WordPress (among other one-click installs) for free. Also free, and this is very nice, is that you can enable SSL for free as they use “Let’s Encrypt.”

    Ozh

    5  — March 21, 2021

    “customer since: 2005️”

    All the emails I get from Dreamhost have the same message in the footer: “customer since: 2005 ️”
    Yes, I’ve been a customer since 2005. Why? Because:
    – price and features: don’t take my word for it, simply check and compare with others
    – reliability : I host dozens of small to mid websites and issues are scarce
    – support : simply outstanding. Every single support request I’ve ever filled has been solved in a range from 7 minutes to a couple hours.

    Adam

    5  — March 20, 2021

    Doing it right in a modern age

    I have been with dreamhost for about 10 years and I’m constantly amazed at how well they balance between cost, customizability, and security.

    Their shared hosting option handles 90% of my needs because the hardware keeps up with my requirements and the add-ons make life so easy.
    I’m on the unlimited shared plan and it’s pretty amazing what can be done with unlimited storage, bandwidth, accounts, and databases with a flat fee each month.

    I have always had a great experience with customer support, which I have used a lot; and even though most of my own issues have been my own fault, the support has been kind and educating. I appreciate the little things they think of, like partnering with other services like Cloudflare and Let’s Encrypt to make our sites better.

    There’s a lot of hip new services out there, but I think dreamhost is dedicated to providing its customers with the best service at the most reasonable price with perks that are often underrated to a degree that other services aren’t focusing on

    José A

    5  — March 19, 2021

    15 years providing and delivering

    I started working with dreamhost a long time ago working with dreamhost, of course there have been problems but I have always received awesome support for every issue.
    Also the prices and service exceed my expectations.

    One of the things I love most is the great control panel they have always provided to control all of your domains, easy to use and complete.

    Ian P

    5  — March 13, 2021

    There’s a reason I’ve been with DreamHost for over a decade…

    They just get it right and provide excellent service.
    Support is very prompt and proactive. They don’t just fix the problem you might be having but go beyond to suggest better ways to setting up the account.

    The only issue I have with them is that they are half a world away from my main web audience. That causings some delay in the traffic being delivered; not a DH problem unless they can improve on the speed of light 😉 I use CloudFlare (via DH, of course) but it’s still a lg.

    Judy L

    5  — March 12, 2021

    Excellent Service

    Recently I had issues with my blog. My knowledge ends at hitting the “Publish” button for a blog post. The DreamHost customer help rep was amazing. He patiently walked me through every step of what needed to be changed on my end. They have been my host for over a year and this was the first time I’ve needed customer service and I was apprehensive, but I now feel completely comfortable with Dreamhost, especially if/when I need help again.

    Richard S

    5  — February 26, 2021

    AT LAST A GOOD HOSTING COMPANY

    Having been with another US Hosting provider for 12 years and having 53 websites and no problems at a very low cost. All this peace and tranquillity disappeared overnight when this US company sold out to another outfit which was a nightmare as it was robotic in its operations and far from what I was used to. In desperation I then signed up with another UK hosting company which had a full live on the phone operation but the service was not that good and the program of trying to enhance their income was putting the costs completely over the top and unworkable for us and then I found Dreamhost and I am over the moon after an initial period to understand their system and I must compliment their support as they have slowly educated me into the Dreamhost methods and we couldn’t be happier and we will definitely expand our hosting needs to our own virtual server with Dreamhost as we move forward as their costs are also very competitive and we are in our comfort zone with them

    Sandra I

    5  — February 21, 2021

    Couldn’t be happier

    I came to Dreamhost from another provider, and didn’t realise how mediocre they were until I started with Dreamhost.

    Customer service is quick and the support team is knowledgeable and efficient. Plus my website is loading super fast with no hassles.

    John D

    5  — February 11, 2021

    Dreamhost is da bomb!

    This review might seem long, but if you’re considering trying dreamhost out or thinking of switching from another host, you need to read this. – Trust me, it’s worth it.

    There are few reviews that nearly discouraged me from trying out dreamhost for the first time, and I can gladly say that thank God I still decided to try it out for myself!

    I just started using dreamhost, and from what I’m seeing so far, they’re astonishing. Starting from ease of use to many bonuses, affordable prices, standard infrastructure to support (both live chat and email). So far, I don’t have any negative things to say about them. Their support so very helpful; I recently had a major issue (many others too), I made an error while changing the database prefix of my WordPress site, I was really really scared, my website was down and unaccessible, I forgot to take backups (not knowing at that time that Dreamhost keeps daily, weekly and monthly backups), I started thinking of STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN, I was doubting if anything can be done again, ’cause I tried everything, so I decided to contact support and see if there were any remedy. Support was super helpful and friendly, they told me to try and restore my dreamhost backup (yeah it was then that I knew of dreamhost automated backups), I restored it, but due to how damaged the database was, it didn’t quite fix the problem. The support team really worked hours to fix it for me, and right now my site is back.

    I don’t usually write reviews but I need to make an exception here: They’re absolutely the best all-round!

    John M

    5  — February 5, 2021

    Amazeballs hosting, for real

    I’ve been with DH for close to 20 years now. Downtime has been minimal and every interaction with support has been nothing short of stellar.

    I HIGHLY recommend Dreamhost! They were good with shared hosting, although now I use a VPS. Someday I hope to be on a dedicated server!

    5 thumbs up.

    (All of our websites are hosted with DH.)

    Airin H

    5  — January 29, 2021

    Best Domain Hosting

    Dreamhost is my favorite hosting provider by far. I’ve used them for well over a decade now. Although I haven’t personally used any other hosting companies for my websites in quite some time, I do manage many of my customer websites at many different hosting companies. None of them are as easy to use, manage, or maintain. I have no intention of switching, and I do encourage all of my customers to switch their hosting to Dreamhost.

    Cem K

    5  — January 28, 2021

    Feels like VPS

    I have unlimited shared hosting from Dreamhost. I use it for our software development needs. I do not feel I am working with a shared hosting. Using Dreamhost feels like working on my own server. I can use source control, I can login through ssh, run applications, and so on. The limits they put on shared hosting is extremely generous. Strongly recommended.

    PS: Please do not judge what we do through the page I provided. Most of what we have is private and password protected. But I am certain even that will give you an idea what is possible with Dreamhost.

    D

    5  — January 23, 2021

    Very Satisfied at Dreamhost

    My experience with Dreamhost has been extremely good. Their knowledge base and technical support in particular has been excellent. They respond quickly to any questions I may have and stay with it until the problem is resolved. Really great!

    Guilherme

    5  — January 17, 2021

    Great

    We have been a customer since 2014, we never had any problem without solution from Dreamhost support!

    Rei C

    5  — December 21, 2020

    Wonderful hosting

    I’ve been with Dreamhost since 1998.  They are the best hosting site around.  They are quick to address any issues and fix them.

    Liz

    5  — December 19, 2020

    Dreamhost review

    The technical support is superb and the response time far exceeds my expectations. What I also particularly like is the team members’ enormous patience in dealing with customers who are not particularly tech savvy. Thanks for the support that you tirelessly provide and God bless!

    Ernest

    4  — December 18, 2020

    From a customer of 10 years

    After over 10 years of running on a Shared Hosting plan, I can say that it’s reliable and customer service is good overall. I like some features they have for WordPress installs and host access via SSH. Setting up and accessing databases is made simple. Scripting languages (such as PHP) are available with various versions.
    The service itself is somewhat slow however, likely due to the fact that they haven’t upgraded the server hardware hosting my sites (it’s running on the antiquated AMD Opteron 4122 from 2010).
    My experience with customer support over the years has been great. I usually don’t have to wait long before I get a response to any issues that have come up.
    Overall I’d say the hosting is a bit expensive, but the reliable service and customer support adds to that value. I just wish they would put some of that revenue towards upgrading the hardware of shared hosting servers once in a while. Those 2010 machines can be replaced with immensely more efficient systems today.
    Thanks

    Ruth

    5  — December 15, 2020

    Dreamhost is the BEST!

    I LOVE Dreamhost for making me feel smarter than I really am. Their abundant helpfulness and clear presentation of information are there to guide me quickly through the complicated back-end jargon. If I do get stuck, their chat feature gives expert tech support FAST, too.  I am always delighted by the thoughtful care from the individuals on their team. They even offer free hosting for nonprofits, plus the added security of free https certificates!  And to top it all, their generosity and positive attitude is a breath of fresh air in a greedy world. Thank you, DREAMHOST!