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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: Live Chat, Mail, Knowledge Base, and Forum
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.

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

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.

dreamhost live chatWe found out that their live chat option is limited, being available at 3.00 AM-9.30 PM PT every day.

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.

However, 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 30 GB 60 GB 120 GB
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 certain hours throughout the week.

Visit www.DreamHost.com

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

162 user reviews for DreamHost

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    Michael

    5  — May 27, 2021

    Disclosure: I’ve only been a customer for about a week now.

    Disclosure: I’ve only been a customer for about a week now.

    I’ll start with the biggest thing first: They don’t use cPanel, instead they have their own proprietary control panel system. If you’re used to cPanel, it can be a bit confusing at first. The first site I tried to set up wasn’t working well at all and it took me a couple of days to figure out what was wrong. I ended up putting in a ticket and found out I had to configure SSL certs before the site would go live (I thought it would fallback on non-SSL but it doesn’t unless you explicitly tell it to.) The ticket was responded to fairly quickly, within a couple hours and I got it sorted out after that. They use pHpMyAdmin for SQL administration, which was familiar and easy enough to import my databases into. You might need to tweak some of the variables in your SQL files if you had dumped them from another host.

    Once I got that first site set up, the other ones went relatively quickly. These were migrations from my old host.

    After that, I decided to set up a new site using their WordPress one-click install and it went as smoothly as I would hope for. I had a site up and running in less than an hour. After that, it was just messing with WordPress for the theme/look and feel.

    I haven’t played around with the webmail yet, or any of their other features.

    Also, for my few low-traffic sites, the price of hosting was my #1 priority and they don’t force you to pay for a year in advance like many other inexpensive web hosts.

    Like I said, I haven’t been with them for more than a week yet, so I can’t speak to things like downtime.

    All-in-all, I’m happy with my choice and I would recommend them.

    Marko T

    5  — May 3, 2021

    www hosting experience with dreamhost

    Extremely happy with Dreamhost, golden support.. people have been nice/positive, sharp, pro, extremely helpful, and proactive with wordpress issues, even dicier migration/corruption issues.
    Only positive things to say, AAAAA+++++!!!!

    Best,

    Marko.

    Stacey R

    5  — April 30, 2021

    Great value. Great service.

    I’ve been hosting sites at Dreamhost for just over 12 years and have found them to be incredibly reliable and very cost effective. During this time, I have noticed my sites have had short outages on, I think, three occasions. Their team was responsive and resolved the issues promptly.

    Kat

    4  — April 29, 2021

    Good Hosting Option

    I have a small art portfolio site hosted by Dreamhost shared hosting. I’ve been satisfied with DreamHost’s service overall. I’ve had a few minor technical issues/concerns (I’m not a techie) and the response from the tech support team is quick and, for the most part, helpful.
    I was concerned with speed but the tech guy I reached wasn’t helpful and only sent me a lot of links to articles beyond my level of understanding. Since then, DreamHost has made some changes to improve their speed.

    Emanuele

    5  — April 26, 2021

    Optimal service, very good features configuration

    I joined Dreamhost twelve years ago and I am still a satisfied customer.
    Their custom administration panel reflects their approach to business, with a custom business logic where any layer is separated from others: domain registration, DNS management, web hosting, db management, email management and so on.
    It makes you understand the underlying logic and allows a lot of freedom in configuration, which other similar web hosting services do not allow.

    No hosting service is perfect, and even Dreamhost is not, but what I appreciated on any issue is that the service is available in a few hours to support you, they understand the problem and try to give a solution which works for the specific case. The conversation is made with humans, who always understand your point and who set up a personalised discussion.
    10 times out of 10 my problem was solved.

    My only blame is they still do not support PostGreSQL on their web hosting plan, an enterprise level db with a certain stability and a standard compliance which MySQL has not. For such features you have to switch to the Virtual Private Server plan. I understand that from a business perspective it may not be very convenient, but I think that without an evolution of the service towards such technologies, Amazon and its modular products will become more attractive.
    Anyhow, feature request is an open discussion where users can propose and vote, and Dreamhost often listens to them.

    Vivek

    5  — April 23, 2021

    I am loving it :D

    I was opting out from the siteground and found Dreamhost. I got everything I was having in the siteground and even more. I love the easy dreamhost dashboard. I totally recommend and want to say: Really awesome hosting service, awesome support (sometimes late but really good), Really loving it.

    Tyler G

    2  — April 19, 2021

    Not Great

    As someone who uses this I am very disappointed. The documentation is misleading in calling “no downtime” they really mean no “extended” downtime as stated by the support team. They consistently go into accounts and add/alter records causing many issues. I had a client down for multiple days due to Dreamhost going in and deleting mx records or adding/altering more of them. We had to call them to get them to stop as they stated it’s necessary until we got a representative that knew what they were doing. These individuals are very quick to attempt to get you off the phone as quickly as possible. Had to give the same rep my email twice, and they continued to just send information to the wrong email multiple times in the same call. If Dreamhost would stop messing with unnecessary things, I would give this a more positive review.
    If you run into an issue where mx records are being deleted/added/altered, maybe call them up and see if they are the reason behind it.

    Witt S

    5  — April 16, 2021

    Very happy with dreamhost

    I use a dreamhost VPS to host a SaaS service that I run. The main reason I stick with Dreamhost instead of going with Amazon AWS or Google compute is because as a small shop I need the ability to contact someone if something goes wrong with hosting – i.e. I don’t have a systems administrator, so I rely on Dreamhost for that. Their customer support is very responsive and helpful, and their technical offerings meet my needs thus far.

    My main reservation, and what might push me to a different provider in the future, is the fact that I don’t see any way to set up a failover or load balancing system with Dreamhost. When Dreamhost decides to upgrade OS or MySQL versions, that results in downtime for my app. This typically happens once every couple of years.

    Lisa

    5  — April 15, 2021

    Great Support Team

    I had never used a hosting company. When I was ready to do so, Dreamhost came highly recommended so I went for it. I do have to say that it was a bit intimidating and very frustrating for me at first as it was completely uncharted waters. I always had someone else that handled all of the hosting and redirects of sites. The Support Team has been excellent and I feel much more comfortable and confident using and understanding the entire process and all that Dreamhost has to offer. The pricing is very affordable and Dreamhost is in contact with me via Email when my sites are updated or if there are new features that may be of interest. I am happy to be over the learning curve and I cannot speak highly enough of the Support I have received.

    Phil S

    4  — April 9, 2021

    Incredible customer service

    I run a handful of small sites on WordPress. I’ve tried a handful of web hosts over the years, and Dreamhost is BY FAR the very best. In terms of speed, capability, and user-friendly setup, they’re head and shoulders above so many others.Their customer service gets 5-stars for helpfulness and speed. The only tiny problem is with their email forwarding, which they’re in the process of fixing. It’s not their fault; it seems to be Google’s new AI and massive irresponsibility at SORBS, the spam blacklist company. Hopefully this will be resolved soon.

    Randy K

    5  — April 8, 2021

    Not Cpanel

    I’m leading with the fact that DreamHost does not use cpanel.I don’t have time to explain why, but I really dislike working on customer systems with cpanel.To me, it’s just painful.I love the layout of the DH backend, it makes sense.

    Downtime is another DH issue.It’s practically non-existent for all of my sites.There is the occasional burp that my external monitor tells me about, but these tend to get rectified quickly.And I have never had an outage on my DreamPress service from DH.I checked the logs, 100% uptime, 2 years.

    At the risk of TL;DR, I’ll end with their customer service.Exceptionally responsive, whether I am using immediate chat or logging a ticket.And stuff gets fixed, no excuses.Of course, I have only been with DH for 11 years, so maybe not enough time to know for sure.We’ll see, so far so good.

    Mandy

    4  — April 5, 2021

    Great service for the price

    I’ve been with DreamHost for nearly a year.My website isn’t much, but their service is priced great for my small site.In the year I’ve been with them, I’ve had one issue, which was more with my WordPress install than with their service.I contacted customer support, and had a response from a technician before I even got the auto-response telling me my ticket had been received, and this was on a Saturday.They identified and resolved the issue within an hour, with zero hassle on my end.

    Emiliano

    5  — April 5, 2021

    Great hosting

    I’ve been a Dreamhost customer since 2004. They have always been very responsive and helpful. Their prices are also good. I have four websites on my Dreamhost account, I use databases, php, got https certificates, the web ftp is fast and reliable. After almost 17 years I have nothing to complain about. Thanks Dreamhost!

    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.