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Brad Smith

Hosting Reviewer

DreamHost hosting review

DreamHost hosts over 1.5 million websites and is nearly 25 years old.

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. Migrations are also a pain, not allowing any imports from other cPanel sites and charging you $99/each.

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: 1180 ms (February 2020 to January 2021)
UPTIME: 99.62% (February 2020 to January 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: Not Free
PRICING: Starting at $2.59/mo (same renewal price)

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. And when your plan eventually does renew, you won’t have to pay a huge 2-3x price increase, like with many other hosts.

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 are also energy efficient.

5. No Higher Renewal Price Increase

DreamHost offers a lower monthly price if you prepay for three years vs. just one or two.

Most web hosts do that, too.

However, the final piece of good news is that DreamHost doesn’t increase the price when it’s time to renew.

For example, some other hosts might give you a special discount of a dollar or two per month for the first few years.

But when it’s time for your plan to automatically renew, the pricing might jump up to anywhere between ~$7-10/month on the lowest plans.

So overnight you’re literally paying two or three times more for the same exact service.

DreamHost, in comparison, doesn’t do that. Your plan will renew at the same pricing that you originally signed up for.

That means you might not save a ton in the first few years, but instead you could save hundreds of dollars over the long term.

Cons of Using DreamHost Hosting


DreamHost has a lot to offer, starting from its handy features and cheap prices.

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 (1180 ms)

DreamHost’s 1180 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 Speed Feb 2020 - Jan 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 during this year, their performance has gone gradually worse.

2. Average Uptime Not The Best (99.62%)

DreamHost’s 12-month average uptime is also nothing to brag about – 99.62% with over a day 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
DreamHost average uptime | See stats

Last 12-month average uptime:

  • 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%
  • March 2020: 96.48%
  • February 2020: 99.96%

3. Good, but Limited Live Chat Support

DreamHost provides the 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.

4. No “Free” Migrations”

DreamHost does not offer any free site migrations on their shared hosting plans.

Instead, they’ll charge you a $99 one-time fee to move each site. This can really add up if you’re trying to move several clients or company accounts at the same time.

There are a few other limitations around how their paid migration services work.

Multisite WordPress sites cannot be moved. WordPress.com transfers will only grab content inside posts or pages. So you’ll have to reinstall and set up your theme and plugins.

Any website builder sites, on Wix, Weebly, or SquareSpace, cannot be moved, either.

They do offer some documentation to manually move your site.

But that’s still not very satisfactory when most other services will do all of the heavy liftings for you.

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 $4.95/month
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.
  • Upsells: A few upsells.
  • Account Activation: Account activation is quick unless you have payment issues.
  • Control Panel and Dashboard: Custom DreamHost control panel which can be a bit difficult to use.
  • 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.

Moreover, their default plan limits are pretty high, offering a bunch of “unlimited” options for disk space, bandwidth, and more. And we also really liked that there’s no price increase when your hosting plan renews.

On another note, the customer support was pretty limited to only a few certain hours throughout the week. And the paid migrations can really add up, especially when there’s no cPanel offered to automatically move sites yourself.

Visit www.DreamHost.com

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

139 user reviews for DreamHost

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    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!

    Daniel A

    5  — December 14, 2020

    Dreamhost, dream of a company

    Still a customer since 2006 speaks volumes. As someone with little experience and knowledge for web hosting, Dreamhost has been so supportive. What I have found so amazing is the customer service. If I’ve used the live chat they have always resolved my issue in real time, and if I’ve had to submit a ticket it’s been dealt with quickly. Whenever I speak with a member of the team I feel they are always friendly and never assume anything.

    Linda A

    5  — November 29, 2020

    Ideal for Non-Techies

    I’m a novelist, not a techie, so how many times am I going to need to move domain hosts? Alas, one more than I thought. Asking for recommendations, Dreamhost came through as ideal for the non-techie: it gave me what I wanted in (almost) plain language, didn’t hide add-ons or charge extra for such as encryption certificates, and its Knowledge Base walked me through the steps necessary to make the move. If my webhost (Blogger) had been as transparent with DNS information I wouldn’t have needed to contact Dreamhost’s Support. Despite Covid, a complete and detailed response was back within hours and the operative even added a necessary code where it needed to be. I was up and running in no time, with no paralysing bills at the end of it. Highly recommended.

    Shannon

    3  — November 17, 2020

    Getting less, paying more, than my previous host

    Maybe I’m spoiled by the stellar service and features offered by my previous host Webfaction, but in comparison, Dreamhost is kind of a letdown.

    I’m using their 1GB VPS service, priced at $10/month. I didn’t realize at first that I would be billed for three years at a time. I could afford it and it’s fairly cheap so it didn’t bother me too much, but I was surprised.

    At first I thought $10/month was a really good deal, but once I added a MySQL database, that added a little over $50 per month, billed monthly. Now I’m paying twice as much as I was paying for my previous host, and getting much less. (1GB RAM vs my previous 4GB RAM)

    The ~$50 price point is without any real traffic and just a tiny database, and I’m a bit concerned about what it will be when I migrate my larger sites over. I’m strongly considering other hosting options and may just use Dreamhost for my static HTML sites, because $10/month is fine to me.

    Dreamhost’s documentation on deploying Django apps using Passenger is pretty thin, but I found a blog post by someone who walked me through the process, which helped a lot.

    Unfortunately their documentation on deploying Django apps using FastCGI is even thinner and seems many years out of date.

    Some good things: it’s pretty easy to get everything set up, their first-party support for HTTPS is seamless to set up (though I haven’t seen whether the renewals are as seamless, I expect it will be), and their customer support was responsive with a small problem I had during migrating one of my websites.

    They seem to be more tailored to one-click WordPress installs. That’s not what I’m using them for, but if that’s you, you’ll probably be happy here. Dreamhost has a good user interface, is pretty easy to navigate around, and seems like a good enough web host.

    Unfortunately, I think my previous host was the real dream, and I’m frustrated that when GoDaddy acquired Webfaction, they decided to shut them down on very short notice (~45 days), which didn’t leave me much time to find a new web host and do migrate all of my websites.

    In short: Dreamhost is fine, but if I’d had more time to shop around and choose, I might have gone with a different host. A pox on GoDaddy’s house!

    Maria

    5  — November 16, 2020

    Couldn’t be happier with Dreamhost

    I’ve been using Dreamhost for my personal website, two websites for work (one is monetized), and a 501c3 non-profit guild website for several years now. I built them all with WordPress and I am by no means an expert! Three things stand out as to why I think Dreamhost is the best.

    Firstly, when I took over the responsibility for our work websites, the original hosting company was a nightmare to get away from. They refused to release our domain name unless I called several times over the course of five months and gave me the heavy sales pitches, etc. and they made it so complicated. Dreamhost had NONE OF THAT. Simple language, up-front competitive pricing, and zero pressure.

    Secondly, their Customer Service team is phenomenal! Every time I couldn’t figure something out they contacted me promptly and either told me how to fix it or did it for me. No condescension and no nonsense. Every time.

    And lastly, They host 501c3 non-profits FOR FREE. I belong to a small educational art guild and we are so grateful for this! Thank you, Dreamhost!

    Tam

    5  — November 5, 2020

    The bar to measure against

    I have been creating web sites for almost 30 years and have used several webhosts. When I find one I can rely on, trust, and consider a good value, I tend to stick with them. Dreamhost has repeatedly shown themselves to go beyond my expectations. They have all the resources I need and whenever needed, their support is timely and knowledgeable. I look forward to a long relationship with Dreamhost in my current and future projects. Thank you!

    Amanda

    5  — November 3, 2020

    Excellent Customer Service

    Over the last 3 years, DreamHost customer service never ceases to impress me both in work and person accounts. Their support staff goes above and beyond to help with issues I run into.

    Rex R

    5  — October 26, 2020

    Great Service and Customer Support

    I’ve been a customer for years and their service has always been great. I can get all of my hosting, registration, and various websites needs taken care of easily and with a well designed online tool too. I’ve used their customer support a few times and their quick and informative responses have always been very helpful in fixing or correcting my issues. I highly recommend DreamHost!

    Aarón T

    4  — October 12, 2020

    Limited hosting with GREAT customer service

    I have been using Dreamhost for a couple of years now since the beginning of my web developing career. All this time I have ALWAYS loved their customer service, they have helped me on countless occasions with care, love and professionalism, this is something I really appreciate from this company.

    But as good as their client service is I am moving away from their hosting my webpages. There are a few reasons for it. As I am working in Europe and my clients are in Europe, I realized it makes no sense for me to host their webpages in a company that has data centres only in the United States. And I think this is a great limitation in their service. As all their activities are focused in the US, I can’t get to talk to them via their live chat in my office/working hours. Also the performance of their servers, even in the VPS and DreamPress plans was always a bit disappointing.

    Weblounge

    5  — October 7, 2020

    Horrible they digressed

    I have been with other hosts for years, 1and1 20 years , siteground (horrible for wordpress) I have thousands of clients I develop and recommend, I am tired of 1and1 so you recommend Dreamhost

    Started some hosting packages, and I was initially impressed they use Blog Vault to transfer your sites, so 30 some sites transferred with just a few minor problems.

    After working out cloudflare issues, which was the start of problems, I started having 500 Service errors, and Dreamhost blames it on my small site , a database size of 10mb or less and not much on it then the blame it on number of users, turns out when I created a wordpress hosting domain, installed wordpress with their panel it installs orphan users 3,5, 10 random.. that is one of their issues they say causes errors, so I delete the orphan, still 500 server errors, but i change the php settings and memory settings still no luck on simple sites, only in the wp-admin backend

    Then two weeks into my first month, one domain starts pointing to another domain. They said they had DNS problems that changed the user record to point to the files in the other domain. I had to find the user that had not been assigned to a domain and reassign to the correct domain. They would not fix it for me, I had to figure it out myself, their error, my problem

    Then there were the email problems, they have no forwarding capabilities, except through setting up filters which do not work. Still unresolved today

    Then this week another domain started pointing to another domain on the host, no response for 3 days, so i looked for the user, all users where assigned, looks like they had another issues and that user and files got deleted, luckily i still had backup on the old host and transferred again, after recreating a new wordpress install and user and mysql database myself, support would not help, then when i got it done they replied they see no issue, and can’t explain anything, like they have no history or can’t trace anything.

    Today they want to fight and say it was my fault if i open up a wordpress login from their panel and have more than one tab in their panel open issues occur, but their own panel opens a new tab to log into wordpress and this is not explained up front, why should it, other hosting platforms don’t have this problem

    I have 10 other outstanding support issues, I am now into the first week of my second month, so how or why would I want to recommend or install any of my website projects on their platform, it would be embarrassing as a company.

    Now I must hurry and backup all my sites on Dreamhost, before my old host package expires, otherwise I am probably really screwed if they make another problem.

    Also are performance issues, with pingdom etc, even though I manually change the things pingdom says are problems, it does not change. and you guessed it, support does not help.

    I really thought 1and1 sucked, well it does in capabilities and other issues, but never had so many problems with 1and1 in the 20 years that I had in the first week of my experience with Dreamhost.

    And things are not really unlimited when you order unlimited hosting, users, memory, space and all hidden fraudulent advertisements.

    Bob G

    5  — October 1, 2020

    Excellent Hosting

    Dreamhost provides excellent hosting and support. I have never had an issue that was not resolved quickly, and in some cases Dreamhost proactively dealt with the issue before I was aware of it. I have four sites with them, and all work effectively. Updates are always handled promptly. I am very pleased with the service!