DreamHost Review: Is this a real life? Is this just fantasy?

DreamHost is one of the biggest, most recognizable, and oldest hosting companies around. Boasting millions of websites and hundreds of thousands of customers alongside several industry awards, it’s safe to say they look good on the surface.

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- 97-day money-back guarantee

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Is DreamHost as good as it looks, though? Come and find out!

DreamHost is an instantly-recognizable name on the web hosting “scene”. Founded in 1996, this carbon-neutral company has managed to earn the trust of millions of webmasters over time.

Before purchasing any hosting plan, it is important to do your research. This is where we come in. We have done all the hard work, so you don’t have to!

In this review of DreamHost, we will thoroughly inspect the company, their service, what they offer, and what they do (and don’t do) well.

DreamHost Review: What We Love About DreamHost

Let’s start off with the good stuff—what we like. With DreamHost, there’s a lot to talk about.

What, exactly? Well, how about company ethics, great WP support, and an all-around great offer to go along with an affordable price? Let’s take a look below.

dreamhost review features

A Green, Carbon-Neutral Company

DreamHost likes to call itself a “green host”. They take very seriously the need to make a conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint.

dreamhost green hosting

Wow, the employees even recycle! Well, I’m convinced. Where do I sign up?

As you can imagine, this can be difficult. Hosting websites—millions of them, in fact—uses a lot of resources. The more resources that are used, the bigger the impact on the environment. The amount of electricity required to run powerful servers capable of providing DreamHost’s reliable and high-quality services is huge.

Since 2007, DreamHost has been a carbon-neutral company.

They do this by:

  • Using efficient coding infrastructure and power-efficient processors.
  • Partnering at state-level in “clean wind” initiatives.
  • Obtaining their energy from renewable sources where possible.
  • Occupying LEED Platinum and EnergyStar-certified facilities.

Among other things. It’s a bit amusing to see how companies have to state that their employees recycle, but jokes aside we’re more than happy to see this!

Dedicated WordPress Hosting Available

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS) that powers over 70 million (yes, million!) websites. DreamHost recognizes how popular it is too, with its dedicated WordPress plans.

Their managed WordPress hosting is perfect for both beginners and experienced WordPress webmasters. With WordPress-specific features not found on regular shared hosting plans, DreamHost is certainly a dream for WordPress sites.

Their WordPress plans are actual, dedicated WordPress solutions; they aren’t re-labelled shared hosting plans with the same specs, something often seen with lower-quality hosts.

At present, there are different types of WordPress hosting plans.

  • Shared—designed for entry-level WordPress website deployment.
  • Managed—designed for webmasters with multiple sites and lots of traffic.
  • VPS—designed for sites that require more performance and management.
  • WooCommerce—designed for e-commerce sites that need WooCommerce optimization.

Starting at $2.59 per month for basic shared WordPress hosting, it’s an extremely affordable, high-quality solution.

Not only that, they are officially endorsed by WordPress.

dreamhost review wordpress

A Clever Website Builder

DreamHost have created their own website builder, Remixer.

dreamhost site builder remixer

Remixer is a simple, intuitive tool that can help you build a site in minutes. Boasting a library of customizable themes, it is simple to get a modern, responsive site up and running.

It is a click-to-edit tool. This means that you need no coding knowledge to build your site. Adding content, editing elements, and customizing your theme is as simple as a few mouse clicks. If you are a newbie webmaster, Remixer is something you should seriously consider.

Usually, website building tools aren’t compatible with WordPress. With DreamHost’s Remixer, however, you can export your design to WordPress. Once you have got everything as you want it, simply click a button and poof, you have a WordPress theme.

Remixer is a huge, huge pro in our books for webmasters looking for a lean solution. We love that you can build both WordPress and standalone sites with it, too.

97 DAYS – The Longest Money-Back Guarantee Around

The industry-standard money-back guarantee is 30 days.

DreamHost blows this figure out of the water with their 97-day money-back guarantee (and we thought 90 days from A Small Orange was huge!).

dreamhost money back guarantee

Combined with DreamHost’s cheap pricing—more on this below—it means you can take their plans for a spin and get a proper feel for them before committing.

97 days is plenty of time to decide whether DreamHost is right for you.

This 97-day money-back guarantee doesn’t apply to everything. The exceptions are:

  • Domain registrations and renewals;
  • SSL certificates;
  • Third-party add-ons; and
  • Non-shared hosting plans (e.g. VPS, dedicated hosting.)

Refunds are credited automatically to credit or debit cards. We recommend contacting customer support, though, to guarantee a smooth process.

But why 97 days? Who knows.

DreamHost Is on the “Cheaper” End of the Pricing Scale

As we have already seen, DreamHost has a lot of different options for their shared hosting. Whether you want shared WordPress hosting or standalone hosting, you have plenty of choice.

For instance, the basic-level shared hosting plan is $2.59 per month. It’s only basic in name, too—you get a whole ton of stuff with it!

If you have a bit of knowledge around web hosting or WordPress, you already know this is a great price for a reliable shared hosting from a reputable company.

We will cover pricing and plans in more depth later.

Truly Unlimited Bandwidth

Lots of hosting companies claim that they have unlimited bandwidth. Unfortunately, this is often far from the truth. DreamHost has the budget to offer truly unlimited bandwidth, though.

Providing this costs money, so it’s easy to see why lots of hosting companies don’t do it. At the same time, they also understand that most sites won’t even use up their monthly bandwidth cap. So why even have it in the first place?

To cover their backs, DreamHost has a policy for its unlimited bandwidth. This policy states that bandwidth is and will remain unlimited, if:

  • Your site doesn’t “hog” RAM or bandwidth.
  • Your site isn’t hosting copyrighted content (e.g. TV shows.)
  • Your site isn’t created to divert traffic to another site.
  • You don’t run a file sharing service, archive, or mirror, etc.
  • You don’t make your account’s resources available to Joe public.

So long as you stick to these rules, you can enjoy unlimited bandwidth as a legitimate website operator.

Basically, if your website’s sole purpose is to share files and is promoting illegal activities, then you’re out.

Free Automated WordPress Website Migration

Unlike other providers (Bluehost, for example), DreamHost offers free website migration as standard for all their DreamPress.

This is a God-send if you are an inexperienced webmaster. Website migration can seem difficult, after all.

99.97% Uptime is Good but Not Great

Uptime is a big factor and something we take seriously.

Between March 2019 and March 2021, DreamHost’s uptime was 99.97%. For reference:

dreamhost review uptime
  • 99% uptime means uptime of 361.35 days;
  • 98% uptime means uptime of 357.7 days;
  • 95% uptime means uptime of 346.75 days; and
  • 90% uptime means uptime of 328.5 days.

Given that the most reliable hosting companies have an uptime of 99.98%+, DreamHost’s uptime over the last 12 months is a “con” in our minds. It’s only a marginal con, though; 99.97% uptime is less than a single day’s downtime.

As a rule of thumb, anything below 99.95% uptime will begin to have a negative impact on your site’s ability to rank in Google.

99.95% may sound OK, but uptime really is that serious. Even 0.05% uptime rate has a great impact on the growth of your website. Although the downtime usually happens late at night when no one is accessing your website, you still want to keep the downtime to a minimum.

The redeeming factor is DreamHost takes downtime seriously. For every hour of downtime your site has, you get an extra day’s worth of hosting on them.

What DreamHost Can Improve On

Although DreamHost is a very good hosting service, there is room for improvement. There is no such thing as perfect and with web hosts, we must be critical.

Custom Backend (No cPanel!)

The majority of hosting companies use cPanel for their backend.

We’re not talking about your account management page, either; we’re talking about the area where you manage your site itself (e.g. where you install WordPress or set up your email accounts.)

cPanel is intuitive, straightforward, and you’ve probably used it before. It is an industry-standard backend that you kind of expect to see.

DreamHost does not use cPanel, though. DreamHost uses its own custom backend.

dreamhost review dreamhost panel

On the one hand, it allows DreamHost to provide a truly custom experience. On the other, though, it can be confusing for users who are accustomed to cPanel. Although you will learn how to use DreamHost’s backend over time, it’s an obstacle in the beginning.

It would be great if DreamHost offered both cPanel and their custom backend. Importing and exporting your website’s database is still a fairly straight-forward process if you know what you’re looking for.

No Telephone Support and Limited Live Chat

Let’s start with a positive—DreamHost has an in-depth knowledge base. For most people, they will find their answers here.

dreamhost support

Support, however, is lacking a little bit. This isn’t because support is low-quality or “bad”, but simply because it is not available 24/7. Despite what the website says, we saw this when sending a ticket:

Their Live Chat is only available to paid-up customers between 5:30AM and 9:30PM PST.

DreamHost could easily offer 24/7 support and have all avenues open to both paying customers and prospective customers.

DreamHost’s offering is clearly aimed at beginners; beginners clearly need some hand-holding in the beginning…We don’t see why they don’t offer this. Unless they see that most people have little to no trouble getting started?

Furthermore, phone-based support simply does not exist.

Whether this is a con for you depends on your personal preferences and needs.

DreamHost Pricing

DreamHost has a lot of different plans and we recommend exploring them yourself. Here’s a quick rundown, though:

dreamhost review dreamhost pricing

We like that DreamHost doesn’t try to mask their pricing, either. They clearly state that these prices are for annual plans billed in bulk. For reference, this is the monthly pricing:

Shared StarterShared Unlimited
1 month$4.95/mo$10.95/mo
1 year$3.95/mo$4.95/mo
3 years$2.59/mo$4.95/mo

Let’s take a look at their shared hosting further.

By signing up for three years, you get the best deal at $2.59 per month. Even at $4.95 per month, this plan is a decent deal. With it, you get:

Shared StarterShared Unlimited
Disk SpaceUnlimitedUnlimited
Domains allowed1Unlimited
SSLIncluded (Let’s Encrypt)Included (Let’s Encrypt)
Email accountsPaid upgradeUnlimited (2GB per-account limit)
Customer SupportLive chat / email / ticketLive chat / email / ticket
Free Automated BackupsYesYes

We recommend their Shared Unlimited plan for the best value for money, though.

We recommend exploring DreamHost’s full range of shared hosting plans to find what is best for you.

DreamHost Review – Final Thoughts

Do we recommend DreamHost?

DreamHost is a brilliant hosting company that offers a leading service at a competitive price point. Here’s what we liked the most:

  • The fact they are independently-owned and carbon-neutral.
  • Competitive, budget-friendly pricing.
  • Plans to suit all sites, needs, and webmasters.
  • Dedicated WordPress plans alongside standalone shared hosting.
  • An easy-to-use, WordPress-compatible website builder.
  • 97-day money-back guarantee.
  • Fast, responsive servers with SSD storage.

If you are a budding webmaster, DreamHost is a good start. With a super cheap package you can start your website and always migrate over to another web host should you want something else.