Founded around 25 years ago, DreamHost is now home to more than 1.5 million websites. During that time, the platform has grown side-by-side with its competitors in the ever-changing world of web hosting.
In this review, we’ll go into detail regarding the platform to help you decide whether it’s an ideal choice for you.
One of the most vital factors to consider when choosing your hosting platform is the average load speed. Load speed refers to how quickly a hosting service can open a webpage.
Now, a ballpark of around 500ms is generally considered excellent in this department. The fastest hosts on the market brag average speeds of around 300-400ms. However, DreamHost isn’t that fast, which is no surprise, since it’s not in that price range.
An average load speed with DreamHost over the past 24 months has been around 648ms, which is pretty solid.
However, there’s something people don’t pay enough attention to with overall load speeds. An average is just that – the average speed on the provider’s servers. This means that it can vary from 1.5 seconds to 200ms, and still pull off an average of 600-700ms. This isn’t ideal, as load speeds in the one-second ballpark are far from satisfactory.
What DreamHost can brag about, however, is a stable 648ms ballpark, with few fluctuations. Stability is often more important than the actual average, especially over time.
Uptime is another vital factor to take into account when picking your perfect web host. Uptime is the average percentage of time that the web host’s servers have been up, as opposed to down. Now, although 99% seems like a lot, in reality, over 24 months, this can mean a lot of “down” time. As a rule of thumb, everything above 99.93% is considered decent.
DreamHost boasts a 99.4% uptime average over the last two years. But that’s not everything.
Top-tier and pricey web host services offer something called “uptime guarantee.” This means that you get a credit for the service costs if the monthly average falls beneath the bi-annual average threshold. Now, this is typically seen in services that boast a bi-annual average of 99.98%.
You’ll be happy to know that DreamHost is one of the rarely affordable web hosts that also features an uptime guarantee. But there’s another thing. DreamHost has a 100% uptime guarantee, which can be found in the Terms of Service. That’s right, a 100% guarantee, or you get credit for your monthly costs.
Of course, bear in mind that user errors and scheduled maintenance don’t account for uptime drops.
The industry standard for web host money-back guarantees is 30 days. Some services will offer 45-day guarantees, while others don’t offer money-back at all.
DreamHost stands out in this department. Their guarantee is good to the limit of a whopping 97 days. Yes, that’s more than three months of use before you have to decide whether you’re happy or not.
An important thing to factor in when checking out a web hosting provider’s money-back guarantee is the terms involved. Hosting services feature various hidden terms that may jeopardize your refund or completely nullify it.
DreamHost, though, is pretty transparent in these terms. There are a few instances when your refund may end up deducted or refused.
The first thing to keep in mind that the money-back guarantee is only viable for credit cards. Other payment types, such as money orders, aren’t refund-eligible.
Another thing to keep in mind is that any additional service or feature that you’ve purchased while using a platform isn’t eligible for a refund, either. This includes SSL certificates, domain names, AdWords credits, and so on.
The Basic Plan
Some say that a web host is as good as its most basic plan. Although this is not entirely correct (some hosts offer awesome basic plans, but the upper-echelon plans aren’t everybody’s cup of tea), basic plans remain tremendously important. The basic plans are what will draw you to a web hosting provider.
DreamHost’s basic plan starts at $2.59 per month and brings a ton of brilliant features to the table. For one, you get a website with a completely free domain name, as well as a free-of-charge SSL certificate. What’s interesting about this site is that it has unmetered (unlimited amount of GB in traffic) bandwidth and unlimited storage. Think of this as DreamHost flexing its muscles, showcasing what it can do. And it can do a lot.
The basic plan also features a proprietary website builder, Remixer. However, you can also use Weebly, Squarespace, as well as Wix, if you prefer.
The basic plan also gives you access to phpBB, Joomla, Drupal, Zen Cart, Shopify, Magento, and Tumblr, so you’re off to a good start.
Another cool thing about DreamHost’s basic plan is that you don’t even have to install WordPress – it comes pre-installed on the platform. Setting it up is one click away at all times.
If you’ve researched DreamHost before and were deterred by their delayed verification system, you’ll be happy to know that it doesn’t exist anymore. This has sped things up significantly.
No Renewal Price Increase
Offering low initial prices and then ramping them up after renewal is a common practice among web hosting providers. This means that they will provide basic plans for as little as $1, only for it to jump to $8 per month after renewal. This is their choice, and there’s nothing wrong with this.
However, DreamHost doesn’t hit you with a higher price upon renewal of your first contract. The basic tri-annual contract will set you back $2.59 per month. If you opt for the yearly payment plan, this price goes up to $3.59 per month. If you want to pay every month (which not a lot of web hosts allow), your monthly starter plan cost is $4.59. These prices are more than reasonable, especially when you consider all the cool features you get with this platform.
Yes, this is an essential factor, even when it comes to web hosting providers. Every sphere of every industry needs to pitch in if we’re to protect our environment.
DreamHost is carbon neutral. They’re doing a lot to prevent over-usage of energy. Their data centers use very efficient processors and cooling systems to avoid energy-wasting.
Energy Star and LEED certification ensure that DreamHost helps protect our environment.
Full disclosure, DreamHost has some room for improvement. They do officially offer 24/7 in-house support, but in reality, the support is limited. You can ask for support as a chat option, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get your response in a timely fashion. When you contact the support, you get to communicate with a bot that will essentially arrange a meeting between you and a real-life DreamHost official. This tends to take some time, though.
Don’t be deterred immediately – every platform comes with its own set of downsides. In addition to limited support, DreamHost suffers from the lack of a cPanel option, which might be a deal-breaker for some. Advanced users may not like this.
Another consideration, you don’t get to migrate your websites for free – only paid options are available. Still, take into account all the benefits of this platform, and you’ll forgive the paid migrations.
DreamHost – Full Transparency
With a 97-day money-back guarantee, full transparency when it comes to pricing, no renewal price increases, and great uptime and load speed, DreamHost is one of the best web hosting options available out there. Sure, it comes with its own set of downsides, but you’ll find a problem with every web hosting provider on the market. With all the benefits that come with even the most basic DreamHost plan, you’ll forget all about the downsides very quickly.