So you’re ready to start your blog? After you’ve come up with an idea, researched your niche, and found a name for your blog, it’s time to invest in web hosting.
With so many hosting providers available it can be hard to know which company to choose. Your hosting is like your blog’s home, so you want to be confident in the decision you make.
To help you make the right decision, we’ve created this comparison review between two popular web hosts — SiteGround vs DreamHost.
In this guide we’ll compare the two companies and see how they score on:
It can be tempting to make your choice based solely on price or a promotional offer, but before you choose a web host it’s good to see how they compare in terms of reliability, performance, and security.
Uptime is a key measure of reliability for hosting services. It refers to the amount of time that their server, and therefore your blog, is online. The opposite of this is server downtime, where the server and your blog are taken offline momentarily.
Downtime usually only lasts for a few minutes, or a few hours if there is a technical issue, but rarely takes your website offline for long. Most good web hosts offering 99.9 percent uptime promises, and it’s a good idea to choose one with low downtime.
Looking at recent data provided by Hosting Pill, we can see that DreamHost has enjoyed an uptime of 99.9 percent this month but previous months are less impressive. This means you could expect to see more downtime than you would with other hosting providers.
SiteGround, on the other hand, is reported to have an uptime around 99.9 percent, which is in line with their stated figures.
Many of the larger hosting companies aim for 99.9 percent uptime, with many offering a money-back guarantee or uptime guarantee that covers unexpected downtime.
Server Response Time and Page Speed
Readers visit your website to read your blog and enjoy your content, so a seamless experience is essential. You don’t want readers to have to wait for your pages to load — if your blog is slow to load you might find readers close the window and look elsewhere.
To make sure your blog loads quickly, make sure that your hosting company scores highly on server response time and page speed tests. These terms refer to the amount of time it takes for the server to respond to a reader’s request to load your blog, and then how long that page takes to load on their screen.
According to Hosting Facts, both DreamHost and SiteGround score well for speed. DreamHost scores an average load speed of 704 milliseconds, while SiteGround blogs load in an average of 716 milliseconds. The difference is minimal, and both are positive scores, so with both you can be sure of fast loading pages.
Security and Backups
Security is essential, and a good web host will take this seriously. Web hosting companies like DreamHost and SiteGround work hard to ensure their servers and data centers are protected from physical and digital attacks, and also provide you with the tools to manage your own blog’s security.
SiteGround and DreamHost both take regular backups of their servers, where your blog and its content are stored. SiteGround runs a bespoke backup system, with DreamHost making use of an industry standard system to back up content. You can also create your own weekly or daily backups with both companies, which is something we recommend for extra peace of mind.
To help protect you from malware, SiteGround offers a service called SG Site Scanner. This is an early detection system designed to help you protect your reputation and inform you of attempted malware on your blog. The software is powered by Sucuri, a leading provider in this field.
DreamHost offers a similar service known as DreamShield, which runs a weekly scan and offers automated clean-up of any detected malware. These services are both extras that you can purchase when you buy your hosting plan.
Both DreamHost and SiteGround offer free SSL certificates with their plans, through the industry leading Let’s Encrypt SSL. This certificate encrypts data sent between your website and your readers, offering users reassurance that their data is safe and secure.
Now that we’ve taken a look at the technical side of web hosting and the importance of a secure and reliable host, let’s compare the two companies on their hosting plans, features, and pricing.
One of the major factors to consider when choosing a web host for your blog is price. In such a competitive market, hosting companies are always running special offers and promotions to encourage you to sign up with them. This can mean you save a lot of money compared to the standard pricing, but does mean your renewal costs are often higher than your first sign up period.
SiteGround and DreamHost cater to a wide range of small businesses and websites, so they offer a lot of different hosting options. The most popular choice for bloggers is shared hosting or cloud hosting, where your blog is stored on a server along with lots of others.
As your blog grows, you might want to consider other options like dedicated server or virtual private server (VPS) hosting, which is more expensive but offers additional benefits. You can also get dedicated WordPress hosting, which could be a good choice if you don’t want to handle the maintenance of your blog.
For now, we’ll compare the pricing for the entry-level plans at DreamHost and SiteGround.
|Price Per Month (starting at)||$2.95||$3.95|
|Plan Types Available||Monthly, Yearly||Yearly|
|Number of Websites||1||1|
|Suitable Traffic||Unlimited||Up to 10,000 visits monthly|
|Email Accounts||Not Included||Included, unlimited|
|SSL||Included, Let’s Encrypt||Included, Let’s Encrypt|
With both hosting companies, you can start a blog today for an equivalent cost of under $4 per month — but the lowest cost is usually achieved by signing up for a 12/24/36 month plan, and with SiteGround you can’t opt for monthly billing. This means that your upfront cost could be higher than expected.
DreamHost and SiteGround both offer a range of services, tools, and features that are great for bloggers. These include content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, control panel access, email accounts, and more.
Our recommended content management system for bloggers is WordPress, and the good news is that both companies make it simple to install and start your WordPress blog. Other options are available including Joomla and Drupal.
When it comes to how you access, upload, and edit content, most web hosts use a control panel called cPanel. This industry standard software is easy to use and familiar, and is used by SiteGround. DreamHost has its own bespoke control panel, which requires some getting used to.
SiteGround and DreamHost both offer the functionality to support unlimited email accounts, but only SiteGround includes this within their lowest priced hosting plan. With DreamHost you can purchase this as an add-on, or opt instead for the slightly higher priced “Starter Unlimited” plan where it’s included.
As with any hosting, you’ll need to either use an existing domain name or purchase one to use for your blog. If you pay yearly with DreamHost you’ll receive a free domain, but these are affordable to purchase with either provider.
It isn’t always easy to compare features from different hosting plans side by side, however SiteGround does a great job of listing features in their comparison here. This information isn’t easy to find for DreamHost, but there’s a list of supported technologies available. This is helpful for developers or bloggers who want to make use of technologies like Perl, Git, and Python, but these are more complex than most bloggers need.
Starting a blog is often straightforward, but as with any venture you might encounter some technical difficulties along the way. For this reason, a host with excellent customer and technical support, as well as guarantees, can be an attractive option for bloggers.
Customer and Tech Support
The majority of web hosting services, including DreamHost and SiteGround, offer customer and technical support on a 24/7/365 basis. This means there’s always a way to contact a real support agent and get help with a problem or technical issue.
SiteGround is renowned for its customer service, which can make it a popular choice for new bloggers. You can reach the support team at SiteGround through live chat, email, and phone and this is all included within your hosting plan.
DreamHost also offers email support, but to contact their support team by phone you have to request a callback at $9.95 per call. If you’re new to blogging or encounter several issues, this could quickly become expensive.
As well as direct access to customer support and technical support teams, both companies offer a range of guides, tutorials, and help pages in their knowledgebases. These can be a great help to troubleshoot your way through a problem, or if you want to learn more about the technical side of blogging like applications, MySQL, and PHP.
As with any service, you might try one hosting provider and decide it’s not a great fit for you or your blog. The good news is that most web hosts offer a money-back guarantee, which you can make use of to cancel your contract and move to another provider.
SiteGround offers an industry-standard 30 day money-back guarantee, which applies to shared hosting plans like the one we’ve covered in this review. DreamHost excels here, offering a 97 day money-back guarantee. This is limited to customers on shared hosting plans who pay by credit card, so make sure you choose this payment option if this appeals to you.
All money-back guarantees will be subject to terms and conditions, so be sure to check these before you purchase if you intend to make use of it.
Which Hosting Company Should You Choose?
Now that we’ve reviewed different elements of the plans and service provided by the two companies, it’s time to take a look at the reasons why you might choose one over the other.
Both DreamHost and SiteGround have attractive benefits, and the web host you choose for your blog is often down to personal taste, recommendations from others, and any specific requirements you have.
Based on our research, DreamHost would be a good option for bloggers who:
- Want or need to pay monthly instead of yearly
- Appreciate a longer money-back guarantee period
- Have lots of visitors and want to take advantage of unmetered traffic
SiteGround is an attractive choice for bloggers who:
- May need to contact customer or technical support often
- Want email included within the basic shared hosting plan
- Prefer cPanel to a bespoke control panel
Alternative Web Hosting Providers
It may be that after your own research and reading this comparison review that you decide that neither DreamHost nor SiteGround is the web host for you.
In that case, we recommend you check out our other hosting reviews. In our reviews we analyze popular web hosts, including Bluehost, InMotion, and GoDaddy. Here are some of our most recent hosting reviews:
We hope that you’ve found this guide useful. For more tips and advice as you start, grow, and monetize your blog make sure you subscribe to our email list.