Last updated: February 19, 2019
Dreamhost Review: Dream Come True or a Nightmare?
Dreamhost has been an independent company since it was founded in 1997, and it has offices in Los Angeles and Brea in California, and Portland, Oregon. Many of its peers have been swallowed by larger hosting groups, so this is a credit to its business model and the commitment of its founders. Over the years, Dreamhost has become famous for its generous 97-day money-back guarantee. It has introduced cloud hosting and computing services to broaden its portfolio, and improve reliability.
Most of Dreamhost’s packages are marketed at individuals and startups. It provides room to grow, with dedicated servers and VPS hosting, and it also supports reselling and ecommerce. However, its reseller model isn’t a traditional reseller account, which we will look at in the hosting overview below.
Dreamhost Package Overview
Dreamhost’s strength has always been in the shared hosting market, and it continues to offer shared hosting today, with additional specialized plans for WordPress. The 100% uptime guarantee will be attractive for small businesses, and its one-click package for WordPress includes automatic updates. Resources are unlimited: space, bandwidth, email accounts, and domains have no cap.
If you only run WordPress, the DreamPress service is a fully managed WordPress product. Dreamhost says that it’s a lot faster than regular shared hosting, and it scales to cope with spikes in traffic.
VPS hosting and dedicated hosting plans offer SSD hosting and scalable resources. The VPS plan includes a free trial of its MySQL VPS add-on. This service places your MySQL databases on their own server for improved load times. If you want to keep the service, you’ll need to pay.
Dreamhost doesn’t sell a reseller package, but you can allocate certain chunks of your account to other users. This model may not suit you if you plan to run a full reseller hosting business.
Dreamhost Reviews by Our Community
Overall Rating from 261 Reviews by Dreamhost Customers
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Dreamhost Control Panel
Dreamhost has always rejected third party control panels like cPanel and Plesk. Instead, it has its own proprietary panel. This panel allows you to control most of the same technical aspects of a hosting account, and it’s provided free on every hosting package. This consistency means that many users have grown to love the custom panel.
However, there is one important thing to remember. Dreamhost does not have a way to import data from other panels. If you need to transfer from a cPanel host, for example, you will need to manually migrate your files and databases. Additionally, you can’t import your email from a cPanel backup file. You will need to recreate each email address, download the mail from your old host via IMAP, and manually drag it into your Dreamhost mailbox using a desktop mail application.
The same applies for transferring out to any host that isn’t Dreamhost. It’s got to be a manual process, and it might involve some work at the command line. This isn’t a reason to reject Dreamhost, but its unusual approach to be aware of before committing to a contract.
Dreamhost uses datacenters on the east and west coasts of the US. Customers can’t choose which datacenter their files are stored at, and you can’t select your preferred location at checkout. If you want to change, you’ll need to raise a support ticket.
One advantage that Dreamhost does have is that its staff are physically close to some of its machines at all times. So it can get that crucial hands-on access that’s sometimes needed, without the need to rely on third party remote hands.
Dreamhost operates its own in-house support team, with staff available 24/7 to assist customers. Customers can raise a ticket through the Dreamhost control panel, and there’s also a form on the website. The account area also has a live chat facility which is not available to non-customers.
You can’t contact Dreamhost support by phone, unless it offers a callback to assist. It does have a large knowledgebase, and a huge customer forum stretching back for many years.
Uptime and Service Guarantees
Dreamhost’s 97-day money-back guarantee is a key selling point for its service. It’s one of the longest guarantee periods you’ll find at any hosting company, and it gives you time to try out its control panel without commitment. This guarantee only applies to shared hosting accounts paid for using a credit card.
It also offers an excellent 100% uptime guarantee across all hosting packages. Credit is provided for downtime, using a simple calculation: 1 day of credit for 1 hour of downtime. However, this is capped at a maximum of 10% of your hosting fee. Downtime only officially begins when you open a support ticket, so if you suspect network problems, it’s a good idea to act quickly.
Dreamhost offers an innovative approach to hosting, and its move to the cloud has allowed it to branch out. Despite the advance of other control panels, it has stuck to its approach of using its own custom panel for everything. Depending on your situation, the control panel could be a blessing or a curse, and the lack of a reseller option could be limiting in some cases. But the long money-back period means you have a chance to try Dreamhost’s unique service for 97 days without risk.
Most Popular Dreamhost Hosting Plans
|Shared Web Hosting||DreamHost Cloud||VPS Hosting|
|Price||$6.95 / mo||$12 / mo||$15 / mo|
|Visit Dreamhost||Visit Dreamhost||Visit Dreamhost|
|Unlimited||Unlimited||$16.95 / mo Visit Host|
|Managed Dedicated Server
|1TB||Unlimited||$149 / mo Visit Host|
Dreamhost Frequently Asked Questions
- Where is DreamHost located?
The company is headquartered in Brea, California in the USA.
- Where are its datacenters located?
The company utilizes one datacenter in California, and one in Virginia.
- Does DreamHost have a money-back guarantee?
Yes, but it’s limited. DreamHost only offers its 97-day money-back guarantee on shared hosting purchased by credit card. No other products, services, or payment methods are eligible. If you received a free domain, the value will be deducted from your refund.
- Is there a minimum contract period?
The minimum term on most packages is 1 month.
- Which control panel does DreamHost offer?
DreamHost has its own proprietary control panel, Web Panel.
- Does DreamHost offer support over the phone?
DreamHost prefers support requests to go through its ticketing system. You can open a new ticket by filling in a form on its website. Its technical support team is based in-house, and is available 24/7. It does offer live chat as well. If you’d like to speak on the phone, you’ll need to ask for a callback. There is a fee for telephone support.
- Is support multilingual?
No. The support team provides support in English only.
- Can DreamHost help me to migrate my website?
No. If you need to move your site, you will need to do it manually. DreamHost provides some support documentation, but it will not migrate your site for you.
- What programming languages are supported?
PHP 5, Python, Perl, Ruby on Rails, and Ruby are supported on shared hosting plans. IPv6 is also supported.
- Does DreamHost have a reseller plan?
DreamHost allows reseller, but it doesn’t offer a traditional reseller option. If you want to resell its hosting, you just add your customers’ domains to your account, and manage them in the usual way. DreamHost does not provide any white label services or support, and you will be fully responsible for any violation of DreamHost’s terms.
- Are backups included?
DreamHost takes daily snapshots, but these are for internal use only. DreamHost is vague about the details, so it would be wise to make your own backup arrangements using the manual backup feature in the web panel.
- What payment options does DreamHost accept?
DreamHost accepts major credit cards, checks, wire payments, money orders, gift certificates, and PayPal.
- Can I create more than one website?
On a shared hosting plan you can create unlimited websites. On a WordPress hosting plan, each additional website attracts a monthly charge.
- Can I install Magento?
In theory, Magento will run on any plan with sufficient storage space and RAM. DreamHost does not offer specialized Magento packages.
- Are DreamHost’s servers secure?
DreamHost’s sites and servers are protected by around the clock. The company does not provide details about the nature of its datacenter security.
- Are one-click installers provided?
Yes. DreamHost offers around 20 one-click installers, including WordPress, Joomla!, MediaWiki, phpbb, and Zen Cart.
- Could I host an image-heavy site with DreamHost?
Yes. DreamHost offers unlimited resources on its shared hosting plans. Providing you do not create a resource-intensive website, such as a download site, you should not run into any problems.
- Does DreamHost offer any discounts for non-profit organizations?
US non-profit charitable organizations can claim a free shared hosting plan. A 501(c)(3) letter will be requested.