Dreamhost Review: Dream Come True or a Nightmare?

Dreamhost Introduction

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

Support
Quality
Features
Value

Most Helpful Reviews

Davdi French avatar
Davdi French jackalope.tech
Nov 19, 2018

Love Dreamhost. They’re great. Sometimes I wish there was a little bit better organization to their UI, they don’t use cPanel and the panel they use instead is a bit odd at times, but I think that’s mostly just preference.

What they’re great at, and the most important thing to me, is their customer service. It’s dope. It’s amazing.

The best. I can get in contact via a chat window with a tech within 5 ten minutes no problem, give a brief explanation of my issue and they will help me fix whatever I’m having trouble with, no issue. Also they have a great API that makes DNS management easy, and a very accessible and well written knowledge base that is SEO.

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Warner Blake avatar
Warner Blake pstoo.org
Nov 03, 2018

In 1996, the Seattle Art Museum and Microsoft funded a program to help artists create and host a website which I did for my nonprofit organization, Pstoo (Puppet Soup Theater of Objects). Still had the website when the program ended, but no host — that’s when Dreamhost stepped up with free hosting for nonprofits! Think I discovered Dreamhost around the same time I was embracing WordPress, circa 2005. We have been a team since then, even before they began throwing parties in Seattle.

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Ellen M. Gregg avatar
Ellen M. Gregg ellenmgregg.com
Oct 29, 2018

I’ve used several – perhaps many – different web hosts. Dreamhost offers me a sense of stability for my site that I haven’t experienced before this. First, there’s the SSL certificate, which grows ever more important for online businesses. (I’m always shocked when I see that my peers don’t have SSLs for their sites.) Then, there’s the uptime.

Save for an incident on Thursday night, when Jetpack reported my site being down for three hours, my site’s uptime has been blessedly constant. Oh – and the incident was taken care of in short order once I reported it to support. That means a lot – both the uptime and the support.

I also appreciate the alignment of DreamPress for my WordPress-platform site. That synergy is a match made in website heaven. So… That’s why you rock, Dreamhost!

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Milenka Sarovik avatar
Milenka Sarovik 5csoflife.com
Nov 20, 2018

I simply love DreamHost. The support is always prompt, adequate, helpful and considerate. Each issue I have had has been successfully resolved in a timely manner and in the easiest way possible, which is extremely important to me being tech-illiterate with no other tech support aside from DreamHost support.

Thank you guys… you really rock :-) .

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Robert Poissant avatar
Robert Poissant howdy-quebec.com
Oct 01, 2018

Customer satisfaction is generally considered the pillar of loyalty. The quality of the infrastructure of the equipments put at our disposal, offers a service that surpasses my expectations. I am satisfied with all the services and possibilities they offer me, not forgetting security and technical support after sales. As a customer since 2005, I recommend without hesitation Dreamhost as web hosting.

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Teresa Hunter avatar
Teresa Hunter bizstyler.co.uk
Sep 16, 2018

Dreamhost rocks! I highly recommend it to anyone needing hosting. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs since a friend recommended them back in 2013.

Reliable, affordable, excellent support, and continually improving with new features. It has been fulfilling my hosting needs as my business has grown seamlessly. Ensures my customers are happy too.

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Richard Oakes avatar
Richard Oakes sfdh.us
Oct 12, 2018

Wonderful hosting service. Support is great (although all the URLs in their emails is daunting for someone who is not so computer literate!). So far, all is well.

Hah . . . Dreamhost does NOT suck. Their Chat is a fine service that is oh so helpful when I have a website problem.

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Thomas James avatar
Thomas James urbanedge.design
Sep 20, 2018

Love Dreamhost, been with them for about 12 years and wouldn’t change. Great value for money. Only gripe would be the emails service, especially the webmail as it is slow.

Other than that all great and uptime is great with their hosting packages. Control panel is very easy to use and change setting.

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Michelle Cristine Paese avatar
Michelle Cristine Paese coffeepress.com.br
Aug 23, 2018

Since I moved to Dreamhost, in 2015, I had no big issues with my clients’ sites. The support is excellent, I never had conflicts with the technicians that helped me. Frustrations occur in different places and with different issues, and I never had it with the Dreamhost team support.

The server is very good and gives me all the tools that I need. And you are a company with principles that I share, like freedom and respect. Yeah, you really rock. Thanks <3

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Stephen Baker avatar
Stephen Baker letsrunwithit.com
Jul 31, 2018

I’ve been a Dreamhost user for…um…OK…gimme a moment to check here…jeez 2001!?! OK – now they’re making me feel old…I should knock off a star for that…No making your customers feel old – That’s BAD!! So – they are affordable – they let me have a gazillion domain names on one account, they keep increasing the amount of disk space I’m allowed to the point where I’ve kinda lost track.

I went from a single ‘vanity’ web page to running three small businesses and having web sites for my kids, my dog and so forth. The ability to just ‘ssh’ into their server and do "Linux stuff" without having to fight your way through layers of interface is Wonderful. The DreamHost Control Panel makes web admin stuff super-easy, but without dumbing it down to the point of annoyance.

The "Goodies" section of that lets me install complicated stuff easily. Their support staff are super-helpful and seem very knowledgeable and don’t condescend people who actually know what they’re talking about. But you know – I’ve only needed them about a dozen times in 17 years and that’s the Best measure.

The fact that you don’t often Need support is more significant than how good they are when you DO need them. On that measure, DreamHost are doing something right. Truly – (aside from the "Making me feel old" issue) – I have nothing to complain about…good work guys!

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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 Datacenter

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.

Technical Support

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.

Summary

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
Disk Space Unlimited 2GB Unlimited
Bandwidth Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Price $6.95 / mo $12 / mo $15 / mo
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Plan Disk Space Bandwidth Price
DreamPress
Shared
Unlimited Unlimited $16.95 / mo Visit Host
Managed Dedicated Server
Dedicated
1TB Unlimited $149 / mo Visit Host
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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. 

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Claire Broadley

About Claire Broadley

Claire has been creating websites for over 20 years and has been using WordPress for over ten. She is an expert in web hosting, design, HTML, and more. She lives with her husband and son in the United Kingdom.

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