For users looking to create a presence online, a reliable web hosting service is absolutely vital. With hundreds of web hosting services available today for users to choose from, it’s not an easy choice. Users must weigh several options and do a lot of research before settling on a hosting company. DreamHost is a simple and popular online web hosting service that also offers domain registration. Although they focus on hosting, DreamHost’s domain services are also quite impressive.
To help narrow the options, we’ll review DreamHost. DreamHost has options available for every budget that range from those with very limited options to those specifically created for specialized businesses.
- Unlimited data storage, bandwidth, subdomains, and MySQL databases
- Provides free domain privacy protection (Whoisguard) with all domain registrations
- Free SSL certificates
- Includes free domain name with all hosting plans
- 100% uptime guarantees
- Attentive customer service
- 97-day money-back guarantee
- Compatibility can happen when migrating websites over
- WordPress updates can crash servers and cause downtime
- Pricing structure can be confusing
- User management can be difficult to understand
Who is DreamHost best for?
DreamHost is recommended for those that are just starting out with a website and are growing their project over time. It provides a great, affordable option that offers solid support and a generous amount of storage and bandwidth combined with several perks that elevate efficiency.
What are the top features?
DreamHost offers consistent features across its various plans. Some are considered add-ons or may vary based on the plan selected, but here’s a look at some of the key features:
Backups and domain name
Through DreamHost, users receive free daily backups no matter which plans they are subscribed to, with an option to buy a domain name that is free for the first year of service. In order to qualify for a free domain name in the first year, the domain name must end in one of the following: .com, .org, .net, .info, or .club.
Secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate
An SSL certificate protects the information of anyone visiting your website, with a signal next to your URL notifying visitors that the site is secure for browsing. It’s also useful for search engine optimization (SEO), with DreamHost providing a free SSL certificate for every hosted site.
Before deciding on a web hosting plan, users should first understand how much bandwidth comes with their subscription. Users that intend to incorporate video, audio, or require higher levels of bandwidth, may want a more advanced plan. Since their service doesn’t track bandwidth or traffic, every DreamHost account comes with an unmetered transfer, which means there’s no bandwidth limit. (Yes, other web hosts do meter their bandwidth).
Random access memory (RAM)
RAM is how the information on your site is stored on the server – the bigger the site, the more RAM necessary for storage and loading. For users that want a cloud hosting package, RAM limits run between 512MB and 16GB. With dedicated hosting plans, the limits jump between 4GB and 64GB.
One-click installs and automated updates
Both of these are specific to WordPress websites and are a real time-saver since users are able to set up a DreamHost account with WordPress in literally one simple click. Another advantage to DreamHost is that users are able to check on software updates as WordPress rolls them out so users don’t have to constantly worry about the latest editions. With WordPress plugins, however, users will have to manage them directly.
What hosting types can users expect?
DreamHost subscribers can expect the following hosting types:
With shared hosting, a site shares space on a server with other sites. The server resources, including its control panel and storage, are shared between the sites. Shared hosting plans are the most affordable option and usually are only a few dollars each month.
Virtual private server or VPS hosting
VPN hosting is an option that lives in between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. VPN plans more control and space than shared hosting, but sites still share a server.
DreamHost has simple, effective email hosting so you can send emails from your company domain.
Many companies are now offering cloud hosting, which keeps files in virtual folders and allows for easy access.
For those with larger, more complex sites or sites that drive a lot of traffic, a dedicated server may be necessary. It provides more control, bandwidth, and speed, but it’s also the most expensive option that hosting providers offer.
Managed WordPress hosting
For those with a WordPress site, DreamHost plans do support it. Installers and WordPress users rave about DreamHost’s ability to manage updates and security protocols.
What’s performance and reliability like for DreamHost?
DreamHost is known for its performance, offering an affordable hosting service that is fast, reliable, and powerful. Users that sign up for service can expect basic security protocols in place and even more advanced tools that are included in certain DreamHost packages, with a guarantee of 99.5% uptime for a website.
Uptime is an important component, whether it is a free or paid service, with most web hosting providers offering a 99.99% uptime guarantee. DreamHost offers a higher than average uptime rate to ensure that users have more stable network connections.
Data centers are protected, malware monitoring is in place, CDN (content delivery network) and encryption protocols are followed.
What kind of security is in place?
DreamHost not only covers basic security needs for a website, but also provides more advanced options, with all of their plans including SSL certificates, daily backups, security firewalls, and domain privacy for optimal service. Other security options users can expect the following:
- Free SSL Certificates are absolutely necessary basics to web hosting and are a required component to connect between browsers and servers.
- Web Application Firewall consists of hundreds of custom rules which filter traffic coming through a user’s site. This provides basic protection against attacks on websites including bots.
- Daily Backups is a free feature where DreamHost backup user websites automatically on all of their offered plans. This ensures that if there are any issues, users can prevent major losses.
- An additional paid feature through DreamHost is the domain privacy protection that hides users’ personal information that would otherwise be publicized.
These security measures are all some of the best hosting services can offer, but there is one important feature that users must pay for – DreamShield Malware Remover. For only $29.99 annually or $3 a month, this malware is useful and one in which most users invest.
What’s the cost of DreamHost?
DreamHost offers several plans, with prices ranging from a starter plan with a limited-time price of $2.59 up to an unlimited plan that hits $399 a month. Shared starter packages are an affordable option too, with the most expensive plans reserved for those that require dedicated hosting. Users should note that the more committed hosting plan comes with a more affordable price – a year of hosting fees paid upfront is cheaper than monthly payments, which Dream Hosting refers to as their loyalty discount. The pricing plans include the following:
Dedicated hosting price
The dedicated hosting price from DreamHost ranges from $169 to $300 a month, with each price point named after the moon. Users have access to a customizable Cpanel and unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth.
Cloud hosting prices
The cloud hosting through DreamHost is more flexible and modern, allowing users to pay only for the resources used – akin to a SIM card for a mobile phone that is prepaid. Users are charged an hourly rate, which ranges between $0.0075 to a maximum of $0.16, depending on the amount of bandwidth and RAM used. Email hosting is included.
There are other web hosting providers like BlueHost, HostGator, GoDaddy, or WooCommerce for e-commerce sites, and while their prices are comparable, the packages do differ.
What can users expect in terms of customer support?
No matter how well your package and service are, emergencies and inconveniences can occur, and when they do, users want a hosting service that offers a professional support team that’s easy to access.
DreamHost offers customers support through callbacks, live chat operators, tickets, an online forum, and a help center for the most commonly asked questions.
It is not possible to contact DreamHost via phone support, however, but with their thorough customer service network, this is not really an issue. DreamHost operates their live chat support from 5:30 am – 9:30 pm PST, seven days a week. They not only offer chat support in English but also provide Spanish support staff. The wait times can be somewhat lengthy, but according to most reviews, it only takes a few minutes before you are speaking to tech support.
DreamHost’s online support ticketing service is considered above average compared to other hosting services and most say technical support is a smooth operation. An online knowledge base is also available.
What operating systems does DreamHost use on its web servers?
There are three operating systems that DreamHost uses, depending on which hosting type you use. Apache and Ubuntu run on the shared web servers at Dreamhost. Apache, Nginx, and Debian run on the VPS and dedicated servers. These operating systems offer solid reliability and result in good uptimes.
Is root access to my webserver available to me?
The shared, VPS, or DreamPress hosting plans don’t have root access available. Only the dedicated server plans offer any type of root access. With that plan, you can create an administrative user on a dedicated server and that gives you root access.
Is Windows ASP, .NET, or FrontPage extensions supported on DreamHost?
No, DreamHost doesn’t support any of those options because it is a full Linux environment.
Are long-term backups of my domain available with DreamHost?
DreamHost has, on average, about two weeks of website backups and five days of backups for databases. None of the hosting plans include long-term backups. Those who want long-term backups should research the company’s cloud storage service called DreamObjects. This is an affordable way for you to back up any data you desire.
How many sites are included in a hosting plan?
That depends on the plan you choose. You have unlimited domains for the shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting plans. However, if you go with DreamPress, there is only a single domain available so you must purchase a plan for each additional domain.
Whether you pick a plan with multiple domains or purchase a plan for each domain depends on whether you have multiple businesses yourself or are building websites for others, which may require a separate account for each site.
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