2017 DreamHost Review: Expert Rating (4.2/5.0 Stars)
Twenty years spent in web hosting puts DreamHost among the ‘veteran’ web hosts of our times. A clique of undergrad students at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California founded it and it’s to them we largely owe the success of this company.
Innovative as they are, over the years they have had spin-offs like Inktank which is a support and services company for open source Ceph file system and Akanda, another open source network virtualization project. Service-wise, they offer among other things free solid state drives (SSDs), SMTP, POP3, IMAP and webmail services, free marketing credits, free domain name, unlimited domains and MySQL database in most of their plans.
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And speaking of plans, they offer a full spectrum of hosting plans ranging from shared hosting to cloud hosting and VPS hosting. DreamHost is also quite popular as a WordPress hosting provider because they have specialized WordPress hosting that comes pre-configured to ensure easy management.
One interesting fact about DreamHost is that it’s from its best features that we also have its downsides. So read through to the end to see that and more.
- Features 3.9/5.0
- Reliability 4.2/5.0
- Ease Of Use 4.0/5.0
- Pricing 3.8/5.0
- Customer Support 4.2/5.0
DreamHost no doubt has a space among the crème de la crème of web hosting largely because they offer a fast and reliable experience to its users. Thanks to their SSD servers, users are guaranteed great load times and excellent speed.
The customer support offered is impeccable right from response times to the efficiency and knowledge of the support staff. To date, they still boasts some of the best uptimes in the industry with guarantees of compensation for any interruptions. Also, their money back guarantee is exemplary and shows a confidence that comes from an upstanding, untarnished reputation.
They also boast of a custom made panel that they have taken years to perfect. The DreamHost control panel is choke full of awesome features that have been simplified albeit a little hard to locate at first glance. More about this custom-made cPanel can be found in the video below:
Excellent Customer Support
DreamHost’s claim to excellent customer support has plenty of evidence to back it up. Top amongst them are the raving reviews about the professionalism and efficiency of the staff. In fact, all hosting plans receive the same caliber of help available 24/7 via live chat, email, and twitter. For most clients who prefer something written, this is a great support system.
Live chat, email, and twitter allow the client to receive links that come in handy when you have to follow instructions. In addition, they cut out the problem of strange accents that can be a language barrier when speaking over the phone as well as the high cost of calling especially for clients who are far off.
DreamHost utilizes SSD servers which are synonymous with fast, reliable load times. Better still, the SSD drives are used by all their users across all hosting plans. This translates to faster caching and database requirements being met. In addition, they offer a 100% uptime guarantee backed by a guarantee to credit their clients with a day’s service for each hour of interrupted service.
DreamHost boasts of a homegrown dashboard. They do not use the cPanel. All along (since 1997), they have been using their own in-house control panel which is simplified enough and offers a customized experience. With this DreamHost in-house control panel you have access to advanced features like cron jobs, raw server logs, subversion repository, and full CGI access to mention but a few.
The site also gives you access to core features like the ability to install database and software to better manage your site and storage for your website files.
Enough Trial Time
While most companies offer a 30-day money back guarantee, dream host triples the number of days that you can test out their services. With a 97-day money back guarantee, most people have ample time to make an informed decision. If it turns out that you don’t fancy their offering they will refund the money minus any domain registration fees. That speaks volumes about their confidence in delivering their services to your satisfaction and retaining you as a client.
Custom Made Control Panel
Like we said earlier in this review, some pros have a flip side and this is one of them. The homemade dashboard is not as user-friendly as the cPanel for a lot of users. What sets them apart is that the cPanel enables you to do a myriad of functions from setting up emails to installing applications and uploading files. It is simple and well known as the industry standard such that if you had a question on it, you can get answers from anyone online.
While the DreamHost control panel is meant to be beginner oriented, features are not in the open as they are on the cPanel. This is not to say similar features don’t exist on both control panels. But the ones on the DreamHost dashboard are just a bit more complex to locate and in some dreamhost.com reviews, some users find fault with that.
This is another two prong positive and negative feature. While some people appreciate live chat, email, and twitter, there are die hard customers who just want to hear a real person speak to them. Unfortunately, this service is not offered by DreamHost as part of their everyday customer support package. In the cases of long response times to live chat or email, such type of service would definitely have come in handy.
Unlimited Until It’s Limited
While this is an industry standard (offering unlimited limited resources), it still is a huge con however you look at it. Most people will sign up under the impression that they are set to get unlimited everything. But this could turn out into a huge disappointment especially just when you are beginning to see the traffic you worked hard for materialize only to hit a wall.
However, the limited unlimited issue seems to only affect shared hosting. Current VPS and DreamPress accounts do not offer unlimited resources. Instead, they have a specified disk allotment that is going to be listed on the sign-up page for each of the plans offered.
Only those with VPS and DreamPress accounts dating before November 12th, 2014 have unlimited resources except for unlimited emails. New email addresses have a 2 GB limit.
DreamHost is one of the most expensive web hosting services in the industry. One main reason for this is because they offer no discounts for unlimited plans. The shared hosting plan’s starting price is $7.95 at DreamHost while other web hosts such as HostGator (a major player in the industry) begins their shared hosting plan at just $5.95.
At the end of the day, pricing always plays a huge role in swaying a client one way or another. Their lack of a tiered plan means any website owner must purchase even those features they do not require when they acquire the single unlimited plan.
While most web hosts operate without much transparency, DreamHost is as open about their policies as they can be. They explain how unlimited works. If you haven’t optimized your site properly and it becomes a huge liability to other users on the server by taking too much space on the RAM, overloading the CPU or using too much disk I/O, you will be requested to get your own private server.
Therefore, your website should be able to share the resources available on the shared hosting equally with other websites. It is refreshing to know what you are really getting into before you metaphorically sign on the dotted line.
Money Back Guarantee
Most clients are taken aback by the 97-day period of trial offered with a money back guarantee. However, after the initial shock wears off, they are pleasantly surprised by the quality of services offered. The likelihood of sticking with DreamHost after 97 days is very high. This particular aspect allows the potential clients to have more confidence in the web host as a result of the confidence they exude themselves.
100% Uptime Guarantee
We all are aware that the industry standard when it comes to uptime is 99.99%. This leaves room for anything that may occur and lets clients know that things can go wrong from time to time. DreamHost, on the other hand, offers an uptime guarantee of 100%. Not only that, in the case of an interruption to their services, they will offer their clients a day’s free services for every 1 hour interrupted.
Using SSD servers puts DreamHost at a distinct advantage when it comes to speed. Well known for their speed, this ability to quickly load pages is crucial for anyone serious about their online presence. Not only is it good for the websites, search engines reward sites optimized for speed.
Dreamhost has been recognized and awarded by various institutions over the years including PC Mag for its excellence in web hosting. The ScaleUp Award is the latest that they received from the STACKWORLD conference & Expo. It’s given to technologies that provide an enabling platform for its customers to scale up fast. So the services provided by DreamHost will definitely keep it in the big leagues of web hosting.
However, there’s still a number of us who find the pricing a little bit too high. In fact, if you are on a budget and looking to find a cheap web host, DreamHost may not be the most appropriate web host for you. You are better off with a host like HostGator because they just don’t offer affordable web hosting alone but a wide a wide range of hosting plans to suit your hosting needs.
But even with the cons outlined earlier in our DreamHost review, the company still delivers one of the best services in web hosting.