DreamHost won PC Magazine’s Editor’s Choice for web hosting in 2016, marking the third straight year the company has won that distinction (if you want to know more about the award, click here for more details).
What’s more impressive is that the company won in both the general web hosting and small business web hosting categories.
DreamHost also appears on PC Magazine’s Best Web Hosting Services of 2017 and Best Small Business Web Hosting Services of 2017, presumably based on the awards previously gained last year.
DreamHost currently hosts more than 1.5 million websites and 750,000 WordPress sites.
Founded in 1996 by four undergraduate students from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, DreamHost started offering hosting services a year later; thus, this year marks DreamHost’s 20th anniversary in the web hosting business.
DreamHost is also an open-source pioneer, having contributed development and engineering resources to the open-source OpenStack project since 2011.
In fact, DreamHost CEO Simon Anderson has sat on the OpenStack Foundation’s Board of Directors since its inception.
DreamHost’s commitment to open-source has also saw it spun off two companies directly involved in open-source projects: the Ceph file system professional services and support company Inktank and the network virtualization project Akanda.
DreamHost provides a robust set of hosting services that includes shared web hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting, fully-managed dedicated server hosting, WordPress hosting, and cloud hosting.
DreamHost also offers a free-to-try website builder and domain name registration services.
All hosting services run on Apache, nginx, and lighthttpd web servers running on Ubuntu Linux, although for cloud hosting, customers may choose their own operating systems, including Windows.
Customers wanting to speed up their websites can also avail of the company’s own, affordably-priced content delivery network (CDN).
We’ll provide more details about these services in the rest of this article.
Common to all hosting plans is DreamHost’s own custom-developed, web-based control panel, which includes a billing and support ticket system.
The DreamHost control panel has been in development since the company started offering hosting services in 1997. Its maturity can be attested to by this rave review from a satisfied customer.
Its industry reputation and veteran status aside,
- Does DreamHost’s services this year continue its tradition of excellence?
- Does it remain a worthy contender in the web hosting arena?
We’ll find out soon enough.
Shared Web Hosting
Let’s start by looking at DreamHost’s shared web hosting packages.
DreamHost offers monthly, yearly and 3-year plans on its website (the comprehensive DreamHost knowledge base mentions that customers may choose other plans aside from the above-mentioned, allowing them to gain more discounts in the process).
The monthly plan starts at $10.95/month and the yearly plan is billed at $119.40, or $9.95/month. You get a 20% discount over the yearly plan if you avail of the 3-year plan.
All shared web hosting plans are hosted on fast SSD servers and include a free SSL/TLS Let’s Encrypt Certificate, free domain privacy registration, full shell access, and unlimited storage, bandwidth, email addresses, databases, and domains.
All plans also include unlimited 24/7 email and Twitter support from the company’s own customer support team, 100% uptime guarantee, and 97-day money back guarantee.
If a shared web server is not your thing, DreamHost also offers four VPS plans, ranging from $15 for 30GB SSD storage and 1GB RAM to $120/month for 240GB SSD Storage and 8GB RAM.
If you start with the lowest plan, you can scale the SSD storage and RAM up at any time from within your own control panel, which as mentioned before, separates DreamHost from the rest of the pack.
Aside from unlimited bandwidth, hosted domains and MySQL databases characteristic of all DreamHost plans, you have the option to host your MySQL databases in its own VPS, allowing them to handle large amounts of data.
Starting at $15 per month, the MySQL VPS option comes with a free one-week trial, during which your database is allotted 2300 MB of RAM.
After the first week, you may choose to start with the minimum $15 monthly plan with 300MB RAM, or the recommended amount of RAM calculated during your free trial.
All VPS plans are hosted on fast SSD servers and include a free SSL/TLS Let’s Encrypt Certificate, free domain privacy registration, full shell access, unlimited storage, bandwidth, email addresses, databases, and domains, unlimited 24/7 email and Twitter support, 100% uptime guarantee, and 97-day money back guarantee.
Fully-Managed Dedicated Server Hosting
Starting at $169 per month for the lowest-spec configuration (4 cores, 2TB HDD and 4GB RAM), customers may configure their own dedicated server using the configuration tool on the DreamHost website.
The most expensive dedicated server is priced at $379, and includes 12 cores, 240GB SSD, and 64 GB RAM.
If you choose to get the yearly plan instead, you’ll get substantial savings – the $169/month rate for the lowest-end configuration goes down to $149/month (for a $240 savings) if paid annually. You get the same $240 discount for the rest of the plans.
All dedicated servers include RAID 1 storage, Ubuntu Linux, full root and shell access, 100% uptime guarantee, unlimited MySQL databases, 24/7 tech support and server monitoring, DDoS protection and unlimited bandwidth.
Cloud Hosting and Object Storage
Cloud hosting plans, dubbed as DreamCompute, start at $4.50 max per month for 512MB RAM, 1 vCPU, 80GB SSD and 100GB block storage up to $48 max per month for 8GB RAM, 4 vCPU, 80GB SSD and 100GB block storage.
In between is the 2GB RAM server, which maxes out $12 per month.
All charges for the three plans are capped at 600 hours, meaning that you are not charged if you used it for any excess usage above 600 hours.
Dedicated servers currently come with free bandwidth, though this may change at any time (DreamHost hasn’t yet set a date for when that will be).
Although Ubuntu and other Linux variants come preinstalled on its cloud servers, customers have the option to use Windows and other operating systems.
DreamHost boasts that its cloud hosting options takes less than 30 seconds to set up. The use of OpenStack and Ceph on its cloud servers means that you are not tied to closed-source technologies.
This means you can transition to your OpenStack server when you’re ready.
Unique to DreamHost is Dream Objects, its name for its object storage service, which is free to try for 30 days, after which you pay just 2.5 cents per GB of storage per month and 5 cents per GB of downloads per month.
Open-source-powered, Dream Objects is S3-compatible and fully scalable, and offers reliable redundant servers. It also comes with free API requests and 24/7 chat and email support.
As with DreamCompute, DreamObjects uses the Ceph fully-scalable object storage engine.
With DreamObjects, you can streamline web app development, back up your storage to the cloud using popular and widely-available apps, as well as back up your WordPress sites.
Managed WordPress Hosting
DreamPress, as DreamHost calls its managed WordPress hosting service, costs $16.95 per month if paid annually (the monthly rate is $19.95).
DreamPress comes preinstalled and preconfigured with an optimized WordPress instance and offers 24/7 chat, email and phone callback support from WordPress experts.
DreamPress hosts your WordPress website’s web front-end and MySQL in two separate servers, allowing for optimal performance.
Other features include SSD drive hosting, scalable RAM, super-fast caching and optimized networking. What’s more, DreamPress uses PHP 7, thus making your WordPress website faster.
You can use any WordPress theme or plugin, there is no bandwidth or visitor number limits, and your WordPress site is also ecommerce-ready as it comes with a free Let’s Encrypt TLS/SSL certificate.
The latest stable WordPress version is also used for your websites, ensuring them from possible security risks.
SSH, WordPress CLI and GIT support means that you can leverage these tools to manage your WordPress server.
Note that WordPress is available as a one-click-install app on all DreamHost shared web hosting plans.
When PC Magazine reviewed DreamHost last year, it decried that DreamHost did not have a website builder, effectively shutting it down as an option for beginning website owners.
This year, that disadvantage is gone, as DreamHost released its own website builder, dubbed Remixer, last February.
Remixer features professionally-designed themes that you can use for your own website. All themes are responsive, ensuring that your website looks good both on the desktop and mobile.
The tool also comes with a royalty-free image library that you can use for your projects, though you can also use your own content if you want.
Remixer has 70+ content sections you can add to your website, and its click-to-edit interface allows changing fonts and colors with ease. Publishing your website is done with a single button click.
Remixer essentially comes at no cost to customers – if you build your website using Remixer, DreamHost will host your website for free, although of course, DreamHost will prefer that you upgrade to a hosting plan, if only to have the convenience to assign your own custom domain and get your own email addresses.
If you encounter any problem while using Remixer, just use live chat and email to contact the 24/7 support team.
We have not had a chance to use the tool yet, though we hope to try it sometime soon. We hope to share with you our review of the tool then.
ICANN-accredited DreamHost offers domain registration services for more than 350 domain extensions at affordable prices (the lowest-priced ones start at $2.95).
All shared hosting customers, regardless of payment plan, are provided with free domain registration for the first year.
Certain domains are eligible for free domain privacy protection; you can opt for free private registration for non-eligible domains.
Free privacy protection ensures that your personal information is shielded from strangers, spammers, scammers and telemarketers and reduces your risk for identity theft.
All domains include unlimited subdomains, free custom nameservers, domain forwarding, and DNS management capability.
There are flexible auto-renewal options and domain locking to prevent unauthorized transfer requests or scammers is optional.
Customers also get access to Remixer, DreamHost’s free web builder. This means that you can essentially host your new website for free, and move to a paid option when you’re ready.
DreamHost has its own CDN for customers wanting to accelerate their websites and streamline download speeds.
DreamSpeed download rates are priced at 12 cents per GB if accessed from US and Europe and 19 cents per GB if accessed from the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, and New Zealand.
Aside from the simplified pricing, DreamSpeed ensures secure delivery over HTTPS, auto DNS configuration, instant cache purging, and standard cache header support.
Moreover, you can use your own domain name with the service. Existing customers can enable DreamSpeed by flicking on a switch on their control panel.
DreamHost offers a plethora of security services, maintained by its own security engineers, for its customers.
DreamHost has an optional malware remover priced at $1.50 per month that can be enabled from the control panel.
It offers free SSL/TLS certificates from Let’s Encrypt, and its nginx-based plans include http/2 support and a web application firewall built on OpenResty, which is capable of handling hundreds of thousands of requests per second.
For plans on Apache web servers, it offers the industry-standard web application firewall, mod_security.
For WordPress sites, rock-solid security is ensured through the use of a WordPress-specific firewall that blocks known vulnerabilities and defends against brute force attacks.
Dreamhost Uptime Score and Site Speed:
We have been monitoring Dreamhost’s Uptime and Server Site speed over the years. Here below you can see the history of last 2 months.
It has improved when compared to previous test.
DreamHost Server Speed Test (March 2017): C
It has been declined when compared to previous month (Feb. 2017).
DreamHost Server Speed Test (Feb 2017): B
Dreamhost server speed test – B (Feb 2017).
The breadth of hosting services that DreamHost offers is comparable, if not better, to its competitors.
An industry-leading 100% uptime guarantee, a knowledgeable in-house 24/7 customer support team, and spotless reputation among its current crop of customers make DreamHost stand out from the rest.
What’s more, DreamHost continues to improve its services, as seen by its release of its own custom website builder, which has long been standard among other hosting providers.
What’s lacking, though, are Windows servers on the web hosting plans other than cloud hosting.
Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a reliable hosting service provider, DreamHost provides all the bells and whistles, and much more than that.
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