DreamHost Reviews

Read our expert opinion of DreamHost, along with unbiased reviews from 15 real users

This is an updated Dreamhost review of one we originally wrote back in September 2013.  Since September 2013 they have been busy re-inventing itself, launching new products including their DreamObjects, DreamCompute and their WordPress Hosting product DreamPress.  Not only that but they have recently starting using SSD for storage on all plans, significantly improving the performance.

Before we get down to our Review, it is useful to give a little background on the company.  They were founded in 1996 by Dallas Bethune, Josh Jones, Michael Rodriguez and Sage Weil , undergraduate students at Harvey Mudd College , Claremont California.  In line with their recent reinvention of themselves into OpenSource with their DreamCompute and DreamObjects, In 2012, they created Inktank, a professional services and support company for the Open Source Ceph File System.  This demonstrates the significant level of expertise this company has, and puts them in a fantastic position going forward as OpenSource software continues its push to the forefront of web hosting.

DreamHost key points

Top considerations

Not EIG Owned, SSD Hosting

Platform

Linux

Server Location

US

Developer features

Git, Ruby on Rails

Expert Opinion

DreamHost Shared Hosting Review

Dreamhost Shared Hosting Plans allow a choice between Linux and Windows.

They only offer one shared web hosting plan, costing $8.95 per month, although if you want a little more power, you can opt for their WordPress Hosting, which is based on a VPS costing $19.95 per month. 

Of course, if you need more they offer an excellent upgrade path with VPS and Dedicated solutions.  For the purpose of this review though we will just be considering the standard shared hosting plan:

Dreamhost Plans

The only thing that stands out here is the 97-day money back guarantee, which is one of the longest in the industry.  Also, everything is stated to be unlimited, but in reality, there are plenty of restrictions, whether it be RAM, CPU or just restrictions contained in the terms and conditions on what you can store within your disk space.  You are advised to read the terms and conditions carefully.

Speaking of terms and conditions, a quick view seems to indicate some important things relating to the refund under the heading "Financial Arrangements".  Specifically, to qualify for a refund you must pay either by Credit Card or Google Wallet, and that additional services such as Domain Registration are not included in the refund.  If you pay, monthly there is a one-time setup fee of $49.95, and it is not clear if this is covered under the refund policy.

The Control Panel

They have their own control panel, rather than relying on the industry standard cPanel, Plesk or even DirectAdmin.  You can get an idea of what the control panel is like from the screenshot below, although it does now look a little dated in comparison to their new website design .

Dreamhost web panel

We are going to sound very biased now, but we do not like their control panel at all.  If you regularly maintain your site and are used to industry standard solutions, we suspect you might have a similar view.  If you hardly ever log into the control panel, because once your site is setup, there is very little need to, then you probably won't mind.  We would, however, say that there are quite a few positive reviews in the community about their Control panel so that must count for something when considering them for hosting.

One thing we particularly like about cPanel hosts is that makes it easy to transfer an account to a new provider, or indeed transfer from your old provider.  Also, a cPanel transfer will copy email accounts, forwarders, and any other settings.  It is unclear what their policy is on website transfers, but we suspect you will be left to transfer the sites yourself.

Support

Their support is mainly e-mail based, although they do offer premium support for an additional $9.95 per month whereby customers can request a live chat or telephone call back from the support team.  Note, however, that the live-chat is not guaranteed and only available as staffing permits.

While it is not unusual to offer only ticket email support, for a the cost of DreamHost shared hosting we do not think this is adequate.  If you add the cost of the premium support, you get charged just under $19 a month for just three telephone call-backs (The US only) and intermittent live-chat.  We cannot help but think this is vastly over-priced, and not in line with what other hosts offer.

You can read more about their Support and what it does and does not include in their wiki article .

Dreamhost Features

They seem to concentrate on providing a base set of features well, but that does mean that there is not a great deal to talk about when it comes to additional features, although we did find a couple of things of interest:

  • They offer Ruby On Rails support, along with Python, and Subversion Repository.
  • Also, you can get $100 Adwords credit when you sign up, but we suspect that is just for US customers only.
  • 1-Click Installer for the most common web apps, such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla!
  • Mobile Website Generator powered by DudaMobile
  • Cafe Commerce Integration for easy online storefront, although this would not be our preferred solution.
  • Automated Malware Scans powered by StopTheHacker .
  • One-click Cloudflare setup.
  • 100% Uptime Guarantee, where you get credited a day's service for every hour of interrupted service.
  • Free Domain

Compared to the features you would find in say cPanel, the full range of features seem quite limited, although are perfectly adequate.

One particularly interesting thing we would say, though, is that they do offer a very affordable pay per usage CDN that looks pretty good.  It is based on their DreamObjects technology.  Unfortunately, we are unable to say whether it is better than CloudFlare or MaxCDN, but all you need to do is sign up to DreamObjects and then activate the CDN from the control panel.  Definitely worth trying it out when the cost is just $0.12 per GB for US & Europe and $0.19 per GB for Asia-Pacific, Australia  & New Zealand.

Uptime

As we have mentioned previously, they offer a 100% Uptime Guarantee.  This does not mean the Uptime is necessarily high, just that you might get back half a dollar every so often if they don't meet their high targets.

That being said, there are no indications around the web of a problem with excessive downtime, although this invariably happens from time to time with any hosting provider.  That being said, if downtime should occur, there are indications that it does take a little time to resolve unless you have their Premium Support, as they might not respond to the incident for several hours otherwise.

Speed

We previously mentioned some comments around the web of slow WordPress performance, but when updating the review, we have found these have largely disappeared.  We are not surprised about this with the recent introduction of SSD Hosting that should significantly improve the responsiveness of dynamic websites such as WordPress.

Is Dreamhost Good Value?

If you use our DreamHost Coupon that gives $65 off your first year, the price is very reasonable.  However, when it comes to renewal, and should you need telephone support we do not think that DreamHost is that good value for money, especially when you need to sign up for two years to get the $8.95 price.  There are many other Premium Hosts that offer much better value despite costing a little more after their own discount period ( see SiteGround ).

Had they included fully featured support instead of adding it on for $9.95 per month perhaps we would have a different view on this, but at the moment we cannot.

Dreamhost Summary

Pros

  • 97 day Money Back Guarantee – They give you a 97-day money back guarantee, which is one of the longest trial periods available. This is a great attribute for those who find the need to test out multiple web hosting services and compare them all to make a decision.  However, as we have indicated... please read the terms and conditions relating to this.
  • DreamObjects CDN - We love the way they are developing their technologies, and think they have some great things coming with their new DreamCompute, which is currently in Beta Testing.
  • SSD Storage - Significantly faster than normal storage.  We are a big fan of this move by them.

Cons

  • No Phone Support – They have no phone service that could cause issues if you want direct contact with a person, but they have other outlets of support such as forums and email, so it’s a minor issue to us. You can get phone support. However, it is only included on their more expensive packages.
  • No Online Chat Support unless you upgrade - In our view online chat support should not be an optional extra.  It should be as standard.  Their Premium Support that includes three callbacks via Phone is a massive $9.95 per month.
  • No cPanel – They do not include the widely popular cPanel that is offered in most web hosting sites. It, on the other hand, has its own custom setup. It will take some getting used to if you’re familiar with the cPanel configuration.
  • Price - We think they are overpriced if you need their premium support, although with our Coupon you can get a great deal on the first year.

DreamHost Shared Hosting Review

Editor's Expert Opinion

Dreamhost has changed quite a bit over the past year or so since we carried out our initial review.  We used to think they were a little over priced, and to some extent, we are still a little disappointed their premium support comes at a significant price compared to its competitors.  That being said, the move to pure SSD hosting certainly brings their pricing structure in line with what we would expect.

Dreamhost Frequently Asked Questions

What people are saying

Find out what people are saying about Dreamhost below, or alternatively, if you have experience with them yourself, feel free to leave your review.

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: No

3.8
Support
1
Features
6
Speed
6
Uptime
5
Value
1

Man they used to be so good. Support has gone way downhill from when I joined in 2010. Ugh.

If you’re looking to sign up, know that their proprietary panel really locks you in. It is very difficult to move your sites to another provider. So buyer beware!
+ PROS: Decent packages, uptime, services
- CONS: Price way too high, support is terrible

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: Yes

8.0
Support
8
Features
8
Speed
8
Uptime
8
Value
8

I signed up to Dreamhost around 8 months ago, after being suggested by other friends in the design/development industry. I liked their modern interface (which is hard to come by compared to other hosts), which provided quick and easy access to the main features across their site. Their support is second to none, however the waiting times for a live chat session can sometimes peak at 15 minutes, which can be a little hectic if something goes wrong.

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: No

3.0
Support
1
Features
5
Speed
4
Uptime
3
Value
2

Simply put, not the best choice for hosting a website.
+ PROS: From technical and technological perspective they are pretty much as most other web-hosting companies.
- CONS: The technical and customer support is just terrible. Waited for SEVERAL DAYS for their "ticket support" reply, which wasn't even comprehensive enough to address the (simple) issue. Cancelled after a week of trying it. My website was down once for several hours even during that short period! Most other web-hosting companies offer live chat support for the same money, and much better reliability and functionality.

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: No

4.0
Support
1
Features
8
Speed
8
Uptime
2
Value
1

Stay away from this company if you value your business, and I’ll tell you why:

I have been a customer of Dream Host for about 15 years. In the early years they were very good and very helpful. I had 4 dedicated servers with them. However, in the last few years they started having down time issues and other problems. Worst of all, their customer support was really hard to get a hold of. When they did reply they did not offer much help and you had to wait until they would reply again the next day.

However, it was nothing compared to what happened to me this year. They told me that they would be moving my server. I was OK with it and it was presented to me as a no big deal event. When the move has happened all of my websites have broke. I have websites who make money and some are just there to uphold my web presence and reputation. I have contacted Dream Host support and it was about 3 days!!! after when they finally got back to me!

Three days of having all of my websites down!!!

But even that is not the worst part. They accused me of having my website improperly coded and told me it was a web development issue. Of course, I told them that the sites have been working for years and the move was the one that broke it all. I investigated myself what broke and guess what? Most permissions were not carried over and were missing. Mounts and some packages were missing as well.

Once again, I contacted them telling them that they are screwing with my web presence and my income. I told them what I found out why everything broke. Even though this was a matter of permissions, mounts and packages that were not carried over by the Dream Host team in the move – I was, once again, told that it was my fault and I had to fix it since it was a “web development issue”.

Finally, they sent me an email and told me they did not want to host my websites anymore!
I’m extremely disappointed. Needless to say I ran away to another hosting company who was happy to have a loyal customer who has never missed a payment!

Stay away from this company if you value your business!

+ PROS: good control panel
- CONS: Can ruin your business, bad customer support

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: Yes

8.0
Support
9
Features
6
Speed
8
Uptime
10
Value
7

This is the best web hosting.

Pros: It has 100% uptime.

Cons: Its support is some how not good.

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: Yes

7.0
Support
6
Features
5
Speed
8
Uptime
10
Value
6

I have been a Dreamhost customer since 2004, but at last, its time for a change. You really cant complain too much about the service as their uptime is great. Things only start to get shaky once you have to upgrade your ecommerce scripts from time to time. They only offer 2 versions of PHP, so if you run a custom script, be prepared to have some compatibility issues. The control panel is pretty straight forward, just gets some getting used to. All in all, its been a good ride, but its time to try something else.

Pros: Uptime

Cons: Constant script compatibility issues.

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: No

4.2
Support
1
Features
4
Speed
4
Uptime
8
Value
4

Used to host my site on DH, eventually moved away because of the difficult to navigate panel. Still had my domain registration with them. When it was ready to expire, I attempted to transfer to a competitor. The auth code listed by DH was invalid. It took them over 5 days to get a new auth code reissued. Customer service was slow to respond the entire time. I finally had to re-up for another year with DH after my registration expired while waiting for their customer service. Miraculously, within an hour or so of renewing, they sent the auth code. Terrible customer service. Do not use. Use anyone else.

Pros: Cheap, sort of.

Cons: Absolutely terrible support.

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: Yes

8.2
Support
9
Features
8
Speed
8
Uptime
9
Value
7

Dreamhost is awesome! I've been using their services for a very long time now. They are always great to work with when it comes to purchasing and applying new features. They also have great setup documentation, and their customer support team has been very helpful with providing me with advice on better ways for achieving my goals.

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: Yes

9.0
Support
9
Features
9
Speed
9
Uptime
9
Value
9

I love Dreamhost. Their incredible stability and uptime are the best things about them. In the past, I have used several less expensive hosting services. However, there were always problems with their support and uptime. I got sick and tired of super cheap hosting services, and decided to give a "real" hosting company a chance. A few of my friends recommended them to me, so I decided to try it.

However, I don't have any experience dealing with their customer service. Why? Because everything has worked without a hitch, and I haven't had any problems. I have had hosting with them for around one year, and I have never had any downtime. Their customer service is available 24/7, so I'm sure it is good. I also haven't had any problems with the speed. It is very stable and fast.

Another thing I really like it the control panel. I would think just about everyone would find it easy to understand. It is very user friendly and has great features. I still think the biggest con when it comes to this hosting service is the amount of features. In my opinion, it is quite suitable for bloggers and beginners. It comes with an automatic script installer that helps you with configuring WordPress and other programs and works quite well.

I'm definitely not an advanced web developer. However, those types of individuals might miss some features that aren't part of the control panel.

In summary, I think they are an incredible hosting service for intermediate and beginning users. I highly recommend it due to its uptime, user friendliness and speed!

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: No

4.2
Support
2
Features
6
Speed
5
Uptime
5
Value
3

I have been a DreamHost customer since 2006. I'm actually getting ready to leave because I'm sick and tired of getting poor customer support from them. I was forced to switch to a private server account to have a feature that was formerly free. Ever since then my websites have practically come to a complete stop. Even for webmail the performance is bad. I have sent several support tickets, but the problem of my database calls timing out still hasn't been resolved.

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: Yes

8.6
Support
9
Features
8
Speed
8
Uptime
10
Value
8

Finding a new hosting company is never fun. However, when a hosting company starts to keep the website down, more than it is up, people tend to take notice. When I started to look for a new hosting company I had to find one quickly because I was losing sales. This is when I found Dreamhost and decided to take a chance on the hosting company.

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: Yes

8.4
Support
10
Features
7
Speed
10
Uptime
10
Value
5

So after so many years of saying that I was going to build a website, I finally got off my couch and did it. I admit, a big reason I put it off was because the whole concept of paying for space and working with a provider was daunting to me. I'm not really a tech kind of person when it comes to web design. My goal was to edit a simple template and throw it up on the web. Dreamhost let me do exactly that.

I chose them because my friend really likes them. She was able to get a great grandfathered deal, but I have to pay a little more than her for a year's worth of service. I do, however, get a free domain registration with it, so I got to save some money there. Really, they save you a lot of money. They have built in plug-ins for things like a shopping cart and Wordpress. They are one-click installs, meaning I don't have to worry about doing any of that by myself. Score!

Overall I am very happy with them. There was one time I had to call them, though, and I got put on hold for a long time. The representative was also kinda rude. However, I don't hold that one person against the whole company. If it becomes a pattern though I will probably complain

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: No

6.8
Support
5
Features
7
Speed
7
Uptime
9
Value
6

I have been using Dreamhost for quite a while, and never had any problems with them. I do not have the premium support option, which I would have liked but not really willing to pay extra for that. I am very happy with the speed for my WordPress based site, and never really had a problem with downtime. I originally purchased with the benefit of a significant discount and if I was to get that on renewal I certainly would stay, but I think I will probably try a different host to take advantage of a discount elsewhere. Apart from the price I would highly recommend these guys.

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: No

5.4
Support
4
Features
6
Speed
4
Uptime
8
Value
5

I have DreamHost for my sites and clients. Generally I'm happy with them, but in the last year it feels their speed has significantly dropped. I have periodic outages where my WP sites won't connect to the database server. They did move my sites to a new server, supposedly, but I still get two or three 20 minute drops a day.

BUT at least their support is nice and polite via the email system and Twitter.

Review type: Shared Hosting

Overall review score

Recommended: No

6.8
Support
4
Features
6
Speed
8
Uptime
8
Value
8

One of my buddies uses Dreamhost, and he is quite happy with their service. There's really only one thing he has ever complained about, and that's the support. He said that whenever he has a problem, the support simply refers him to their wiki page, and expects him to solve the problem on his own.

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