Some refer to it as Dream Host, others simply write it as DreamHost. Whichever tickles your fancy, this is one of those names that might come up whenever you’re seeking an ideal host for your online store.
Now, when you check out its homepage, DreamHost might strike you as one of those cheaply-priced hosting providers that come with standard features. But after scrutinizing it further, it then hits you that the company is much more than that.
DreamHost, in a nutshell, is a jack of all trades. Apart from shared hosting, it specializes in VPS hosting, cloud hosting, dedicated hosting, as well as managed WordPress hosting.
Commendable, I admit. But, the one thing that might convince you to try out DreamHost is this- it’s among the three web hosts endorsed by WordPress itself. And that essentially places it in the same league as SiteGround and Bluehost.
Then to top it off, DreamHost throws in a 97-day money-back guarantee. That’s more than triple the standard 30 days offered by other dominant players. So, you may find it particularly difficult to turn DreamHost down.
But, are DreamHost services really worth your while? Is it a reliable hosting provider for typical ecommerce websites? And how does it even perform in comparison to other web hosts?
👉 This DreamHost review gets to the bottom of everything. We’ve monitored DreamHost for years now to give you the hard facts about its hosting services. So, here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly about DreamHost’s:
- Ease of Use
- Website Builder
- WordPress Hosting
- Uptime Test
- Speed Test
DreamHost Reviews – Overview
DreamHost was founded in 1997 by a group of college friends in California. The four were particularly insane about open-source tech, and they took advantage of its capabilities to power hosting solutions.
That was more than two decades ago, at a time when the web only had a million sites. We didn’t even have Google yet. So, in short, DreamHost has had the privilege of growing alongside the internet, and has subsequently gained extensive hosting experience along the way.
Well, come to think of it, the journey has seemingly paid off handsomely. DreamHost is now a force to reckon in the hosting space, with a user-base that stretches beyond 400,000 individuals across over 100 countries across the globe. The corresponding number of hosted websites, on the other hand, is currently more than 1.5 million.
Now, considering DreamHost has so far facilitated about 750,000 one-click installations of WordPress, it seems the bulk of its websites are WordPress-based. So, it comes as no surprise that DreamHost prioritizes on WordPress over other CMS platforms.
💡 WordPress-optimized solutions here, as a matter of fact, are offered through Shared WordPress Hosting, Managed WordPress Hosting, and VPS WordPress Hosting. There’s even a specialized WooCommerce Hosting option for online stores.
This special relationship between DreamHost and WordPress ultimately saw it earn an endorsement from WordPress itself. In fact, that alone proved to be a major milestone because the number of WordPress users on DreamHost has since risen exponentially.
If WordPress is not your type of thing, however, DreamHost comes with a Shared Hosting option for pretty much all the popular platforms you can think of. Then for users willing to dig deeper into their pockets to improve their overall performance, Dream Host avails Virtual Private Server Hosting, Cloud Hosting, plus Dedicated Hosting.
And going by DreamHost reviews on a wide range of developer forums, quite a number of them have been able to leverage its resources to launch cloud servers in a few seconds. Plus, they continue to capitalize on DreamHost’s commitment to open-source technology.
This DreamHost review, however, doesn’t venture into that. We focus primarily on hosting features that a typical ecommerce merchant might be interested in.
DreamHost Reviews – Main Features
Ease of Use
One thing you’re bound to appreciate right off the bat is DreamHost’s main site layout. It’s not only neat and uncluttered, but also easy to navigate. Plus, information on all the packages is readily available.
Sadly, there’s no free trial here. The lowest starting price is $2.59, which lands you a 3-year subscription to DreamHost’s Shared Starter plan.
But, here’s the thing. DreamHost makes up for the lack of free trials by giving you a 97-day money-back guarantee. Quite a generous offer, I have to say.
And you know what? After conducting numerous DreamHost comparison assessments, we’ve confirmed that none of its competitors comes close to that. The bulk of them only go as far as 30 days.
Interestingly, DreamHost’s generosity doesn’t end there. It turns out you also won’t pay for domain registration. The entire process is free for all users, except Shared Starter monthly subscribers.
When you’re done with the whole signup procedure, you might expect DreamHost to redirect you to a cPanel backend. cPanel, by now, is a standard feature on most web hosts, including the likes of SiteGround and Bluehost. It predominantly provides a standard framework for the backend management interface.
Well, if you worked with cPanel before, here’s the bad news. That experience won’t help you on DreamHost. Instead of simply using a cPanel backend, DreamHost decided to build its own proprietary management interface.
As a result, the entire server and account administration procedure occurs through a custom system. Not bad if you’re looking for unique user experience. But, in all fairness, we’ve seen better. And in comparison to cPanel, DreamHost’s backend leaves a lot to be desired.
Overall, I find the DreamHost layout to be restrictive and fairly confusing. For one, it doesn’t provide the typical server management options you’d otherwise get on cPanel. Then to make matters worse, the few functions offered by DreamHost are not openly exposed. Therefore, it might take you some time to uncover everything.
That said, at least you get a one-click installer for WordPress. So, you should be able to get your WordPress site up and running in no time.
Other applications with one-click installers on the default DreamHost backend include Zen Cart, phpBB, MediaWiki, Joomla, and Concrete5.
Sadly, that’s all for now. DreamHost performs poorly in comparison to SiteGround’s and Bluehost’s default applications. It’s yet to develop one-click installers for all the dominant ecommerce platforms.
Don’t get me wrong though. Although DreamHost doesn’t come with free auto-installer scripts, it’s still capable of supporting the applications. The only problem is, you have to install them manually. And that probably means hiring a developer to handle the whole thing.
But, thankfully, things get easier once you’re done with the application installation process. As you proceed to the web design stage, you’ll notice DreamHost happens to provide even a visual website builder.
DreamHost Website Builder
Coding a website from scratch is no walk in the park. Even experienced developers face technical challenges when it comes to writing custom code for a fully-functional online store.
So, to save you all that headache, DreamHost comes with its own visual website builder called Remixer. It’s engineered to help you build and customize an entire website without touching a single line of code.
You can start off the design process by selecting an ideal theme for your site. There are plenty of ready-made themes for various online store categories, and they come with the standard elements you’d expect on a typical ecommerce site.
Thankfully, DreamHost has developed them to seamlessly adjust their layouts based on your visitors’ devices. So, in the end, you can bet buyers won’t be abandoning their carts due to a poor mobile experience.
Speaking of which, the DreamHost website builder gives you the head start you need to attract traffic. Its built-in SEO capabilities lay the groundwork for optimizing your site accordingly.
The bulk of the customization process, however, involves tweaking layout elements on every single page. And the DreamHost website builder is quite flexible when it comes to that. You get to organize various components, as well as define their corresponding attributes like color, size, font, etc.
Then to top it off, DreamHost grants you access to professional stock photography for free. To add images, therefore, simply explore the library, select ideal options, and then embed them on your site. It really is that simple.
DreamHost WordPress Hosting
DreamHost might be many different things. But, WordPress hosting is the principal solution here. its wide range of specialized WordPress packages is enough proof that DreamHost is predominantly optimized for this particular CMS.
Now, at the very least, DreamHost offers two Shared Hosting plans for WordPress. You could subscribe to the cheapest Shared Starter option for a general WordPress site, or instead, proceed with Shared Unlimited if you’re planning to set up multiple WordPress sites.
Although the latter plan sounds juicy, the best solution for ecommerce sites is Managed WordPress Hosting. The three plans in this category are DreamPress, DreamPress Plus, and DreamPress Pro, all of which are priced higher than Shared WordPress Hosting.
But, unlike the shared hosting plans, DreamHost’s Managed WordPress Hosting offers isolated resources and more advanced features. A dedicated team of expert WordPress developers will take care of your site’s technical aspects while you run the business.
In a nutshell, therefore, DreamHost will backup your WordPress site on a regular basis, update plugins, maintain consistent malware scanning, plus provide 24/7 WordPress support.
And that’s not all. The best thing about Managed WordPress Hosting on DreamHost is the performance optimization that comes as part of the package. The tech team manages your server resources accordingly to maintain the best possible loading speeds, uptime, and bandwidth.
All in all, the high-capacity architecture offered through Managed WordPress Hosting should be enough to support even a mid-sized enterprise. But, DreamHost doesn’t leave it at that. It goes ahead and provides an additional VPS WordPress Hosting option for resource-intensive WordPress sites.
If you choose to proceed with it, DreamHost takes things to the next level by granting you a specialized virtual private server for your WordPress site.
DreamHost Uptime Test
By now, you’re probably aware that uptime is the most critical assessment factor when it comes to hosting solutions. Keeping websites online is, undeniably, the most fundamental objective behind web hosting. And come to think of it, that’s what the word “hosting” means in the first place.
Now, so far, we’ve seen hosting providers promising uptime rates that go as high as 99.99%. SiteGround, for instance, makes an impressive guarantee of 99.99% uptime.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any higher, DreamHost quotes the unthinkable. Yes, that’s right- DreamHost promises 100% uptime. The company is seemingly confident that it has the right infrastructure and resources to keep your site online 24/7 without any interruptions.
But how practical is that?
Well, DreamHost employs a range of strategies and technologies to prevent downtimes. In the event a server goes down, for instance, DreamHost will still be able to maintain normal operations thanks to its multiple data centers.
But then again, the chances of server malfunction are very slim. DreamHost monitors its servers 24/7, and it relies on emergency generators as well as redundant cooling.
Fair enough. However, and rather interestingly, DreamHost felt the uptime guarantee wasn’t enough. So, they went ahead and reinforced it by putting their money where their mouth is. More specifically, DreamHost is now willing to compensate you for every hour of downtime.
The compensation stipulated in DreamHost’s Terms of Service is a free day’s worth of hosting for each downtime hour.
Ok, admittedly, that makes DreamHost even more assuring. But, can it really maintain 100% uptime?
To find out, I used Uptime Robot to monitor four DreamHost websites for a period of three months. And interestingly, by the end of it all, three of them had recorded a solid 100% uptime rate. The fourth one, however, only scored 99.96%.
Well, in all fairness, 99.96% is still an impressive uptime rate. But, the problem is- it falls below the guaranteed figure.
Therefore, while DreamHost has invested extensively to maintain optimal performance at all times, it’s still yet to attain 100% uptime.
DreamHost Speed Test
We’ve proven that DreamHost is quite reliable when it comes to keeping your website online.
Fair enough. But, how well will your site perform while it’s online?
Now, fortunately, DreamHost is not about uptime only. It also leverages tech intended to optimize your overall web performance.
Consider its SSD servers, for instance. They essentially store data on Solid State Drives, which normally run a lot faster than traditional Hard Disk Drives. As a result, it takes much less time to save as well as retrieve content.
The servers themselves are held on multiple data centers. But, here’s the kicker- apparently, all DreamHost data centers are based in the US. There are no international data center options for minimizing the content delivery distance in other continents.
Does that mean all traffic is directed to the US?
Fortunately, that’s not the case. It turns out DreamHost supplements its US-based data centers with Cloudflare CDN. The resultant content delivery network provides numerous interlinked data centers, which are spread across 180 cities worldwide.
With such a dynamic framework, you get to deliver your site’s content from servers positioned closest to your visitors’ geographical locations.
And that’s not all. For even faster loading speeds, DreamHost has enabled Gzip compression on all its hosting plans. Combine that with PHP-7 support plus OPcache caching, and you have yourself one heck of an optimized network.
So far so good. But, these are just statements, yet speed is best described using figures. So, how fast can DreamHost load your web pages? And how does it perform in comparison to other hosting solutions?
To find out, we conducted TTFB tests on three DreamHost sites. The goal here is to establish DreamHost’s Time To First Byte. In other words, the time it takes DreamHost’s servers to respond and relay the first byte.
The results we obtained are as follows:
The shortest TTFB was an unbelievable 121 ms, followed 217 ms, and then 328 ms. These, in all fairness, are some of the fastest server responses we’ve ever recorded.
121 ms is particularly shocking, and it proves that DreamHost can potentially outshine even SiteGround when it comes to site loading speeds.
DreamHost Reviews – Pricing
Shared Hosting/Shared WordPress Hosting
- Shared Starter – Starting at $2.59 a month for 3-year subscriptions, $3.95 a month for annual subscriptions, or $4.95 a month for monthly subscriptions, this plan offers free SSL certificate, fast SSD storage, pre-installed WordPress, unlimited traffic, free domain registration (for 3-year and annual subscriptions), and it hosts a single website.
- Shared Unlimited – Starting at $5.95 a month for 3-year subscriptions, $6.95 a month for annual subscriptions, or $10.95 a month for monthly subscriptions, this plan comes with unlimited emails, free SSL certificate, fast SSD storage, pre-installed WordPress, unlimited traffic, free domain registration (for 3-year and annual subscriptions), and it hosts unlimited websites.
Managed WordPress Hosting/WooCommerce Hosting
- DreamPress – Starting at $16.95 a month for annual subscriptions, or $19.95 a month for monthly subscriptions, this plan provides pre-installed Jetpack Free, 24/7 WordPress support, Daily Backups, one-click restore, SSL certificate, unmetered bandwidth, 30GB SSD storage, plus up to 100,000 monthly visitors. WooCommerce Hosting at this level comes with pre-installed storefront theme as well as WooCommerce.
- DreamPress Plus – Starting at $24.95 a month for annual subscriptions, or $29.95 a month for monthly subscriptions, this plan offers unlimited CDN, one-click staging, pre-installed, Jetpack Professional, 24/7 WordPress support, Daily Backups, one-click restore, SSL certificate, unmetered bandwidth, 60GB SSD storage, plus up to 300,000 monthly visitors. WooCommerce Hosting at this level comes with pre-installed storefront theme plus WooCommerce plugin.
- DreamPress Pro – Starting at $71.95 a month for annual subscriptions, or $79.95 a month for monthly subscriptions, this plan comes with unlimited CDN, one-click staging, pre-installed Jetpack Professional, 24/7 WordPress support, Daily Backups, one-click restore, SSL certificate, unmetered bandwidth, 120GB SSD storage, plus up to 1 million monthly visitors. WooCommerce Hosting at this level comes with pre-installed storefront theme in addition to WooCommerce plugin.
VPS Hosting/VPS WordPress Hosting
- VPS Basic – Starting at $10.00 a month for 3-year subscriptions, $13.75 a month for annual subscriptions, or $15.00 a month for monthly subscriptions, this plan offers unlimited email accounts, free SSL certificate, unlimited traffic, unlimited websites, 30 GB SSD storage, and 1 GB RAM.
- VPS Business – Starting at $20.00 a month for 3-year subscriptions, $27.50 a month for annual subscriptions, or $30.00 a month for monthly subscriptions, this plan provides unlimited email accounts, free SSL certificate, unlimited traffic, unlimited websites, 60 GB SSD storage, and 2 GB RAM.
- VPS Professional – Starting at $40.00 a month for 3-year subscriptions, $55.00 a month for annual subscriptions, or $60.00 a month for monthly subscriptions, this plan avails unlimited email accounts, free SSL certificate, unlimited traffic, unlimited websites, 120 GB SSD storage, as well as 4 GB RAM.
- VPS Enterprise – Starting at $80.00 a month for 3-year subscriptions, $110.00 a month for annual subscriptions, or $120.00 a month for monthly subscriptions, this package grants unlimited email accounts, free SSL certificate, unlimited traffic, unlimited websites, 240 GB SSD storage, plus 8 GB RAM.
Who Should Consider Using DreamHost?
As we’ve established already, DreamHost is a jack of all trades. It goes above and beyond standard shared web hosting services to provide VPS hosting, cloud hosting, as well as dedicated hosting.
That said, shared hosting provides just the right resources to serve small businesses. You even get the privilege of hosting unlimited sites without traffic restrictions. Unfortunately, the performance levels are compromised by shared server resources.
If you need isolated resources, DreamHost grants you a virtual private server through its VPS hosting services. The plans here can accommodate both small and mid-sized businesses.
However, mid-sized businesses, as well as enterprises, would be much better off with DreamHost’s cloud hosting or dedicated hosting services.
All in all, the one thing that DreamHost is renowned for is WordPress hosting. Apart from shared WordPress hosting, it offers managed WordPress hosting, plus VPS WordPress hosting. WordPress itself has even confirmed DreamHost’s overall efficiency, and consequently, endorsed it alongside SiteGround plus Bluehost.
Then to top it off, DreamHost has proven to be one of the fastest hosting providers we’ve tested so far. So, of course, it’s definitely worth considering for your online store hosting needs.