Dreamhost WordPress Hosting Review

I get asked to give hosting recommendations very frequently, especially from new website owners who are looking for their first web host. Let's take a look at what makes DreamHost an ideal hosting solution.
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I get asked to give hosting recommendations very frequently, especially from new website owners who are looking for their first web host.

It can look like a daunting task as there are literally thousands of WordPress web hosting options, all similarly priced and promising more or less the same things. Checking for reviews tends to confuse people even more, as you’ll typically strong opinions for and against a particular web host. Furthermore, many of those reviews are not really WordPress specific.

Now WordPress does not need very specific hosting requirements, it will run on just about any decent web host. However there are a few web hosts who those who have been in the business for a long time have grown to trust. One such web hosting company is DreamHost.

Before we continue the review, you should know that DreamHost specialise in shared hosting, which is the most basic form of hosting. If you are just starting out with WordPress, or have a site that attracts less than 10,000 visits per month, shared hosting will be enough for your needs. If you are looking for something more advanced, consider a managed WordPress hosting solution. In the latter case I suggest you take a look at our WP Engine hosting review.

OK, so you’ve decided that you want to go for an affordable shared hosting solution. Let’s talk about DreamHost!

DreamHost is one of the big players in the hosting industry, having a full-time staff of 50 and over 500,000 domains hosted. Fortunately, this growth has not prevented DreamHost from retaining their original customer oriented focus.

DreamHost Control Panel

Dreamhost control panel

With shared hosting, the control panel is a very important component of the offering, as this is where you will spend most of your time managing your hosting, setting up email addresses, modifying databases, etc.

Given that the majority of shared hosting users are not system administrators, they need an easy to use and straightforward control panel. A great number of hosting companies use cPanel, which is an off-the-shelf server management software solution. DreamHost have chosen to differentiate themselves by writing their own admin panel.

The disadvantage with having a custom control panel is that it will initially disorientate those users who are coming from other web hosts and who have grown accustomed to using cPanel or other variants. The truth is, however, that the DreamHost control panel offers functionality and a user-experience that many eventually find superior to off-the-shelf packages such as cPanel.

For example, DreamHost offers a web-based FTP client for those situations where you cannot make use of an offline FTP client like FileZilla. You’re not that likely to use this feature but it can be a life saver when you’re caught out without access to a desktop FTP client.

The DreamHost control panel also offers ‘one-click-install’ functionality for WordPress and other popular CMS solutions, so we’re golden there, it’s really easy to set up WordPress on this web host.

Support

DreamHost clients in their majority report that they have a good experience with the support staff of this web host. I haven’t had any negative experiences myself, and found their staff to be knowledgeable, although I haven’t taxed them with any difficult questions. For support my priorities are that the staff is knowledgeable, has a right attitude, and is available 24/7, all of which I can get with DreamHost.

DreamHost also maintains a wiki and customer support forum, both of which can be an excellent source of information, often avoiding the need to lodge a support request.

Pricing

dreamhost pricing

DreamHost has a straightforward no-nonsense pricing strategy, offering unlimited shared hosting space for $8.95 per month. As with all other shared hosts, when we talk about ‘unlimited’ hosting space and bandwidth, it doesn’t mean free for all. For example, you are certainly not allowed to start hosting a movie download website from your shared account just because it is ‘unlimited’.

What it means is that there are no restrictions in place for normal site filespace usage. If you are a photographer, for example, you will probably have an image-intensive website, and will likely need quite some space. The good news is that DreamHost won’t be placing any restrictions on how many MB or GB of space you use for your site, provided it is within their acceptable usage policy.

Service and Reliability

As regards to reliability and delivering a good service, DreamHost are up there with the best WordPress web hosts, and don’t have any particular issues which might make you want to stay away from them. Overall a speedy (within shared hosting limits), reliable web host. DreamHost give ample advance notice of any scheduled downtime due to maintenance or upgrades, although scheduled downtime is not that frequent at all.

Verdict

All in all DreamHost are probably one of the top 5 WordPress shared hosts, and you can’t really go wrong hosting with them. Good price and features, reliable service and efficient customer support make DreamHost a top choice.

Visit DreamHost | Start your 2 week Free Trial

Are you already a DreamHost customer? Let us know your experience in the comments section below.

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Jean Galea
Jean Galea
Jean Galea is a WordPress developer, entrepreneur and padel player. He is the founder of WP Mayor, the plugins WP RSS Aggregator and EDD Bookings, as well as the Mastermind.fm podcast. His personal blog can be found at jeangalea.com.

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Table of Contents

11 Responses

  1. I used DH for several years, but when it came to it, if I needed support, they took as long as a day to get back to one message, meaning that if it was a 2-3 interaction issue, it would routinely take days to resolve what I can get done at my new host in a couple of hours. I paid for premium chat and callback support but that was often offline. They might have improved in the last few months, but that’s why I never recommend them to clients.

    I’ve moved on to webfaction which is great if you’re able to handle a bit more technical interface for managing sites.

    1. That’s definitely not so efficient, although it is within their stated response time of 24 hours. They aren’t as fast to respond as HostNine (another host I use on many sites), but the support is good, at least from my own experience. As I said, I didn’t really tax them with any difficult questions, so maybe they are quicker to reply to the straightforward questions.

  2. I tried it for two years for my personal blog and couple of other sites. It was really, painfully slow (maybe its due to my location, not being in US). Even basic WP sites suffer. Now I’m passing those sites to an account on Arvixe. Speed and service is great, support is good, I’m happy.

    1. I just saw this post that I commented again and I want to revise my original comment above. In 2015 Arvixe started to suck big time in sense of performance and especially support. I’m planning to move from Arvixe and I don’t recommend at all. A few times just to get an answer for a critical server error, I needed to bitch in twitter about it. It’s ugly.

      (I’m writing it so one other will see my comment and check them out.)

  3. Thanks for the feedback, did the support staff at DreamHost provide any explanation for your sites being slow? My experience has been quite different and I’m not US-based either.

  4. If you take a quick look at the Dreamhost forums, you will instantly see that there are many people complaining about support turnaround time.
    Also, people complain that they don’t offer phone support. I haven’t had any issues with them after 2 years, now with 7 domains (3 of which are WP). However, I have noticed that their Webmail interface is painfully slow more often than not. I know we don’t usually rely on this interface but sometimes it is necessary.
    And although I agree that the control panel is more capable than cPanel, (although not as pretty) I find there are several things in the panel that are not always intuitive or are hard to find.
    Overall, I am quite happy with my 2-year experience. As I mentioned in your earlier post today comparing WP hosts, I have been fighting with 1&1.com for 8 days now to try and convince them that I cannot login to my control panel. They’ve been insisting that everything is fine on their end. Idiots! About 10 minutes ago, I finally convinced someone in tech support (via phone) that I cannot login. He said he has to elevate it to a higher tech support tier. Swell. I can’t wait ’til I can login, backup my db, and move everything there to Dreamhost.
    Btw, with Dreamhost, you can have many domains all on the same account! This is crazy! But so nice. I really don’t see how/why they do this. (But I’m not complaining…Shhhh)

  5. I’ve been a Dreamhost customer for several years. I host a few sites on there, one of which is my WordPress-powered blog. My experience has been overall good, I haven’t run into any real problems or obstacles. I don’t think I’ve ever needed to use the support services, since I’ve gotten along well enough on my own. Their custom control panel is nice, and does differentiate DH from other hosts which use a packaged CP solution.

  6. Really? I have been with them a little over two years and DH is the worst service I have ever dealt with. My site has been down a week at a time on several occasions with the same ole excuses. In the last 6 weeks my site has been completely down or so painfully slow I don’t even have the patience to wait on it. Revenue that has been built over 7 yrs with Google has tanked in the last 3 months due to DH. I wouldn’t recommend them to my worst enemy for a free site.

  7. They tend to be down for days at a time. Email going through their system even if you have dedicated server often does not work. By far totally unacceptable service for anyone doing any business on the web. I’m now on day 5 of a reoccurring issue that they seem never really fix.

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