DreamHost Review: a Slice Simple WordPress Hosting Heaven

DreamHost (DreamHost.com) promises 100% uptime on their site, which is a very bold promise for a host to make but only underscores the company’s nearly legendary server farm and network infrastructure.

For better or for worse, the company has opted for an in-house control panel, which might make installation and modification of features a little more challenging. This is not reflected on the site’s list of supported features, which includes all the e-mail bells and whistles anyone could ask for, unlimited MySQL 5 databases, CGI, Python, PERL 5, Ruby on Rails, SSI, SSL (per IP only on some packages), and installers for many popular packages such as WordPress and Joomla!

Whether these installers will be useful when individual packages are updated is anyone’s guess, but DreamHost does seem to have a dedicated staff of competent IT professionals that are there to sort these types of problems out.

DreamHost Makes it Easy

The single shared web hosting plan at DreamHost cost $8.95 per month and offer unlimited storage and bandwidth.  The SSL implementation may not work out well for those planning on hosting multiple blogs and/or multiple online stores, so choose accordingly.  One of the more interesting aspects of DreamHost’s offerings is not found in their shared web hosting plan, but rather in their scaled VPS plan.  Referred to as the DreamHost PS, costumers currently pay a monthly fee based on a very linear formula in which $1 buys ten megabytes of RAM.  Thus, the lowest-priced DreamHost PS plan costs $15 per month for 150 MB of RAM, while the most expensive DreamHost PS plan costs $400 per month for 4000 MB of RAM.  Of course, $400 per month is extremely expensive for any VPS solution, but the unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage may help offset this pricing concern for those with very specific hosting needs.  A $100 signup fee is currently being waived, but there is no telling just how long such a promotion will last.

Screen Capture of the Dreamhost Management Panel

Screen Capture of the Dreamhost Management Panel


While there is nothing innately wrong with DreamHost’s plans, sharp consumers might be able to find better deals elsewhere.  Be wary of shopping for bargain basement hosting services, however, as there is always the possibility that one will get what they pay for.  DreamHost customers certianly get what they pay for in terms of guaranteed uptime, but there are a few other hosts worth looking at and price comparing first.

Powerful Hardware and Powerful Options

Additionally, a plan known as the DreamHost PS MySQL exists, though finding details on the plan is very sketchy.  It is possible that the plan is outgoing, and thus the lack of clear links and pricing is understandable, but the promises of faster MySQL running on separate hardware is obviously very appealing.  On the subject of appealing, DreamHost’s dedicated hosting plans starting at just under $600 a year are also extremely attractive.  Powered by 2.6 GHz AMD Opteron CPUs, and packing 4 GB of memory, the only possible downside to DreamHost’s dedicated offering is the lack of unlimited bandwidth.  Of course, unlimited bandwidth and high-performance hardware at bargain basement prices is an unreasonable thing to complain about, but the unlimited bandwidth and storage offered by DreamHost’s dedicated and VPS offerings is certainly prone to spoil more than a few consumers.  While not necessarily a gripe, it would be nice to see Intel-powered hosting solutions as well, especially since Intel has managed to gain a significant performance-per-Watt and overall performance lead from AMD.

If the aforementioned hardware setup does not meet one’s needs, DreamHost is more than happy to develop custom solutions to suit virtually any need.  Backed by generators and countless UPS solutions, the entire network infrastructure, known as Alchemy Inc., is immune to just about everything except for acts of war/terrorism, and the most devastating aspects of Mother Nature.  This is perhaps why DreamHost offers the 100% uptime guarantee on their site, but it is important to note that all of DreamHost’s servers are protected, not just those in the VPS/Dedicated hosting clusters.  Those same clusters are backed be multi-gigabit optical networks with redundant cooling solutions that are nothing short of world class.

Redundancies Are Good

It is worth noting that DreamHost has two separate data facilities located in the Los Angeles region, and their entire staff is entirely comprised of U.S. residents.  This means world class support without going around the world to find ESL speakers to handle basic problems, but it also means a professional support team that brings their calm and collected Californian attitude to addressing any questions that customers may have.  This outgoing and decidedly friendly attitude is part of what makes DreamHost so special, and helps separate them from the competition in a way that mere technology cannot hope to do.

The Bottom Line

Those looking for a great deal on an unlimited storage/bandwidth shared web hosting plan that can use a single SSL certificate will probably find DreamHost’s core offerings great.  VPS and deciated plans are ertainly worth looking into as well for those with more robust hosting needs.  Having to contact sales to set up additional SSL certificates for multiple sites is not the easiest solution, but it is possible in some cases.  Those setting up different sites with different SSL certificates, may need to look elsewhere if DreamHost’s friendly staff cannot tailor a custom solution.  That being said, DreamHost has yet to fail to impress from a sales/customer service standpoint, so it is certainly worth giving them a call just to see what they can do to help make web hosting less of a chore and more of something that one thinks about on a creative level.

Sign Up Now for Free Updates and Exclusive Content:

Learn how to write killer content, get more traffic, make money, and more by entering your email below:

Written by Nick Reese

Nick Reese is a multi-passionate entrepreneur who believes anyone can transform their business and life they they've got guts and hustle. He's also the co-founder of Broadband Now which aims to simplify the broadband shopping process.

Leave a Reply

Comments

  • David Palmer says:

    Prices have changed since this articles was written, $15 currently buys you 300mb of ram. It is still linear but at $0.50/month for 10mb, so 4gb now costs $200 a month. These prices are on top of the monthly Dreamhost fee ($8.95).

  • Fred Jones says:

    Nick,

    Thanks for keeping us aware of what is available out in the VPS Hosting world and especially the powerful hardware, infrastructure and performance that underpins their web hosting offering.

    It is greatly appreciated.

  • Stijn says:

    Being a DreamHost customer for many years, I can assure you that the promise of 100% uptime from your very first paragraph is a myth. (Also, there is something wrong with the CSS of your comment for. I cannot see my text when I’m typing. Chrome 18 on Mac.)

  • I’m afraid I have to agree with Stijin on this one – I’ve been a Dreamhost customer for years, so before I say this, I preface it with the fact that I’ve *mostly* been happy with their service.
    That said, the uptime guarantee is only really good when the folks at DreamHost aren’t actually working on anything with their servers. I get their server alerts sent directly to my phone, and without fail it seems every time my sites go down, it’s only a matter of minutes before we learn that there was a transfer, system update, hardware change, or something similar happening that caused it.

    That said, it’s just like you put it – if you’ve got redundancies built in (e.g. I use Rackspace Files & Servers), you should be golden! Now if they’d only make ngnix the default for their shared servers for the sake of pagespeed tweaks…

  • JASON says:

    Everything about this review is fairly accurate with the exception of their technical support. I’m not a fan of their email driven support. While you can have phone support–for a fee, it’s not something they necessarily promote. They try and solve issue via email, which is fine in some cases but when you need answers ASAP no one wants to sit around and wait for the email to come in. At least I don’t. For the cost I for one will be switching my site over to a host with better support once my expiration date comes up. Not a bad product but the poor support has been a deal breaker for me.

  • Dhruv says:

    Hey Nick, It’s nice review on DreamHost. I have read many reviews on DreamHost but no one has written with such a in depth details on VPS & Dedicated Servers.

    JASON, you are right in some cases. People can’t wait for email support to respond in emergency. DreamHost should have toll free phone number for support. That being said, DreamHost now offers Chat support which is instant. Chat support staff is not just the simple trained support staff but they are actually a technical people. So if there is something wrong with your server, they can instantly look in to your server and give you response.

    Nathan, which alerts are you talking about which are sent to your phone? I am not aware of any such facility which sends server alerts on phone? Am I missing something or Are you talking about DreamHostStatus site?

  • Dreamhost technical support is above average (not the best). I have seen 4 downtimes in last 3 years.
    But this is OK by Industry standards. So I would definitely recommend dreamhost for a cheap hosting.