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.
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.