DreamHost Hosting Company Review

DreamHost Hosting Company Review

DreamHost is another company that I personally have used AND gets very good reviews from people who have. I will try, as always, to present all the good and all the bad, and let you decide if hosting your websites with DreamHost is the thing for you.

DreamHost Company Overview

DreamHost has been around since 1997, when it was still just the hosting part of a larger company, New Dream Network, founded by Josh Jones, Dallas Bethune, Michael Rodriguez and Sage Weil, while they were still students. Today DreamHost hosts almost one million websites on more that 1,500 servers. DreamHost has its headquarters in Brea, California and currently has over 70 employees.

DreamHost’s hosting offer includes simple shared web hosting, VPS hosting and dedicated hosting, which all run on a Unix platform. DreamHost has seen much success in the last couple of years, mainly because of their exceptional customer support and easy to navigate control panel. They have technical support available 24/7 through an email ticketing system, and they boast of a 24-hour turnaround for all queries. They also guarantee a 100% up-time by offering to refund all users for every hour that their websites are offline.

The biggest crisis for the company came in January 2008 when they overcharged practically their entire user base for one whole year of hosting, resulting in a $7.6 million total over-charge. This made for a lot of angry customers and resulted in many people canceling their subscriptions. On a more positive side, DreamHost is owned entirely by its employees, while they like to give back to society by offering free hosting to some US non-profit organizations.

What Users Have to Say about DreamHost

Since I am not personally familiar with DreamHost, I asked some people who do use it to give their opinion and describe their experience with this hosting provider. This is what they said:

“They are the best value in terms of cost to features I’ve found, no nickel and diming on additional databases, subdomains or even adding domains to your hosting plan. I always use them for my own web projects and for small clients, but they have had some flaky downtime/growing pains in past years because they got so popular, though it is smooth sailing now. You can also get a virtual private server which is more ‘professional grade’ with them now, so you don’t share server resources with other websites. They offer one-click installs and backups of popular open source software such as WordPress, Zencart, MediaWiki and you get a free domain name with a yearly plan. If you are learning development yourself, I HIGHLY recommend DH because they have a “self service” attitude with great documentation in the admin panel, a wiki and active forums. It’s a host for-geeks-by-geeks. I actually look forward to their monthly newsletter, it’s raunchy and hilarious.”

– Mahalie Stockpole

“I use it personally, fast and they have plenty of technical goodies as well!”

– Lucas Gunn

Yaro Starak of Entrepreneurs-Journey.com also uses DreamHost to host his blogs and websites with, and praises it very highly. He is especially satisfied with the customer service and the backup system, which can really save your site if you make a mistake and erase some important folders from the server. He does not, however, recommend their base package for anything bigger than a few niche websites or blogs.

Pros and Cons of DreamHost

DreamHost receives solidly positive reviews on hosting review sites, such as whoishostingthis.com and hostjury.com. Users report a reliable and available customer service, satisfactory uptime and an easy to use control panel, as well as numerous one-click installs of open source software such as WordPress, Zencart and others. This feature is especially useful if you are a beginner, still trying to find your way around setting up websites and blogs. On the other hand, DreamHost offers more than enough to more demanding web developers, who like to tweak their hosting exactly to their liking. DreamHost also offers everything from simple hosting, to dedicated hosting, so there is definitely room to grow with them once your sites take off and become successful. Also, more than one user mentioned DreamHost’s entertaining newsletter.

On the negative side, there are quite a few complaints over poor up-time, and overall stability. Also, users do not recommend it for anything more than hosting a simple blog or website. In other words, DreamHost may not be the best hosting solution for businesses that rely on having a near 100% up-time. Some users also complained that when they signed up for a free trial, DreamHost later tried to charge them the full price for it. People also complained that the fine print is not exactly easy to find, so make sure you read it all before signing up, especially before signing up for any free trial. Some people also complain about slowness, due to the overselling of server space by DreamHost, which, at the low prices they charge, is no real surprise. DreamHost does however offer monetary compensation for server downtime, giving users 1 day of free hosting for every hour of service disruption. So it would seem that they are fixing this problem.

The Bottom Line

Overall, users rate DreamHost very well. They run a reliable service, with a satisfactory up-time, great customer service and affordable hosting plans. Though many users complain of server downtime, DreamHost actually guarantees 100% uptime these days, so they are working hard to address this complaint.

Users also agree that hosting with DreamHost is really only good for hosting a few small websites or blogs, and not a business or ecommerce site. The outages and slowness could really wreak havoc on your customer base, since everyone hates a slow loading page. You can, however, always get a virtual or dedicated server package from them, which will at least work faster. However, if you want a really robust dedicated hosting plan you might consider looking into what MediaTemple has to offer.

If DreamHost is not really the best hosting solution for you, you might also consider hosting with GoDaddy or HostGator, which, more or less, have a very similar offer and prices.

DreamHost Hosting Plans

In the interest of painting the entire picture, I am including DreamHost’s current feature and price list. These are time sensitive though and may change, so before signing up, check them out on the DreamHost website.

Anyway here are the hosting plans:

Shared Web Hosting (Currently on offer for $1.87 a month):

• Unlimited disk storage
• Unlimited monthly bandwidth
• Unlimited Full Shell / SSH / FTP / SFTP Users
• Unlimited E-Mail Accounts (POP/IMAP/Webmail)
• Unlimited MySQL 5 Databases
• Free Domain Registrations
• Free Domain WHOIS Privacy
• Unlimited Domains and Subdomains Hosted
• PHP5, Perl Support
• Ruby On Rails Available
• And more

Virtual Private Hosting Plan

This is available as a one-click upgrade from shared hosting, so the two plans share the same features. It is also upgradable in terms of RAM allocated to you, and the costs range from 150 MB RAM for $15 a month to 4000MB of RAM for $400 a month, and everything in between.

Dedicated Server Hosting

Specifications:

Processor: AMD Opteron 2.2GHz Dual Core
Memory: 4GB
Hard Drive: 250GB SATA
Bandwidth: 2TB / month
OS: CentOS, Debian, FreeBSD, or Ubuntu

They currently have a special offer on this plan for $69 a month, if you pay for he whole year in advance.