DreamHost Review

DreamHost Review

Introduction

In 1996, DreamHost was launched. It is an established hosting company that is privately owned. DreamHost offers a wide range of plans that are beneficial for different types of websites. These include some feature-packed economic plans that revolve around WordPress.

Through this article we will talk about the different plans designed for customers of WordPress.

We will also discuss about the WP premium managed plans, and the low cost plans of shared hosting service.

After you go through this review article, you will be able to know which hosting plan is right for you based on your requirements and budget.

Web Hosting Plans Overview

A specialized WP-managed hosting and a basic starter-level shared hosting is offered by DreamHost which is called DreamPress. It also offers high-end Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting and dedicated hosting server plans.

For those looking to have their apps hosted online, they could do so using cloud computing and object storage web hosting plans.

 WordPress Shared HostingManaged WordPress Hosting
Saves Money – It is an economical option with all the required basics for a WP site. Apt for a newcomer.    
Begins at a monthly fee; $2.59  
Good Performance – Optimized WordPress Hosting with extreme security and cloud performance. Hassle-free, allowing you to focus on your business.  
Begins at a monthly fee; $16.95

To know more in details let’s read further about the entry level shared hosting plan, and about the DreamPress premium managed hosting plan. These two plans are good for customers of WordPress.

Shared Hosting

Users of DreamHost hosting provider can host websites using its shared plans, even if they have a very small budget. These plans or packages are:

Shared Starter

Its monthly fee starts from $2.59. This includes 50 GB of SSD storage, and one website.

Shared Unlimited

Its monthly fee starts from $5.95. This includes unlimited SSD storage, and unlimited number of websites.

The fee though may look very economical, it requires you to use it for a longer time if you wish to pay this irresistible fee.

WordPress Hosting Managed by DreamPress

WP can be installed using a shared plan. While signing up, you can choose to automatically install the WordPress software.

For better performance of WordPress hosting, WordPress users could opt for the plans of DreamPress.

DreamPress

Its monthly fee of $16.95 includes 30 GB of SSD storage. And, 100k visitors can be managed by it on a monthly basis.

DreamPress Plus

Its monthly fee of $24.95 includes 60 GB of SSD storage. It can manage 300k monthly visitors. Also, Jetpack professional, and unlimited CDN is provided by them.

DreamPress Pro

Its monthly fee of $71.95  includes 120 GB of SSD storage. It can manage more than one million monthly visitors. Unlimited CDN is provided by it.

Also, it offers its users the Dream care site which has the feature for monitoring and troubleshooting along with Jetpack professionals.

Just like shared plans, DreamPress Pro also requires you to commit for a longer time that cannot be lesser than 12 months, in order to avail of this price benefit.

But, if you wish to take it for a shorter duration then you will have to pay a monthly fee of either $19.95 or $29.95, or $79.95 depending on its features.

DreamPress Managed as compared to DreamHost Shared Hosting

WordPress Hosting

There is an obvious difference in the price of the DreamPress plans. DreamPress focuses on its users’ need of having a great performing site that loads quickly.

But multiple visitors cannot be managed by DreamPress nor can it provide great loading speeds.

The packages they offer do include some extra features that come along with upgraded features. These can be found in shared plans.

To help you decide the best plan for growing your website, let’s find out the important features offered by these packages.

Also, we will try to understand how these various features are used under each plan.

Best Features of Web Hosting

When you are provided with great features, managing the account gets easy. It also offers a stronger security, and handling the complete website becomes easy.

Let’s find out about few of the main features offered by shared and managed WordPress hosting.  

Same Name, Functions Differently

As mentioned before, few features are offered by both managed and shared plans of DreamPress. This could get confusing. Hence, wherever needed we will explain the difference between them so that you understand which one best meets your website’s requirements.

Backups of WP Website

This feature completely depends on the type of web hosting service selected by you, and on the plan type.

WordPress Managed Hosting

In-house backup is offered by DreamPress to all their customers. But, it is their DreamPress Pro and DreamPress Plus plans that provide an extra feature which is Jetpack Professional.

Apart from this, they also let you have access to the VaultPress which is a backup service. This backup service is very powerful.

Based on our experience, we can say that VaultPress is a very good backup tool of WP. It is one of the best. It allows you to have real-time backups, restores files using a single click, and provides an unlimited storage space for storing the backup files of your site.

Files can be restored instantly. This lets you correct any mistakes if done while editing the themes. This feature is uncommon when it comes to other backup solutions of WP.

However, if you opt for the DreamPress starter-level plan, this Jetpack Professional feature will not be available.

But, no need to worry as you can still access the basic backup system that is functional. This feature helps in getting the site backed up automatically everyday.

The backups that are done are saved. And, these will be available for two weeks. Once the two weeks are over, you will be able to access them using your DreamHost account.

However, you need to remember one thing, once the two weeks are complete, you will not be able to download a copy of it, nor restore it partially. You will be unable to restore the database or the theme file.

Shared Hosting

When you choose the shared entry-level plan, it will not be easy to backup the entire data from your WP website. But, there are many ways that help you sort out this issue. In fact, you could have a WP backup plugin installed.

You could also opt for VaultPress. For this service, you will need to pay separately. This is offered by DreamPress Pro and DreamPress Plus.

Or, you could opt for the DreamObjects paid account. This way you will be able to use the backup plugins of DreamObjects for free. It will help you in creating your backup, and also use cloud storage for storing it.

When you use this solution, it lets you backup your whole website, and your database on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis based on your comfort level.

Whenever you need, you can download all the files that have been backed up. You are also able to determine how many backups can remain on your site’s server.

In addition, DreamObjects solutions offers a 30 days free trial. After the 30 days are over, a fee needs to be paid by you.

Their monthly fees start from $0.95. This is a nominal amount. It includes 40 GB of storage. It is the best option when looking to backup your entire WP website’s data.

WordPress Themes

The DreamPress Pro and the DreamPress Plus plans offer the Jetpack Professional. You also get access to more than 200 WP premium themes, and also to the free ones. Different styles and purposes are covered by them.

When you login to the WordPress portal, signing in the Jetpack Professional account is made possible for you. You are also allowed to go through all their themes.

But sadly, you will find these shared plans to be quite identical to the entry-level DreamPress plan. No access is offered by them to the themes of WP.

However, you can access the free ones. You will find these on all dashboards of WP by default. In case you have downloaded a theme from a different place, you are allowed to use it.

User and Website Support

Irrespective of the plan chosen by you, whether it is DreamHost shared or DreamPress managed, you can reach out to DreamHost support team using the live chat.

This team works 365 days from 0530 to 2130 PST. An email support is also provided by them. You could even submit tickets anytime irrespective of the time.

Telephone Support

A contact number is not provided by them. You cannot call them. But, you can request a call from them. This is a premium service. But, a few free call-backs are definitely offered by certain plans every month. 

For instance, 3 free call-backs are offered by DreamPress Plus every month. The DreamPress Pro provides 5 free call-backs for the same period.

Users of Shared hosting, customers of DreamPress entry-level plan, and customers wanting call-backs can pay the fee of $14.95 per month if the number of call-backs needed by them is more than what their package is offering.

This additional fee lets the user have three call-backs a month. Otherwise, they would have to pay $9.95 per month for each call-back.

Customers living in Canada and the USA can avail of these call-backs. If a customer is not in these two mentioned areas but is in another country, they cannot use this call-back service. The calls that are made are only in English. Multilingual calls are not supported.

Also, unlike their competitors, a 24×7 customer support is not provided by them. There are no calls nor live chats supported by them. They lack also in call support globally.

After reading all this, you definitely can know that they have not done well in this segment.

Support provided by DreamPress WP

DreamPress users get priority support through the in-house experts team. Only DreamPress customers can avail of their services.

Users using other plans cannot benefit from their services. As a result, their customers get quick help from their dedicated team set up for support. This experts team have immense WP expertise.

Customer Support offered by Jetpack

When you are a user of either the DreamPress Pro or the DreamPress Plus plan, you are entitled for the Jetpack WP Support Staff service. So whenever you need help with your website, you can always take help from their support team.

Their staff is very helpful and responsive. They respond to your emails. You could also live chat with them.

Staging Facility

When you wish to work on your site without risking damaging it, creating a staging site helps. This way your live website remains intact and you can work on your site’s duplicate.

Whenever you wish to change some codes, or get new plugins tested, or have new themes installed, building a staging site would be the best option.

After you have done the edits on the staging site and are happy with the testing, you can replace your live site. This transfer can be done with a few clicks, and your staging version will get live.

Shared plans do not offer this staging feature. But, DreamPress plans do permit building a staging site. It just takes a click to build the staging site.

And once it is up, you can get the contents of your live website copied by using the necessary controls.

The DreamPress staging site is very straightforward. However, features like SiteGround and WP Engine are not included in it.

These features let the user to select the site components that they wish to change between files, databases, or a particular table of database. 

You are left with one option of transferring your entire site. Overwriting the entire destination site is the downside of DreamPress. Also, there could be issues on addition of a new post on the active website while the staging site was being worked on.

Control Panel

The cPanel is not used by DreamHost. Most shared hosting do use this control panel, but when it comes to managed WP web hosts, this is common. The cPanel is not used by managed WP hosts.

The control panel that DreamHost hosting provider offers is a custom one. It helps in taking care of regular tasks such as installing WordPress, handling domains linked with the account, using different tools to help interact with both, the server space and databases.

This well designed control panel is very user-friendly. Few elements of the cPanel are missing in it. But, many of the tools and vital controls are accessible. This helps in managing the website and the hosting account.

Site Optimization Tools

The Managed host is optimized so that it can help you in loading the WP website quickly. Apart from that, some extra tools are included in the Jetpack Professional. These help in improvising the content and speed of the site.

The most efficient tool offering unlimited storage is the Jetpack CDN. Also, it allows automatic distribution of your website files to different servers worldwide.

Because of this, visitors can be reached quickly as the travel distance gets reduced. Apart from that, videos are supported by Jetpack CDN. It is possible for you to get large files offloaded from the server of DreamHost hosting provider, and to save the storage allowance.

You can easily add files to the CDN. Files can be uploaded to the Media Library of WP. After that, they are transferred to the distribution network of the Jetpack server. The amazing part about this is, there will be no display of advertisements or branding in your videos.

A search tool is provided to you. This tool is better and improved. The main focus of this tool is to deliver to the visitors faster and relevant results the minute they start searching the site. It works perfectly for sites having a lot of content.

Themes of Premium WP

Themes are needed by every site. WP does offer some great themes. But the premium themes seem to be nicer. Also, they have many helpful templates. The site gets a very professional appearance because of all this.

Fortunately, a wide range of premium WP themes are offered by Jetpack Professional. More than 200 themes are included here, and the cost of few of these themes is $79.00. You can save money and cover the costs of a few months if you do not buy the premium theme.

This saving is the difference of price between a starter-level DreamPress plan that includes no themes, and the DreamPress Plus plan that lets you have access to premium themes.

Site Management Dashboard

After you have the Jetpack activated on your site, you will be able to handle certain WP aspects using the dashboard. WordPress.com platform users have access. You could also choose to go for the self-hosted WP default dashboard. 

Users wanting to move to the WP self-hosting site from the hosted WP.com site may find it appealing. But, the customer experience of WP.com is something that they will not be able to leave behind.

The dashboard interface hosting is done on the WP.com site. Hence, it is not inserted into the WP site; the stress of the site slowing down is not there.

As compared to the default dashboard of WP, the dashboard of WP.com is far more modern, having a stylish interface. Also, it is easier to use.

However, certain task completion, need you to use the self-hosted WP default dashboard. These tasks could mean working with 3rd party plugins and themes.

Drawbacks of WP Shared and Managed Hosting

So far in this article we have covered all the best features of DreamHost hosting provider that include managed and shared hosting service of WP. Now, we will talk about their drawbacks or things that they need to improve on.

WP Premium Themes – No Access

You can access premium themes of WP only if you opt for the DreamPress Plus or Pro plan. Many may find it unappealing. This is very common with many shared packages. But, few packages of managed hosting like WP Engine and StudioPress themes do offer premium features.

Limited Support Options

There is no 24×7 availability of live chat and phone support. This is bad for many. Definitely, you can email them anytime if you have a query or concern. But, there could be times when you may need urgent assistance on an important issue.

Their inability to provide customer support round the clock could create further problems for you.

If your plan offers call-back support and your region is covered by them, this failure to provide a hotline service could be compensated. Please note this is not applicable for all. They cover Canada and the USA. And, few plans offer this service on being paid.

No Enhancements of the WordPress Dashboard

The default dashboard of WP doesn’t have enhancements. It could be considered as one of the main drawbacks. When it comes to the setup of the website, a wizard is offered to the users by SiteGround. WordPress sites display this. They aim to help you in setting up your new site.

A few controls are added by SiteGround on the dashboard of WP. This is done using their plugin. Because of this you can configure your site’s aspects and performance. DreamHost doesn’t have this.

DreamPress plan customers are sorted if they are offered the Jetpack Professional. This lets them manage a lot of aspects by using the WP.com user interface.

Poor Backup Functionality

Your website’s regular backup is offered by the DreamPress plan. However, shared hosting plans don’t offer this.

Your domain and account are backed up automatically if you are using the shared hosting plan. But, on looking closely, you will realise that you are not given additional controls over your site’s backups.

Normally these additional tools do come along with other tools like checking the site section that needs to be restored, and selecting the day that you wish to return to.

If you wish to use feature-rich systems, you could sign up for the premium service of DreamObjects to use the backup plugin.

DreamObjects has cloud storage. Also, an option for using the backup plugin is offered by them. But, this could have become more appealing had all the shared web hosts received this as a standard feature.

Over Reliance on the Jetpack Professional

DreamHost depends a lot on the Jetpack Professional for its main features like site security and optimization tools.

This could be a great concern for most users, especially for those who want to use the WP Managed DreamPress hosting plans.

Summary of the above mentioned downsides

After having a look at the features and functionalities, you will realize that the shared plans have drawbacks. If you are looking for a web hosting plan that has great features, you should go for the DreamPress Plan. They are better than shared plans.

However, when selecting the host for your site, do look at their performance level. We will discuss about this below.

Performance of Shared Hosting and DreamPress

We have spoken about all the different plans, their main features, and DreamHost’s drawbacks. Now, let’s have a look at their performance.

We tested it by using the Load Impact and Pingdom service. This helped measure our site’s speed. Also, we checked how many visitors could be handled by it, and the levels of uptime also.

Many different outstanding features are offered by DreamHost. These features could be put to great use only if the website loads quickly, manage multiple visitors, and has downtimes frequently. So let’s see how they fared.

Loading Time

Four WordPress sites were built for the testing. Two sites were hosted on the shared plans while the remaining two were hosted on the DreamPress managed WordPress hosting.

We used the default lightweight WP theme. Twenty Nineteen was used on one shared plan site, and a similar one was installed on another DreamPress plan site. The popular heavyweight Avada theme was installed on the remaining two sites.

The main reason for doing this test was not only to understand their capabilities when it came to the lightweight and heavyweight themes, but to also compare the performance of DreamPress with Shared Plans.

By doing this we could help you in selecting the plan that best meets the requirements of your project.

The Pingdom service used by us helped us to study the loading times every 30 minutes. We did this for 7 days, and used the average loading time for this article.

Heavyweight Themes and Lightweight Themes

The new WP website has the Twenty Nineteen theme enabled on it. This theme is perfect if you wish to create a basic blog or a simple business website.

After the site was done, the introductory page was created. This page had text and images. And, after the 7 days of testing of the lightweight theme, we recorded a load time on the shared plan of 1.41 sec.

A similar page was created by us for the DreamPress managed. Pingdom helped us monitor it. And, after the 7 days of testing of the heavyweight theme, we recorded a load time on the DreamPress plan of 581 ms.

It is very clear from the test results that the DreamPress plan has a great loading time as compared to the shared plans.

Loading Impact Test

Let’s find out how their performance was here.

Shared Hosting

Surprisingly DreamHost could manage 50 users simultaneously. It was not at all unresponsive.

The test showed a rise in the load time. There were 50 users simultaneously. But, a point to be noted here is that the site’s speed did recover much before the test ended.

The site using shared hosting was a lot responsive with 50 users. 250 users were the number we were looking to test it for. With the increase in the number of users, the load time increased.

When there were 77 users on the site, the load time was decently at 1.83 seconds. The load time shot up to 27.51 the minute the number of users went up to 166. This is not acceptable definitely.

The site did stabilize to over a second when the site received 200 users. We found that when the site had 200 users the results were better than when the site had 250 users.

Based on the results of the test we can say that DreamHost needs a few minutes to adjust when there is a rise in the website traffic all of a sudden.

Uptime Results

The uptime was also monitored for 7 days. Pingdom helped record the downtime of the sites being tested. A downtime of 3 hours was recorded, but it was the shared server’s scheduled downtime.

Their customers were kept updated by them about this. They did this by sending them notifications using account dashboards, and emails. Because of the scheduled downtime, they could not qualify for the guaranteed 100% uptime.

Apart from that, the Pingdom test results managed to show some downtime in between. However, when we checked about the DreamHost, they confirmed that their servers were up and running the whole time.

Looking at this we can say that there was some problem here. The status of the site could not be verified during this period.

Final Thoughts

Shared packages seem economical in terms of their pricing, but only if you are willing to pay for 3 years in advance. According to us, some of the features are absent in the shared packages.

For example, the built-in backup system is missing. As per the standards of the industry, customer support is provided round the clock for 365 days with a hotline number. This feature is also not provided by the shared plan.

Also, as per our tests, a downtime was recorded by Pingdom. But, DreamHost didn’t register the same. For us this is a great concern, especially if we had to recommend the shared package.

Multiple users could be managed by DreamHost on the site being tested, and the loading time was decent.

If you want to go for the WP managed host, skip their starter level plan. It will help. But, if you can afford, opt for the Plus or Pro plan. They have many valuable features. You can also check our article on HostingCloud review.

The Shared WP and the DreamHost Managed hosting plans seem right in many ways, but they are not great in front of their competitors.  What do you have to say about DreamHost? Do let us know.