DreamHost Hosting Review
- Money back guarantee
- Security features
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Good VPS and Cloud storage plans
- Extensive domain management tools
- Long delays for help chat
- No Windows based severs
- No site builder
- High setup fees when paying monthly
DreamHost hosting plans are well balanced between features and price. However, it isn't for those who want to build their site through DreamHost. If you don't know how to build your site through other tools or have a site to transfer, DreamHost may not be the best choice.
DreamHost has web hosting solutions for both personal and business needs. Shared web hosting plans include unlimited domains, email accounts and disk storage, a great option for those just starting out or have low traffic volume. The next step up at DreamHost would be their VPS or dedicated hosting plans. All VPS and dedicated plans are Linux based and if you're not tech savvy then you might get lost in DreamHost's user interface which isn't newcomer friendly. That being said, if you're comfortable with deploying your own website then DreamHost will offer you great service at an even better price.
DreamHost has a near unmatched money back guarantee. You can cancel your shared hosting plan within 97 days of signup and have your money refunded. Most other hosts limit their guarantee to 15 or 30 days, a refreshing change by DreamHost.
DreamHost's shared hosting only has one tier and starts at $5.95 per month. Shared hosting includes unlimited email, domains, bandwidth and storage. DreamHost will offer you a free domain with your signup.
Unlike DreamHost , most other hosts will only offer unlimited domains through their higher priced shared hosting plans. However, you must use Linux servers. So if you have to run Windows based software you will have to look elsewhere. If you want month to month hosting then DreamHost may not be for you as they don't make it easy or cheap.
DreamHost's VPS web hosting plans start at $15 per month and are all Linux based. You get the same perks as with the Shared Hosting plans, but the base memory is a bit low, 300MB of RAM. You can ramp up the RAM to 16GB for $249 per month. Compared to DreamHost's competitors their VPS plans are seriously lacking memory support.
DreamHost's dedicated server plans start at $169 per month and don't offer much more than the competition. You will get 1TB of storage and can request up to 16GB of RAM, but you will get a nice bonus: unlimited bandwidth. Unlimited bandwidth can be a critical feature if your site has high traffic, which is hard to find at other hosts. Again, you must use Linux based hosting.
I signed up for DreamHost's shared hosting plan, which was straight forward and intuitive. I did hit an unusual snag after creating my account. There was a warning message across the screen stating I would be contacted when my account was ready. I've yet to see this delay with any major hosting company, there is no reason for it. After about five hours I was notified by email that my account was ready.
The DreamHost user interface is well laid out and Spartan when compared to others. I was able to easily find my billing information and manage my domain. One thing I couldn't find was the DreamHost website builder, that's because they don't have one. Most web hosts have some kind of site builder included, not at DreamHost. You will have to create your website elsewhere and upload it via FTP. I prefer using FTP to upload my website, but I know many others who like using the online site builders.
You can install many third-party applications, such as GetSimple, Joomla, WordPress, MediaWiki, concrete5, MODx Evolution, Textpattern and Pligg to help build your web site. So there are options for site building, but you may want to off-line for your main work. Once your site is uploaded you can use the Mobile Site Builder to help create a mobile friendly site.
Managed WordPress Blog
DreamHost offers managed WordPress hosting starting at $24.95 per month. DreamHost will handle the install, updating and management of your WordPress software, along with daily backups. DreamHost's managed WordPress, known as DreamPress, includes unlimited storage, email, bandwidth and free WordPress themes. You can also install any plugins you want; other hosts can limit your number of plugins.
You don't have to pay for managed WordPress, you can install it yourself, although there are some delays. After I installed WordPress I had to wait about ten minutes for an email letting me know the install had completed. After I received the confirmation I was able to proceed with the normal setup process. However, I did need to signup for VaultPress so I could have daily backups performed.
Email & E-Commerce
DreamHost offers unlimited email addresses. Once your setup you can create discussion lists, message filters and announcement lists. DreamHost's email system is very extensive and blows away most competitors. Spam protection is offered through the blacklists from Spamhaus.
DreamHost offers a free online market solution through ZenCart. With one click you can install ZenCart and setup your online shop. If your business needs something more flexible and robust DreamHost offers CafeCommerce integration. With shared hosting you will get a 14 trial with CafeCommerce and a discounted rate of $21.05 per month.
DreamHost will include a $100 Google AdWords credit and let you track site statistics through Chartbeat, something different than Google Analytics.
You can reach DreamHost's customer support through email, ticket based support and online chat. There doesn't seem to be a way to reach them by phone. The chat support is not great, but decent. It took about 10 minutes to start a support chat in the evening but about 30 minutes to get started during the day, not impressive. Although, once we started chatting the staff were very informative and helpful.
DreamHost is ideal for those who build their site using other tools and upload their site through FTP. Less tech savvy users should look to other more user friendly web hosts. However, since you have a full 97 days to try out DreamHost's service, if your feeling confident then you should seriously give them a try. DreamHost is a power user's dream. Make sure you read the user comments and to leave your own review.
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