DreamHost Review

Back in 1997, 4 undergrads joined forces and DreamHost was the end result. Their relaxed start up vibe led to large parties in the office and plenty of lessons were learned along the way while moving from start up to the professional business they are today. They advertise as ‘having a web hosting solution for everyone, Big or Small - Rookie or Professional.’ As a host, they are particularly WordPress focused so if that’s your chosen builder tool we would strongly recommend checking DreamHost out. They are one of the few hosts that are recommended by WordPress which explains their feature set and website builder choice.

Services And Features

DreamHost boasts an extensive catalogue of hosting options to choose from.  This includes WordPress Hosting for the pros or WP Website Builder - a post and page tool ideally suited to beginners.  They offer standard Shared Web Hosting packages as well as VPS Hosting, Cloud Hosting and Dedicated Hosting.  You can also just purchase a domain name from them.

Their Shared and WordPress Hosting plans all come with a free domain name (must be redeemed in the first month of hosting) on a 1 or 3 year subscription, unlimited traffic promises, free SSL certificate, SSD storage and WordPress pre-installed.  

It’s important to note their Starter plans which cost around $2.59/mo don't include a free email address, these start at an additional $1.67/mo.  They are also restricted to 1 website, 50GB of storage and 5 subdomains.  Their Unlimited plans cost $5.95/mo and include unlimited emails using your domain name, unlimited websites, storage and MySQL databases.  An impressive feature of their Shared Web Hosting plans is that they come with a 97 day money back guarantee which is the highest around!

Additional services DreamHost offer include a Website Design Service which starts at $299 for 2 pages.  They have partnered with RipeConcepts who will build your website for you in record time.  They also provide a Managed WordPress Hosting package called DreamPress which claims to be the only solution to offer the powerful features, tools and support your business needs.

 

Sign Up

Completing the sign up process with DreamHost is relatively straightforward and the fact the majority of information is taken on 1 page really helps.  Their Shared Hosting plans are available in 1, 12 and 36 month plans, the monthly plan does not include their free domain offer.  You can choose to register a new domain straight away, at a later date or use a domain you already own.  All major credit cards are accepted and payment can also be made via PayPal.  You will need to create an account by either entering your email address or using ‘Sign Up with Google’.  

Even when you choose a Shared Web Hosting plan, they will pre-install WordPress for you and include the WP Website Builder as an option for you to use to build your site.  When selecting the Starter plan, DreamHost Email will be pre-selected on their order form at $19.99/yr per mailbox which includes 25GB of storage and spam/virus filtering.  DreamShield Protection is also pre-selected on all plans, providing protection from malicious code, out-of-date software, broken permissions and more, costing $3/mo.

Once you have placed your hosting subscription order you must create the password to your hosting account and then you can access the DreamHost control panel.

Website Builder And Control Panel

DreamHost don’t offer a standard drag-and-drop website builder like many other web hosts, instead they provide BoldGrid within WordPress, a page and post builder.  We should highlight that DreamHost are one of the few hosts that are recommended by WordPress which explains their builder choice.  The initial setup of this builder isn’t too straight forward and could cause some novices to get lost in the process.  Once you’ve found your bearings, the BoldGrid builder is like any other drag-and-drop builder.  You are shown a selection of templates to choose from and once you’ve made your choice there are helpful options such as choosing a PageSet based on how in depth you’d like your website to be, adding a blog and pre-populating your contact and social media details.

BoldGrid gives you the flexibility to edit your chosen theme, it’s easy to add or remove content blocks as well as add new pages.  If you know how to use WordPress the addition of BoldGrid makes this a great setup for building your website, however, if this is your first time creating a site for yourself, you may find this too advanced.

DreamHost provides their customers with the majority of tools they would expect to find in a hosting control panel such as cPanel, right in their own custom-built DreamHost account.  Users can manage FTP users, access their MySQL databases directly with phpMyAdmin and manage their cron jobs. 

Customer Support

DreamHost provides their customers with an extensive Knowledgebase which covers questions on every topic you could think of.  They also have informative options such as Discussion Forums where customers can help each other out and a live Systems Status page where you can check that every section of their service is operational.

DreamHost’s award-winning US-based experts are contactable via email 24/7.  They have a helpful automated chat agent in their control panel, but it’s important to note they do not offer a live chat option or a phone number to reach them on for instant support which may not be ideal for all. 

Domains And Email

All of DreamHost’s domain and email management tools can also be found in their custom control panel.  As mentioned if you opt for one of their Starter plans you don’t get a free email included so you will need to purchase one.  Each mailbox comes with 25GB of storage, desktop and mobile webmail interface and advanced spam protection.  Their Unlimited plans come with unlimited email accounts for your chosen domain name which could work out a very good value for money depending on your business size.

DreamHost sell domains separately from hosting and are very reasonably priced, some as low as $0.99/year for the first year.  They support all popular domain extensions and include WHOIS Domain Privacy for free.  When searching for a domain name to register, if your desired name is taken they present a thorough list of alternative options which is helpful.

Once you have registered a domain with DreamHost, you can manage all aspects of it in the DreamHost control panel and if you want to transfer an existing domain they have helpful information on how to do so.