By Skye Schooley, business.com Writer | Updated Jul 01, 2019
DreamHost offers shared hosting, virtual private servers (VPS), dedicated servers, cloud hosting and WordPress hosting. However, it is the company's WordPress hosting that stands out with its plan variety, competitive pricing and exceptional features. In addition, DreamHost provides a 97-day money-back guarantee, which is much longer than the standard 30-day money-back guarantee that many competitors provide. Based on its extended guarantee, overall services and competitive WordPress hosting prices, DreamHost is our choice for the best WordPress hosting provider of 2019.
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DreamHost has a solid online reputation, with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Its web hosting customers have access to 24/7 in-house customer support – you can ask questions over social media, email or live chat while you browse the company's various service offerings.
This web hosting provider has a wide selection of plans and even offers consumers the choice between managed and shared plans for WordPress. The mix of plans and features is beneficial for businesses of all types and sizes.
Types of Web Hosting Offered
In addition to standard shared, VPS, dedicated and cloud hosting, DreamHost provides a large selection of WordPress hosting plans that is unmatched by competitors. Each of these plans and services has different pricing options and features available.
Smaller businesses can benefit from the affordability and usability of shared, cloud and WordPress hosting. Managed WordPress hosting is especially useful for small business owners who have minimal coding and technical skills, as there are usually drag-and-drop features and website-builder capabilities. VPS and dedicated servers, which are typically more expensive, cater to larger businesses with high web traffic.
DreamHost Pricing and Plans
DreamHost is very transparent in its pricing. Most companies offer promotional or slashed pricing to attract new customers, but then raise rates after the first billing cycle. DreamHost advertises its standard WordPress hosting rates, which are competitive with other companies we reviewed.
The other companies we looked at that specialize in WordPress hosting have much higher prices than DreamHost. It has two different shared hosting plans for WordPress, as well as three managed WordPress plans, which are ideal for small business owners. Its shared plans are the Starter plan, which costs $3.95 per month, and the Unlimited plan for $6.95 per month. These are good options for small business owners on a very low web hosting budget. However, for the sake of our review, we analyzed the managed WordPress plans, as they provide more advanced features and isolated resources.
DreamHost's managed WordPress services are available in three pricing plans. Charged at an annual rate, the DreamPress plan is $16.95 per month, the DreamPress Plus plan is $24.95 per month, and the DreamPress Pro plan is $71.95 per month.
Each managed WordPress plan comes with WordPress-specialized customer support. Some hosting companies tier their customer support, so it's a big plus that DreamHost provides the same level of WordPress support to all its managed WordPress customers. However, it does tier other aspects of its service, like SSD storage amount, number of visits available per month and the Jetpack Professional package, which includes premium WordPress themes, unlimited CDN, one-click backup and restore, and malware scanning.
DreamHost offers a free domain name with the first-time purchase of an annual shared hosting or DreamPress plan, which you must use within the first month of purchase. Keep in mind this is only for yearly plans – if you opt for month-to-month services, you won't receive a free domain name. In its terms of service, it also states that downgrading from annual to monthly hosting or canceling your plan within the 97-day guarantee period will result in a charge for the free domain registration. Typical .com domain name registration costs $12, with .org, .net, .info and .biz costing slightly more.
You could be entitled to a refund if you cancel your service within the first 30 or 97 days of service, depending on your plan. If you cancel after this timeframe, you won't be charged any additional fees, but if you have a yearly contract, you won't receive a refund. This is standard among the web hosting companies we reviewed.
All the above pricing and term information is only for the company's WordPress hosting. There may be other plan options, pricing and terms for the various services DreamHost provides. Fees may also differ depending on your plan and contract.
DreamHost Web Hosting Features
DreamHost provides a solid selection of features for its WordPress hosting customers. Its mix of plans means you'll be able to get the features you need, whether you're looking to get started with a basic hosting plan or to host multiple WordPress sites. It's transparent with its storage and bandwidth offerings, and the service provides site backups and other good security features.
Storage and Bandwidth: Each managed WordPress plan comes with unmetered bandwidth. This is ideal for business owners who are unsure how much they will be using, since you won't be charged overage fees.
The DreamPress Starter plan comes with 30GB of SSD storage, an unmetered number of cached visits per month and a moderate monthly allowance for uncached visits. The DreamPress Plus plan gives you these features with 60GB of SSD storage. The DreamPress Pro plan gives you 120GB of SSD storage, an unmetered number of cached visits per month and a high monthly allowance for uncached visits. If you exceed the allotment of anticipated uncached visits, it may have an impact on your website's performance, so be sure to check with a support agent to learn what "moderate" and "high" equate to in terms of visits per month.
Security: DreamHost provides nearly the same level of security for each DreamPress plan. It offers a one-click SSL certificate to encrypt your website regardless of what plan you sign up for, daily site backups to help in the event of data loss, and WordPress service updates to keep your system patched and fully up to date.
Pre-installed Apps and Integrations: DreamHost has its own control panel tailored specifically to its services. Although many competitors use a standard control panel like cPanel or Plesk, the customized DreamHost control panel can be beneficial for users who want to access their billing and support features on the same dashboard. WordPress has thousands of plugins you can use for your site, and DreamHost supports these plugins with a single click.
Domain Transfer: In some cases, DreamHost will provide a free domain name transfer for the first year of service. This is for the annual shared hosting plans and annual DreamPress plans. It may also extend to other service plans, depending on your agreement. Either way, the yearly cost of a .com domain name with DreamHost is around $12. If you're concerned about a yearly domain name fee, it may be a good idea to talk with the DreamHost sales team.
Reported Uptime: According to DreamHost's terms of service, the company has a 100% uptime guarantee. Just about every provider we reviewed guarantees 99.9% uptime. What separates DreamHost is that if your service is interrupted, you will receive a credit of one day for each hour your service is down. Some hosting companies won't offer a credit or any type of compensation when the service goes down. While DreamHost's credit isn't as generous as some hosting companies' downtime credits, it's promising that DreamHost has a system in place to hold itself accountable should your service go down at some point.
Reputation and Customer Service
DreamHost has a good online reputation. While not an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau, it does have an A+ rating on the site. Some companies we reviewed didn't score this high, earning an A or, in some cases, as low as a C. DreamHost only has eight negative reviews on the BBB website and 20 total customer complaints. These numbers are considerably lower than those of competitors we analyzed.
We posed as small business owners when we reached out to DreamHost via live chat. We asked important sales questions to find out more about its offering and test the company's customer service. The representatives we worked with were both pleasant and helpful, going as far on one occasion as searching through company blog posts to find the answer to one of our questions.
At no point did we feel on the hook to buy the company's product. Instead, the sales representative answered our questions quickly and accurately via chat support. DreamHost had one of the best customer service experiences of any web hosting provider we reviewed.
While DreamHost says it provides a free domain name for the first year of service, this is only true in certain cases, like for annual shared hosting plans and annual DreamPress plans. If you downgrade from an annual plan to a monthly plan, you will be required to pay for their domain name. You are also required to use your free domain name within the first month of activation, or you must pay for it. If you are aware of the stipulations, this issue can be minimized.
While DreamHost is the only web hosting company we analyzed to provide such a long refund period, you may not be entitled to a full refund during this time, depending on which services you've signed up for and what fees are associated with your account. Annual fees already paid in full will not be refunded. You are also required to pay for your domain name if you cancel within your money-back guarantee period.