Are you thinking about starting your own website or blog? And looking for real customer review of Dreamhost as the web host? You have come to the right place. I have used their service for several months now and just got the time to write about my experience with them as I created this new blog. I will continue to share my experience on here to help you decide if they are the right one for you.
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What is Dreamhost?
Dreamhost is a web hosting service provider. They offer website hosting, wordpress hosting, and cloud hosting. Located in Los Angeles, California, Dreamhost is also a domain name registrar.
Do you want to host your own website?
If you want to start an online presence with a website or a blog, you have a choice of free website or self-hosted website. You can create a website for free using a website builder such as Wix, WordPress(.com) or others. But, free website builder has limitations and disadvantages.
Limitations of free website builders:
- No domain name Your business name or URL is attached to the domain of the website builder. For example, instead of yourbusinessname.com, it will be yourbusinessname.wix.com.
- Company branding Your website will be required to show the website builder’s badges or links, which takes users away from your page to their builder plans.
- Ads Free website builder puts their brand top and bottom of your website. It can make your website look unprofessional. You as well as your visitors are going to find these ads intrusive.
- Limited theme customizations You may have several themes or colors to choose from but the customization is going to be vastly limited on a free website builder and your website won’t be as unique to your brand as you’d like.
- Limited storage Every website builder on a free website builder is going to have a small storage size and will be required to pay for additional space. If you are going to end up paying monthly, it’s better to look to hosting your own website than using free website builder.
The reasons above are why you would choose to host your own website to have a better control of your website aesthetic, content and data.
In order to run your own website or blog, all you need is your domain name, a web host service, and content management system, which I will explain later.
Dreamhost – Web Host & Domain
So, what is a web host? Web host is the place where all the files of your websites live. Web hosting companies store your data and serve your websites to the world wide web. When you register for a web hosting plan, you are basically using their server space to keep all of your files and have them transmit the necessary data from the server to your visitors’ device. You need it to have your site publicly accessible online.
It is different than a domain. And, what is a domain? It is the address of your website to which your visitors type in the address bar to go read your content or blog. Domain name can have words that make it easy to remember your website address. There are companies that specialize in domain name or web hosting, but there are also companies that supply both. Dreamhost is one that supply both domain name and web hosting services so you can easily create a website having a one-stop solution.
WordPress – Content Management System (CMS)
Now, you understand you have a web host that store all of your data. You will also need what’s called the Content Management System (CMS) that lets your create and manage your digital content without having to code from scratch. You must have heard of WordPress. WordPress is the most popular content management system in the market with 60% of market share. That is huge!
WordPress though I mentioned earlier is a free website builder is also an open-source content management system. So there are 2 types of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is the free website builder with limited features. WordPress.org is the open-source CMS that you can install on your web hosting server to run a self-hosted website or blog.
When you sign up with Dreamhost, they already include a 1-click WordPress install. The process is as easy and convenient as possible, all you need is to install it and with the three components I mentioned that you need, you are all ready to create and build your website.
What hosting plans does Dreamhost offer?
Dreamhost offer 2 types of shared hosting plans for building wordpress websites with all the essentials that you’ll need: Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited. As the plan name implied, Shared Starter is a great entry level price for new site, if you just need to build one website. With Shared Unlimited, you can build unlimited number of websites.
Both plans include a free domain, 1-click WordPress, website builder, SSL security certificate. Shared Unlimited comes with unlimited emails at your domain.
What is Dreamhost pricing?
For shared hosting, you can choose between monthly, 1-year and 3-year payment plans. Many hosting companies don’t offer monthly payment plan but Dreamhost does.
Note that 1 free domain is only qualified with their annual plan (monthly plans do not apply).
|Monthly||1 Year||3 Year|
I personally chose 1 Year Shared Unlimited Plan because 1 Year plan offers a better package overall and Shared Unlimited gives me the option to build multiple websites over time. For just $5.95/month, it provides everything that I need for creating my own websites.
How good is Dreamhost?
I have personally built many websites on other web hosts before, several of them on Media Temple. One striking advantage of Media Temple is that they have phone support. In the beginning when I just started creating websites, I was able to call for support. Over the years, I hardly have to call them because they have been able to maintain a good uptime of their servers. Media Temple has 99.99% uptime guarantee on their website.
The reason why I signed up for Dreamhost was because I wanted to try a different web host. I didn’t quite like the user experience of Media Temple from their complicated web application that seems to me a bit outdated. Dreamhost web application is definitely more user friendly, so they win me over.
The price is a huge difference between Dreamhost and Media Temple (MT). MT is $20/month while Dreamhost is $5.95/month. For the better price with Dreamhost, I am getting unlimited disk space. With Media Temple, you get up to only 100GB.
Besides, I get free SSL on Dreamhost, they offer it free for every sites it hosts. I cannot believe Media Temple would charge $75 for us to add SSL certificate, which should be a standard. SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is an encryption-based Internet security protocol that helps protect your visitors sensitive data. So, it’s important for me to build websites that have SSL.
As a new Dreamhost customer having had experience Media Temple, I am pretty happy to have given them a business. I still maintain Media Temple account because I don’t bother migrating them for now but between the two Dreamhost not only comes out as a better deal, but also more pleasant user-experience. I’d definitely recommend Dreamhost to my friends and family.
Does Dreamhost have phone support?
Dreamhost mainly provides support via email and live chat. They offer option to request callback from technical support but for a nominal fee. I consider myself efficient computer user, so live chat works well for getting support when I needed it, I can multitask. If you are the type of user that needs more hand holding for every technical issue you faced and phone support is a top requirement, then another provider like Bluehost may be better for you. Otherwise, Dreamhost can be a great choice and they are slightly cheaper with a unbeatable 97-days money-back guarantee refund policy.
Dreamhost vs Bluehost
Both of these web host companies are the most popular among their industry. When choosing a web host, I’d easily consider between them. I ultimately went with Dreamhost for their web application they developed instead of cpanel that is the standard web host control panel. In terms of features and offers, they are very much similar, but Dreamhost offer slightly better price even compared to Bluehost. In the end, I picked Dreamhost because I wanted to be different, if you know what I mean.
Hope this candid review of Dreamhost is helpful to you. If you still have any questions and are unsure which web host to use, feel free to leave in the comment, I’ll be happy to help and answer.