- 1 Introduction
- 2 Overview of their Web Hosting Plans
- 3 DreamPress Managed vs DreamHost Shared Hosting
- 4 Best Web Hosting Features
- 4.1 Different Functionality, Similar Name
- 4.2 WP Website Backups
- 4.3 WordPress Managed Hosting
- 4.4 Shared Hosting
- 4.5 WordPress Themes
- 4.6 User and Website Support
- 4.7 Telephone Support
- 4.8 DreamPress WP Support
- 4.9 Jetpack Customer Support Service
- 4.10 Staging Facility
- 4.11 Control Panel
- 4.12 Tools for Site Optimization
- 4.13 Premium WP Themes
- 4.14 Site Management Dashboard
- 5 Downsides of WP Managed and Shared Hosting
- 6 Performance of DreamPress and Shared Hosting
- 7 Load Impact Test
DreamHost was launched in 1996; it is a privately owned and well-established firm in the business today.
They provide an extensive list of plans that are suitable for various kinds of websites that include a few feature-packed and economic WordPress centric plans.
This article will discuss the various plans that are designed for WordPress customers, including the low-cost shared web hosting plans and the premium managed WordPress hosting plans.
By the end of this review, you will be able to decern the right hosting plan for your requirement.
Overview of their Web Hosting Plans
DreamHost web hosting provider offers a starter-level basic shared web hosting and WP-managed hosting that is specialized, it is known as DreamPress.
In addition, they provide VPS hosting that is high-end and dedicated hosting server plans too.
For users that need to host their apps online, they have object storage and cloud computing web hosting plans.
|WordPress Shared Hosting||Managed WordPress|
|Save 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 WP Hosting with extreme security and cloud performance. Hassle-free, allowing you to focus on your business. |
Begins at a monthly fee; $16.95
We will be diving deeper into the details of the shared web hosting entry-level plan, and DreamPress managed premium web hosting plan. Both these plans are suitable for WP customers.
DreamHost offers Shared plans to enable their WordPress users to host their website even at a very low budget. Take a look at the packages;
It begins with a monthly fee of $2.59 and includes one website and SSD storage of 50 GB.
It begins with a monthly fee of $5.95 and includes unlimited website and SSD storage that’s unlimited.
The prices seem very economical, but you will have to commit to a long term to avail these prices.
DreamPress Managed WordPress Hosting
You can install WP on a shared plan; during signup, you can opt to install WordPress software automatically.
Users that require better performance from their WordPress hosting could consider the DreamPress Plans;
At a fee of $16.95, they give you SSD storage of 30 GB, and it is built to manage monthly visitors of 100K.
At a fee of $24.95, they give you SSD storage of 60 GB, and it is built to manage monthly visitors of 300K. In addition, they provide unlimited CDN and Jetpack professionals.
At a fee of $71.95, they give you SSD storage of 120 GB, and it is built to manage monthly visitors of over one million.
In addition, they provide unlimited CDN, Dream care site – troubleshooting and monitoring feature along with Jetpack professional.
Similar to the shared plans, you must commit to a long term (one year) in order to avail of the above pricing. Or the prices will go up to $19.95 per month, $29.95 per month and $79.95 per month, respectively.
As you must have noticed the difference in the price. The major difference that is very obvious is the premium DreamPress managed plans, and the low-price shared web hosting is that DreamPress is focused on site owners in need of good site performance and fast loading times.
DreamPress doesn’t just have the ability to manage multiple visitors and good loading speeds.
Their packages have a few extra features along with an upgraded version of a few features that you will find with the shared plans.
In order to assist you in selecting a hosting plan for your site, let’s look at the essential features of these packages. We will also look at the various features and how they are used in each plan.
Best Web Hosting Features
With the right features, you can manage the account, have a strong security and handle the entire website with much ease.
Let’s explore some of the essential features available on managed and shared WordPress hosting.
Different Functionality, Similar Name
As I mentioned earlier, they have a couple of features that are offered with both DreamPress plans and shared plans.
When we encounter such a situation, we will highlight the difference to give you the clarity to select the plan apt for your website.
WP Website Backups
This feature varies a lot depending on the web hosting you select and the type of plan you choose.
WordPress Managed Hosting
The DreamPress plan offers all its customers the in-house backup solutions. But, as mentioned in the features earlier, you will notice DreamPress Plus and DreamPress Pro plans have an additional feature, the Jetpack Professional. In addition, they also give you access to a powerful backup service, the VaultPress.
As per our experience, VaultPress is one of WP’s finest backup tools. You can access real-time backups, single-click restores, and your backup files have unlimited storage.
You can also swiftly restore files; this helps you undo errors that may have occurred while editing themes. This is not common with other WP backups solutions.
But if you go in for the starter-level DreamPress plan, you will be missing out on the Professional jetpack feature. However, you will still have access to the basic yet functional backup system.
This feature will automatically back up the site every day. You can also manually create a backup daily.
These backups are saved and are available for 2 weeks. After that, you will have access to them through the DreamHost account. But, note that if you want to partially restore or download a copy of the backup. Like restoring the theme file or the database, it will not be possible.
If you go in for the entry-level shared plan, the process to backup all your data from your WP site won’t be very simple. However, there are various ways to handle this issue, and you can either install a backup plugin from WP. In addition, you can go in for VaultPress by paying separately for this web hosting service that is also available with DreamPress Plus and DreamPress Pro.
Or you can signup for the paid DreamObjects account and utilize the free backup plugins by DreamObjects. This will help you to not only create your backup but also store it in the cloud storage. Using this solution will help you to backup the entire site and the database on a monthly, weekly or daily basis, depending on your convenience.
All the backup files can be downloaded as and when needed, and you can also decide on the number of backups to be kept on the server.
DreamObjects solution also offers a free trial of 30-days; post-30-days, you will have to pay for it. They start with very nominal monthly prices of $0.95. With this package, you will get storage of 40 GB. It is an excellent option to backup all your WP site data.
As specified earlier DreamPress Plus plan and the DreamPress Pro plan have the Jetpack Professional. They also give the customer access to over 200 premium WP themes and plenty of free ones too. They cover various purposes and styles.
Using the WordPress portal, you can sign into the Jetpack professional account and browse through all the themes.
Unfortunately, the shared plans are very similar to the DreamPress entry-level plan. They don’t offer access to their WP themes. However, they do have a few free ones that you can access. They are, by default, available on all the WP dashboards. If you have a theme that is downloaded from another place, you can go ahead and use it.
User and Website Support
No matter which plans you choose, the DreamPress managed or DreamHost Shared, you will have access to the support team via live chat. The team is available from 0530 to 2130 PST, 365 days. You can also get email support or submit tickets 24×7.
They don’t have a phone number for you to call, but you can make a request for a callback. This service is premium; however, certain plans include a couple of callbacks that are available for free every month. For example, DreamPress Plus includes three callbacks every month, while DreamPress Pro offers five callbacks every month.
The Shared web hosting users, DreamPress plan entry-level customers and customers that need callbacks that exceeds their package can pay a monthly fee of $14.95, which includes 3 callbacks in a month. Or pay $9.95 for every callback.
These callbacks are available for customers based in the USA and Canada. Customers that are based in other countries can’t avail this service. Also, the calls made are all in English; they don’t support multilingual calls.
Unlike most competitors in the industry, they don’t have 24×7 customer support for live chat and calls. They also lack global call support. So, in this segment, they haven’t made it to the top of the list.
DreamPress WP Support
DreamPress users are offered priority support by an in-house team of experts. They only service to the DreamPress customers and not users from other plans. This results in quick service due to the dedicated support team. This team of experts have great WP expertise.
Jetpack Customer Support Service
If you’re using the DreamPress Plus plan or the DreamPress Pro plan, you will be offered the Jetpack WP Customer Support Staff service. This is also an excellent option to approach whenever you need any assistance with the site.
We had a pleasant experience with the staff. They were extremely responsive and helpful through email and live chat.
Creating a staging site enables a secure place to operate on a duplicate of your site, without risking the live site. When would you need to build a staging site? For example, suppose you need to edit some codes, install new themes, or test new plugins.
Once you are satisfied with the test, your live website can be replaced in just a couple of clicks with the staging version.
The staging feature is not offered with the shared plans. However, it is simple to build a staging site with DreamPress plans. With a click of a button, you can create a staging site. Once you set it up, the content can be copied between the staging and the live environment by using the controls.
The staging site from DreamPress is straightforward. But, they don’t have features like WP Engine and SiteGround that allow users to select the components of the site they want to switch between like database, files, and a particular database table.
That leaves you with the option to transfer the entire site. Thus overwriting the whole destination site, this is a significant downside. Additionally, this can create an issue if a new post is added to the active site during the time work was carried out on the staging site.
DreamHost doesn’t use the cPanel control panel. This may not be common with many shared web hosting, but it is very common with WP-managed web hosts.
DreamHost offers a custom control panel to help with the regular tasks like handling the domains linked with the account, accessing various tools to interact with the databases and server space, and installing WordPress.
The control panel is very well designed and is user-friendly. We have noticed a couple of cPanel elements missing, but most of the vital controls and tools are made available. This helps you manage the web hosting account and website.
Tools for Site Optimization
The Managed hosting is optimized to assist you with the quick WP website load. In addition, Jetpack Professional includes a few extra tools to improvise the site speed and the contents.
Jetpack CDN is a very efficient tool that has unlimited storage. Furthermore, CDN allows the files of your website to be distributed automatically to various servers across the globe. This reduces the travel distance, hence reaching your visitors quickly. In addition, the Jetpack CDN supports videos; you can offload large files from the DreamHost server and save the storage allowance.
The files can be added to the CDN easily; you can upload the files to the WP Media Library. Then, they get transferred to the Jetpack server distribution network. The best part is; your videos will not have any branding or advertisements displayed.
They give you a search tool that is improved and better. This tool focuses on delivering more relevant and faster results to the visitors as soon as they begin to search the site. This works well for a site with plenty of content.
Premium WP Themes
Every site needs a theme; while WP offers some excellent free themes, I must say premium themes look nicer; they also have many useful templates and gives the site a professional appearance.
Lucky for us, Jetpack Professional offers a range of WP themes that are premium. They have over 200 themes, and some of them cost $79. So if you like a premium theme, the money you put aside by not buying it can cover a couple of months cost difference between DreamPress starter-level plan, which offers no themes, and DreamPress Plus that offers you access to the premium themes.
Site Management Dashboard
Once you activate Jetpack on your website, you can handle a few aspects of WP through the dashboard. Users of the WordPress.com platform have access. If you choose to go with the Self-hosted default WP dashboard, that is also available.
The interface may seem appealing to users looking at moving from hosted WP.com to self-hosting the WP site; however, they may not be keen on leaving behind the WP.com customer experience.
Since the interface of the dashboard is hosted on the WP.com site, it is not inserted into the WP site; there is no stress of it slowing down the site.
The WP.com dashboard is a more modern and stylish-looking interface in comparison to the default WP dashboard; it is even simpler to use. But, to complete some tasks, you will need to utilize the self-hosted default WP dashboard, like working with third-party themes and plugins.
In the previous segment, we covered all the features we liked the best about DreamHost that included WP managed hosting and Shared web hosting. Now, in this segment, we will look at the things they could do better with or a few drawbacks.
Premium WP Themes – Lack Access
Unless you get the high-end DreamPress Pro or Plus plan, you will not have access to premium WP themes. This can be unappealing to many. This is common with most shared packages; however, some managed hosting packages like StudioPress themes and WP Engine do include the premium feature in their plans.
Support Options are Limited
The lack of phone support and the live chat is not available 24×7, now that’s a bummer to many. Of course, whenever you have an issue, you can send out an email anytime, but sometimes you may need urgent support from an executive on a pressing issue.
The lack of hotline service can be compensated if your plan includes the call-back support and provided you are in the region they cover. This doesn’t apply to all, as they cover the USA and Canada, and some plans have it as a paid service.
WordPress Dashboard – No Enhancements
The default WP dashboard lacks enhancements; this could be a potential drawback. SiteGround offers its users a wizard in terms of website setup. This is displayed inside the WP site and aims to assists you with setting up the new site.
SiteGround adds a couple of controls on the WP dashboard through their plugin. This allows you to configure aspects of the site and performance. Again, this is missing from DreamHost.
Customers that have the DreamPress plan that offers the Jetpack Professional are sorted. They can manage plenty of aspects through the user interface on the WP.com.
Backup Functionality is Poor
The DreamPress package includes a regular backup of your website, but this is not available with shared web hosting packages.
Your account and domain get automatically backed up with the shared plans. But if you look closely, you are not offered that extra control over the backups that come with other tools like selecting the day to go back to and which section of the site to restore.
If you need access to systems that are feature-rich, you can utilize the backup plugin by signing up for the DreamObjects (premium service) that has cloud storage. They also offer an option to use your backup plugin; and however, if it were a standard feature for all shared hosting, it would be more appealing.
Jetpack Professional – Over Reliance
DreamHost depends heavily on Jetpack Professional package to deliver various key features like optimization tools and site security. This can be a significant concern for many users, especially those keen on DreamPress WP Managed hosting plans.
We also find gaining leverage on a solid set of features from WP.com is a wise idea. At times we have felt like we were working on two systems; well, technically, we were.
Summary of the Downsides
When we look at functionalities and features, most of the drawbacks are obvious on the shared plans. If you’re in search of a web hosting experience that is feature-rich, then we think the DreamPress packages are a better option in comparison to the shared plans.
But there is always more to selecting a host that has features to match your requirements. Before signing up, it is vital to get to know the performance they deliver. The next segment is all about performance.
So far, we have discussed all the various plans, key features, and drawbacks of DreamHost. It’s time to take a look at how well they perform.
In our test, we utilized the Load Impact and Pingdom service to measure the speed of our site. In addition, we tested it on the basis of the number of visitors it could handle and the uptime levels as well.
DreamHost offers various outstanding features; they will not be of great help if the sites don’t load quickly, fail to handle multiple visitors and has frequent downtimes. Let’s find out how well they did in this segment.
For the test, we built four WordPress sites. Two were hosted on shared plans and the other two on the DreamPress managed WordPress hosting.
The theme we used was the current default and lightweight WP. Twenty Nineteen on 1 site of the shared plan, and installed a similar theme on 1 site on DreamPress plan. We installed the heavyweight and popular Avada theme on the remaining two sites.
The primary purpose of the test was not to just check their capabilities in terms of multipurpose heavyweight themes and lightweight themes but to show you a comparison of the performance between DreamPress and Shared plans. The objective is to assist you in picking a plan that suits your project requirements.
We used the Pingdom service to check the loading times once in thirty minutes. We tested for seven days and used the average loading time for the article.
Results of the Lightweight Themes and Heavyweight Themes
Twenty Nineteen theme is enabled on the new WP site, so if you are looking at creating a simple business site or a basic blog, then this theme is apt.
Once we set the site, we created an introductory page that had images and text. Then, after the seven-day test of the lightweight theme, we recorded a load time on the shared plan of 1.41 sec.
We created a similar page for the DreamPress managed to host, Pingdom was used to monitor. After the seven-day test of the heavyweight theme, we recorded a load time on the DreamPress plan of 581 ms.
The results are pretty straightforward; the loading times are better on the high-price DreamPress plan in comparison to the shared plan.
Load Impact Test
Let’s take a look at how well they performed in this segment.
DreamHost plan was surprisingly able to manage fifty simultaneous users and didn’t become unresponsive. In our test, we saw a spike in the load time with 50 simultaneous users. However, I must say the speed of the site did recover before the test could end.
The shared hosting site was very responsive with 50 users; we wanted to see the results with 250 users. The load time did increase with the increase of users. When the site has 77 users, the load time was 1.83 seconds which is decent. But I must add the loading time did increase to 27.51 as soon as we had 166 users. This is definitely unacceptable. When the site saw 200 users, it did stabilize to over a second. The results were better with 200 users instead of 250.
According to the test results, DreamHost takes a couple of minutes to adjust to a sudden rise in traffic.
We monitored the uptime for seven days as well. Pingdom recorded downtime on the test sites. We recorded a downtime of three hours, but that was a scheduled downtime for the shared server. They kept their customers updated about the same by sending out notifications via emails and account dashboards. On account of the scheduled downtime, they didn’t qualify for the guaranteed 100% uptime.
Other than this, our Pingdom results did show some downtime in between. But when we queried it with DreamHost, they verified, saying their servers were up and running the whole time. So looks like there was some issue here. We were unable to verify the site status during this time.
The shared packages have very economical prices, only if you are ready to prepay for three years at a stretch. We feel they lack a couple of features that are otherwise found with other web hosts, like the in-built backup system.
According to the industry standards, customer support is offered 24×7, 365 days, along with a hotline number. The lack of this feature is quite a bummer.
We also felt that if Pingdom recorded a downtime, how come it was not registered by DreamHost, this is also a concern for us, especially in terms of the recommendation of the shared package. DreamHost could manage multiple users on the test site, maintaining a decent load time.
If you are looking at getting the managed WP hosting, it will be beneficial to skip the starter-level plan. However, if you have the budget go in for the Pro or Plus plan; they come with multiple valuable features. You can also check our Hostgator review.
The DreamHost managed and shared WP hosting plans get many things right, but not enough to stand out compared to their competitors. So what are your thoughts about DreamHost? Do share your comments and experience with us.