I get asked to give hosting recommendations very frequently, especially from new website owners who are looking for their first web host.
It can look like a daunting task as there are literally thousands of WordPress web hosting options, all similarly priced and promising more or less the same things. Checking for reviews tends to confuse people even more, as you’ll typically strong opinions for and against a particular web host. Furthermore, many of those reviews are not really WordPress specific.
Now WordPress does not need very specific hosting requirements, it will run on just about any decent web host. However there are a few web hosts who those who have been in the business for a long time have grown to trust. One such web hosting company is DreamHost.
Before we continue the review, you should know that DreamHost specialise in shared hosting, which is the most basic form of hosting. If you are just starting out with WordPress, or have a site that attracts less than 10,000 visits per month, shared hosting will be enough for your needs. If you are looking for something more advanced, consider a managed WordPress hosting solution. In the latter case I suggest you take a look at our WP Engine hosting review.
OK, so you’ve decided that you want to go for an affordable shared hosting solution. Let’s talk about DreamHost!
DreamHost is one of the big players in the hosting industry, having a full-time staff of 50 and over 500,000 domains hosted. Fortunately, this growth has not prevented DreamHost from retaining their original customer oriented focus.
DreamHost Control Panel
With shared hosting, the control panel is a very important component of the offering, as this is where you will spend most of your time managing your hosting, setting up email addresses, modifying databases, etc.
Given that the majority of shared hosting users are not system administrators, they need an easy to use and straightforward control panel. A great number of hosting companies use cPanel, which is an off-the-shelf server management software solution. DreamHost have chosen to differentiate themselves by writing their own admin panel.
The disadvantage with having a custom control panel is that it will initially disorientate those users who are coming from other web hosts and who have grown accustomed to using cPanel or other variants. The truth is, however, that the DreamHost control panel offers functionality and a user-experience that many eventually find superior to off-the-shelf packages such as cPanel.
For example, DreamHost offers a web-based FTP client for those situations where you cannot make use of an offline FTP client like FileZilla. You’re not that likely to use this feature but it can be a life saver when you’re caught out without access to a desktop FTP client.
The DreamHost control panel also offers ‘one-click-install’ functionality for WordPress and other popular CMS solutions, so we’re golden there, it’s really easy to set up WordPress on this web host.
DreamHost clients in their majority report that they have a good experience with the support staff of this web host. I haven’t had any negative experiences myself, and found their staff to be knowledgeable, although I haven’t taxed them with any difficult questions. For support my priorities are that the staff is knowledgeable, has a right attitude, and is available 24/7, all of which I can get with DreamHost.
DreamHost also maintains a wiki and customer support forum, both of which can be an excellent source of information, often avoiding the need to lodge a support request.
DreamHost has a straightforward no-nonsense pricing strategy, offering unlimited shared hosting space for $8.95 per month. As with all other shared hosts, when we talk about ‘unlimited’ hosting space and bandwidth, it doesn’t mean free for all. For example, you are certainly not allowed to start hosting a movie download website from your shared account just because it is ‘unlimited’.
What it means is that there are no restrictions in place for normal site filespace usage. If you are a photographer, for example, you will probably have an image-intensive website, and will likely need quite some space. The good news is that DreamHost won’t be placing any restrictions on how many MB or GB of space you use for your site, provided it is within their acceptable usage policy.
Service and Reliability
As regards to reliability and delivering a good service, DreamHost are up there with the best WordPress web hosts, and don’t have any particular issues which might make you want to stay away from them. Overall a speedy (within shared hosting limits), reliable web host. DreamHost give ample advance notice of any scheduled downtime due to maintenance or upgrades, although scheduled downtime is not that frequent at all.
All in all DreamHost are probably one of the top 5 WordPress shared hosts, and you can’t really go wrong hosting with them. Good price and features, reliable service and efficient customer support make DreamHost a top choice.
Are you already a DreamHost customer? Let us know your experience in the comments section below.
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