Getting started on a new website project, especially for a beginner can be overwhelming. Hopefully this review/guide can help determine if Dreamhost is right for you. Let’s first go over who Dreamhost is and some of the products they have to offer.
I have been a paying customer at Dreamhost for some time. I continuously monitor my website’s performance with Dreamhost.
I use google page speed to monitor the website performance. It last had a page speed of 94 which is considered very high.
I use a http type monitor for the uptime. Over the past 30 days, I had an uptime of 99.82%.
Dreamhost started in a dorm room way back in 1997. DreamHost now has over 400,000 customers and hosts over 1.5 million websites and applications for designers, developers, and small businesses. Dreamhost currently has data centers in Virginia and Oregon.
Here is a look inside one of the Dreamhost data centers below.
Let’s look at some of the hosting options that Dreamhost has to offer.
What is shared hosting? Shared hosting is the most popular choice among those building their first website. Shared hosting basically allows multiple websites (your website and other people’s websites) to keep their files on the same server. This is great because you can share the cost of renting the server space with the other websites. That is why shared hosting is the least expensive. There are some disadvantages of shared hosting as well. If your site combined with the other sites are all very active, the load time of all the sites on the same server may be slow. Also, you can not customize the server in any way. Both of these disadvantages will not not effect your average website, which again, makes this a good starter plan. There are 2 shared hosting options to choose from at Dreamhost.
The shared starter hosting plan is great for a basic personal website or blog. This is their least expensive plan at $2.59 per month. Keep in mind that with this plan you can only host one website. If you want to build any additional sites, you will have to upgrade. Not a big deal and a fine idea to start with this plan but from past experience, this was my main reason for upgrading. One thing to note, all of Dreamhost’s plans come with a free ssl certificate. This is a big deal since google updated the chrome browser to say “Not secure” in the address bar of a site without an ssl certificate. Some other hosting companies charge as much as $150 per year for an ssl certificate. Although WordPress is easily installed with this hosting plan, they also offer you a drag and drop website builder. All of the hosting plans from Dreamhost come with a free backup system. This plan comes with 24/7 customer support. Domain privacy is also available. You get free domain name registration if you choose the yearly billing option. If you choose the monthly billing option, the new domain name registration is $11.99.
The shared unlimited hosting plan is $7.95 per month. With this plan you can host unlimited additional websites and create unlimited email accounts. WordPress comes pre installed with both of the shared hosting options from Dreamhost.
What is cloud hosting? A cloud hosting account is actually made up of many different servers. This differs from the shared hosting options in that your website will not reside in a server space connected to the other websites on the same server. The biggest advantage to this is that your website can access the power of the multiple servers. Also, if there is a problem with one of the servers, the system will detect the issue and instruct your website to pull data using a different server on the same cloud network. With cloud hosting, your website would have a higher level of reliability and stability. You may also be able to adjust some of the server settings and configurations. Dreamhost now has a few cloud hosting options to choose from.
The cloud hosting options from Dreamhost are all billed hourly. The maximum monthly charges range from $4.50 per month to $96.00 per month. The plans prices vary based mainly on the memory you need and the amount of vCPUs needed. Extra block storage is available at an additional cost. You can check out the cloud hosting options from Dreamhost in more detail here.
What is vps hosting?
Vps stands for virtual private server. This differs from the shared hosting options in that your website will reside in a server space not connected to the other websites on the same server. The biggest advantage to this is that your website has an allocated amount of RAM that only you can use. If your website has alot of traffic, you may need all of the RAM to keep the site speed up.
Dreamhost has 4 vps hosting plans; the basic, business, professional, and enterprise.
The main difference between the plans is the amount of RAM and storage you get. The vps plans start at $13.75 per month and go up to $110.00 per month. The enterprise vps hosting plan is the most expensive and obviously will give you the most amount of RAM and storage.
What is dedicated hosting? This is just what it sounds like. With dedicated hosting, you are renting the entire server. Only your website’s files will be stored on this server. You can add any server software you want and also change the server configurations if you need to. A dedicated server will often result in better reliability and site performance. With dedicated hosting, you obviously have a dedicated ip address as well. With cyber security becoming more and more an issue, businesses and large companies are turning towards dedicated server hosting for more protection. Siteground has made to order dedicated server options. You can choose how many cores, how much RAM, and how much storage you need. The prices range from $199.00 per month to $399.00 per month.
The more advanced your website and the more visitors you have will likely determine which dedicated hosting plan you will put together. All dedicated servers from Dreamhost come with unlimited bandwidth, one dedicated IP address, and a 4-hour SLA.
Dreamhost Compared To Other Hosting Companies
In order to compare apples to apples, let’s compare the basic shared hosting packages with some other companies basic plans. As mentioned before, with just the basic shared hosting plan, Dreamhost offers free daily backup and a free ssl certificate. Most hosting companies only offer these with more advanced, more expensive hosting plans.
Purchasing A Plan
Ok, so we’ve gone over the basics of the hosting plans that Dreamhost has to offer. Now I’m going to go over the process of purchasing a hosting plan and some of the basic tasks to get your website live. I broke down the process into ten steps.
I went to dreamhost.com and from the main page, I selected the get started button in the center loft of the homepage.
I then selected the shared starter plan.
Now I had to create a new hosting account by entering my email address and creating a password. I then hit the continue button.
I now had to pick my domain name. Don’t worry about the total you see next to the cart in the upper right. You will see later on that they have pre selected the 3 year hosting payment option. You can easily change this to monthly or yearly later.
After I entered the domain name I want, I hit the register now button. The domain name I wanted happened to be available. If the domain name you want is already taken, you may have to pick a new name or slightly alter the one you want.
Now I had to choose the hosting account payment plan. I chose the yearly option because it has no setup fee, a free domain name registration, a free ssl certificate, and free whois privacy. The setup fee is usually around $15 and the domain registration is usually around the same, $15. I have never gotten the privacy for free before, which is usually around $12 for the year. If you do not have the privacy, the owner of a website is then public information that can be looked up. Getting all of these included was actually very unique to Dreamhost, most hosting companies make you pay for these.
Next, it took me to a page where I had to select additional options. I only chose to have them install WordPress because I was planning on installing that anyway. Installing WordPress is free and can always be done later easily also. I did not choose to purchase the dreamshield malware remover. Notice that the amount next to the cart icon in the upper right has now changed as well.
I then had to enter my personal and payment information.
I left the use this contact information for my domain name checked and entered my credit card info.
I looked over what I was getting and hit the place order now button.
After the purchase was confirmed, they took me to a new page where I had to hit the continue to your web panel button.
Now I was at my main Dreamhost shared hosting account dashboard. This is where you will be every time you log in to your hosting account.
I actually had to wait a few minutes for everything to be set up. It took about 8 minutes for the domain name to be activated. It took about 15 minutes for the wordpress installation to finish. You do NOT have to use WordPress if you don’t want to. WordPress is by far the most popular and easiest way to build a new website, so Dreamhost allows an easy install for you. For right now I decided to use WordPress. This will most likely be the fastest way to get a functional site up and running.
It had started me on the customer support page from the hosting account dashboard. I clicked on the home then the get started tab on the upper left.
Since they gave me a free ssl certificate, I clicked on the add an ssl certificate link on the right side.
I noticed that it said none under the certificate identification, so I clicked on the add button.
The let’s encrypt ssl certificate was included free, so I clicked on the select this certificate button.
It then brought me back a page with a not on top saying success and the certificate was going to be active. It took only a few minutes for it to update when I went to the domain.
At this point, I went to my domain to see if it was working and live on the internet. Here is the screenshot of my site when I first visited it.
Ok, so we went over some of the basics about hosting and walked through the process of purchasing a start up shared hosting plan from Dreamhost. If you want to give Dreamhost a try, you can do so with the link below.
Please feel free to use the comment section below to ask or add anything. Thanks.