DreamHost Editor's Review
DreamHost Company Overview
DreamHost is a privatly owned and operated company, located in California. Founded in 1997 by 4 undergraduate students providing hosting on one single Pentium 100 Server, it grew to a fairly big web hosting business, hosting more than 800,000 websites on 1,400 servers.
DreamHost offers a 97-day-money-back-guarantee and their tagline could be "we host for friends". DreamHost's ideology is to be friendy, relaxed and community-oriented. DreamHost tries to protect the environment by consuming clean energy and offers web hosting on a carbon-neutral-basis.
Using multiple internet carriers with multiple fiber connections, Dreamhost guarantees for total network redundancy. Their servers use Debian Linux as an operating system.
DreamHost offers one single all-inclusive hosting plan at $8.95/month, providing a free domain and all of the following unlimited: storage, bandwidth, parked domains, email accounts, databases, FTP-users.
The price of $8.95/month is not the cheapest in the hosting industry, but DreamHost provides a lot for that. Their single available hosting plan includes a free domain name, unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth and unlimited mySQL databases. Additionally to unlimited storage, 50 GB of file-backup storage space is included in the hosting plan. This should be enough for 95% of all website projects. Ruby on Rails is fully supported, as are Real Audio and Real Video streams.
The hosting plan includes $75 in Google Adwords bonus and promises a 97-day-money-back-guarantee. A one-click-automatic-software-installer makes it easy for customers to install Joomla, WordPress, phpBB or Gallery.
The hosting plan is a high quality, high feature plan. We consider the price for this plan a litte overaverage, though.
Reliability and Performance
With their multiple-internet-carrier and multiple fiber connections to the internet, DreamHost guarantees for total network redundancy. We have monitored 2 websites, hosted at DreamHost for 3 months and did not recognize any downtimes. Dreamhost promises a 97-day-back-guarantee, in case the customer is not fully content.
We rate DreamHost's reliability and performance to be overaverage.
Features and Control Panel
DreamHost employes a self-developed control panel, wich they promise on their own website to be "the coolest thing ever, basically". Investigating and testing things for this review, we had a close look at it of course. We were interested to find out differences to e.g. Cpanel, wich is the industry-leading standard software for managing hosting accounts.
DreamHost's control panel is really quiet cool, at least concerning the features. However, the design of the control panel is a text-based table - not so intuitive like Cpanel. Packed with features, it gives the customer the ability to adjust every aspect of his web hosting account: create a website, an email account or a database, backup files or rather common things like billing functions. Cron Jobs or autoresponders can be programmed, Streaming Video, Audio (Quicktime or RealVideo) and FrontPage extensions are only a few aspects, that can be all managed from within the control panel.
There is a strong sense of community in the DreamHost-ideology and is reflected through the integration of customer suggestion forms, community newsletters, a customer forum, a directory and a rewards program - all integrated right into the control panel.
Despite it's optical simplicity being a text-table, the features of the control panel are powerful, complete and professional. It's fun to work with.
DreamHost offers 24/7 support through email and live chat. However, a telephone support is not included in the $8.95 /month hosting plan at all. DreamHost's philosophy concerning support issues is a system, that rather helps the customer to help himself. This system includes the DreamHost Support Wiki, a giant FAQ knowledgebase, the customer forums where users can support each other and finally the email or chat system ot obtain support from a DreamHost employee.
DreamHost promises to answer all support requests within 24 hours, but "mostly they are answered in substantially less time". Other hosting providers promise 2 minutes. We feel, a hosting package at this price and with such professional features (being interesting for business clients) deserves a faster and more responsive support and a support telephone.
This kind of support structure is OK for experienced users. Absolute newbies could feel lost, helpless and unattended. Other hosting providers taking $8.95 /month or less offer a toll-free telephone number additionally. We think, DreamHost's support level does not correspond with the rest of this high quality web hosting package.
DreamHost offers a high quality web hosting package with an overall high standard of features. The company itself is sympathic and we like the community-style way of thinking, the ecological responsibility by using carbon-neutral energy and the friendly, relaxed atmosphere at DreamHost.
The 97-day-money-back-guarantee shows, Dreamhost is confident about customer satisfaction. We were satisfied with the hosting features, the reliablity, the server-performance and the self-developed control panel.
A toll-free telephone number (or at least any telephone-support at all) is missing in our opinion. To be fair, it has to be said that the Support-Wiki is huge and really complete.
We see DreamHost as a high quality provider, that can be a good choice for experienced users, that need only few support.
Screenshot of DreamHost's web site