Dreamhost Web Hosting Review

By

Cosmo

|

Sep 1 - 2014

DreamHost

Web Hosting Review

DreamHostis one of the few remaining independent web hosting providers that is still thriving since its incorporation in 1997 by 4 of its founders, Dallas Bethune, Josh Jones, Michael Rodriguez and Sage Weil, then undergraduate students at Harvey Mudd College.

In fact, DreamHost is so proud of this achievement that they once made a mock announcement on April’s Fool day in 2011 saying that they were being acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG), the company that has bought and presently operates many other prominent web hosts on the market including Justhost, Bluehost, iPage and FatCow.


It’s a hilarious read and you can find the whole posthere.


Plans and Features

DreamHost offers a complete range of web hosting solutions from shared to dedicated server hosting.


It offers a standardshared hostingplan with the following features :

Features Overview Shared Hosting Plan

Price

Available for the 3-year plan.

$8.95

monthly

Disk Storage

50GB of backup space for backup use with each account.

Unlimited TB

50GB Backup

Bandwidth

Unlimited

Full Shell / SSH / FTP / SFTP

Unlimited

Email Accounts

Unlimited

MySQL 5.1 Databases

Unlimited

Operating System

Debian Linux

Domain Features

Domain Features Shared Hosting Plan

Free Domain Registration

A $9.95 value.

Free Domain WHOIS Privacy

Custom DNS

Domains Hosted

Unlimited

Subdomains

Unlimited

Domains Forwarded/ Mirrored

Unlimited

Custom DNS

Email Features

Email Features Shared Hosting Plan

Email Accounts

Unlimited

IMAP / POP / SMTP Access

Webmail Access

Email Autoresponders

Email Alias

Announcement Lists

Unlimited

Discussion Lists

Unlimited

SpamAssassin

Protects against spam with a variety of network tests to identify spam signatures.

Advanced Features

Advanced Features Shared Hosting Plan

DreamHost Control Panel

Award-winning control panel that allows you easy & complete access to all aspects of managing your account from.

Web Disk (WebDAV)

Allows the setting up of your web space as a drive on your machine.

DreamHost One-Click Installer

1- click installer of applications such as WordPress, e-commerce & more.

97-Day Guarantee

Full refund if you decide to cancel account within the first 97 days.

Google Adwords credit

Up to $100 credit included.

Password-Protected Directories

Ability to privatize folders and directories for authorized access only.

Jabber TM Chat Server

Open-standard instant message protocol used by many popular applications

IPv6 Address

SSL Secure Server

Enhanced Web Security

Anonymous FTP Server

Technical Support

Technical Support Shared Hosting Plan

100% Uptime Guarantee

DreamHost will credit 1 day hosting free for each hour of downtime experienced.

24/7 Los-Angeles-based

Email Technical Support

The DreamHost Wiki

The DreamHost Forum

Upgrades

Account Upgrades Shared Hosting Plan

Domain Registration

Per domain

$9.95

yearly

Unique IP Address

Per address

$3.95

monthly

Premium Support

3 callbacks monthly & unlimited use of Live Chat support service.

$9.95

monthly

SSL Secure Certificate

Per certificate

$15.00

yearly

Do note that DreamHost's shared hosting plan will automatically renew at the following regular rates depending on the length of the hosting term :

24-Month Term 12-Month Term 1-Month Term

$8.95

monthly

$9.95

monthly

$10.95

monthly

Keep in mind that a monthly plan ( $10.95 ) come with a one-time setup fee of $49.95 if you opt to pay by the month. As you can already tell, DreamHost is slightly more expensive that its peers.


Automatic Renewal of Plans

Like all other web hosts today, DreamHost automatically renew its customers' plan as a courtesy upon expiry of the initial registered hosting term. This is a standard web hosting industry practice but one which potential customers may be unaware of.


Under DreamHost'sTerms of Servicereproduced below :


Financial Arrangements

6. At the end of the contract term, the contract will automatically renew for the original contract length indefinitely until canceled in writing or via the web panel. After the first 97 days a canceled account will be canceled before the next payment is due and no more billing will occur nor will any payment be refunded, even for unused portions. If any non-refundable charges have already been incurred, they must be paid before the account may be canceled.


A subscriber can disable the automatic renewal in the Auto Renew Option through cPanel or by contacting DreamHost directly.


Cancellation / Refund Policy

DreamHost's shared and VPS plans come with a long97-day money back guarantee. This seemingly arbitrary figure actually refers to 1997, the year that DreamHost was founded.


In DreamHost'sTerms and Services, section 7 of the Financial Arrangements clause states:


“97-Day Money-Back Guarantee” offer only applicable to credit card or Google Wallet payments for shared web hosting. Other forms of payment are non-refundable. Dedicated server payments are non-refundable."


Standard non-refundable excluded from all refunds include domain registration fees, SSL certificates and third-party add-ons


Uptime

DreamHost claims to provide an unheard of 100% Uptime Guarantee with all of its plans. As you will probably appreciate, it is impossible for any web host to guarantee that its servers will run indefinitely without any interruption or downtime.


DreamHost “guarantees” 100% uptime by compensating a customer for any downtime experienced.


How It Works

If your web site, databases, email, FTP, SSH or webmail is unusable as a result of a failure in our systems and for reasons other than previously announced scheduled maintenance, coding or configuration errors on your part, we’ll credit your next invoice with 1 day hosting free for each 1 hour (or fraction thereof) of service interruption; up to 10% of your next pre-paid hosting renewal fee.


We begin assessing credit from the time you open a support ticket to report the problem. That’s all there is to it – no arguments, no hassle, no pages of fine print – DreamHost’s 100% Uptime Guarantee – it just doesn’t get any better than that!


With this, DreamHost offers one of the best uptime guarantee on the web hosting market today.


DreamHost is the only web host we've surveyed that has its ownUptime Brigadethat handles all issues related to downtime.


They document each case received with 2 goals in mind :


  • Find any potential trends with issues, assess its impact on customers, closely track bugs, and identify areas of our infrastructure that can/need to be improved.

  • Find effective, simple, innovative ways to assist customers proactively so they don’t have to contact support in the first place. For example, DreamHost may notice that two customers per day say their email client isn’t working, and realizes that in both cases they’re using Apple Mail.

  • DreamHost may then provide customers with a wiki article that gives specific information on how to setup Apple Mail when using DreamHost’s email service.

Lastly, DreamHost also runs a separate page -DreamHost Status- that provides constant and regular updates on its server statuses as well as information on server updates and maintenance to keep its customers informed.

Culture and management

This is where DreamHost is unlike any other web host out there. It's previous "About Us"page was hilarious, with tongue-in-cheek statements like the following mocking the other big boys of web hosting :


We're Special

The guys who work at those companies are crazy. They earn sales commissions. They dress in ‘business casual’ attire. Some of them might even wear suits un-ironically! They’ll toss around fancy words like ‘synergy’.


They wear cologne.


Wearing cologne in the DreamHost office is grounds for termination. Or at least a solid 8 hours of harassment.


We will not disguise our preference for companies with real faces behind them. The culture and management of a web host is equally fundamental in seeing how well a web host is run and will continue being run.


That is why web hosts like GreenGeeks and HostGator with passionate CEOs inspire and convey confidence in customers who contemplate hosting their websites with them.


For example, Justin Knierim, technical support manager at DreamHost, describes a day at the office :


What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen while working at DreamHost?

Justin: That would have to be the massive nerf gun war in the office, no one was safe, and we found missing darts behind computers, desks, everywhere for months. Second place would be the day I found one customer running a 5 billion row query on shared hosting MySQL. Yeah…might want to optimize that a tad.


DreamHost has also anamazing officedesigned by Studio O+A, the same people at who designed the offices at AOL and Facebook.


WorldBlu Democratic Organization

DreamHost is listed on theWorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces™ 2014as one of 41 organizations from a diversity of industries including technology, healthcare, retail and services with a combined revenue of over $13 billion recognized for promoting a democratic, employee-focused workplace.


An organization makes it onto the WorldBlu List through a survey process their employees complete, which evaluates the overall design of an organization along a fear-based to freedom-centered continuum based on the WorldBlu 10 Principles of Organizational Democracy. DreamHost has been on that WorldBlu's list every since 2008.


According to WorldBlu :


WorldBlu Awardee Profile : DreamHost

DreamHost practices the principle of Choice by the creation of a "Values Squad" which is a team of people voted for by the company. Each team member voted on one person from their department, plus three 'at large' members.


This squad meets regularly to discuss the culture and democracy in action at DreamHost in order to ensure that the organization is following it's values and the principles of organizational democracy. DreamHost's leadership team also uses the squad as a sounding board to see how team members would react to various leadership decisions.


You can read more about how DreamHost promotes democracy here: Democracy at DreamHostPart 1andPart 2.


Sage Neil & InkTank

Also interesting is that Sage Neil, one of DreamHost's co-founders is a genuine whiz kid. In addition to co-founding DreamHost, he also developedCeph, an open-source software storage platform designed to present object, block, and file storage from a single distributed computer cluster.


InkTank, the company he formed to monetize this technology, has recently been acquired by Red Hat for a cool$175 million!


DreamScape Blog

DreamHost operates a blog called it callsDreamScapewhich provides regular helpful articles on a interesting range of subjects like business management, customer spotlights and updates. It's also a good way to see how DreamHost is run behind the scenes.


A uproarious example is what DreamHost decided to do with20 giveaway iPadsfor its Apple-A-Day Twitter contest :


dreamhost


Plan Features & Add-ons

On top of web hosting services, DreamHost offers numerous value-added services which we list below. Click on the links to find out more.

Green Hosting

DreamHost participates in an admirable range ofgreen hostinginitiatives.


DreamHost: With a bit of research we found the most effective approach begins with resource conservation: turning off the lights, reducing travel, printing on both sides of the page. The next step is to use clean, renewable energy.


Without the option to put up solar panels or connect with a green power utility for us this means purchasing Renewable Energy Credits. Finally, to neutralize those unavoidable emissions we’ve invested in Emission Reduction Credits (a.k.a. “offsets”) which guarantee our remaining impact is effectively erased.


DreamHost considers itself carbon neutral by purchasing 100% of its energy consumption in Renewable Energy Credits. You can see its up-to-dateCertificate of Carbon Neutralizationissued byGreen-e. It is also a member of the U.S. Green Chamber and participates in its "100 Cities for Change" Program.


Community Service

DreamHost is one of the only web hosting provider that provides a charity system which is available to all of its customers.


Charitable Donations

Every few months we will pick a new worthy charity to which we facilitate giving! We accept donations on the organization's behalf, and at the end of the donation period we will QUADRUPLE all donations made by our customers. To date we have donated a combined total of over $200,000 to charities all around the world.


Among the organizations that DreamHost has donated to include the American Lung Association, Room to Read, American Red Cross and the National Park Foundation.


DreamHost also offersfree web hostingto non-profit, charitable organizations registered in the United States. This discount applies to a single hosting plan per non-profit, hosted within only one account, for US-based 501(c)(3) organizations. Domain registrations (other than any included with the plan) are not eligible for any discounts.


Special Offers !

Use our exclusive promo coupon: hostbot to get an amazing$40.00off any of DreamHost's shared hosting hosting plans !


Check out our DreamHostPromotionspage for other great coupons and discounts.


Conclusion

DreamHostis presently one of the best web hosting companies on the market today with a complete range of web hosting solutions for any website.


The only downside is that its plans are a little bit more costly than most of its competitors. But when you consider the superior service that you will be getting fromDreamHostthroughout the tenure of your plan, the extra cost is well worth it.



In a

nutshell

* For web hosting company in general and not to specific plans.

Pros

1.

100% Uptime Guarantee

DreamHost offers one of the best uptime guarantees in the web hosting industry. It offers 1 day of free hosting for every 1 hour of downtime experienced.

It also has a dedicated Uptime Brigade to handle downtime related issues. DreamHost maintains a blog that provides realtime updates on its servers statuses.

2.

Long refund periods

DreamHost offers a 97-day money back guarantee, the longest in the web hosting industry.

Even after 97 days, DreamHost will refund the remainder of your initial period less standard non-refundable fees.

3.

Superior Customer Support

DreamHost delivers top-notch customer support. It is listed in WorldBlu's list of most democratic places to work since 2008.

4.

Community service

DreamHost gives back to society by participating and donating to many charitable institutions.

Cons

1.

Pricey

DreamHost's plans are more pricey than many of its peers.

DreamHost

Shared Hosting Plan



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WebHostingTrivia

Worldwide, the digital warehouses i.e data centers use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants.

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