PROS / This web host offers a fantastic money back guarantee.
CONS / There is no telephone support.
VERDICT / Most of the features on DreamHost's shared hosting plan are unlimited and make it a worthy competitor.
DreamHost is another web hosting service that has been around longer than most of its competition. In many ways, such as security, it is not the top-tier player it once was, yet it still manages to crack our top 10. This is largely due to the hosting package offering unlimited features for a low-price plan.
Although many other services offer a 30-day refund policy, DreamHost offers a very specific 97-day money back guarantee. That gives you enough time to set things up and feel them out before completely committing to a service agreement. If you decide that DreamHost is not for you, just part ways. On the other hand, if you decide to stay, you are already set up and ready to go.
The big drawback of its web hosting plans is that there is only one shared plan available, making it less flexible than much of its competition. Besides that, it boasts unlimited domains, subdomains and parked domains under one account. DreamHost is only one of three of our top 10 ranked companies to provide that much access. Also, there is no limit to your bandwidth, disk space or email accounts.
Help & Support
DreamHost's help and support options are a mixed bag but lean toward the positive side. Support relies mostly on email ticketing rather than phone-based interaction. For quick results, we turned to the company’s live chat. Each time we contacted them, we had a 10 minute wait time, which is average across the board. Once in contact, we found its representatives to be smart and courteous. They never kept us waiting more than one minute per response. Also, they helped us navigate the control panel to find important tools in the site builder.
Despite the lack of a telephone support line, DreamHost does have a good knowledgebase and FAQs that can answer many of your questions. It also provides a forum where other users can help you with problems and concerns. These features don't make up for immediate phone support but are useful if you have time to learn.
Control Panel Options
DreamHost's control panel does not follow the same pattern as the industry-standard cPanel. Instead, it feels more like a dashboard. We gave it high usability marks for its emphasis on tools that actually apply to basic host owners and site creators. We only faulted the service for not being immediately accessible. Signup was more than a one-step process, but once we had an account, it opened up with a start wizard. This showed its app manager, allowing us to utilize one-click installs. Also, we found it easy to create new email addresses.
A lack of security features keep DreamHost from being one of the top web hosting services. Site backup and restoration are not available under its shared plans. There is the option to add shared SSL or a solid state drive, but it requires an added monthly fee; however, email spam protection and SSH come standard with the small business shared hosting plan.
This web hosting service works well for small websites and experienced web developers. DreamHost really shines with its hosting package. If you find that it’s not the right company for you, you have over three months to cancel and get your money back. That being said, we don't think many will cancel once they get used to the unique control panel.