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Hosting Ratings
 
Price Value
7.5/10
Performance
8.5/10
Reliability
8.5/10
Control Panel
7.5/10
Customer Support
7.5/10
User Feedback
8.5/10
80%
Overall Score

Disclosure: As is the case with many other industry/topic specific magazines, websites and trade publications, we do receive compensation from some of the companies whose products we review within and outside of the web hosting industry, including, but not limited to, paid advertising placements, referral fees, contextual advertising links and sponsorship packages.

DreamHost has an interesting and somewhat distracting marketing approach, advertising products like "your own dreamer server" and "your own dreamy domain", along with a chubby kid sleeping on the couch beside the words: "Party All Night Long". (Presumably the kid's dreaming of partying?)

But as they say: "Whatever works," because since starting out in 1997 as 4 Computer Science undergrads, a Pentium 100 web server, and a T1 internet line, they've grown to where they now host over 200,000 websites on over 700 servers maintained by 40 full-timers.

In addition, DreamHost has taken progressive steps toward ecological responsibility. From reducing the use of paper products in their office to purchasing Renewable Energy Credits to power their servers, DreamHost is a carbon neutral web hosting provider. The environmental impact of every consumable resource at work has been accounted for and offset, so customers know their website will be powered with the cleanest energy on the market.

Price Value

Here's an interesting twist on a familiar promotional concept - DreamHost gives you only 675 email accounts instead of unlimited, but they give you unlimited domains instead of just 5 or 10. Which would you prefer? You also get 1 TB of bandwidth which is more than most budget web hosts currently offer.

DreamHost's services are adequate for a discount web host, with a few gimmicks thrown in to catch the discriminating client's eye, like unlimited domains and 1 TB data transfer. Additionally, and most appealingly, DreamHost customers earn additional bandwidth for each week they remain a customer.

Not only are you saving money, you are saving the environment as well. With their added approach to natural, renewable power resources, green-conscious customers can rest assured knowing their web hosting services are clean and safe for the environment.

An important consideration for some, however, is that DreamHost does not provide Microsoft operating systems for any of its hosting products, preferring instead to rely on Unix systems exclusively which, if you're fine with Unix (Linux, Apache, MySQL), isn't a problem. But it's something to consider.

Finally, Ruby on Rails is fully supported, complete with FastCGI. Dedicated hosting (for $99/mo) is also available, as is domain registration ($9.95/yr).

Reliability

DreamHost promises no hidden costs or fees, promising, in fact, a lifetime price freeze on your monthly rate once you become a DreamHost customer. They also have one of the longest "trial periods" in the industry, with a 97-day money-back guarantee.

Control Panel

DreamHost's own proprietary, web-based control panel - in addition to managing the usual and necessary tasks like billing, website creation, and email - distinguishes itself from even the leaders of the control panel pack by offering a slew of additional, and less common, features, such as: customer suggestions, community newsletters, the DreamHost Site of the Month, a charitable donations program, "The Unofficial DreamHost Directory", a customer discussion area, and an appealing Rewards program. All of this has fostered a greater sense of community among DreamHost customers which, hopefully, trickles down to DreamHost hosted websites' visitors - like maybe yours.

On the plus side, the DreamHost control panel is feature-packed - autoresponders, Cron Jobs, FrontPage extensions, Jabber instant messaging, Log Files, Quicktime Streaming and RealAudio and Video, . On the minus side, it's a text and table based, so it's not as intuitive or newbie-friendly as some, and it's not so pleasing to the eye. For function over form, however, 200,000 websites approve.

Customer Support

DreamHost runs what they call a 3-Step support system, preferring to empower the user to troubleshoot their own problems than to solve customers' problems for them. Step 1 is the DreamHost Support Wiki, a searchable FAQ knowledgebase that is truly mammoth. Step 2 is the discussion forums, where your fellow users (and the occasional DreamHost employee) can probably help answer your question. Step 3 is an email query ticket system.