Why I Chose & Love Dreamhost Web Hosting
There are a lot of web hosting providers out there that you could choose from. My first web hosting experience wasn’t great. In fact, it was like a terrible nightmare. In 2005, I switched to Dreamhost and have never looked back. There has been ups and downs with them. Yes, there has been some downtime and website issues years ago. But I love their service and is still using them to host all of my websites.
Disclosure: Some of the links below contain affiliate links. When you purchase using my affiliate link, I will earn a small referral commission at no additional cost to you. I will only recommend products I use, love and trust. I will NEVER recommend or promote anything that I have no faith in.
My First Blog – The History
I started blogging online using LiveJournal back in the year 2000. It was free. At that time almost everyone I knew had a LiveJournal. It was THE social media website for everyone before Friendster or Myspace or Facebook.
After a while, I wanted to switch to a domain. Most teen bloggers back then who owned their own domain would host other blogs for free. It was like a big ‘family’ depending on how good your host was and how friendly other hosted bloggers were in that domain. We would often help promote each other, and that’s how you get visitors. There was no such thing as SEO or ranking in Google or social media.
But some hosts were strict on what kind of contents you can have based on their own blog theme. Of course, if you were hosting sites, you wouldn’t want them to cause problems for you and other hosted sites, right? Yes, I had more freedom in designing my own website and blog layout but I wanted a total freedom. After a while, I decided it was time for me to purchase my own domain.
My Web Hosting Nightmare
It is still traumatizing me.
Endore.com was my first web hosting provider. It was cheap. Everything was fine in the beginning. I had total freedom in designing my whole website. And because I had extra space, I could now become a host for others too so I hosted my friends.
Then in 2004, websites were down. People were complaining but the company did not say anything. You can read the horror stories about endore.com from angry customers shortly before the unexpected demise of the service.
My websites? ALL GONE. They didn’t give us chance to backup anything. It was all so sudden. All the hard works I’ve put into my websites were all gone. Kaput. The web hosting company just disappeared along with my domain + contents and my friends’ contents that were hosted by me. My friends’ domains all disappeared too and I felt bad because I recommended the company to them.
And I doubt anybody got their money back. I didn’t. Luckily I only had a short time left before the expiry. Tough luck to those who just registered or renewed their hosting fees.
This is why it’s very important to choose a reputable company to host your website. Regular backup is vital to avoid heartache.
- If you trust the hosting company, pay annually (or 3 years in advance) for cheaper monthly fees.
- If you’re new to the company and don’t fully trust it yet, opt for monthly payments (recommended for the not-so-popular companies). Yes, it’ll be slightly expensive but you won’t lose your money that you’ve paid in advance should something bad happen.
- Read reviews and ratings from other people. Compare the pros and cons of each web hosting companies. Keep in mind, no company is 100% perfect.
- Backup your site (including your MySQL database) to your computer and cloud regularly or every time you make drastic changes. I can’t stress this enough.
The Switch To Dreamhost
After my first web hosting nightmare, I was without a personal domain until my friend gave me a domain as a birthday gift. The year went by without a problem. When it was time to renew, I realized the web host I was with was too expensive and lacked the features I wanted.
That’s when I transferred my domain to Dreamhost.
Dreamhost was founded in 1996 and began hosting websites in 1997. That’s more than 2 decades ago. So you know the company isn’t new. They’ve built their reputation over the years and is now an award-winning web hosting provider, currently hosting over 1.5 million websites, blogs and apps.
They are catered towards the professionals and may sound overwhelming for newbies but everything is still easy to learn and beginner-friendly.
So, why do I love them? Here are some of the reasons.
1) The Best & Legit Customer Service
One of the most important features or services that a company should have is a good customer support. How good a web hosting company is measured by how good and knowledgeable their customer support staff are. It is well known that some companies outsource their support staff outside (like to India, for example). Yes, they can ‘help‘ you with a few things here and there but it’s always generic things with generic responses. If you need help on a specific problem that you have, then you’re out of luck.
Dreamhost support staff are legit and not outsourced.
And this is the best thing about Dreamhost based on my personal experience and why I love them.
I have had A LOT of problems with my websites. Mostly because of botched updates, website errors, and the fact that most of the time I had absolutely no idea what the hell I’m doing. Dreamhost support has always been there to help or give advice whenever I screw things up no matter what time of the day. They’re there 24/7.
I host all of my websites at Dreamhost (more than 20). While I have *some* experience in creating websites, I don’t know anything about coding (that’s why I use WordPress!). They’ve been helpful in trying to solve my problems for a beginner.
Contacting support via email or submitting a ticket is easy from your control panel. There’s also a live chat for live customer support. Unfortunately, they don’t offer call-in phone support but you have the option to pay extra and request a callback from the staff.
There’ve been numerous times when my account was automatically suspended because I’ve been too broke to pay on time. They’ve been really nice and helpful to extend my payment date and re-enabled my account instantly. One of the perks of being a loyal customer maybe? 🙂
CONS: While they do have an award-winning customer service, sometimes they can be a bit slow. Especially at peak hours when they have overwhelming support requests. Sometimes you need to wait in queue for quite a while for the live chat. It can get frustrating.
2) Backup & Restore
This is a feature I never knew about until recently. I don’t know how long they had it. You see, sometimes when I try to update WordPress plugins or themes, the process will almost always be corrupted. Then I will be slapped with so many errors resulted from the failed update, including internal server error. While this can easily be fixed by renaming the specific plugin folder, sometimes it can get more complicated than that.
Sometimes I tend to customize my layout (especially store layout using Opencart) and I’ll I mess around with the coding then screw things up. And normally, I’d forget to make a backup before making any changes. Silly me. That’s when the panic starts.
Dreamhost automatically keep backups of your site (no guarantee!). Before the existence of this feature in the control panel, Dreamhost staff would help me reverse whatever changes I made and restore from a backup file. But now, you could easily do that yourself.
This feature is my SAVIOR!
3) 100% Uptime Guarantee
It used to be 99.99% uptime guarantee but now they’re confident enough to give their 100% uptime guarantee. There used to be issues with downtime a few years ago, especially during server upgrade and such. For some people, depending on what service they use, might still experience downtime every now and then. That I’m not sure. But personally, there has been no downtime for me after their upgrade/move. Any downtime that occurs for my websites is usually from the result of me screwing things up.
4) Free Domain (1st Year), Domain Privacy Protection, SSL/TLS Certificates
You get your domain free for the first year!
Most web hosting providers don’t include domain privacy protection in their plans. If you need some privacy then you need to pay. Dreamhost includes this for free so your private info will be hidden.
Why is this important? Because anyone can look up your Whois data and see your private information that you used to register your domain. It’s very risky to put your personal address and phone number online. That is why Whois privacy protection is very important.
In late 2014, Google said SSL was going to be rolled out as a ranking factor. But as of January 2017, Google took a step further with marking HTTP pages that collect passwords as non-secure (yes, that includes your WordPress login page).
To help users browse the web safely, Chrome indicates connection security with an icon in the address bar. Historically, Chrome has not explicitly labelled HTTP connections as non-secure. Beginning in January 2017 (Chrome 56), we’ll mark HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit cards as non-secure, as part of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure. – Google
You can install SSL certificate for free using ‘Let’s Encrypt‘ via Dreamhost’s control panel easily. I will create a tutorial on this soon.
CONS: They used to give one free domain for as long as you’re with them. I guess not anymore. Now it’s only free for the first year.
5) Unlimited Everything
Unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domain hosting, unlimited email accounts.
However, that doesn’t give you the right to abuse that feature, though. Remember that it is SHARED web hosting so you need to be considerate. Whatever you do affects the people in your shared server too.
Things you are not allowed to do or store in your account according to their ‘Unlimited Policy‘:
- Copyrighted content to which you do not hold usage or distribution rights.
- File upload / sharing / archive / backup / mirroring / distribution sites.
- A site created primarily to drive traffic to another site.
- Making your account resources available (whether for free or pay) to the general public.
Other than that, they’re really unlimited!
Plus no setup fees!
6) 1-Click Install
Some other web hosting providers do have this feature too but just want to say Dreamhost does too. It makes installing a few applications easily. This includes WordPress. I will write a tutorial on how to install WordPress using 1-click install soon!
CONS: The applications available are limited. I wish they had more like for example Opencart (which I use for my online store).
7) 97 Days Money Back Guarantee
Most services give 30 days money back guarantee. With Dreamhost, you get 97 days! Plenty of time to test them out to see if their service and features fit your needs.
8) Cheaper Domain Registration & Renewal
Dreamhost is cheaper when you want to register a new domain and renew them. It might not seem like a big deal if you only have one domain but if you host more than 20 domains like I do, then it WILL be a big deal.
Let’s do a comparison with another popular web host, shall we? Let’s take a look at Bluehost.
Now let’s take a look at Dreamhost’s latest pricing (.com is currently on sale)
Oh and remember, domain privacy is free for eligible domains with Dreamhost. 🙂
9) Managed WordPress Hosting With DreamPress
If you only need to host WordPress and not a regular site, DreamPress is your answer to fully manage your WordPress sites. It’s good if you have several high-performance WordPress sites with high traffic.
Sign Up for DreamPress if you’re interested. 🙂
If you don’t know how to build your own website, Dreamhost has a new tool to help you with that. It’s called Remixer which is a drag-&-drop website builder to help you create a professional-looking website easily. You’ll also have access to over 600,000 high-quality images and graphics.
I haven’t tried this feature yet because it’s new but I will one day and then write a tutorial about it.
11) Dreamhost-Built Dashboard, Not cPanel
Their control panel is clean without any clutters. Everything is organized and easily accessible. They’ve changed their dashboard a few times before this but I really love their current dashboard.
Source: PC Mag
Of course, they offer a lot more and I can’t possibly list them all here. What I’ve mentioned above are my own personal favorites that I’ve been using. You can, of course, check their website for further details.
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