I used DreamHost’s WordPress hosting for about 18 months on one of my websites. This DreamPress review is based on my personal experience. There are very few real user reviews out there so I thought I would share my experience to shoo/persuade you to use/not use DreamHost WordPress hosting for your blog/website needs. This is a rather lengthy post so I will sum it up for you here if you don’t want to go through the complete story.
- The Good: DreamPress is ‘okay’ with good speed, easy to manage compared to a VPS, and not very expensive like some other managed WordPress hosting solutions.
- The Bad: Control Panel / Backend sucks. Of course I was not expecting cPanel/Plesk or other familiar tools but things were all over the place. Server speed is good, not great. No server stats, nothing to show you how much resources your site is using.
The bad is still not as bad – you could get around it – I did for 18 months. But worst’s yet to come:
The Worst: Slow, unresponsive, untrained, unprofessional customer service. They don’t care if your website goes down. No chat/phone support. Email support is extremely slow to respond. They come up with excuses, not solutions.
For bloggers/start-ups, a managed hosting solution is always better compared to an unmanaged VPS – 10 less things to worry about. But choose a company that offers some level of support, and have a team of experts at their disposal.
Now for the detailed review:
DreamPress Review – Why I switched over from DreamHost
How it all started
I had been using DigitalOcean and was never really able to configure my website properly I guess. I would end up using a VPS with 4GB RAM (it would cost $40/month back then). During peak hours, I would use the 8GB RAM upgrade – and then downgrade back to 4GB after the storm had passed. DigitalOcean’s feature to allow users to upgrade/downgrade their VPS plan easily is truly awesome. The server speed was amazing. It was fast, and scalable, but still the Google Page Speed Insights tool kept showing me a lot of items that I needed to fix.
Leveraging cache was one of the suggestions Google would always show. I had W3 Total Cache installed and had spent quite some time trying to configure it. But my website would still be slow, per Google.
It also experienced downtimes – not because of DigitalOcea, they were awesome – but I had not been able to configure my site properly. So I had to restart my droplet time and again to get my site back up. That kept me busy, especially during peak traffic hours.
My DigitalOcean Droplet became my new girlfriend – it would keep me up for hours. Napoleon Bonaparte once said:
Six hours sleep for a man, seven hours for a woman, eight hours for a fool.
I printed that quote and pasted it on my workstation. I would comfort myself looking at it and saying to myself “Be a man” (yes, it’s sexist, blame Napoleon). It was not easy and I wanted to become the fool again. I wanted my sleep back.
So I hatched a plan. I started looking for a WordPress Hosting service that would be cheaper, and would have room for growth. We all want everything for nothing, don’t we?
There were quite a few specialized Hosting solutions that I looked at:
- WP Engine
To name a few.
There was one big turn off: the limited number of visitors. Some specifically mentioned that it was a “soft limit” but it did not matter. I understand there had to be a limit, not debating that. But why would it be so low (25k/month visitors on a $30/month hosting, are you freaking kidding me?) – I couldn’t quite digest it. So I moved on and kept looking for a service that won’t put tabs on number of visitors / bandwidth. And even if it did, it would be a bit more accommodating.
DreamPress looked like a dream. It was cheap – around $20/month at that time. It was WordPress specific. And there was “no limit” on amount of traffic a website could get – a typical Shared Hosting feature that I have become accustomed to.
So I signed up, in Summer of 2015. I had mixed feeling after migrating.
- It is inexpensive. I was paying $40/month on DigitalOcean in addition to getting my hands dirty with command line admin shit. Now on half of that price, I could focus solely on my website without having to worry about downtimes.
- Easy Management. Compared to an unmanaged VPS, it was super easy to manage it.
- Fewer Restricted Plugins. All the plugins I installed, including WooCommerce, worked like a charm – with no glitches. Of course I didn’t install any of Cache plugins – they were not needed because DreamPress took care of that.
- Enough Resources. 30GB SSD storage was quite good – compared to 10GB plans that other hosts would offer – for higher prices.
- Eight hours of sleep. I was a fool again – as Napoleon Bonaparte would say.
But it wasn’t all beautiful.
- The control panel sucked. I didn’t have a clue where to find what I needed. Thankfully, it was WordPress so you won’t need to login to DreamHost backend to do simple things. But every time I logged in, it was a horrible experience. Even after 18 months I couldn’t learn where my DreamHost configuration was. This from someone who claims to be a quick learner. Duh.
- Speed was okay. Not quite as fast as a VPS would be, but they did get the configuration right. Page Speed Insights kinda liked the migration.
- No Server Stats. There was no mention of how much server resources my site was using. What was my server configuration.
I could still get around these. It was going good and my website had settled into DreamPress happily.
Till October 2016. That’s when horror struck.
- DreamHost customer support team is unprofessional, unresponsive, and have no clue what they are doing. They contradict themselves. One rep will provide a solution, hours later, another rep will tell you that it’s not a solution.
- No chat support. Maybe because it’s interactive and will expose their highly untrained support staff.
- Slow, very very slow, response time over emails. Email them and go to sleep. Wake up, make some coffee, go for a jog, have breakfast, play Civilization VI for 2 hours. Then check your email. If it’s your lucky day, you will hear from Superman, or Spiderman or some other nameless superhero on the support team.
I would rate it 2/5. An okay WordPress hosting with a terrible customer service. If downtimes and service outages mean anything for you, do not ever sign up for DreamPress. Hosting is good as long as you do not have to deal with support. In 2017, especially with some other options around, DreamPress is far from a perfect choice to host your website. Proceed with caution.