Choosing a web hosting service is an exercise that’s often shrouded in confusion and panic attacks for the clueless. Simply put, it may seem like you’re charging into a minefield without an aim in mind because there are just too many companies offering more or less similar services – and it gets even crazier when everyone’s claiming to be the best around town.
Well, if you’re trying to whittle down your options to the absolute best web hosts, you might soon find yourself comparing between Bluehost and DreamHost. Both companies have been around for years, and they’re not going anywhere so you don’t have to worry about them packing up and disappearing overnight. The two companies are also well-known for offering affordable and feature-rich hosting solutions, so no matter what system you’re looking to set-up, we’re pretty sure these hosts would be able to accommodate you.
There are small differences in pricing and features when comparing the hosting plans that Bluehost and DreamHost have to offer. DreamHost is more apt for advanced webmasters who have experience with hosting websites. And Bluehost, on the other hand, would be a better choice if you need a little bit of hand-holding. That said, however, the final choice on these two web hosts should be based on your hosting needs and budget. With that in mind, the following will compare and contrast Bluehost vs DreamHost so that you can make an educated choice on which of the two web-hosting companies is more deserving of your business.
Here below is a tl;dr summary version of our of Bluehost and DreamHost head-to-head comparison.
The following web hosting features have been compared and scored (click on the link to scroll to each feature section): 1. reliability, 2. security, 3. scalability, 4. cancellation, 5. support and 6. extras.
| Free domain name|
30-day money back guarantee
Endorsed by WordPress
More features at bluehost.com
|From 3.95 /mo||61% score|| Visit website
| 100% uptime|
Shared, VPS, dedicated
More features at DreamHost
|From 7.95 /mo||79% score|| Visit website
Types of Hosting Plans
Both web hosts plans start with shared hosting plans, where your site is hosted alongside other websites on one server.
Bluehost’s has a range of shared hosting plans, and all come with one free domain and unmetered bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data the server the server can transfer over a time period, and can impact the speed of your site. Unmetered means you’re not billed according to the amount of bandwidth or space you use.
Dreamhost has one shared hosting plan. The annual plan comes with a free domain and unlimited email addresses.
Bluehost’s VPS hosting plans offer up to 8 GB RAM. All VPS plans come with unlimited and unmetered bandwidth.
While most hosting providers offer unlimited space and bandwidth, it’s subject to each host’s Terms of Service. Bluehost said 99.95% of customers will have enough space and bandwidth to run their site.
Dreamhost’s VPS hosting plans also come with unlimited bandwidth, and up to 8 GB RAM and 240 GB storage.
Bluehost has a range of dedicated hosting plans with 4 cores, and up to and 1 TB storage. Dreamhost’s dedicated hosting plan comes with 12 cores and up to 2TB storage.
Bluehost has a few cloud hosting plans, with the highest plan offering unmetered storage space. Dreamhost’s cloud hosting package includes 100 GB Block Storage and 80 GB SSD disk space.
Dreamhost does not offer specific reseller plans, but you can add your client’s domains to your account and bill your clients. Bluehost offers different reseller plans, through Reseller Club. All come with support for unlimited websites and cPanel accounts.
Both Dreamhost and Bluehost are officially endorsed by WordPress.org, making them both great options if you have a WordPress site. Criteria for this endorsement includes using updated software and the ease of installation.
(SiteGround is the only other host endorsed by WordPress. They are known for great customer service and comes with one-click install for WordPress.)
Dreamhost’s WordPress hosting starts with a shared hosting option with a one-click install process. Bluehost will automatically install WordPress for you.
If you’re using another popular CMS to build your website, both hosting providers also offer easy integration for most CMS.
Bluehost uses the industry standard control panel Cpanel. It’s easy to figure out, even if you’re new to the control panel. Dreamhost uses its own control panel, and it might take a bit longer to navigate at the start.
Reliability and uptime guarantees. What happens if the host goes down?
» Bluehost. 4/5
The uptime guarantee offered by Bluehost is 99.9%. Their site doesn’t provide information about possible credits if they don’t comply. However, if you choose to cancel your account because they haven’t held up their end of the deal, you don’t incur any fees.
You may cancel your account any time without penalties. You’ll also receive a refund for the unused portion of your plan.
» DreamHost. 4/5
Dreamhost offers a 100% uptime guarantee. For each hour (or part of), that your site is down, you’ll receive a one day credit, to a maximum of 10% of your total hosting fee. This doesn’t apply to scheduled maintenance days.
Downtime commences once the customer contacts support to alert them to the problem.
If you have caused your site problems, you won’t get credits. Regardless of the cause, Dreamhost has no obligation to provide the credits so be careful what you’re doing on your site to avoid user-errors.
What security measures and backup protocols are in place? Is your site scanned regularly for malware?
» Bluehost. 3/5
Backups are done at the company’s discretion so you must do your own backups for full security. They store backups for a maximum of 30 days and refuse to accept responsibility for failed or lost backups. Malware scans are run daily.
You may host your site in the Cloud. If so, it will be automatically copied across three devices so if hardware fails in one site, their “failover” technology chooses the best backup to become your new master copy and then repairs the failed version.
Through the use of SiteLock security, Bluehost carries out daily malware and virus scans. They also provide a lot of other security services for your protection.
Their uninterrupted power supply means servers never have power issues. The company uses dual quad processors to ensure the best performance of your site. They have diesel backup generators and the network is monitored 24/7/365.
» DreamHost. 5/5
Dreamhost believes security is critical when it comes to hosting. They’re partners with StopTheHacker to provide the ultimate security features. Daily virus and malware scans are run for peak efficiency.
Dreamhost data centers have 24/7 CCTV monitoring and are staffed by technicians around the clock. All entrances are securely locked so intruders can’t get in and cause damage. They have an uninterrupted power supply, high-tech cooling systems to stop the servers from overheating and multiple other redundancies to keep your uptime as high as possible.
What happens if you want to upgrade to a better plan mid-contract? For example, move from a shared plan to a VPS plan?
» Bluehost. 5/5
Bluehost won’t charge extra fees on top of the pro-rata cost to upgrade your plan.
There are no lock-in contracts so upgrading is easy and fast to achieve.
» DreamHost. 5/5
The only fee incurred is the gap between the current plan and the upgraded plan. Plans can be monthly or for a year.
If you don’t know if a lower plan or a higher plan is best, choose a one month option and that’s enough time to give you a working snapshot of what’s involved and what’s available in the upgrade.
How long is the free trial and money back guarantee?
» Bluehost. 4/5
The money-back guarantee with Bluehost is 30 days. However, this only applies to hosting plans. You don’t get credits or refunds for domain names, admin fees and other add-ons you may use.
You don’t have a fixed account term so if you choose to cancel, you’ll get a pro-rata refund calculated on the unused part of the term.
» DreamHost. 5/5
If you have dreamed about a better money-back guarantee, here it is. Dreamhost’s offer is a 97-day money-back guarantee, one that you’ll find hard to beat. If you find yourself in a situation where you need a refund, at least you know you’ll get some of it back. The guarantee only applies to the hosting plan. It isn’t applicable to domains, Dreamhost partners and third-party services. Your refund may only be obtained if you initially paid by credit card.
A monthly or yearly plan is available. Hosting is the only thing you’ll get credits or a refund for. If you cancel after the 97 days have elapsed, it’s likely they’ll still offer you a pro-rated refund based on how much of your current plan has been used.
What support options are available and what hours? What are the hours for phone support and live chat?
» Bluehost. 3/5
24/7/365 is when you can access Bluehost’s support department: live chat, phone, email, text messaging and through a members-only forum. There’s a bank of articles on most relevant topics, tutorials and access to a massive knowledgebase.
According to Bluehost’s website, they don’t offer tech support via ticket. You’ll have to call or contact live chat, and this reduces your wait time for a response.
Response time for the live chat can have long queues and when someone does make contact, they’re dealing with multiple clients at the same time. They actually admit that to potential customers, even though they’re supposed to be professional.
» DreamHost. 3/5
Dreamhost provides support every single day of the year and it’s 24/7/365 support. Live chat is only available if there aren’t many people managing support tickets. However, if you have paid their “call back” fee, you’ll have direct access to live chat at all times.
Dreamhost reports a response time of 24 hours for email, but most tickets are answered much faster, according to its website.
With phone support, you can’t ring Dreamhost. If you pay the extra fee, they’ll ring you if requested. People on shared plans can only use the email system.
Dreamhost offers a set of Wiki support group pages so you can read solutions for yourself. Twitter is another method of providing support because numerous support staff are also WordPress experts.
Any extra features? Does the company offer free advertising, a free domain name, free migration of sites from other hosts or a free website builder?
» Bluehost. 3/5
$150 worth of credits that can be used for Google Adwords or Bing/Yahoo advertising.
Bluehost comes with the Weebly site builder, one of the easiest site builders.
If you want to migrate your site from a different hosting company to Bluehost, the cost is $149.99. Most hosting companies offer this service at no cost to you.
You’ll have your domain name registered or transferred for free and the company supports international domain names.
» DreamHost. 2/5
Dreamhost doesn’t allow you to migrate sites from other hosts for free. However, the site doesn’t mention what they charge for this service.
You’ll get $100 Google Adwords credits.
They allow one free domain and it’s for the life of your account. Most other companies offer free domains only for the first term.
Dreamhost users can select to use the Remixer site builder, at an extra cost.