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DreamHost Happy Hosting Review (2021): The Good and the Bad of DreamHost’s Shared Hosting

DreamHost’s Happy Hosting (i.e., shared hosting) is one of the most affordable ways to get a website up and running. It gives a lot of value to boot, coming with excellent uptime and speed, plenty of features (even on its entry-level tier) and decent security and support.

It was founded in 1996, and it now powers more than 1.5 million websites. According to the company, it also has more than 400,000 happy customers. On that note, it isn’t a surprise that it’s officially recommended by WordPress.org.

DreamHost Happy Hosting Review Comparison Chart

NameDreamHost Shared StarterDreamHost Shared Unlimited
 DreamHost Happy Hosting ReviewDreamHost Happy Hosting Review
PriceCheck Price at DreamHost.comCheck Price at DreamHost.com
Number of Websites1Unlimited
Disk Space50 GB SSDUnlimited SSD
EmailNo (paid add-on)Unlimited email accounts @ your domain
Free Domain for 1 YearYes, on one- and three-year termsYes, on one- and three-year terms
TrafficUnlimitedUnlimited
Free SSL CertificateYesYes
Free Domain PrivacyYesYes
Customer Support24/7 DreamHost Help Bot and ticketing system, live chat (5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. PT), phone (paid)24/7 DreamHost Help Bot and ticketing system, live chat (5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. PT), phone (paid)

Features

Shared Starter has a few limitations, but it’s usually enough for a small or medium website.

DreamHost Happy Hosting Review Features
Shared Unlimited has everything Shared Starter has, including unmetered SSD storage and websites.

Keeping things simple, DreamHost offers two shared hosting plans: Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited. Just to lay out what you’ll get, its most basic plan includes one website, a free domain for one year on one- and three-year terms, unlimited traffic, 50 GB of SSD storage and a free SSL certificate. Shared Unlimited builds on that with unlimited websites and SSD storage and as many email accounts @ your domain, which is a paid add-on on Shared Starter.

Both do come with WordPress pre-installed, making it a breeze to set up a WordPress website. There’s also a WordPress website builder and free automated WordPress migration. Basically, you can get a lot out of either subscription if you’re already decided on using WordPress as your content management system (CMS).

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WordPress

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to create a WordPress website on DreamHost.

DreamHost Happy Hosting Review WordPress
WordPress is one of the most popular and reliable CMSes around.

To expand more on setting up a WordPress website on DreamHost, users can either have the CMS pre-installed or installed later via a one-click tool. Either way you go, it’s a painless process.

If you opted for the pre-installed option, all you have to do is head on over to the DreamHost control panel, open the WordPress editor and follow the on-screen prompts. You then choose a theme and page options and finish the installation—and voilà, you’re all set.

In the same vein, using the one-click installer only takes a few steps. On the control panel, you can select WordPress and fill out the details such as where to install it. After that, you’ll receive an email with a link to set your password, and you can log into your WordPress website just like that.

Put simply, launching a WordPress website with DreamHost is as easy as pie.

Security

You don’t have to worry about your data with DreamHost.

DreamHost Happy Hosting Review Security
DreamHost goes against the grain with free domain privacy.

Happy Hosting has a lot going for it in terms of security. For one thing, you get automated backups even on Shared Starter, although it’s pretty basic. Advanced backup features are available as a paid service called DreamObjects. It isn’t too bad since it’s affordable cloud storage hosting, after all.

Now DreamHost throws in free domain privacy. Thanks to that, your personal data is safe from anyone trying to look up your domain’s owner info, where DreamHost’s info will be shown instead.

Its shared hosting plans, including the other hosting options, have a malware remover and Let’s Encrypt SSL, which was mentioned earlier. DreamHost also uses servers that support HTTP/2 that’s encrypted by default, and it has firewalls as well.

The takeaway here is your website and data are in good hands with DreamHost.

Performance

You can expect stable and consistent performance on DreamHost.

DreamHost Happy Hosting Review Performance
DreamHost has a 100 percent uptime guarantee.

DreamHost has a steady uptime north of 99 percent, and it offers a 100 percent uptime guarantee as well, meaning you’ll be compensated for any downtime you might experience. Also, it delivers decent speeds, owing to its SSD storage and features like resource protection so your website’s performance won’t be affected by others. This is important since visitors to your site will likely click away if pages load slow.

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However, DreamHost only has servers in the United States, so if your target audience isn’t in North America, then you might not get the best performance. You could always turn to third parties for CDN, so there’s that.

Ease of Use

Though it doesn’t use cPanel, DreamHost’s custom panel is clean and functional.

DreamHost Happy Hosting Review Ease of Use
DreamHost has made great strides in improving its control panel.

One of the most common complaints with DreamHost is it doesn’t use cPanel, which is the most used control panel by major web hosting providers. However, its custom-built panel has come a long way. It has an interface that’s easy on the eyes, and it’s intuitive too. 

Don’t let its simplicity fool you either, as it’s robust in functionality. For instance, you can set privileges for other users at the touch of a button so you won’t have to give your login credentials to team members. On top of that, one-click installs are just a few clicks away (under Domains, for the record), though the selection leaves a lot to be desired. There’s only a handful to choose from, including WordPress and Joomla, but other popular CMSes like Drupal and Magento aren’t in the mix.

At the end of the day, DreamHost’s control panel is still a bit harder to use than cPanel, but a little getting used to its interface could remedy this.

Support

DreamHost has excellent support, but it’s not exactly 24/7.

DreamHost Happy Hosting Review Support
Here’s a look at DreamHost’s knowledge base.

DreamHost explicitly says it has 24/7 support, but there are a few caveats. That round-the-clock assistance is only for the DreamHost Help Bot and ticketing system, both of which aren’t the most efficient method. Live chat is available only between 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. PT, and its phone support will cost you extra.

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At any rate, DreamHost’s support representatives are really helpful and make an earnest effort to resolve any issue. Waiting times aren’t too bad either, so your problem will likely be dealt with in a jiffy. 

It does have a knowledge base with a wealth of useful articles. If you can’t get in touch with support agents, you can always fall back on its how-tos and other instructions.

Pricing

Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited provide a lot of value for your money.

DreamHost Happy Hosting Review Pricing
DreamHost stands out from the competition with its 97-day money-back guarantee.

Considering the prices and features of Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited, you get a bang for your buck. Knowing what your needs are can save you a lot of cash too. For example, Shared Starter is enough if you only need one small or medium website, and the longer your commitment, the lower the fees are.

One thing worth mentioning about Shared Unlimited is there’s a fine print. The price that’s front and center on the signup page is promotional, and after the initial term, it reverts to its regular price. At the time of writing, a three-year term costs $3.95 a month, but after renewal, it’ll be $7.95 a month. It’s just something to keep in mind if you’re on a tight budget.

DreamHost also has a 97-day money-back guarantee, so there’s less risk involved here. In other words, you have plenty of time to test things out and decide whether its shared hosting services are for you or not.

Verdict

DreamHost is easy to recommend.

DreamHost Shared Starter

Best for one website

DreamHost Happy Hosting Review

DreamHost Shared Unlimited

Best for multiple websites

DreamHost Happy Hosting Review

In a nutshell, DreamHost Happy Hosting is affordable for what it offers, be it the Shared Starter or Shared Unlimited plan. You get a ton of features, free backups and consistent performance. However, keep in mind it’s not perfect. For starters, it only has servers in the United States, so speed might be an issue for visitors outside of North America. Advanced backup isn’t included either, and you’ll have to fork over a couple of bucks for it. Last but not least, its 24/7 customer support is limited.

With all said and done, we recommend DreamHost shared hosting. The pros outweigh the cons by a mile, from performance and features to security and pricing.

FAQs

📌 What is DreamHost Happy Hosting?

DreamHost Happy Hosting is the company’s shared hosting service. It comes in Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited plans, and they’re among the most affordable options available.

📌 Is DreamHost a good website host?

Yes, DreamHost’s shared hosting plans aren’t only affordable, but they’re also packed with a lot of features for their price. In addition, their security and performance are above average.

📌 Who does WordPress recommend for hosting?

WordPress.org officially recommends three web hosting providers, among which is DreamHost.

📌 Is WordPress free with DreamHost?

Yes, you can install WordPress via DreamHost’s one-click installer or have it pre-installed from the get-go when purchasing a shared hosting plan.

Vincent Lanaria