DreamHost wants to disrupt a well-established market of managed WordPress hosting with its own managed hosting branded as DreamPress. Is it any good? That’s what we are going to find out in this review.
In this comprehensive review, we will explore DreamHost’s take on managed WordPress hosting which is called DreamPress.
This kind of specialized hosting is traditionally more expensive than regular shared hosting and the market is currently occupied by Kinsta, WP Engine, Pressable and Flywheel, but DreamHost apparently wants its part in this lucrative business.
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DreamPress is available in three plans and we will test the basic DreamPress plan which is currently available for an introductory price of $12.00 per month.
Specifically, we will look into these areas:
- Speed: What is DreamHost’s server response and how fast will your website load?
- Performance: How does DreamHost performs under heavy traffic loads and spikes?
- Reliability: Is there any downtime or will your website be available 24/7 throughout the whole year?
- Customer Support: When you need immediate and professional help, can you count on DreamHost’s customer support?
- Features: What features does DreamHost offer?
- Pricing: Can you take advantage of any deals? Is the pricing fair and affordable?
- Money-Back Guarantee: What if you’re not happy? Will you get your money back?
If you don’t have time to study the full review, here is a quick overview of DreamHost’s results:
|Google’s Average PageSpeed Insights Score||88 out of 100|
|Pingdom’s Website Speed Test Score||2.00 s|
|GTMetrix’s Performance Score||98%|
|K6 Average Response Time||190 ms|
|Customer Support||Phone / Live Chat / Priority|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 days|
Conclusion: DreamPress is a viable option if you need a fully managed WordPress hosting for a reasonable price.
Now for those who are interested in the full detailed review, let’s jump right in so you can make an informed decision by yourself.
DreamHost was founded in 1996 by four undergraduate students in California and started hosting customers’ sites in 1997. That makes it one of the oldest hosting providers.
Today, it hosts over 1.5 million websites and provides services for over 400.000 customers in more than 100 countries.
With DreamPress, you will get a high-performance cloud server environment with isolated resources. This means that your resources are yours alone and other users never affect your website’s performance.
That’s the main difference between DreamPress and regular shared hosting plans offered by DreamHost where resources are shared among users – hence the name shared hosting.
Since speed is very important for your SEO and the position on SERP, isolated resources sound like a promising proposition.
Don’t forget that based on Google’s own research, users will leave if your website if it doesn’t load under 3 seconds!
To test the speed, we use three industry-standard services:
Google’s PageSpeed Insights
Google’s PageSpeed Insights test delivered pretty impressive results:
- for desktops, we got only 95 points, which is extremely good
- for mobile devices, we got 81 points, which is still acceptable
In both cases, the default theme that came with pre-installed WordPress managed to be interactive under 3 seconds.
This means that DreamPress does make sense and isolated resources might actually play some role in page speed.
However, I would recommend focusing on mobile performance by tweaking the default theme.
Google’s Average PageSpeed Insights Score
To get the average score we take both desktop and mobile scores and calculate the average which is (95+81) / 2 = 88 out of 100. Not too bad indeed.
Pingdom’s Website Speed Test
Let’s see how DreamPress scored in the second test.
Pingdom’s Website Speed Test showed some important numbers:
- Performance grade has B mark with 84 points
- Page size is quite heavy with 2.1 MB
- Load time is 2.00 s which is reasonable
- Number of requests is 84 and that’s something to look at while optimizing the website
This shows that the default WordPress theme might indeed by the problem here and we will address this potential issue later.
Finally, here’s the last speed test we want to perform. GTMetrix will tell us more about structure and overall performance.
GTMetrix shows very nice results, but there’s a slight problem with structure that scored 98%.
With the speed results in mind, let’s discuss the default theme and plugins that came pre-installed with WordPress.
I was quite surprised how many plugins DreamHost installed by default and I have a strong feeling that these plugins were the reason for some less-than-ideal speed results.
Here’s the list of all plugins, granted, not all of them were active:
- Akismet Anti-Spam (not active)
- All in One SEO (active)
- BoldGrid Easy SEO (active)
- BoldGrid Gallery (active)
- BoldGrid Inspirations (active)
- Crio Premium (active)
- MonsterInsights (not active)
- Hello Dolly (not active)
- Jetpack (active)
- OptinMonster (not active)
- Post and Page Builder (active)
- Post and Page Builder Premium (active)
- Proxy Cache Purge (active)
- Total Upkeep (active)
- Total Upkeep Premium (active)
- VaultPress (not active)
- WP Mail SMTP (not active)
- WPForms Lite (active)
Most of these plugins are made by BoldGrid which offers a great selection of helpful features to extend the basic functionality of WordPress.
You can always add whatever you need later, but less plugins generally means more performance.
I went ahead and removed all plugins and replaced the Crio Premium theme with free Blocksy theme which I use on my multiple websites because it’s really well optimized for SEO.
If you’re interested in some great and fast themes, make sure to check my list of fastest WordPress themes currently available.
Even though speed is very important, it’s also crucial to know how your website performs under heavy load.
If you’re just starting your blog, this might not be an issue, but once it’s got more popular and you will need to serve hundreds of readers at the same time, you’ll know how crucial this is.
To test how well DreamPress performs with increased traffic, we gradually sent 50 virtual users in 5 minutes to our website to simulate heavy load.
Along the way, we measured how this ever-increasing number of requests impacted the performance of our website.
As you can see at the image above, we ran the test with these results:
- Total Requests Made: 10 908
- Peak Requests per Second: 71.33
- HTTP Failures: 0
- Average Response Time: 190 ms
As number of virtual users grew from 0 to 50, DreamPress managed to keep the response time around 190 ms which is quite fine for shared hosting, but I expected far better results for managed hosting with isolated resources.
Response time of DreamPress is very impressive. Especially when compared to Bluehost and its shared hosting (which is also considerably cheaper). This proves that with higher price you pay for dedicated resources, comes far better performance.
Let’s compare the numbers:
|Downtime||2m||4h 46m 17s|
|Max resp. time||413ms||1.16s|
|Min resp. time||335ms||526ms|
|Average resp. time||360||713ms|
DreamPress Customer Support
One of the reasons why people choose managed hosting over shared hosting is a level of customer support.
It should be obvious that specialists are quite expensive to hire and somebody has to pay the price eventually.
If you want quality customer support with stuff specialized in WordPress, you have to understand that this level of service doesn’t come cheap.
DreamPress offers WordPress specialized support in these forms:
- 24/7 ticket support
- live chat
- phone support callbacks
- priority support
Unfortunately, the priority support with hands-on experience and proactive monitoring is available only with DreamPress Pro plan that starts at $71.95 per month.
Compared to Kinsta, where you’ll get this kind of support with every plan, this is something DreamHost should definitely consider improving.
With the basic DreamPress plan, you’ll get quite a lot of interesting features including JetPack. Some of them are questionable regarding the speed of your website, like WP Website Builder.
Here’s all you get with our DreamPress plan:
- Server Environment: High-performance cloud
- Resources: Isolated
- Uncached Visits Per Month: ~100k
- Cached Visits Per Month: Unmetered
- Bandwidth: Unmetered
- SSD Storage: 30GB
- WordPress Website: 1
- WordPress Pre-installed: YES
- 1-Click Staging: YES
- Built-in Caching: YES
- Free Domain for good (as long as you pay for the plan)
- Free Domain Privacy: YES
- Automatic WordPress Updates: YES, for core and security updates
- Automated Daily Backups: YES
- On-Demand Backups and 1-Click Restore: YES
- Free SSL Certificate
When it comes to pricing, things are getting a bit complicated. You get two basic options:
- you can pay monthly (introductory price of $12.00/mo)
- or you can pay yearly (which translates to $16.95/mo)
But there’s a catch with monthly plan because the introductory price of $12.00/mo will last for only 3 months. After that, you’ll pay $19.95/mo.
This means that paying yearly makes more sense, but if you just want to test DreamPress, you should have a pretty good idea whether it’s a good fit for you or not after few months.
In such a case, going the monthly route sounds better.
But that’s just the basic DreamPress plan. If you want to get more storage or uncached visits, you need to pay a whopping $29.95/mo with monthly plan after the first 3 months of introductory price.
This is dangerously close the cheapest plan of Kinsta, the undisputed king of managed web hosting. And in such a case, I would strongly recommend checking out Kinsta before making the final decision.
DreamHost offers a 97-day money-back guarantee with all plans. This is probably the deal that you as a customer can get with any hosting services provider.
It means that you can test your hosting plan for a whole 3 months before you decide whether you stick with it or not. After that period, you can cancel the plan and you’ll get your money back, no questions asked.
Unfortunately, this offer is valid only for shared hosting plan. With DreamPress managed hosting, you’ll get only 30 days of money-back guarantee.
Don’t take me wrong, this is still a pretty good deal, however, the 97 days is definitely better offer.
Can We Recommend DreamPress?
Yes, we can. DreamPress is an interesting idea. DreamHost wants to offer managed WordPress hosting for masses. Its cheapest plan is quite affordable if you pay yearly.
If for whatever reason shared WordPress hosting for $7.99/mo is not enough for you, then DreamPress might be a good fit.
However, for $19.95/mo which is a regular price after the first 3 months, you can get Flywheel‘s Tiny plan and still save $4.95/mo.
Granted, it offers less storage (5GB) and only 5,000 monthly visits, but it’s a real managed hosting, not a spin-off from shared hosting company.
Overall, DreamPress offers a decent managed service for a pretty good price.