DreamHost vs Bluehost: Which web host is the best?

Having trouble deciding which web host is right for you - DreamHost or BlueHost? This post will introduce you to DreamHost and BlueHost's hosting solutions, features, pricing and compare them so that you could make an informed decision as per your budget and website needs.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Delhi | Updated: 05-03-2021 12:37 IST | Created: 16-02-2021 17:43 IST
DreamHost vs Bluehost: Which web host is the best?
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Finding the right web host for your business site can be challenging as hundreds of companies offer similar services but with different approaches, packages and prices.

There is no denying that BlueHost and Dreamhost are the two famous and reliable hosts in the web hosting world, especially when hosting WordPress websites. BlueHost and Dreamhost are two of the only three web hosts officially recommended by WordPress, the most popular content management system (CMS) that currently powers over 30% of the web.

Bluehost, a subsidiary of the Endurance International Group (EIG), was founded in 2003. The Utah-based company powers over 2,000,000 websites globally, whereas DreamHost is an independent company with nearly 25 years of experience in the web hosting business. They are based in Los Angeles, DreamHost powers over 1.5 million websites across 100 countries worldwide.

This review article will provide an in-depth look at the features, performance, pros and cons, and pricing of the various hosting services offered by BlueHost and DreamHost and compare them to help you find out which company suits your hosting needs as well as the budget.

Let's begin!

DreamHost vs Bluehost: Features

Domain registration and privacy

When signing up for a minimum 12-month plan, both BlueHost and DreamHost will offer you one free domain name registration for the first year, and after that, it will renew at a regular rate.

  • Bluehost free domain is included with Shared, Virtual Private Server (VPS) and dedicated hosting plans. With Managed WordPress hosting plans, the company offers free "Domain Privacy + Protection" that masks the personal information associated with your domain name in the global WHOIS domain repository and helps you avoid the most common security concerns such as identity theft, spam, and phishing attacks.
  • DreamHost offers a free domain and free "Privacy Protection" with its Shared and Managed WordPress (DreamPress) hosting plans.

Security

Both BlueHost and DreamHost provide a free SSL certificate via Let's Encrypt to safeguard your sensitive data. Apart from this, they offer the following security features with superior hosting plans:

BlueHost

  • CodeGuard-powered free automated website backups
  • Shared hosting: free domain privacy
  • WordPress: Web Application Firewall; Malware Detection and Removal; Daily Scheduled Backup; Domain Privacy + Protection and Spam Protection powered by Akismet
  • VPS: access control
  • Dedicated hosting: Spam Protection powered by Google
  • SiteLock and Domain Privacy + Protection (optional add-on with VPS and dedicated hosting)

DreamHost

  • VPS: Automatic Software Updates; Unlimited SFTP Users; Secure Shell (SSH) Access; Password Protection (.htaccess)
  • DreamPress: On-Demand + automated Daily Backups; Automatic WordPress Updates; Shell Access
  • Dedicated: 24/7 DDoS Protection; Full Root & Shell Access (SSH)
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) via Google Authenticator app and Yubikey

Migration services

Bluehost provides free site migration for WordPress websites that meet specific criteria such as the WP version, database size, to name a few. If does not meet the criteria then need to take bluehost paid professional migration service.

For non-WordPress websites or those failing to meet the free migration criteria, it provides professional migration service wherein the company's team of experts will perform the migration, providing you with a customized experience. The paid migration service will cost you nearly USD149.99 and it includes migration of up to 5 websites and 20 email accounts as well as 24/7 support

At Dreamhost, you can either use the free 'Automated Migration' plugin to transfer your existing WordPress site to DreamHost or purchase the USD99 professional migration service to migrate other websites from another host.

Website builder

BlueHost: Weebly

BlueHost uses Weebly, the world's most popular drag-and-drop site builder. The tool is freely available with each of its hosting plans, and you need to drag and drop various desired website elements - images, texts, videos, to name a few - and design your website in no time.

DreamHost: Remixer

Remixer is DreamHost's easy-to-use site builder tool that features designer themes to create a fully-functional, mobile-friendly site quickly and easily - with no coding experience required. However, the click-to-edit tool is free only with Shared hosting plans and not with VPS, DreamPress, and Dedicated hosting plans.

You will have to purchase either a Remixer Standard plan or a Remixer All Access plan to access the site builder tool. Both plans include more than pre-designed themes and layouts, a royalty-free image gallery, Google Analytics integration, and more features. It is worth mentioning that Remixer plans have no storage or bandwidth limits and will serve no Ads to you.

Interface

  • BlueHost: cPanel

BlueHost uses a cPanel account control panel. However, the company has customized cPanel, giving it more optimal design and features.

  • DreamHost: Custom-built panel

DreamHost leverages a custom-built, easy-to-use control panel that allows you to easily and quickly manage everything - websites, domains, create email accounts, add users, install WordPress - all from a single dashboard. The left side of the DreamHost control panel features the main menu that helps you navigate the panel. It includes Home, Domains, Billing and Account, Support, and Remixer, among others.

Apart from this, the panel features a search box, support options, an account information box, and more. Using the Dream control panel, you can quickly reboot / power-cycle your server when needed.

Payment options

BlueHost accepts the following modes of payments:

  • All major credit cards such as Master Card and Visa
  • PayPal Instant Payments
  • Check and money order (USD only)

DreamHost accepts payments via:

  • All major credit/debit card
  • PayPal
  • Electronic Check / ACH
  • Personal check or money order

For initial payment (during signup) and upfront payments, DreamHost accepts credit cards. For invoices and due balances, the company agrees with any of the methods as mentioned above of payments.

Money-back Guarantee

When you sign up with Bluehost, the company offers a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee, which means you can cancel your plan in the first 30 days of opening a hosting account if it fails to satisfy you. The company will offer a full refund of your basic hosting fees on your account. However, the Money-back Guarantee Refund is applicable only for credit card payments.

On the other hand, DreamHost provides an industry-leading 97-day money-back guarantee on its shared web hosting plans purchased via credit/debit card and Virtual Private Server and Managed WordPress Hosting; it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Customer support

Both companies maintain a vast knowledge base that includes articles, guidelines, and FAQs on web hosting plans and features. The knowledge base has a search functionality using which you can look for answers on specific topics.

Also, BlueHost and DreamHost provide support via live chat and ticketing system. Notably, DreamHost lacks technical support via telephone, which undoubtedly is a disadvantage for customers using DreamHost's hosting services.

Further, at BlueHost, you can purchase professional support services like Blue Sky, wherein experts walk you through the process of building and maintaining your website.

DreamHost vs BlueHost: Uptime

  • BlueHost Uptime

Bluehost provides a 99.9% uptime guarantee on Managed WordPress, aka WP Pro hosting plans; there is no guarantee on shared and reseller hosting plans.

  • DreamHost Uptime

DreamHost offers a 100% Uptime Guarantee with all of its hosting plans. Except for scheduled maintenance days, coding/configuration errors on the client part, the company compensates you if the system failure affects your site's performance and makes email, FTP, or other services unusable.

Further, suppose your website is hosted on DreamHost's VPS and Dedicated servers. In that case, you can optionally run an Nginx web server that delivers high performance and consumes fewer resources. Additionally, DreamHost's dedicated servers are continuously monitored to ensure that your site is up and accessible all the time.

The table below shows the average uptime offered by BlueHost and DreamHost (via) over six months (September 2020-February 2021):

Uptime BlueHost DreamHost
September 2020 100% 99.78%
October 2020 99.67% 100%
November 2020 100% 100%
December 2020 99.98% 99.99%
January 2021 100% 100%
February 2021 100% 99.94%
Average 99.94% 99.95%

Verdict: With an average uptime of 99.95%, DreamHost has a slight edge over BlueHost in this category.

DreamHost vs Bluehost: Speed/Response time

  • BlueHost speed/response time

BlueHost's all plans- even the basic shared hosting plan- includes free Content Delivery Network (CDN) by Cloudflare. CDN stores your website's content at multiple locations globally, helping the site respond quickly - regardless of the geographic area. The company utilizes SSD storage that reduces load time and improves site speed.

  • DreamHost speed/response time

DreamHost servers also leverage SSDs that make file storage and transfers more efficient and secure than traditional hard disk drives. ( with SDDs, a site's performance is claimed to be 200% faster than conventional HDDs).

Further, as an "Optimized Hosting Partner" of Cloudflare, DreamHost offers a free Cloudflare plan (basic) via DreamHost panel to make your site more responsive and fast.

Here are the results of the site test conducted using Pingdom for six months (via):

Response time BlueHost DreamHost
September 2020 628 ms 1,217 ms
October 2020 670 ms 1,179 ms
November 2020 655 ms 1,308 ms
December 2020 698 ms 1,391 ms
January 2021 770 ms 1,382 ms
February 2021 753 ms 1,345 ms
Average 695 ms 1,303 ms

Verdict: In terms of site response time, BlueHost is the clear winner with an average response time of 695ms over six months.

DreamHost vs Bluehost: WordPress Hosting

BlueHost and DreamHost offered basic WordPress hosting and managed WordPress hosting plans with free WP site migration.

BlueHost Managed WordPress Hosting

BlueHost Managed WordPress Hosting comes with a ton of advanced features for ultimate speed, security, and scalability. The plans come in three tiers- Build, Grow and Scale - with each hosting for 1 website.

  • Build: USD14.95/mo
  • Grow: USD29.95/mo
  • Scale: USD49.95/mo

Each plan includes the following features:

  • Auto-scalability - to handle traffic spikes
  • Free CDN- for quick content delivery
  • Multi-layer caching -to boost speed
  • 99.9% uptime and SSD storage - for high availability and optimal speed
  • Free SSL Encryption- to secure customer data
  • Malware and Spam protection
  • Web Application Firewall (WAF)
  • Domain Privacy + Protection
  • Automated backups
  • Free site migration - to migrate your existing WordPress site
  • Site staging - to test changes before pushing them live
  • WP-CLI/SSH access
  • Jetpack - for site enhancements
  • 24/7 managed support

Here is the comparison table of BlueHost's managed WordPress hosting plans:

Features

Build

Grow

Scale

Visitors/mo

up to 50,000 up to 150,000 up to 500,000

Web storage

20GB 40GB 80GB

SSL

FREE FREE FREE

Staging tool

Available Available Available

Jetpack

Personal Premium Professional

Backups

Scheduled (daily) Scheduled (Daily) On-demand backups

SEO tools

- Available Available

PayPal Integration

- - Included

Security

Malware Detection and Removal Domain Privacy + Protection Malware Detection and Removal Domain Privacy + Protection Malware Detection and Removal Domain Privacy + Protection

Professional Support

- BlueSky Ticket BlueSky live chat

Elastic Search

- - Available

Video Compression

- 10GB Unlimited

DreamHost Managed WordPress Hosting

DreamHost offers basic WordPress hosting, managed WP hosting, and VPS WordPress hosting. DreamHost's Managed WordPress hosting, aka DreamPress, is provided in three levels:

  • DreamPress - ideal for sites expecting 100k monthly visitors
  • DreamPress Pro - ideal for sites expecting 300k monthly visitors
  • DreamPress Plus - ideal for sites expecting more than 1 million monthly visitors

Here's the breakdown of DreamPress Managed WordPress Hosting Plans:

Features

DreamPress (USD16.95/mo)

DreamPress Pro (USD16.95/mo)

DreamPress Plus (USD16.95/mo)

Email

Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

Bandwidth

Unmetered Unmetered Unmetered

SSD storage

30GB 60GB 120GB

Staging

1-Click 1-Click 1-Click

SSL Certificate

Pre-installed Pre-installed Pre-installed

On-Demand + Daily Backups

Available Available Available

JetPack

Free Professional Professional

Automated WordPress Migrations

FREE FREE FREE

WP Website Builder

Included Included Included

CDN

- Unlimited Unlimited

Automatic WordPress Update

Included Included Included

Domain Privacy

Included Included Included

Support

24/7 Ticket; Live Chat Phone Support Callbacks Priority Support

Verdict: DreamHost and Bluehost are both recommended by WordPress.org. After comparing the managed WordPress plans and pricing of both the hosts, we can conclude that overall, BlueHost is a more budget-friendly option for hosting your WordPress site as its plans include a suite of marketing tools like Business review tools and SEO tools, multi-tier security, and professional support at no additional cost.

It is worth mentioning that DreamHost offers the flexibility to pay for their service every month. DreamHost's basic managed shared hosting monthly plan is priced at USD 12/month, and it offers 30GB SSD storage, unlimited email, unmetered bandwidth, unlimited CDN, and other features

DreamHost vs Bluehost: Pricing

Both DreamHost and BlueHost offer a suite of hosting plans to suit your website needs and budget: Here are the introductory price ranges for all the hosting plans:

BlueHost Pricing (3-yr term)

  • Shared hosting: USD2.95-USD13.95/mo
  • VPS hosting: USD19.99-USD59.99/mo
  • Dedicated hosting: USD79.99-USD119.99/mo
  • Managed WordPress hosting: USD14.95-USD49.95/mo
  • WooCommerce hosting: USD12.95-USD24.95/mo

DreamHost Pricing (3-yr term)

  • Shared hosting: USD2.59-USD3.95/mo
  • VPS hosting: USD10-USD80/mo
  • Dedicated hosting: USD149-USD279/mo
  • Managed WordPress hosting: USD16.95-USD71.95/mo
  • WooCommerce hosting: USD16.95-USD71.95/mo
  • Cloud Hosting: starts at USD4.50/mo

To know the pros and cons of each type of hosting and which form will be best for your site, read our previous post on"Top 10 Best Web Hosting for Small Businesses".

Verdict: It is also worth noting that the introductory prices are significantly cheaper than the renewal prices and are valid for the initial term only. If we talk about renewal prices, then DreamHost is less expensive than BlueHost. For instance, BlueHost's basic shared hosting renews at USD8.99/month for a 36-month term (current rate), whereas DreamHost's basic shared hosting plan renews at USD5.99/month.

If we consider both introductory and renewal prices, then DreamHost's hosting plans are cheaper than those of Bluehost.

Final Word

After pitting BlueHost and DreamHost against each other, it's time to declare the winner. Both the companies are excellent when it comes to providing great uptime and budget-friendly plans, but there is no clear winner. While Bluehost leads the race to site response time, customer support, and multiple affordable plans.

DreamHost delivers excellent uptime and advanced security features like free WHOIS privacy, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), and 97-day Money-Back Guarantee.

DreamHost's dedicated hosting plans offer 24/7 server monitoring, DDoS Protection, and uncapped bandwidth, but the plans - starting at USD149/mo - are significantly expensive than that provided by BlueHost - starting at USD79.99/mo.

In a nutshell, there is no 'one-size fits all' solution for hosting websites. Your hosting requirements ( such as CPU, storage, RAM, etc.) and budget are the two critical factors that will help you decide whether a web host is best for your website.

When to sign up with Bluehost?

BlueHost will be a perfect host for your website if you want the following features:

  • Multiple scalable, affordable hosting plans
  • Phone support
  • Google Ads Credit
  • Automated security updates
  • Better Response Time
  • Staging tool for WordPress sites

When to signup with DreamHost?

There are a lot of reasons to pick DreamHost. These include:

  • 100% uptime guarantee
  • 97-day money-back guarantee
  • Free Wordpress site migration
  • Nginx webserver
  • node.js support
  • Free Privacy Protection
  • Green hosting
  • Monthly plans
  • Cloud hosting

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