Bluehost Vs DreamHost
How the heck are you supposed to choose between so many great web hosting services?
We get it. So, we’ve chosen to pit two of the best against each other.
Bluehost and DreamHost are both great web hosts, and WordPress, along with SiteGround, recommends them. In terms of price, customer service, and products, they do really well against other top competitors.
We’ve already said that Bluehost is the best web host for beginners and that DreamHost is the best for monthly prices, but what about the rest?
Who is the best host when everything is said and done?
Let’s find out…
- Recommended by WordPress
- Cheap introductory rate
- Solid site uptime
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 24/7 phone support
- Great SEO tools included
- Generous storage
- Only US-based servers (on shared plans)
- Paid site migrations
- Poor backup solutions
DreamHost Pros and Cons
- Affordable month-to-month plans
- Unlimited traffic
- Free website migration
- Free SSL certificate
- 97-day money-back guarantee
- Recommended by WordPress
- Great site speed and uptime
- Limited support outside business hours
- Complicated to migrate away from
- Only US-based servers on all plans
Site Uptime: DreamHost (barely)
Site uptime is the amount of time in a given period that your website is available to users. Your host is in charge of this, since users will only be able to get to your site if their servers are up and running.
At some point or another, every host will be down. Most of the time, this is because of server maintenance, bugs, or sudden increases in traffic. No matter what, we want the site to be up as much as possible. 99.99% uptime is what the business world calls “high availability.”
So, over the last two years, whose site has been up more? But not by much. DreamHost.
As you can see from the picture above, DreamHost has had an average uptime of 99.99% in 2020, while Bluehost has had an average uptime of 99.96%. Both are very good, so site uptime is not a big factor to consider when choosing between these two providers.
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Site Speed: DreamHost
Your business will do a lot better if your site loads quickly. Ever waited a long time for a web page to load, got bored, and moved on to something else? Yeah, me too.
There are many things you can do to speed up your site, but it won’t matter what you do if your host can’t serve all of your site’s pages in a flash.
Google says that it shouldn’t take more than 3 seconds for a website to load. In the screenshot below, the far right column shows that DreamHost hits this mark by 0.65 seconds, while Bluehost falls short by just 0.21 seconds.
DreamHost will load your page nearly 1 seconds quicker than Bluehost, so it wins again.
It’s important to remember that this may not seem like a big deal when you’re just starting out. But as your business and website grow, this one second will be worth more.
Customer Support: Bluehost
Trust me, you need to have a good customer service team on your side if you want to create and manage your own website.
There are many ways to help customers, including an online knowledge base, email, live chat, and, of course, the phone. Your chosen host should have all of these, but phone support should be available as often as possible.
DreamHost has a large knowledge base and offers email support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you want to talk to someone over the phone, it will cost you an extra $9.95.
Because of this, Bluehost wins in this area. Their customer service team is available by phone and live chat at no extra cost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Traffic Volume: DreamHost
If you’re a new website owner, you might not know how important it is that your web hosting plan has limits on how much traffic it can handle.
You see, if your website is new, only a few hundred people are likely to visit it each month. In this situation, almost any web host will do. But as your business grows, you’ll probably start getting a lot more customers.
When your hosting plan has limits on how much traffic you can have, there are two things that can happen.
If the website takes too long to load or won’t let the person in, you’ll lose the visitor. And if you go over your traffic limits, your host may charge you money. Both are unsavoury consequences.
So, when it comes down to it, DreamHost is the best in this case.
Bluehost only gives an estimate of how much traffic a site can handle, which, on average, is about 600 visitors per hour. Still, it’s a lot! But not for those expensive websites that get millions of visitors every month.
On the other hand, DreamHost’s WordPress and Shared Hosting plans all come with unlimited traffic, so you’ll never have to worry about a sudden traffic spike.
It can be hard to figure out how to use pricing plans. Almost every host will offer a special price for a limited time, and this price will be as cheap as chips. But when this period is over, the price will either go up a little bit or go up a lot.
Because of this, we never tell you to choose a host based on price alone. When you find a host who loves and cares about you, the price doesn’t matter as much.
Also, we want you to be careful about what you’re getting for that price. Standard plans from most top hosts cost between $8 and $20 per month. If you found a host for less than this, you would need to do a lot of research to make sure they were a good one.
In this section, we’ll look at how much Bluehost’s and DreamHost’s 1-year Shared Hosting plans cost.
The Shared Starter plan from DreamHost costs $3.95 per month for the first year. After the promotional period is over, the monthly cost goes up to $6.99. DreamHost also gives you the option of not being locked into a contract, and you can pay $7.99 per month. I don’t know of any other host who does this!
The Basic plan from Bluehost, on the other hand, costs $4.95 per month for the first 12 months and then $9.99 per month after that.
What’s different about these two ideas? Well, DreamHost has unlimited traffic, free WordPress migrations, and WordPress already installed. Bluehost does not.
I think it’s pretty clear who wins this round. It’s called DreamHost. It wins because the basic plan comes with extra features and you can choose to pay monthly for almost the same price as a 12-month contract.
DreamHost’s migration features:
Unless you know a lot about technology, moving a website is hard for most people. It can be made a bit simpler and easier to understand. Or it could be a total disaster that causes you to lose data, plugins, and settings, which is bad for you and your website.
With this in mind, hosts that offer a simple 1-click migration are a huge plus.
Plans from DreamHost come with an automatic migration plugin that lets you move your site for free with just a click of a button. They say there is no downtime and you don’t need any technical knowledge. Even though I haven’t used DreamHost’s plugin, I’ve found that small and medium-sized websites on other hosts with similar standards are very easy and quick to set up.
Now, Bluehost doesn’t say that they offer free migration unless you look for it. Also, you have to sign up for one of their plans before a team will look at your site to see if it is eligible for free migration. They look at things like the WordPress version, the size of the website and database, the plugins that are already installed, and so on.
If your site doesn’t qualify for free migration, Bluehost will reportedly charge you around $150 per site to do it for you. Ouch!
Most of us will be fine with a simple plugin that only takes one click. With this in mind, DreamHost is once again the winner.
Managed WordPress Hosting: DreamHost
Even though both hosts offer standard WordPress hosting, I want to do something a little different and talk about their Managed WordPress hosting.
DreamHost’s managed WordPress hosting is called DreamPress, and it’s made to help your business grow. Some of the DreamPress Basic plan’s key features that are similar are:
- Built for around 100k monthly visits
- Includes 30GB SSD storage
- Includes staging with one click
- Has daily and on-demand back-ups
- Free, fully automated WordPress moves
DreamHost’s cPanel, which was made just for them, is not as good as it could be. Most people take longer to learn how to use it, and it doesn’t have some of the more advanced features that cPanel does. Also, they only have servers in the US, so it’s not really a good idea to run a website from a faraway place like Australia.
Bluehost and the DreamHost plan have a lot of the same features. Let’s compare some of the most important things we talked about above:
- Built for up to 50,000 visits per month
- Only 20GB of web space is included.
- Environment for staging Daily backups
Bluehost does give you access to more than 200 global edge servers, so that you can operate your website effectively from anywhere. I also love that Bluehost has a marketplace with thousands of free and paid WordPress themes, in addition to the ones that WordPress offers.
But they don’t quite meet the same standards as DreamHost in most parts of the plan. Especially when it comes to being able to store things and handle visitors.
With this in mind, I have to say that DreamHost beats Bluehost, even though both plans are great.
Shared Hosting: Bluehost
Most people only need a shared hosting plan, unless they are running a large project or are website experts who want to tinker with their server’s configuration. Imagine sharing an apartment. It’s cheaper than going out by yourself, but it can be louder and more frustrating at times.
Let’s move on from the Basic plan and look at the next level up for each host.
This is the Plus plan from Bluehost. It is best for people who need to run more than one website. Outside of the promotional period, the regular price for this plan is $13.99 per month for 12 months. It consists of:
- Lots of websites
- SSD storage is unlimited
- Free domain (for 1 year) (for 1 year)
- Certificates for free CDN and SSL
- Office 365 is free for 30 days
Also, all of Bluehost’s plans, no matter what level, come with phone support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. DreamHost doesn’t offer this.
DreamHost, on the other hand, has a plan called “Shared Unlimited,” which is most like Bluehost’s “Plus” plan. This plan usually costs $12.99 a month for 12 months. It includes:
- Lots of websites
- Free domain (for 1 year)
- Free flow of traffic
- SSD storage is quick
- The SSL certificate is free
- Unlimited email addresses that are specific to a domain
What are the main pros of this plan? You can send and receive as many professional, domain-specific emails as you want.
But since the two plans are almost the same price and have almost the same features, we need to get back to basics like customer service.
Even though they are cool features, most new website users won’t need unlimited traffic or emails that are specific to their domain. They will need to be able to reach customer service by phone, live chat, and email at any time.
Bluehost has the best Shared Hosting plan because of this.
VPS Hosting: DreamHost’s Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting is a good option for people who have outgrown their shared hosting plan but aren’t ready to move up to a Dedicated Hosting plan (which we’ll talk about soon).
In a nutshell, VPS Hosting lets you share a server with other people to lower the cost of hosting, but it still gives your account a certain amount of resources like RAM and CPU. It gives you more confidence that your site will be able to handle a lot of traffic, no matter what other people are doing on your server.
Both Bluehost and DreamHost have a variety of VPS Hosting plans, but for this comparison, we’ll focus on the Standard plans.
DreamHost actually has two starting plans. One is for new and small websites, and the other is for small businesses. I don’t think you can compare DreamHost and Bluehost “apples to apples” in this case, because Bluehost’s Standard plan is in the middle of the two.
In any case, DreamHost’s VPS Basic Plan (ultimate lead-in) starts at $13.75 per month for 12 months and includes:
- 1 GB RAM
- 30 GB SSD storage
- There are no limits on the number of websites or the amount of traffic.
If you find that your business is growing quickly, you can quickly and easily add more RAM to your plan from the VPS control panel.
Bluehost’s Standard VPS Hosting plan, on the other hand, starts at $29.99 per month (or $18.99 per month outside of promotional periods) and includes:
- 2 GB RAM
- 30 GB SSD storage
- Bandwidth of 1 TB
- 1 IP address
So, at first glance, we can see that the two hosts’ VPS Hosting plans have similar features. DreamHost, on the other hand, always goes one step further with their “unlimited” services. We are talking about an unlimited amount of traffic, bandwidth, and websites.
Not to say that the limits Bluehost gives you won’t be enough for most people, but if you can get unlimited everything for less money per month, why wouldn’t you?
I’d do it. And that’s why I think DreamHost has the best VPS Hosting plans.
Dedicated Hosting: Bluehost
Packages for Dedicated Hosting are perfect for big businesses or websites that want their own server. Most of the time, these organisations would have a lot of traffic and would benefit from having full control over their server and setting it up to meet their needs.
If you’re not sure if a Dedicated Hosting plan is right for you, the easiest way to tell is to see if you can understand some of the technical things we’re about to talk about. If you can’t figure it out on your own or don’t have anyone on your team who can, it’s best to stick with Shared or VPS Hosting for now.
Both Bluehost and DreamHost have Dedicated Hosting plans, and we’ll look at their Standard plans to compare them side by side.
The Dedicated Hosting plan from DreamHost starts at $149 per month for a year and comes with:
- Intel Xeon 4-Core 8-Thread, 1TB HDD storage, 4GB RAM, and 8 threads
- Root privileges
- Local MySQL database server
247 tech support and monitoring of the server
The main thing I want to say here is that the tech support is only available via email and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This seems a little crazy to me, but the inbox is really watched around the clock by real tech experts who can solve any problem. At least, that’s what DreamHost says they will do.
The Dedicated Hosting plan from Bluehost starts at $119 per month for a year and includes:
- 4 cores @ 2.3 GHz
- 500GB of storage (mirrored)
- 4GB RAM 5TB Bandwidth
- 3 IP addresses
The most important thing to note here is that Bluehost is slightly more powerful than DreamHost’s 4-Core 8-Thread because it has 4 cores that run at 2.3 GHz. DreamHost, on the other hand, gives you 1 TB of storage space, while Bluehost only gives you 500 GB.
Overall, I think Bluehost would be a better choice than DreamHost for most people, but it really depends on what you need.
Both Bluehost and DreamHost give you the option of securing your domain through them, which is not surprising. After all, that’s what the best web hosts do.
If you buy your domain through your web host, it will be easy to manage and will automatically renew with your web hosting plan. You’ll keep all of your site’s important parts in one place.
I’m not going to compare Bluehost and DreamHost separately here, like I have in the past, because their domain services are pretty much the same. In short:
- Free private registration
- Easy to move a domain from one provider to another
- Forwarding a domain
- Lock a domain
You won’t have to stick with the old.com when it comes to the domain extension; you’ll have a lot of choices.
Who then is the better choice?
Well, during the promotional period, DreamHost sells.com domains for $6.99. After that, the price is $15.99 per year. They also offer free and unlimited subdomains, which is a cool feature that not all web hosts offer.
During the promotion period, Bluehost sells.com domains for $12.99, but the price goes up to $17.99 per year after the promotion ends (which I had to dig to find).
I would choose DreamHost as my domain provider if it came down to it. This is because they let you have as many sub-domains as you want for free, and they are always clear about how much they cost.
But if I chose Bluehost to host my website, I would also do my domain through them. It’s just good to maintain everything in one place, and at the end of the day, the domain services are mostly the same.
When everything is said and done, DreamHost is without a doubt the best web host.
They are better in too many important ways, like site uptime and speed, migration features, price, and what’s included in the plan, for them not to be the best choice. I also really like that they are so honest about how much things cost. DreamHost doesn’t have any hidden fees or renewal rates that come as a surprise.
That doesn’t mean Bluehost isn’t a good service, because it is. And we still think they are the best web host for people just starting out. That’s because their phone support is so important when you’re just starting out, and DreamHost doesn’t offer that.