DreamHost: Review, FAQ, and Affiliate Program
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DreamHost: Is it good? Is it terrible? What is a Dream Host? Should I click on these nice affiliate links and then buy something? It’s time to find out.
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- DreamHost: Review, FAQ, and Affiliate Program
- Introduction to DreamHost
- What Is DreamHost?
- Who runs DreamHost?
- Using DreamHost as a Novice or Dentist
- How does making a website even work?
- DreamHost Hosting Types
- What is shared hosting?
- What is DreamPress?
- What is a Virtual Private Server (VPS)?
- Does a DreamHost VPS also include my MySQL database?
- What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)? Is that the same as a VPS?
- What is a Dedicated Server?
- Are dedicated servers better/“better” than virtual private servers?
- WordPress FAQ
- Isn’t WordPress just a generic free blog?
- Can I use WordPress without DreamPress?
- How do I Install Wordpress On Dreamhost?
- Does WooCommerce work with DreamHost?
- Basic FAQ
- Does Cloudflare work with DreamHost?
- Does DreamHost support custom email@example.com email addresses?
- Can I set up a custom email client to work with @mydomain.com email addresses through DreamHost?
- Does DreamHost have a ping pong robot?
- Does DreamHost provide SSL certs to serve websites over HTTPS?
- On a scale of “extremely obnoxious” to “completely impossible,” how hard is it to transfer an existing website and/or domain to DreamHost?
- DreamHost Review
- DreamHost Features that are Very Nice
- Small Fires
- Technical FAQ
- Does DreamHost support FTP, SFTP, and/or SSH?
- Does DreamHost use cPanel?
- How does MySQL work with DreamHost?
- What about cURL, Git, .htaccess files, JSON Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, SQLite3, Linux, and Nginx?
- What about MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Node.js, and Redis?
- What if you just linked to the full list of supported and unsupported technologies?
- Do PHP frameworks like Laravel work with DreamHost?
- Does Django, a nice Python framework, work on DreamHost?
- Can I run Cron jobs from DreamHost?
- How do I set up nameservers with DreamHost?
- What are DreamHost’s nameservers?
- Pricing FAQ
- Does DreamHost have any coupons or promotion codes?
- I hate you and don’t want to click your affiliate link. What are some other decent webhosts?
- DreamHost Affiliate Program
- In Conclusion
- Additional Resources
- Related Posts
DreamHost: Review, FAQ, and Affiliate Program
DreamHost: Is it good? Is it terrible? What is a Dream Host? Should I click on these nice affiliate links and then buy something?
It’s time to find out.
Introduction to DreamHost
What Is DreamHost?
DreamHost is a web hosting company and domain registrar. Here’s a nice ad:
My gf is addicted to the song, she is always singing it now! Good thing we already have a Dreamhost account! =D
Source: Some YouTube commenter
Who runs DreamHost?
Presumably these people:
Using DreamHost as a Novice or Dentist
This guide covers a lot of information. If you’re making your first website, you’re almost certainly going to want either shared hosting or DreamPress, both of which are discussed in more depth in the relevant sections of this guide.
How does making a website even work?
There are four basic steps to making a website:
- Get web hosting.
- Register a domain name.
- Install a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal
- Customize your CMS
Dreamhost is web hosting, so step one is covered by any DreamHost plan. Shared hosting and DreamPress plans both come with a free domain name registration (and the other DreamHost plans allow domain registration for a nominal fee), so this step is covered for you as well.
The DreamPress hosting plan offered by DreamHost also covers step 3, preinstalling WordPress.
Step 4, customizing your CMS, is up to you. While you can get very hands-on, writing custom code (or hiring someone to do it for you), WordPress is set up to be able to be customized from a built-in graphical user interface.
DreamHost Hosting Types
What is shared hosting?
Short answer. Shared hosting is cheap, basic hosting. Most small businesses and affiliate marketing websites have more than enough power with shared hosting.
Long answer. For a slightly more technical example, imagine that a website needs to serve an average of five users/webpages per minute. Since this is an average, there is variance: sometimes it will need to serve 50 users in a single minute; sometimes it will go for ten minutes without any requests. The server needs enough power to work at it’s peak traffic, not it’s average traffic. But, that can leave expensive computer hardware/resources unused most of the time.
The solution is to put multiple websites on the same server. This minimizes variance. When when one site is getting a spike in traffic, the others likely aren’t, which means sites can use many resources briefly when they need to, while letting other sites do the same. This means that hardware costs are lower, which means that this hosting is cheap.
This also means that, if one website starts to consistently use so many resources that it leaves none left for the other sites (for example, if you suddenly have a post that hits the front page of Reddit, or a marketing campaign “goes viral” on MySpace), the web host may need to either throttle your site’s performance or temporarily disable your website.
Note that the web host (DreamHost) compartmentalizes the different parts of the server so that users can only access their own sites and files, despite the fact that they are all using the same hardware.
If you’re creating your first website, shared hosting is almost certainly plenty of resources for your users. If you decide to upgrade later on, the transition to a VPS or similar is smooth and can be done from the DreamHost panel with a few clicks.
What is DreamPress?
DreamPress is a hosting plan set up to get websites up as quickly and easily as possible, while requiring minimal technical knowledge and configuration by site owners.
Since everything a standard WP installation and associated server configuration is ready to use out of the box, users can then set up WordPress themes, styles, content/article uploading, and other setup can entirely from the content management system’s graphical user interface.
If you are, for example, a dentist who wants to set a website up without learning all of the technical details of web design, this setup potentially saves you at least tens of hours of researching information on server configuration and website setup.
Scroll down to the section “WordPress FAQ” for more information on using WordPress with DreamHost.
Additional Documentation: https://help.dreamhost.com/hc/en-us/articles/214581158-DreamPress-overview
What is a Virtual Private Server (VPS)?
Similarly to shared hosting, a VPS is running on the same physical hardware as other users. However, unlike shared hosting, all of the VPS’ resources are reserved for you and only you.
This means that performance is dedicated to your specific site and that processes are never killed (whereas on shared hosting, if your site hits a spike in traffic, its performance may be throttled for the benefit of other users on the server). Since a VPS is a virtual machine on a physical piece of hardware, a VPS can also easily be scaled; if you want to upgrade from 1 GB of RAM to 2GB, this can be done very easily in contrast to a dedicated server.
Additional Documentation: https://help.dreamhost.com/hc/en-us/articles/215280058-Private-server-overview
Does a DreamHost VPS also include my MySQL database?
A DreamHost VPS contains only your website files. If you want your MySQL database to be on a VPS, a separate MySQL VPS is required (which has additional charges).
What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)? Is that the same as a VPS?
A VPN is a completely different tool from a VPS. VPNs are not used to host websites. The Dreamhost VPN overview documentation covers this in more depth.
If you really want to have a VPN through DreamHost, you can technically do this by renting a dedicated server, such as if you wanted to set up a custom network for a company that you run.
What is a Dedicated Server?
A dedicated server is a specific physical machine (that you connect to remotely) that is for you and only you. In contrast to renting a VPS, with a dedicated server, no other users are virtualized on the same hardware. This means that you have super-user/administrator/root access to the machine and can configure it however you’d like.
Additional Documentation: https://help.dreamhost.com/hc/en-us/articles/215279658-Dedicated-server-overview
Are dedicated servers better/“better” than virtual private servers?
A dedicated server is hypothetically better than a VPS if you are willing to spend more time on server configuration, setup, and maintenance. Which, for most users—even most advanced users—is unnecessary. This video covers the differences between dedicated servers and virtual private servers fairly well:
In practice, unless you are a web developer who managers client sites for them, a hosting reseller, or have a highly custom/non-standard setup that requires extensive custom server configurations (you know who you are), a VPS is generally a better option due to the substantially lower overhead, lower cost, and easier scaleability.
Isn’t WordPress just a generic free blog?
There are two types of “WordPress sites”:
Blogs on WordPress.com. These are free blogs (paid plans available for some features) hosted on a WordPress subdomain. In some cases, they might be all you need (in which case, you wouldn't need web hosting from DreamHost at all). In other cases, more flexibility is needed. Some examples of basic blogs on WordPress subdomains are this blog about dogs, this blog about dogs, and this blog about dogs.
Full websites under your control. Full websites, hosted on your own server, based off of an open-source content management system (CMS) built by WordPress. While the WordPress CMS is designed to be fully useable with no need to modify source code, note that the WordPress CMS is open-source and distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which means that your site can be modified and customized the same way as a site coded fully from scratch.
Some notable sites built with the WordPress CMS include the Jane Goodall Institute, Tim Ferriss’ website for The 4-Hour Chef, and flickr’s official blog. A more extensive showcase is available on WordPress.org.
256 Kilobytes also has a FAQ and wiki on WordPress.
Can I use WordPress without DreamPress?
Yes. DreamPress is designed to make running a WordPress site as easy to set up and seamless to run as possible. WordPress sites can also be run on other hosting plans if you’re interested in a more hands-on approach to building and maintaining a WordPress site. This video covers the pros and cons of choosing DreamPress vs. a shared hosting plan.
How do I Install Wordpress On Dreamhost?
As of the time of this post, one-click installs are also available for Joomla!, Concrete5, MediaWiki, phpBB, and Zen Cart.
Does WooCommerce work with DreamHost?
Yes, WooCommerce—a plugin for WordPress—works with any WP installation.
Does Cloudflare work with DreamHost?
Does DreamHost support custom firstname.lastname@example.org email addresses?
Yes. DreamHost has an adequate/relatively basic email client built in at no additional cost and emails can be set up under Manage Email > Create New Email Address with a few clicks.
Note: @domain email addresses are unavailable on the Shared Starter plan (available on all other plans, including Shared Unlimited)
Can I set up a custom email client to work with @mydomain.com email addresses through DreamHost?
You can also set up Google Apps / G. Suite through DreamHost (additional charges apply from Google), if that’s something that you want to do.
Does DreamHost have a ping pong robot?
Does DreamHost provide SSL certs to serve websites over HTTPS?
On a scale of “extremely obnoxious” to “completely impossible,” how hard is it to transfer an existing website and/or domain to DreamHost?
Transferring domains and websites is always sort of obnoxious, particularly if you haven’t transferred a website and/or domain before. The basic process is to:
- Transfer the domain registration
- Move your website files
- Migrate your database
To transfer a domain from another webhost—such as 1&1, GoDaddy, BlueHost, or HostGator—follow the guide provided by DreamHost (or this one if you want to transfer a website from DreamHost to another company). Note that transfers between existing DreamHost accounts also require a similar process (rather than being a one-click process).
Note that, if you’re transferring a WordPress site, DreamHost also offers a migration service for $99 to transfer any WP site.
There’s surprisingly little to comment on about DreamHost, despite having used it since 2012. Which is good, because that means that everything works correctly.
DreamHost Features that are Very Nice
- DreamHost’s server uptime is consistent and server response times are good. If your website is slow, it’s generally because either you’re using custom database queries (not WP) that are inefficient, you’re experiencing a major spike in traffic, or something else on your end is configured incorrectly.
- Support—at least the livechat support—even knows what they’re talking about, or at least is able to transfer you to someone who does. When I’ve used the livechat support, there has been a queue of 1-2 people with a wait time of 15-30 minutes or so, which is substantially better than spending 15-30 minutes talking to a $1/hr chat representative who has no idea how to handle your issue.
- The actions done from the DreamHost panel—adding @domain email addresses, transferring between hosting setups and DB servers, updating server settings, and so on—work correctly with a few clicks, rather than requiring you to manually configure changes.
- If/when you adjustment your hosting plan (such as a MySQL DB being moved from shared hosting to a VPS), downtime is generally minimal for the associated server updates, migrations, and other adjustments.
As they say in my home country (America), “wow, it’s very nice.”
Anyway, no one reads reviews to find out how great a product is, so here’s a list of problems that have come up while using DreamHost:
- Most notably, I did once receive a phone call from an employee—while asleep—at around 10 PM asking why our site (which was on a DreamHost shared hosting plan) had gone down. Conveniently, it fixed itself within 10-20 minutes. Realistically, if you have site on a shared hosting plan for six years, regardless of what company you’re with, it will likely have at least one or two brief periods of downtime.
- A site on a shared hosting plan went down entirely for several hours due to a spike in traffic from a post on Hacker News hitting the top of page #1. Which, you know, is kind of standard if you’re using shared hosting and get a substantial traffic spike.
Other than that, DreamHost has managed to cause no notable problems since 2012, which is probably good.
Does DreamHost support FTP, SFTP, and/or SSH?
Yes, all three of these are supported. Once you have your hosting set up, the command to connect via SSH from the Linux terminal is:
Additionally, SCP can be used to transfer files to your server:
scp -r ./your_project.tar.gz email@example.com:/home/user_path/your_project.tar.gz
Does DreamHost use cPanel?
No. Dreamhost uses a custom panel, as discussed in this article.
How does MySQL work with DreamHost?
DreamHost uses PHPMyAdmin [video overview], which can be accessed at yourdomain.mysql.com. New database users and other miscellaneous setup is done through the standard DreamHost panel.
What about cURL, Git, .htaccess files, JSON Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, SQLite3, Linux, and Nginx?
Yes, those are all supported by DreamHost.
What about MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Node.js, and Redis?
MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Node.js, and Redis are not supported, although they can be set up if you rent a dedicated server.
What if you just linked to the full list of supported and unsupported technologies?
What a great idea. Here you go:
Note that if you rent a dedicated server, you can configure the machine however you’d like to set up technologies/tools that are unavailable on shared hosting and virtual private servers.
Do PHP frameworks like Laravel work with DreamHost?
Yes. Here’s how to set this up:
1. On your local machine, compress your project with tar (or whatever). Otherwise, takes eternity to transfer, since each file is sent individually, which seems to require a new connection for each file:
scp -r ./your_project.tar.gz firstname.lastname@example.org:/home/user_path/your_project.tar.gz
2. Run migrations from SSH. Might need to specify your PHP version in the command:
php-7.1 artisan migrate
If your Laravel project includes a specific non-supported technology (such as MongoDB), you may need a dedicated server to deploy your project on DreamHost.
Does Django, a nice Python framework, work on DreamHost?
Yes, Django projects are supported. Dreamhost also has a troubleshooting guide and there is at least one third-party guide on how to set up a Django project using Dreamhost’s shared hosting.
Can I run Cron jobs from DreamHost?
How do I set up nameservers with DreamHost?
If you’re setting up a new account with DreamHost, nameservers should work out-of-the-box.
If you’re transferring a domain or have some other specific scenario, the steps can vary. Check out the nameservers overview documentation from DreamHost.
You can also access the documentation for changing nameservers as well as the documentation for pointing nameservers from another host to DreamHost.
What are DreamHost’s nameservers?
Source and More Information: https://help.dreamhost.com/hc/en-us/articles/214694378-What-DNS-records-do-I-point-my-site-to-
Does DreamHost have any coupons or promotion codes?
The main promotion that DreamHost is currently running is this one:
For reference, that deal always states that the offer ends in [ROUGHLY ONE WEEK FROM CURRENT DATE].As of the time of this post, if you search for DreamHost promotion codes, you find basically the same deal for same rate as the “Give $50, Get $50” above, but for $5.95 per month instead of $5.78 per month. If you hate 256KB so much that you would rather spend an additional 15¢ per month than give us $50, you can track down that deal instead.
I hate you and don’t want to click your affiliate link. What are some other decent webhosts?
DreamHost Affiliate Program
DreamHost accounts include the option to refer other clients to DreamHost for commission-based payments, paid in cash via PayPal (and/or to be used to pay any open invoices with DreamHost). Affiliate commission rates when clients sign up for monthly/annual plans with DreamHost are as follows:
MONTHLY PLAN PAYOUT
ANNUAL PLAN PAYOUT
$50 for you, $50 for them
Incidentally, these are also the commissions that 256 Kilobytes receives when you purchase one of these services through the affiliate links in this article.
Note that if you want to try harder and manage things directly, DreamHost users can resell hosting to clients through their accounts. Renting a dedicated server from DreamHost is a decent option for web developers who, for example, offer fully managed hosting and development to their clients.
Out of the five web hosts that I’ve used since 2012, DreamHost has been the highest quality at identical rates to the others. If you are looking for web hosting, DreamHost will generally meet whatever requirements you have.
- If you are running a small business, set up DreamPress and get a website up and running quickly without spending 80 days reading web development tutorials.
- If you’re working in Internet marketing—for example, making an affiliate website—get shared hosting (with the nice $50 off coupon).
- If you run a high-traffic website, get a VPS
- If you have a highly custom project, run a web development agency, and/or are a reseller, rent a dedicated server.
You can hear the ping pong balls in the background.
If you have any additional question on DreamHost—or if you have additional feedback on DreamHost—feel free to leave them in the comments of this post or start a new thread on the 256 Kilobytes website.
- DreamHost Homepage
- @DreamHost on Twitter
- DreamHost on FaceBook
- DreamHost Support Forum
- Video: A Day at DreamHost
- All Offers: DreamPress | Save $50 on Hosting | Shared | VPS | Dedicated Servers
- All 256 Kilobytes Content Tagged About Dreamhost
- GeneratePress: Total overview of what it can offer and why it's the only theme I (Hash Brown) use
- Introduction to Affiliate Marketing for Casual
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Pokemon Go get this affiliate offer. [info]Recommended Amazon Products
You would think this goes without saying, since this isn't Saudi Arabia, but one potentially relevant thing about DreamHost is that they do allow "adult content" (i.e., pornographic content) to be hosted. See below (emphasis/highlighting added):
What type of sites can I host with DreamHost?
You can use any DreamHost hosting plan for any type of use, commercial or private, non-profit or governmental. As long as all of your content is legal in the United States, DreamHost has no problem hosting your site.
Will DreamHost place ads on my site?
No. It’s your web space for you to use as you like.
Can I have adult content on my DreamHost-hosted website?
As long as the content is legal within the United States of America, you can host adult content. DreamHost does not restrict the content of sites hosted unless that content is illegal within the United States of America. Illegal content includes:
- blatant copyright infringement
- child pornography
You might thing this would be trivial. But, I once had three domains go down on another web host (BlueHost) because one of them (a single page site) had mildly pornographic content on it. It's worth checking the TOS fine print when choosing a host, even if you're not specifically trying to make a porn site.
Edit: Although apparently HostGator does allow adult content, which is mildly surprising, since they're owned by the same company as BlueHost.
This is a patsy account used by the 256 Kilobytes staff to seed content.
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