DreamHost vs Bluehost Comparison (Which is Best in 2020)
As a freelancer, it's important to find the best host for your website. Are you trying to choose between DreamHost vs Bluehost to host your website?
In this article, I will compare these two hosts against each other and see who comes out on top for their:
- User experience
Let's take a deep dive at what both DreamHost vs Bluehost has to offer, as well as using real tests (based on my experience as a web developer) to provide you with what host provides the fastest load times.
Don't fancy reading the full insights into DreamHost vs Bluehost? Here is a summary of what I found after pitting these two hosts against each other.
- Most user-friendly: (BlueHost) - If you are looking for a reputable hosting company that is ideal for beginners and offers budget prices, BlueHost is the best option for you.
- Low cost: (DreamHost) - If you are looking for a low-cost budget host that excels in performance and features then DreamHost is the hosting company for you.
Disclosure: Please be aware that some links in this article are affiliated. Clicking these links means I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you. This small commission helps me keep the site running (thank you!).
Both DreamHost and Bluehost are low-cost affordable hosting companies that offer a vast range of tools, features, and services. You will find that each offer similar plans for shared and managed WordPress hosting, along with VPS and dedicated hosting options for larger websites.
In this comparison article, I will focus on the shared hosting plans, as these are the most popular choice and suit most people's needs for their websites.
DreamHost is a popular hosting provider and reports to host over one and a half million websites. Over 750k+ are WordPress installations, which makes sense considering they are one of three officially recommended hosting providers by WordPress. Offering two shared hosting plans, DreamHost shared hosting is a great option for blogs, portfolios, and small business websites.
Between the two plans, you will find different features, but if you choose either of the DreamHost shared hosting packages you will get the following:
- Free Domain included
- Unlimited Traffic
- WordPress Pre-Installed
- Free Automated WordPress Migrations
- WP Website Builder
- Fast SSD Storage
- Free SSL Certificate
- 100% uptime guarantee
- 24/7/365 Support
If you opt for the most expensive Shared Unlimited plan it includes unlimited websites, unlimited storage, unlimited domains, and unlimited email accounts @ your domain.
Although these features are for the shared hosting, if you need a larger server with more performance I recommend checking out the VPS and dedicated hosting plans they offer. You might need these for an e-commerce store for example. If you need a Magento 2 hosting plan, I have put together a list of the 9 Best Magento 2 Hosting Plans in 2020.
Bluehost is another feature-heavy hosting company that hosts over two million websites worldwide. You will see Bluehost on almost every hosting comparison article, and for good reason. They have a lot to offer, including shared and managed WordPress hosting.
Customers can pick from one of four shared hosting plans, with all plans coming with the following features:
- Free domain name
- Free SSL Certificate
- Unmetered Bandwidth
- One-click WordPress install
- Website staging environment
- cPanel access
- 24/7 support
Every shared hosting package except the low-tier Basic plan all includes an unlimited number of websites, and provide unlimited SSD storage and unmetered bandwidth.
Is DreamHost vs Bluehost easier to use? Which is more user friendly?
If you are a beginner or even experienced with web hosting, having a user-friendly experience is important. An easy-to-use and straightforward hosting company will help speed up your website set up process, enable you to easily access tools and features you may need (like email set up), and support you when monitoring your website to check it's functioning at it's best.
In this department, DreamHost vs Bluehost has both spent time to make sure their hosting dashboards, control panels, and WordPress install procedures services are all world-class when it comes to user-friendliness.
DreamHost user experience
It gives you access to all your account, domain, and hosting information. You can also use this dashboard to create new websites, configure your website settings and features, access website databases and files, and much more.
You can also install WordPress quickly with DreamHost as they offer a one-click installer. This is much faster than installing it via FTP and in my testing took around 10-15minutes before my WordPress website was live.
The first time you visit your WordPress website dashboard after enabling WP Site Builder, you’ll be greeted by the DreamHost "getting started" wizard. You can pick a theme, create pages, and enter the essential information. This is great for beginners to get a website live quickly.
You can also jump into the WordPress dashboard to customize the website further by installing third-party themes and plugins. In my experience, although the one-click installer is great for getting started, further customization is usually needed to bring the WordPress website up to a better standard.
Bluehost user experience
Bluehost offers a slightly better user experience aimed at beginners. They have a cleaner interface than DreamHost and that helps to navigate around the tools and services quicker and easier, especially for new users to web hosting who maybe don't fully understand complicated dashboards.
The Bluehost dashboard is clean, modern looking, and easy to navigate. It has a left-hand menu that enables you to immediately access any features or information that you might need.
Bluehost also uses cPanel. cPanel is one of the most popular non-technical control panels for web hosting accounts. This gives you unlimited control over your website's files, databases, and other important functions.
It is worth noting that when Bluehost installs WordPress, it also will install its own proprietary menu. This is aimed at complete beginners who may not be able to use the default set up WordPress provides.
Using this Bluehost menu, you can easily create pages and posts, set up the navigation menus, install new themes and plugins, create a staging area (so you can safely make changes without affecting the live site), and more.
Little wonder that Bluehost is one of three hosting companies recommended officially by WordPress. All things considered, Bluehost is a user-friendly hosting provider that in the context of a beginner new to the world of hosting, marginally has the edge on DreamHost.
What provider offers the best uptime?
Website uptime is the time that a website or web service is available to the users over a given period.
Bluehost - 4/5
Bluehost offers an uptime guarantee of 99.98%. A 0.02% downtime equates to roughly one hour and 45minutes per year and with Bluehost's network server uptime agreement they estimate most issues are resolved in approximately 15 minutes.
DreanHost - 5/5
DreamHost offers a 100% uptime guarantee. This is very unique when looking at other hosts and the industry standard for uptime. They also promise to compensate customers for any downtime your website may experience. The downtime starts once you contact support to alert them to the problem.
Which provider is best for performance? | Bluehost vs DreamHost
As you may know, the performance of your website is critical to your success. These days, users expect websites to be fast. When pages take longer than expected to load, it negatively impacts your user's experience. This ultimately will lower your conversion rate. Studies show that an additional two seconds of loading time can increase your site’s bounce rate by 103%. Ouch!
One of the biggest factors that impacts website performance is your hosting provider. For this article, I created two test websites with brand new WordPress installs to pit DreamHost vs Bluehost. With a website on each provider I then put them through various speed tests using Pingdom to compare Bluehost vs DreamHost performance:
- USA (San Francisco) - 0.84s
- Europe (Germany) - 2.01s
- Europe (United Kingdom) - 1.83s
- Australia - 2.11s
- USA (San Francisco) - 0.77s
- Europe (Germany) - 1.76s
- Europe (United Kingdom) - 1.81s
- Australia - 1.73s
From these test results, Bluehost looks to be slightly faster out of the two hosts. Although these tests show they both are in the same ballpark and are in line with industry averages.
Both these two hosts are well known for having excellent levels of support. Each has well put together knowledge bases, full of information for beginners, how-to guides, and tutorials. You will also find lively forums that can be used to find information and get help.
If you need to contact support, both DreamHost vs Bluehost provides a 24/7 live chat and telephone support.
To gauge the quality of each host support, I used two methods. The first is looking at their "Quality of Support" rating on G2. The second is my WordPress support specific score out of 10 from years of experience using each hosting provider for my own projects and client work.
- Quality of Support: 8.4/10
- WordPress support: 8/10
- Quality of Support: 7.4/10
- WordPress support: 9/10
Which provider will be more affordable? | DreamHost vs Bluehost
When we look at both DreamHost and Bluehost you will notice that they are budget hosts and their shared hosting plan prices reflect that. That being said, prices do differ depending on the plans and length of the contract. To benefit from the cheapest prices you will need to sign up to a 36month/3 year contract.
The lowest-tier Shared Starter plan is the cheapest deal on DreamHost. It starts at $2.59/month. If you are looking for the best value for money, you should consider the Shared Unlimited package. The Shared Unlimited package is the plan I recommend if you decide on using DreamHost.
Shared Unlimited offers all of the DreamHost shared hosting features mentioned above in this article along with unlimited websites, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited storage. As mentioned, however, the cost of this DreamHost plan depends on how long you sign up for. Here is a cost breakdown for the different contract lengths:
- 3 Year - $4.95/mo
- Year - $4.95/mo (same as 3 year)
- Monthly - $10.95/mo (domain extra from $6.99)
As you can see DreamHost recently changed its yearly contract pricing to match their 3-year contract cost. If you purchase a 12 or 36-month contract plan then you will have to pay the total amount upfront.
Once the contract period is over the monthly fee jumps to $7.95/month or if you are on the monthly plan after 3 months the price becomes $11.99/month.
The Basic plan from Bluehost is a very good value starting at only $3.95/month. As with DreamHost though, the lowest plan is not the one I would recommend. Bluehost's Choice Plus plan offers the best value for money, even for a smaller monthly fee.
The Choice Plus plan offers similar features to the DreamHost Shared Unlimited plan, with unlimited resources and websites, domain protection, site backups, and access to all the Bluehost hosting features mentioned above in this article.
- 3 Year – $5.45/month
- 2 Year – $6.95/month
- Year – $7.45/month
DreamHost vs Bluehost is equal when it comes to promotional prices and their terms and conditions.
DreamHost vs Bluehost - Conclusion
These two hosting companies are very closely matched so regardless of who you choose you will be in good hands. The way I would summarize Bluehost vs DreamHost is:
- Bluehost - If you are a beginner then Bluehost offers the most user-friendly experience. Having cPanel is also a bonus as it offers a much higher level of hosting control.
- DreamHost - If you are looking at the lowest cost host that provides industry average loading times and good customer support then DreamHost is the hosting solution for you.
If you are looking to host a more advanced website, like a Magento e-commerce store then check out this list of 9 Best Magento 2 Hosting Plans in 2020.
Struggling to choose between Bluehost vs DreamHost? Ask me your questions in the comments section below.