Quality web hosting providers. That’s what we are asked about all the time. And almost every time, Bluehost is among the few web hosts we recommend instantly — especially when the requirements include terms like affordable & beginner-friendly.
We don’t remember a time we have ever recommended DreamHost, let alone DreamHost over Bluehost. This statement gives you a glimpse of what this comparison is going to look like, particularly the conclusion.
Of course, we don’t have anything against DreamHost, and we won’t deny the fact that DreamHost is one of the only three officially recommend hosts by WordPress (just like Bluehost is). However, our experience with DreamHost has been subpar (subjectively and objectively). And this comparison will go in-detail about that.
This article is primarily divided into five sections, including comparing DreamHost and Bluehost based on features, ease of use, performance, customer support, and pricing.
So, sit tight. Thank God if you were considering DreamHost and decided to read this comparison before that. And...let’s begin!
How do these compare?
Ease of use
Value for money
DreamHost vs. Bluehost: Features
Of the two, Bluehost is unquestionably the more famous name in the market. Still, both are well-known, if looked from a broader perspective. DreamHost has more than 1.5 million websites on their servers. On the other hand, Bluehost has 2 million+.
Thus, this section is not going to be about which provider offers all the essential features (because both do). It’s more like, what extra features does both include in the package.
To keep it fair, we will be comparing the most basic shared plans of both.
DreamHost Shared Starter plan includes the following features:
Unlimited bandwidth and storage (Of course, it’s not unlimited. “Plenty” is a more accurate word)
Free SSL certificates
Free WYSIWYG website builder
97-day money-back guarantee
These are the features included in the base shared plan of DreamHost. You can pay a premium for some other functions as well. E.g., $1.67/month for professional emails.
Overall, DreamHost is a well-rounded option features-wise. Let’s see how it compares to Bluehost.
Bluehost’s Basic shared plan includes the following features:
50 GB SSD storage (more than plenty)
Free SSL certificate
Website staging environment
One-click WordPress install & Auto-updates
Weebly website builder
30-day money-back guarantee
Advanced: FastCGI, PostgreSQL, Custom Cron Jobs, Override .htaccess, and more
All in all, Bluehost’s features are also well thought out. Though the advanced features might not excite most of its user base, they are good to have.
Both DreamHost and Bluehost offer excellent features. DreamHost offers free daily backups and extra days (in fact, months) on its money-back guarantee. In comparison, Bluehost has some advanced features DreamHost doesn’t.
In our opinion, DreamHost’s extra features are more essential but, at the same time, replaceable with a free plugin. Whereas, Bluehost’s additional features are only for a tiny percent of users. In total, we’d say both are similar as far as features are concerned.
DreamHost vs Bluehost: Ease of use
User-friendliness is such a crucial factor when the potential customer can be anyone from a cakeshop owner looking to build a website by himself to a senior developer at Microsoft. From an ease of use standpoint, the ideal web host has a straightforward sign-up process, easy to navigate dashboard, and a control panel that’s understandable by non-techies (purely based on labels and intuition).
Signing up with DreamHost is pretty simple. Select a plan, enter your domain & other information, a billing method, and checkout.
Once you are signed in, you are welcomed with a dashboard. It has four tabs: Details, Domains, Backups, Staging. All four are clearly labeled, so we don’t think we need to further elaborate on it.
As for the control panel, DreamHost uses a custom-built panel named “DreamHost Panel”. On it, you will find tabs to manage your domains, WordPress installs, emails, FTP & SSH users, and billings. The control panel looks sleek and is easy to access.
Overall, navigating through everything DreamHost offers is uncomplicated.
Bluehost’s signing up process is comparable to that of DreamHost. Meaning, it’s pretty straightforward.
Logging in, you see the dashboard. You can manage everything related to your Bluehost account there- the domains you have, billing method, WordPress installation, and more. As a matter of fact, you can manage your WordPress directly from Bluehost’s dashboard — this means you can add posts, pages, media, etc. right from the Bluehost website.
As for the control panel, Bluehost uses a customized version of the most popular control panel, cPanel. On multiple occasions, like in our SiteGround review, we have mentioned we don’t like the UI of cPanel. Well, Bluehost’s customization makes it easy on the eye. And, of course, without losing any functionalities.
You can manage domains, emails, files, databases, SSH, one-click installs, and more from the cPanel.
Long story short, Bluehost’s UI/UX is fantastic.
The user interface and user experience are incredible on both DreamHost and Bluehost. However, Bluehost uses cPanel, which is…
Firstly, an industry-standard used and preferred by millions of users.
Secondly, has more functionalities compared to DreamHost. E.g., control over files & databases.
On top of that, you can manage your WordPress site directly from WordPress. How cool is that?!
DreamHost vs Bluehost: Performance
Server response time
Once everything’s set, the interface is of no use. Now what matters (and will matter throughout your period with the host) is the performance. Hence, it should always be the top priority. It is for us, at least. While testing, we extensively test the site’s server response time, uptime, and loading speeds. Here are our results with DreamHost and Bluehost:
DreamHost’s average server response time, in our tests, stood around 250 ms. This is slightly above Google’s recommended 200ms, but practically, it’s decent.
As for loading speed, a simple text-only web page took nearly 800 ms to load. Again, not that great but decent considering it is shared hosting.
One feature we didn’t mention in the first section is DreamHost gives a 100% uptime guarantee. Why didn’t we say it? In our testing period, DreamHost servers went down a few times, keeping the effective uptime at 99.85%, which is bad compared to most hosts we’ve tested.
One of the reasons why we full-heartedly recommend Bluehost is its performance stats. The average server response time we measured was 155 ms.
The loading speed on the same text-only page stood at 400 ms when hosted on Bluehost. Moreover, Bluehost’s servers were almost always up, effectively totaling the uptime to 99.99%. This number is despite the fact that Bluehost doesn’t have any uptime guarantee policy!
There’s no subjectivity involved in this section, so the winner is quite clear. Bluehost is a better performing host with faster server response time & loading speed and an almost ideal uptime.
DreamHost vs Bluehost: Customer Support
24/7 live chat, emails, and phone support
Live chat, phone support
Quality of response
Just like user-friendliness, excellent customer support is an essential part of a hosting package. Why? Because if something doesn’t turn out to be “user friendly,” the only place one can run to is customer support.
DreamHost has all the customer support options a hosting company, or any service company as that matter, should have- email support, live chat, phone support, and knowledgebase.
In our experience with their live chat, the response was quick on one occasion, and there was a bit of delay in the reply the other time. Once connected, we’d say overall support quality was decent. WordPress support, in particular, was excellent.
Like DreamHost, Bluehost has all the communication options- live chat, phone support, email support, and knowledgebase.
Our experience with its live chat was phenomenal. The support agents responded promptly, knew answers to every query we threw at them, and were very friendly yet professional in nature. This goes for all its support, WordPress or otherwise.
Though DreamHost’s support team is good, Bluehost’s is better. Faster response & quality answers from Bluehost support agents had us impressed.
DreamHost vs Bluehost: Pricing
Introductory pricing (of base plan)
Introductory pricing (of base plan)
Pricing is quite possibly the most important element for most users (like you). It’s our job to purchase a host and review, whatever the cost may be. I.e., Pricing is the last of our concerns. For you, probably, it’s the first. So, let’s compare the pricing.
DreamHost has two shared plans- Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited. If you purchase for three years, the cost of Shared Starter is $2.59/month and of Shared Unlimited is $4.95/month.
It also offers other types of hosting- VPS plans costing from $10/month, Managed WordPress from $19.95/month, Dedicated servers from $149/month, and Cloud plans from $4.50/month.
Bluehost has four shared packages. If purchased for a three-year period, it costs:
Choice Plus: $5.95/month
As for other types of hosting, it has VPS packages starting from $29.99/month, Dedicated servers starting from $124.99/month, and several WordPress-specific plans.
Throughout the comparison, we focused on the base shared plans, so the verdict will also be in that context. If looked at numbers only, DreamHost’s $2.59 compared to Bluehost’s $3.95 is cheaper.
However, if looked from value for money viewpoint, we’d consider both as equal — this is considering we are only talking of these two hosts; otherwise, Hostinger or HostGator is a better option than DreamHost. If advanced plans are compared, the $5.95/month Choice plus is a greater value than $5.95/month Shared Unlimited.
DreamHost vs Bluehost: Conclusion
The Winner Is - BlueHost
To wrap up this comparison, let’s summarize what we already discussed.
Both DreamHost and Bluehost have fantastic features for the price.
Bluehost is comparatively more user friendly because of the control you have over your host & site.
Performance-wise, Bluehost is miles ahead of DreamHost.
The customer support team of DreamHost is decent. Comparatively, Bluehost’s is better.
Overall, both hosts are incredible value for money. If the Shared Unlimited plan of DreamHost is compared to Bluehost’s Choice Plus, Bluehost is a better value.
Meaning, Bluehost is the winner.
Total Score: 10/10
• Uptime 99.99%
• Free SSL certificate
• WordPress official recommendations