Author: Matthew Rogers
Last Updated: December 2019
DreamHost and Bluehost are two of the largest US based web hosting providers in the world. Not only that, but they are among the three total companies that WordPress recommends for use in its content management system. Their user-friendly design and a wide selection of features, however, enables users to enjoy a powerful and intuitive website experience.
DreamHost’s origin story begins in the dorm of four undergraduate students at Harvey Mudd College. A year after its founding, the company began hosting customer sites, and in the time that followed it spun-off companies, such as Inktank and Akanda. Today, DreamHost services approximately 400,000 customers around the world and employees 200 people.
Bluehost got its start in Utah, as the brainchild of its founder, Matt Heat. Less than a decade after opening its doors, Endurance International Group acquired Bluehost. Currently, Bluehost serves two million domains and offers services such as WordPress hosting, shared hosting, VPS hosting, and domain services.
If you are trying to decide between these two companies when it comes to your web host, you’ve come to the right place. We have taken the time to compare and contrast the two so that you can determine which option is best for you. We compared DreamHost and Bluehost on the following four factors: pricing, support, performance/speed, and ease of use.
Pricing – Bluehost Wins
DreamHost’s plans come in three packages: Shared Starter, DreamPress, and VPS Basic. The Shared Starter, which is the most straightforward plan, starts at $2.59 per month. Users get a single website along with a free domain, unlimited traffic, unmetered bandwidth, and a free SSL certificate.
The DreamPress and VPS Basic expand on these offerings, and retail at $16.95 and $13.75 per month, respectively. The most notable upgrades are more SSD storage, unlimited websites, and one-click staging. It is worth noting that the listed prices are for the annual plans—the monthly costs for Shared starter, DreamPress, and VPS Basic are $4.95, $19.95, and $15.00, respectively.
Similar to its competitor, Bluehost provides its customers with the four distinct plans: Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro. The Basic Plan comes with a single website, 50 gigabytes of web space, unmetered bandwidth, and a free SSL certificate. Users also have the benefit of five email accounts and a free domain.
Plus and Choice Plus each cost $5.45 per month. Both come with unlimited websites, unmetered web space, unlimited parked and sub-domains, and unlimited email accounts and storage. Choice Plus has a competitive edge as it provides additional features, such as domain privacy and CodeGuard Basic.
Support – DreamHost Wins
Typically, the world of web hosting is not the high-water mark when it comes to amazing customer service. DreamHost is above average, though, with good (but not great) customer service reviews. Users have the benefit of “24/7 in-house support,” though getting in touch with someone is not always as easy as it should be.
The limits of the live chat support may diminish the luster, but customer reviews don’t seem to show it. It is worth noting that DreamHost does offer a sizeable money-back guarantee, which runs for an arbitrary 97 days.
Bluehost, on the other hand, goes all out when it comes to prized technical support. Users can get in touch with one of their experts via live chat, email ticket support, or by phone. Once you are connected, you can expect fast and friendly service, as well as a likely resolution to your problem or query.
Despite the full range of customer support features, Bluehost did not fare quite as well in its user reviews. They had generally mixed reviews about the quality of its technical support.
Speed – Bluehost Wins
The performance and speed are two significant factors when it comes to the usability of a website for visitors. DreamHost provides a respectable 99.96% uptime, which equates to three and a half hours of downtime per year. They also have an uptime guarantee, which compensates users for any downtime experienced during the year.
DreamHost fared well in the speed category, too. Their average page load time was around 720ms, which they have maintained consistently over the past two years. They even had loading times in the upper 500ms range as of mid-2018, thanks to new data centers on both US coasts.
Spoiler alert—Bluehost elbows out DreamHost in both performance and speed. Their 99.99% uptime is one of the highest tested in the industry. In 2018, they posted nine flawless months of uptime to the satisfaction of Bluehost users across the world.
Bluehost currently has its primary and secondary data centers in Provo and Orem, UT. Furthermore, they sport one of the quickest page load times at 400ms. No matter the source you analyze for web hosting speeds, you can expect Bluehost to be comfortably in the top five in the industry.
While both work for US based websites, if you need web hosting services for Australia, or even the UK, you might want to look for alternatives like SiteGround or A2 Hosting, as they have data centers on different continents.
Ease of Use – It’s a Tie
One of the significant differences between DreamHost and Bluehost is their control panels. DreamHost does not offer cPanel, which has effectively become the industry standard. Instead, they offer users a customized control panel, which is fine for beginners but may frustrate webmasters and designers.
DreamHost does offer Remixer, which provides professional-grade templates to novice users. The building interface is easy to understand as the themes are responsive and plug-ins are abundant. Advanced users can access the HTML code and use Markdown to add their personal touches.
Bluehost is hard to beat when it comes to ease of use, thanks to its drag-and-drop features. Users can build their website with WordPress, Weebly, goMobi, or another site builder. Their consummate customer service, video tutorials, and knowledge center provide everything you need to create a successful website.
Conclusion – Bluehost Wins
The fight for the crown between these two competitors came down to a photo finish. Despite inferior customer reviews, we are going to declare Bluehost the winner. The affordable plans come with all the features, performance, and technical support you need to make your website building a satisfying experience.
Bluehost has relentlessly proven why it has staying power among the best companies in the web hosting industry. That said, we don’t take the all-around value and hosting versatility of DreamHost for granted. It may even be the option for you if you want the slightly lower prices with an extended money-back guarantee.