COMPARISON 26 minutes

DreamHost vs. InMotion Hosting

Last updated: Author Scott Whatley

InMotion vs. DreamHost? Well, you're at the right place. Today, we'll be looking at these two hosting companies to find out exactly which host is the best for you.

How would we be doing this? Well, we did the only logical thing: we bought plans from both hosts, and we compared our experience based on important metrics like speed, uptime, pricing and customer support. Don't worry, we won't just be relying on first-hand knowledge for this comparison – we've also done a ton of research, so you know whatever information you get is correct.

At the end of our comparison, we'll give a final verdict on which host we think offers a better deal. You may choose to agree or disagree with us, but the important thing is that you'll have the proper information to come to an informed decision on the host to go with.

Overview

InMotion isn't your regular hosting company. The company is employee-operated and was founded way back in 2001. Today, the company has grown from humble beginnings to have over 300,000 domains hosted on its servers.

DreamHost, on the hand, is more like the regular hosting company. Founded in 1996 by Dallas Bethune, Josh Jones, Michael Rodriguez and Sage Weil, the company has grown to become one of the biggest names in hosting today. The company is now owned by New Dreams Network and has over 400,000 customers.

In terms of business model, DreamHost and InMotion aren't that different. The two companies offer Shared hosting services at really cheap prices and target small businesses and blogs.

That is certainly not all though.

InMotion vs. DreamHost: Popularity

In terms of popularity, neither of these hosts are very popular. However, if we had to choose one host that has something resembling a household name, we would go with DreamHost in a heartbeat. With over 400,000 customers, DreamHost is certainly more popular than InMotion.

In terms of performance, we've discovered that popular hosting providers often have a great marketing strategy and not necessarily great value for money. So we do not care about popularity, and you shouldn't either.

InMotion vs. DreamHost: Performance

This is one of the most important metrics that should be used to measure hosting company. We'll be measuring performance using speed and uptime.

Speed

Speed is such a fickle metric because so many things affect the eventual load speed and response times that your site experiences. However, of these many factors, two stand out. Their CDN and the spread of the data centres

CDN

CDN means Content Delivery Network and they help your site achieve faster load and response time using proxy servers and cached versions of your site. Unfortunately, InMotion doesn't come with CDN included. However, if you want CDN, InMotion has a handy article on how to add Cloudflare to your site.

DreamHost comes with CDN included, however, you'll have to configure it yourself through the cPanel.

Data Centres

The more spread out the data centres of a host, the quicker the content of your site will be able to reach visitors. Therefore companies with data centres that spread across continents are nine out of ten times faster than hosts that don't have.

While InMotion doesn't have data centres outside America, they manage to have redundant and climate-controlled centres on both the east and west coast. It is the same for DreamHost as well – their data centres are only located within the United States. We could not find the locations of all DreamHost's data centres, but we do know that they have one in Virginia and another in California.

Now that we are done with the preliminaries, let's get to our speed test.

Speed Test

The first thing we tested for was TTFB. This measure just how responsive a site is. To test this, we tested speed from multiple locations around the globe.  Afterwards, we collated our results and calculated an average. This gives you a rough idea of just how fast your site will be.

LocationInMotionDreamHost
Mumbai.500ms901ms
New York.89ms228ms
Sydney341ms355ms
Virginia221ms189ms.
Los Angeles291ms285ms
Chicago98ms465ms
London258ms429ms
Vancouver339ms307ms
Singapore298ms431ms
Amsterdam438ms391ms

A total aggregate of our tests showed InMotion far ahead of DreamHost with a 379ms average response time while DreamHost came in with a decent response time of 490ms.

Page Load Speed Test

LocationInMotionDreamHost
Mumbai.1.4 secs1.8 secs
New York.678ms798ms
Bangladesh.1.6 secs1.8 secs
Sydney6711ms785ms
Virginia821ms789ms.
Los Angeles721ms685ms
Chicago698ms815ms
London658ms829ms
Vancouver679ms707ms
Singapore708ms731ms
Amsterdam868ms891ms

Page load speed had a far more telling difference, with InMotion coming in with 710ms average load speed and DreamHost getting a 968ms average page load speed. As you can see, DreamHost is much slower in places like Mumbai and Bangladesh, and that is something that you have to take into consideration when choosing a host. Which region does the core of your customers/readers reside and how well does your potential host perform in that region?

Load Impact Test

Asides our speed test, we also tried to check how well the hosts would perform under high traffic. We sent about a hundred virtual users to our sites on the servers of both hosts and discovered that InMotion was far more stable during high traffic than DreamHost.

(Graph showing InMotion performing better than DreamHost).

Uptime

Uptime is important because you don't purchase a hosting plan because you want your site up some of the time, you do so because you want it up all of the time.

We ran an uptime test using Pingdom on DreamHost and InMotion and here are our results. Our test was over a four-month period.

Month.InMotionDreamHost
December.99.98%.99.99%
November.99.97%.99.97%
October.99.91%.1
September99.99%.1

October wasn't a great month for InMotion as our site was down for 0.9% of the time. Overall, DreamHost managed to score a better uptime than InMotion with a 99.99% uptime over our testing period. InMotion managed an average 99.96% uptime – decent but not fantastic.

Uptime Guarantee

Uptime is notorious for being particularly fickle. Look at InMotion's September performance for example. A 99.99% uptime is impressive, but the very next month, it got as bad as 99.91%. The next month it managed to bounce back to 99.97%.

What's the point? Any host can suddenly come down with a terrible downtime. If that happens, what are your options?

DreamHost has an impressive 100% uptime guarantee. For each hour of downtime that you get, you will receive a day of free hosting. InMotion's 99.9% uptime guarantee isn't that bad as well. If uptime gets lower than this, InMotion will reimburse you with a free month of hosting.

InMotion vs. DreamHost: Ease Of Use

The best hosts are easy to use. They offer loads of freebies and have really intuitive interfaces. Let's see how easy to use DreamHost and InMotion are.

Sign In Process

Signing in and paying for our DreamHost account was long and complicated. We've signed up for many hosting services and DreamHost had one of the hardest processes we've ever gone through. Sign-up should certainly be easier.  Asides the long sign-up process, we were offered a lot of add-ons (many of which were unnecessary) at checkout.

It was the same with InMotion – the sign-up process was long and before we had access to our account we had to go through a lengthy verification process.

Interface

We've used a lot of interfaces. Some are terrible, some are good, some are great and some are rather uninspiring. But for the most part, the best interfaces we've used have been based on cPanel. That's why, as a rule, we prefer either cPanel or Plesk based interfaces.

InMotion uses cPanel, which is great. While their version of cPanel isn't as heavily customised as Bluehost, it still offered us an easy and intuitive experience. (You can check out our Bluehost vs. InMotion comparison if you want). DreamHost, on the other hand, makes use of an inbuilt control panel that can be great to use if you're new to hosting but can be a nightmare if you're not.

One example of the frustration that can come with DreamHost's panel is this; The interface doesn't offer an automated way to import .tar.gz files. This means that if you're migrating your cPanel site from another provider to DreamHost, you'll have to do it manually through MySQL and FTP.

Take it from us, that's a process you don't want to go through.

Free Domains

Today, almost all hosting providers offer free domains upon sign-up. This is because most hosting companies double as domain registration companies. What of InMotion and DreamHost, do they offer free domains on sign-up?

Yes, the two hosts offer new users a free domain for a year upon registration. You must note that although the free domain is, free, a fee equivalent to the price of a year's domain registration would be deducted if you decide to cancel your plan and ask for a refund.

Site Migration

This is a service that we believe that all hosts should offer. InMotion agrees too and offers a free site migration service.

InMotion Site Migration

InMotion will migrate accounts that have 3 or fewer databases and/or websites for free. If your account has more than that number of databases and/or websites, you can still migrate your site. The only problem is that you will be charged $10 per item transferred. This is a pretty good deal, and Flywheel is the only host that we can think of that offers a better deal. You can check out our Flywheel vs. InMotion comparison here if you'd like.

DreamHost Site Migration

DreamHost doesn't offer such free services (which is particularly difficult because they don't have cPanel so you go through a lot more stress trying to migrate your site.). To transfer a site to DreamHost, you'll be charged $99. However, you should note that WordPress site transfers to DreamPress (that is DreamHost's WordPress management platform) are free of charge.

Apps Integration, Marketplace and one-click installation.

Here is where DreamHost and InMotion are mostly similar. The two platforms offer one-click installation for popular apps like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. InMotion even gives you the option, at checkout, to have your favourite app installed before you get access to your cPanel. That's pretty neat.

There is a marketplace where you can purchase plug-ins, themes, templates and even professional services to optimize your site how you deem fit on both hosts.

Website Builders

If you don't plan on using WordPress or other content management systems and would like to create your own site, you should be interested in the website builders offered by the companies we're comparing.

DreamHost website Builder

Unlike other hosts (like Bluehost, for example) who make use of third party site builders like Weebly,  DreamHost has an inbuilt website builder called the Remixer. One cool thing about the Remixer is that it is free for the first fourteen days so you know exactly what you're getting into.

We tried the Remixer out and while it doesn't look like most website builders (for example, it doesn't have drag and drop functionality), it is still pretty decent. However, people who like having a lot of control over the final look of their site may have problems with the builder because users have very limited controls. For example, you cannot add background images, shadows or animations through the editor. Additionally, you cannot resize or reorder photos.

We understand that this makes things easier for the inexperienced user, but it also makes things difficult for the experienced user.

InMotion website Builder

Like DreamHost, InMotion has a website creator called BoldGrid (also called Website Creator). The app has two versions, the free one, and of course the paid one.. For the paid option, you'll have to pay about $15 per month (if you're paying annually) or $20 per month if you're paying per month.

So what is the difference between the paid and free versions? Well, the free option can only support a single site while the paid option can support unlimited websites. It's also important to note that websites created with the paid option will not display BoldGrid branding.

We used BoldGrid and we didn't have a lot of complaints. It's great for inexperienced and experienced users and it is based on WordPress so it is quite reliable. Importantly, BoldGrid offers a staging plug-in where you can check out your site, experiment, check out settings and so much more without it affecting the live version of the site.

So which website builder would we choose between the Remixer and BoldGrid if we absolutely had to choose one? We'd go with BoldGrid, no doubt.

Staging Environments

Staging environments are great things, as they can help you develop your site better and smarter.

InMotion has the capability to have multiple servers where you can develop a test site before taking it live. Users can easily create a staging site using the Softaculous installer on their cPanel on all hosting plans. Additionally, you can use the staging plug-in from BoldGrid to create a staging site if you're developing a site on WordPress.

DreamHost comes with already installed staging sites on all shared hosting plans except the Starter plan. All Managed WordPress Hosting plans come with a staging site.

InMotion vs. DreamHost: Money-back Guarantee

One thing about a lot of hosting companies is their tendency to use low prices to trap you into paying for a long term plan.

This means that you get to pay a lot of money upfront. However, what if something comes up and you have to cancel your plan? What if you're not happy with the service being rendered? What happens to your money then?

DreamHost has one of the longest money-back guarantees that we've ever seen, with a 97-day money-back period. InMotion also has an incredible money-back guarantee period, with a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Limitations

The refund that you get after the cancellation of your plan does not include services that are not connected to basic hosting services. For example, any add-ons that you purchase during checkout are non-refundable. Additionally, about $15 will be deducted from your refund if you've received a free domain. You will be free to continue to use the domain for the remainder of the registration period (which is usually a year).

InMotion vs. DreamHost: Customer Service Support

Quality of customer support is very important, especially if you're inexperienced. You want customer support staff that are easy to reach and that will answer your questions easily. You certainly don't want to start hunting around the internet looking for solutions that could easily be gotten from customer support.

Customer Support Channels

InMotion and DreamHost have roughly the same customer support channels. The two hosts have a live chat channel and a ticketing system, while InMotion is the only one with a phone support system. All channels are open 24/7,  except for DreamHost's live chat channel.

Customer Support Test

To check out the availability and efficiency of the customer support staff of InMotion and DreamHost we tried to connect to the support staff of each host several times throughout our uptime testing period (that's four months).

InMotion Customer Service Support

We tried to connect to an InMotion live representative many times and we never had to wait for more than two minutes before we had a live rep to speak to. If you have experience with a lot of hosting companies, you'll know that an average wait time of 2 minutes is quite rare.

InMotion doesn't only have a great wait time. They also have amazing support. All our answers were answered promptly and we were never transferred to another rep or given a link to a knowledge base article – something that doesn't happen often.  It was more of the same with phone support and all our tickets were returned promptly within 24 hours.

DreamHost Customer Service Support

DreamHost customer support was disappointing, to say the least. The first thing that we noticed was that customer service (at least on the live chat channel) wasn't 24/7. There were times we connected and got this message.

(show screenshot of chat with bot saying that the sales team is only available from Monday to Friday, 8-4 pm PT).

However, when we did connect to live support (wait time was an average of 5+ minutes), we were often left on hold. While the reps that we spoke to were friendly enough, our questions were left unanswered too often.  The ticketing channel proved to be more effective, though, as tickets were returned in 24 hours.

Knowledgebase

DreamHost and InMotion both have great knowledgebases where you can find tutorials and articles on almost any issue that concerns hosting. That will prove to be a great help to DreamHost customers if live reps aren't able to solve their problems.

InMotion vs. DreamHost: Security

Putting anything online, especially a website, puts you at risk of getting your information in the wrong hands. We'll be looking at how these hosts protect the interests of their customers – if they do at all.

SSL Certificate

In recent times, thanks to companies like Let's Encrypt, hosts have been able to offer free SSL certificates to customers. However, not all hosts do this. A good example is GoDaddy – and we have a great article on how well GoDaddy compares to DreamHost.

Unlike GoDaddy, both InMotion and DreamHost offer free SSL certificates on all hosting plans.

Backups

What if something happens to your site? What happens then? Is there a backup policy that protects your website?

Here is where DreamHost shines. There's a one-click backup option on their cPanel that allows customers to control their backups and control how and when they back up their files.

InMotion has an exclusive Backup manager plug-in that allows users to create an automated backup system for themselves. You can also restore your site through this plug-in.

Both options are absolutely free.

Site Security

DreamHost Security

For site security, DreamHost makes use of Modsecurity, which is a web application firewall that works by blocking malicious HTTP requests. Some of the attacks that Modsecurity blocks are Cross-site scripting, Remote executioner, Remote file inclusion, Brute force attempts, and SQL injection-based attacks. Importantly, this security cover is free. A lot of other hosts would much rather sell it to you as an add-on.

InMotion Security

InMotion makes use of Corero, an anti-DDoS system to protect its servers from DDOS attacks. Corero protects InMotion servers using a proprietary Smartwall Threat Defense System. It is quite a sophisticated system, and customers can rest easy assured that they have the best protection guarding their site.

InMotion vs. DreamHost: Pricing

This is about value for money, that is why very cheap hosts like Namecheap (the clue is in the name) have lost this section to far more expensive options like WP Engine or SiteGround.

You can check out our Namecheap vs. SiteGround comparison to see exactly how this went down.

Shared Hosting Comparison

We'll be comparing the shared hosting plans of both hosts. DreamHost has two tiers of shared hosting plans which are the Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited plans. InMotion has three tiers of shared hosting plans which are the Launch, Power and Pro plans.

Basic Plan Comparison: Shared Starter vs. Launch plan

DreamHost's basic plan is the Shared Starter plan and it comes with one website, a free domain, unlimited traffic (DreamHost, unlike other hosts, doesn't track bandwidth or traffic, so users are free to expand as much as possible), free WordPress site builder, pre-installed WordPress, and free SSL certificate. The plan only costs $2.59 per month (this price only applies to three-year plans. Monthly/renewal plans cost $4.95 per month).

At $2.59 per month, we weren't expecting so much. But the fact that the plan comes with unlimited traffic is a huge bonus. However, if you look at it through the fact that the renewal fee is $4.95, it doesn't look so much as a bonus anymore – but that takes nothing away from the quality of the deal. As far as starting deals go, DreamHost's Shared Starter plan is decent.

InMotion's basic shared hosting plan is the Launch plan and it comes with a free domain, two websites, unlimited disk space and bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, 6 parked domains, 25 subdomains and unlimited emails. The plan costs $3.99 per month if you're paying for two years in advance and $7.99 when you choose to renew your plan.

This plan is tricky because it comes with two websites and unlimited disk space and traffic, therefore it completely leaves the Shared Starter plan from DreamHost in the dust. At $3.99 this plan represents great value for money. Even at $7.99, it still costs less than double the renewal price of the Shared Starter plan. It is the better deal of the lot.

InMotion Launch Dreamhost shared starter
Websites21
SSD StorageUnlimited50GB
BandwidthUnlimitedUnlimited
SSL CertificateYes(Free)Available
PerformanceStandardStandard
Domain includedYes(Free)Yes
Anti SpamYes(Free)Yes $3.00/month
Domain Privacy$12.99Yes(Free)
Site backupDaily (free)Automated Daily
Dedicated IP$4.00/monthUnique IP
Starting from$3.99$2.59

High Tier Hosting comparison; Shared Unlimited vs. Power and Pro Plans

Here we'll be comparing two of InMotion's hosting plans to DreamHost's Shared Unlimited plan. That's because the Power and The Pro plans – these are InMotion's plans, come with multiple websites, unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth and that is what constitutes a top tier plan in the books of most hosting providers.

The Power plan, from InMotion, comes with all the features of the Launch plan (which are a free domain, unlimited disk space and bandwidth, and a free SSL certificate) plus a capacity for six websites. It also comes with 2× the performance of the Launch plan. The plan costs $5.99 per month for an initial two-year deal and renewal costs $9.99 per month.

At this price, the Power plan looks like a very decent deal, even if the renewal fee jumps more than 70% from the original price.

The Shared Unlimited plan of DreamHost comes with all the features of the basic DreamHost plan (which is the Shared Starter package) plus unlimited websites and unlimited emails. It costs $5.95 per month for a one-time annual fee and it costs $10.95 for renewals.

At a renewal price of $10.95 and with unlimited websites, the Shared Unlimited plan blows the Power plan away. But does it blow the Pro plan of InMotion away?

The Pro plan comes with all the features of the Launch plan (which are a free domain, unlimited disk space and bandwidth, and a free SSL certificate) plus unlimited websites, 4× the performance of the Launch plan, Pro-level support, and a security suite (these are security add-ons). The Pro plan is way more expensive than the Shared Unlimited plan though and costs just about  $13.99 if you're paying for the first two years upfront. The renewal price is $15.99.

The Pro plan, in the face of the Shared Unlimited plan with similar specs, cannot justify its price. It would be wise to go for the Shared Unlimited plan over the Pro plan. However, InMotion's Power plan looks like the better option if you don't plan on hosting more than six sites. Overall, InMotion's shared hosting plans offer better value than DreamHost's plans.

InMotion PowerInMotion ProDreamhost shared unlimited
Websites6UnlimitedUnlimited
SSD StorageUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
BandwidthUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
SSL CertificateYes(Free)Yes(Free)Pre-installed
Performance2xPerformance4xPerformanceStandard
Domain includedYes(Free)Yes(Free)Yes
Anti SpamYes(Free)Yes(Free)Yes $3.00/month
Domain Privacy$12.99$12.99Yes(Free)
Site backupDaily (free)Daily (free)Automated Daily
Dedicated IP$4.00/month$4.00/monthUnique IP
Starting from$5.99$13.99$4.95

WordPress Hosting Plan comparison

DreamHost has three WordPress plans and they are the DreamPress, DreamPress Plus and DreamPress Pro plans. InMotion also has three plans and they are the WP-1000S, WP-2000S and WP-3000S plans.

Basic Plan comparison.

The DreamPress plan comes with a single WordPress site, 30 GB SSD storage, a free domain included unmetered bandwidth and capacity for a hundred thousand visitors per month. The plan costs $16.95 annually and costs $19.75 upon renewal.

Compared to this, the WP-1000S plan comes with a free domain, a single website, 40GB SSD storage, unlimited email accounts and the BoldGrid website builder. The plan costs $4.99 ($7.99 for renewal).

The basic plans of both hosts can only be compared on the basis of how many websites that they allow as they are far apart in capacity and price. Regardless, the DreamPress plan should be coming with more than one site for $16.95.

InMotion WP-1000SDreamPress
Websites11
SSD Storage40GB30GB
Monthly Visitors20.000100.000
SSL CertificateYesYes
PerformanceStandardBuilt-in caching
Domain includedYesYes
Anti SpamYesYes
Domain Privacy$12.99Free
SitebackupStandardAutomatic
Dedicated IPNoNo
Starting from$4.99$16.95

Medium Hosting Plan Comparison

The WP-2000S plan comes with two websites, a single domain, 80GB of SSD storage, unlimited email accounts, an included staging environment, BoldGrid, and it is suitable for fifty thousand monthly visitors. The plan costs $7.99 and renews at $10.99.

Compared to that, the DreamPress Plus plan comes with a single WordPress site, a capacity for three hundred thousand visitors, 60GB of storage, an included free domain and unmetered bandwidth. The plan costs $24.95 for the first annual payment and renews at $29.95 per month.

Although the DreamPress Plus plan triples the capacity of the DreamPress plan, it still comes with only one website. At $24.95, customers should be getting more than a single website. Even the  WP-2000S plan comes with more than one website.

InMotion WP-2000SDreamPress Plus
Websites21
SSD Storage80GB60GB
Monthly Visitors50.000300.000
SSL CertificateYesYes
PerformanceStandardBuilt-in caching
Domain includedYesYes
Anti SpamYesYes
Domain Privacy$12.99Free
SitebackupAutomaticAutomatic
Dedicated IPNoNo
Starting from$7.99$24.95

High Tier Plan Comparison

The DreamPress Pro plan comes with a single WordPress site + staging site, 120 GB of SSD storage, over a million visits per month, free domain, and unmetered bandwidth. The plan costs $71.95 per month for the first annual plan and costs $79.95 per month for renewal.

At this point, it's safe to say that the DreamPress plans aren't for bloggers or developers who want to develop multiple websites. It is for the biggest WordPress sites that are only focused on making content. Even at that, the $71.95 plan remains a tough sell.

The WP-3000S plan comes with 3 websites, is suitable for about 120,000 visits per month, a free domain and all the other features of the WP-2000S plans. This plan costs $10.99 for the first annual payment and costs $13.99 upon renewal.

Interestingly, in terms of the capacity of visits, the WP-3000S is the only plan that compares with DreamHost's Managed WordPress cheapest plan which is the DreamPress plan. Importantly, the WP-3000S plan costs less than the DreamPress plan despite having three websites and even more capacity for visitors. That should tell you a thing or two about the value offered by InMotion and DreamHost.

InMotion WP-3000SDreamPress Pro
Websites31
SSD Storage120GB120GB
Monthly Visitors125.0001.000.000
SSL CertificateYesYes
PerformanceDedicated Opcode CacheBuilt-in caching
Domain includedYesYes
Anti SpamYesYes
Domain Privacy$12.99Free
SitebackupAutomaticAutomatic
Dedicated IPNoNo
Starting from$10.99$71.95$

InMotion vs. DreamHost: Major Differences

  • DreamHost has better uptime than InMotion
  • InMotion is faster than DreamHost
  • DreamHost has a 97-day money-back policy while InMotion has a 90-day money-back policy.
  • InMotion offers free site migration while DreamHost doesn't
  • InMotion makes use of green data centres, while DreamHost doesn't
  • InMotion uses cPanel, while DreamHost doesn't
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