Bluehost vs. DreamHost
Two outstanding web hosts, both officially recommended by the WordPress foundation, go head to head in this matchup. From pricing to performance, customer support, ease of use, security, and more, I left no stone unturned. Below, you’ll find all the information you need to decide whether Bluehost or DreamHost is right for you.
Bluehost vs. DreamHost is a tough one to call. The two hosts – both of which are recommended by the WordPress foundation – have a lot in common, and this makes it particularly difficult to choose between them.
That said, there are a few important differences. To settle the dispute between Bluehost and DreamHost, I signed up with both services and rated them according to performance, ease of use, features, pricing, and more. Across almost all categories, the matchup was tight, and each provider had its ups and downs.
To give you just one example, I’ve noticed that Bluehost is more versatile and that it offers more tools to help beginners get started. But DreamHost has its own advantages, including a super useful website builder for WordPress users and a whopping 90-day money-back guarantee.
So, should you go with Bluehost or DreamHost? Which of these two hosts is right for you? Let’s find out.
When it comes to web hosting, it’s never worth it to compromise on performance. Users don’t care about the features that come with your web hosting plan. They don’t care whether you have a decent control panel or whether you use a website builder. They just want your website to load quickly. If it doesn’t, they move on.
Where do these users go? Mostly likely, they switch over to your competitors.
A slow website will cost you more than you might think, and not just in terms of lost conversions and sales. Search engines will also notice that your content isn’t loading fast enough and that users tend to bounce off your pages. Once this happens, you’ll start to rank lower in SERPs (search engine results pages), and this can take months, not to mention a lot of money, to fix.
So, when it comes to DreamHost vs. Bluehost, which provider is faster and more reliable? I’ve already run all the tests so that you don’t have to. You can check out our hosting review and testing process here if you want to learn more about how it works.
Bluehost vs. DreamHost: Server Infrastructure
Let’s start with the good news. Both Bluehost and DreamHost constantly update their servers with the latest technologies and offer SSD storage on all plans. This might not seem like an important detail, but SSDs are actually up to 20 times faster than more traditional HDDs, so it’s a big plus.
There are some differences, though. For instance, Bluehost has Cloudflare CDN integrated straight into the dashboard, so you can activate it with just a few clicks. This can improve your website’s performance significantly, especially if you have visitors from around the world. DreamHost, on the other hand, doesn’t have a CDN preinstalled.
And there’s one other essential difference between the two hosts in terms of server infrastructure. DreamHost still uses the Apache webserver on its shared hosting plans, which isn’t terrible, but isn’t optimal either. You can use a superior web server like Nginx, but only if you opt for VPS hosting or a dedicated server, and you install it yourself.
With Bluehost, things are a bit simpler. By default, Bluehost uses a customized Apache web server with Nginx set up as a reverse proxy. This offsets many of the shortcomings of Apache, since Nginx acts as a sort of intermediary between incoming traffic and the backend server. In short, this setup is faster and more stable. At least theoretically.
Are speed and stability equally important to you? Bluehost’s server infrastructure is built to deliver both, even during peak traffic.
But how did the two hosts actually perform during testing? Let’s take a look.
Full Page Load Time
To properly compare Bluehost and DreamHost, I signed up for their cheapest shared hosting plans and created a typical WordPress website on both platforms. I included a landing page, a few pictures, a contact form, and some other features that you might find on any regular website. Then, I tested the two sites for their performance and compiled the results.
Straight out of the gate, Bluehost had fantastic loading speeds that averaged no more than 1 second. Sure, my website was a simple one, but the results were still impressive. A more complex site will likely take longer to load, but you’ll still be well under the 2 seconds mark, which is what Google recommends.
What came as a surprise was DreamHost’s score, which was even better. Not by much, mind you, but the website took just under 1 second to load. An outstanding result, by all standards. Even more impressive is the fact that DreamHost is one of the only Bluehost alternatives to achieve such a great score during our testing.
So, what conclusions can we draw from this? When it comes to full page load time, both Bluehost and DreamHost do exceptionally well. Regardless of whether you choose one or the other, your site is likely to load very quickly for visitors from around the world.
Time to First Byte (TTFB)
I got similar results when I tested the “time to first byte” for both hosts. Unlike the full page load time, TTFB shows us how long it takes for the server to start responding to a user’s request. It’s not as meaningful a metric, but it’s still pretty important, especially for search engines like Google.
During this benchmark, Bluehost got a perfect score of 100. This means that its TTFP was very low and that the server was able to quickly respond to my HTTPS requests. It's also interesting to note that Bluehost's performance seems to be constantly improving. We ran a similar test a while back for our Bluehost vs WordPress comparison where the former only managed a score of 99. Naturally, that was still an excellent result but it just goes to show that Bluehost is doing its best to squeeze every bit of performance out of its servers.
Once again, DreamHost did a little better and scored a perfect 100. I’ve rarely seen such a great result from a shared web host, which tells me that DreamHost’s servers are very well optimized.
So far, so good. The two hosts have very similar results in terms of performance, so they’re likely to deliver your website to visitors with equal speed. But there was one benchmark where DreamHost fell behind, and it had a lot to do with the web server used by this provider.
Load Impact Test
Most speed tests (including the two above) measure how long it takes for a website to be delivered to a single visitor. When I tested how well my website would perform under pressure (i.e. when accessed by hundreds of users simultaneously), Bluehost continued to do well, but DreamHost couldn’t quite keep up.
As you can see, Bluehost continued to have a decent average page load time of 3.7 seconds even when I bombarded it with requests. DreamHost, on the other hand, did rather poorly, with an average page load time of 9.37 seconds.
This makes sense, considering that DreamHost’s shared hosting plans are based entirely on Apache, and this web server is not as stable under pressure. Bluehost, on the other hand, has Nginx set up as a reverse proxy, which allows it to handle considerably more requests at the same time.
Even so, if you just want a simple website or a small eCommerce store, you should be fine with either DreamHost or Bluehost. If you expect your website to grow quickly or if your current website sees a lot of traffic, Bluehost is a slightly better choice.
In web hosting, uptime is just as important as speed. After all, an eCommerce store can lose dozens or even hundreds of potential customers for every minute it’s offline. Even if you just want to host a regular website, you still want it to be up and running at all times in order to build up your brand’s authority.
Luckily, both Bluehost and DreamHost did very well in this category. I’ve monitored the two providers over the course of several months and got a stellar, near-perfect 99.987% uptime with Bluehost versus 99.978% uptime with DreamHost. Both of these results are well over the industry average, so I can’t complain.
I did, however, have higher expectations for DreamHost, a provider that advertises a 100% uptime guarantee on its website. Still, I got compensated for the time when my website was offline, which is more than I can say for Bluehost.
DreamHost vs. Bluehost: Which Has Better Performance?
To be perfectly honest, the difference between Bluehost and DreamHost is very small in terms of performance. Yes, DreamHost is slightly faster, but Bluehost is more stable during traffic spikes and has better uptime. All in all, both providers are more than capable to deliver excellent performance. There's a good reason why DreamHost and Bluehost both made it on our list of top 10 best shared hosting providers of 2020.
That said, if I had to call a winner, I’d go with Bluehost. Especially if you have a website with higher traffic, Bluehost is more likely to handle the extra pressure and give you better results in the long run. Plus, if you ever need more power, you can always upgrade to a better shared hosting plan or even a VPS.
Pricing and Value
When you compare them side-by-side, Bluehost and DreamHost have very similar prices, but I dug a little deeper to find out whether one of the two gives you more value for your money. Resources like storage space and bandwidth are important, of course, but it’s the additional ease-of-use and performance features that make the real difference.
As for Dreamhost versus Bluehost, there’s pros and cons with both. Since most website owners start with an affordable plan, let’s take a closer look at what these two hosts have to offer in terms of shared hosting.
Bluehost Basic vs. DreamHost Shared Starter
At $2.95 per month (with this special offer), Bluehost’s Basic plan is just slightly more expensive than DreamHost’s Shared Starter. You can host one website, and you get 50GB of SSD storage, as well as unlimited bandwidth. This is a generous plan, if I’ve ever seen one. Since SSL certificates are also included, you basically have everything you need to build, secure, and host a simple website.
Plus, you get 5 email addresses and your domain is free for the first year so long as you buy at least one year of hosting. Bluehost even throws in free access to Cloudflare CDN, so it’s super easy to improve your website’s performance for visitors from around the world.
DreamHost’s Shared Starter might be $0.4 cheaper, which is why it ranked a bit higher on our list of best cheap hosting services, but before you get too excited, there are a few things you should know about it. As far as resources go, DreamHost’s plan is just as advantageous. You get one website, 50GB of storage, and unlimited bandwidth. There’s also a free domain name for one year if you opt for a yearly plan. But…
If you want a professional email address @yourdomain, you actually have to pay for it. In fact, DreamHost will ask you for $1.67 per month for every email box you use, which will almost double your total cost. Sure, you can use a free email service like Zoho instead, but it won’t be as convenient as handling your hosting and email in one place.
Also, Bluehost gives you the cPanel control panel on all plans, so it’s super easy to manage your websites, domains, and other hosting-related services – no coding skills required. Softaculous is included too, which means that you can install hundreds of popular CMS like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal with just a couple of clicks.
Meanwhile, DreamHost has its own control panel, and while many of the same functions are present, some important ones are missing. To give you just one example, there is a one-click installer for WordPress, but if you want to work with any other CMS, you have to install it manually, using Linux command lines.
If, for instance, you want to create an online store using Magento, you have to set it up yourself. DreamHost’s knowledge base has a few tutorials on CMS installations, but to be honest, having to install a CMS manually is a major inconvenience. Most of the big names in the industry offer one-click installations for dozens, if not hundreds of scripts, and DreamHost should too.
Check out our list of best Magento hosting services if you're looking for companies that have better support for the platform than either DreamHost or Bluehost.
Bluehost Plus vs. DreamHost Shared Unlimited
Compared to the Basic plan, Bluehost’s Plus package is a bit more expensive, but the upgrade is more than worth it. For $4.95 per month, you get unlimited websites and domains, storage space, bandwidth, and email. You also get spam protection for your domain, and $200 worth of advertising credits to promote your business.
DreamHost’s Shared Unlimited plan is almost identical. It also costs $4.95 and it comes with unlimited websites and resources. Plus, you get free email, which can save you a lot of money compared to the Shared Starter plan. That said, cPanel or Softaculous are still not included, which can be problematic if you want to use a CMS other than WordPress.
If you do opt for WordPress, then DreamHost has a slight edge over Bluehost because it throws in a free, premium website builder for this CMS. You can download BoldGrid (or a different site builder like Elementor) on Bluehost too, but you have to do it yourself.
More Power: Bluehost Choice Plus and Pro
If you’re wondering what can be better than unlimited websites and resources, you have to know that in a shared hosting environment, CPU and RAM are pretty scarce. Because multiple users are hosted on the same server, your website can get slowed down by others. Especially if other sites on the same server see a lot of traffic, your business or blog might take significantly longer to load.
Now, DreamHost only has two shared hosting plans – Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited. Unless you switch to a more expensive, managed WordPress plan, you can’t add more resources to your account for enhanced performance. With Bluehost, you can.
While the Choice Plus plan comes with standard CPU and RAM (plus domain privacy and automatic backups), Bluehost’s Pro plan is a much bigger upgrade. Aside from the fact that you get a dedicated IP to better secure your website and improve your SEO, you also gain access to an entirely different class of servers – with more computation resources and fewer neighbors.
If you think your website will develop fast or you already have a website with a decent amount of traffic, my recommendation is that you go with Bluehost’s Pro plan. It’s not as expensive as managed WordPress hosting, but it gives you better performance and more stability, so it has a clear edge over DreamHost’s two shared hosting plans.
Managed WordPress: WP Pro vs. DreamPress
I’ve mentioned before that both DreamHost and Bluehost are officially recommended by the WordPress foundation (alongside SiteGround, one of Bluehost's other main competitors). These plans are the reason why. If you’re serious about your WordPress website, you should opt for either a Bluehost WP Pro or a DreamHost DreamPress plan, depending on your needs.
What do these plans have in addition to standard shared hosting? For one, they include managed WordPress features such as a one-click installation of the CMS, automatic updates and backups, enhanced security, and preconfigured performance tools. The plans are definitely more expensive, but if you have a medium- to high-traffic WordPress website, the extra features are more than worth the cost.
As for which of the two hosts you should choose for a WordPress website, the matchup is actually very close. On the one hand, DreamHost has cheaper entry-level plans, and it gives you a WordPress website builder, as well as a Jetpack Professional license on the DreamPress Plus plan.
Jetpack is one of the best, most versatile plugins to use with WordPress. It includes several security tools like automatic backups, website statistics, caching, and even a CDN. It’s a premium service, so the fact that you get it for free with DreamPress Plus is a big advantage. You can learn more about DreamPress by reading our DreamHost review.
On the other hand, Bluehost WP Pro is slightly more expensive, but it gives you unlimited websites and storage space (neither of which are available with DreamHost). If you want to host more than one website with DreamHost, you have to buy separate accounts for each, which is super inconvenient, not to mention very costly.
Bluehost also has a Jetpack license included on most WP Pro plans, while the Grow and Scale packages come with additional SEO Tools and priority support. It’s a tough one to call in this category, but I’d say that between the unlimited websites, the free CDN, and the extra support, Bluehost gives you more value for your money overall.
Choosing a managed WordPress service can be tricky, but luckily there are plenty of other good options out there. Check out our list of best managed WordPress platforms if you're curious to see what other companies are offering in this department.
Which is Cheaper, Bluehost or DreamHost?
At a glance, DreamHost is slightly cheaper than Bluehost on most shared hosting and managed WordPress plans. That said, DreamHost will also make you pay for some of the features that Bluehost gives you for free. For example, if you go with the Starter Shared hosting plan, you have to pay extra for email, which is not the case with Bluehost’s cheapest plan.
Once you factor in these expenses, Bluehost is actually significantly cheaper. Since it’s also more versatile and stable than DreamHost, it’s safe to say that Bluehost gives you more bang for your buck.
Bluehost provides a high-performance, low-cost service that is ideal for beginners who are building their first website. Not sure whether it’s the right fit for you? Try it out for free for 30 days to see whether it meets your expectations.
Ease of Use
Long gone are the days when you needed to know web development (or hire a developer) in order to get online. The best web hosting services currently leading the industry make it super easy to set up, launch, and manage a website, which can help you cut down on costs and focus on your core business.
DreamHost is Slightly Better for WordPress
So, between Bluehost and DreamHost, which provider is more user-friendly? Well, it actually depends. If you want to build a WordPress website, DreamHost is just as easy to use as Bluehost. In fact, it might even have a slight edge since its custom control panel is more streamlined compared to cPanel, and a WordPress website builder is included on all plans.
Using BoldGrid, you can simply drag-and-drop elements onto a page. Then, you can use the same interface to customize these elements to reflect your brand. Dozens of ready-made themes are included, so it’s super easy to get started.
More Versatility with Bluehost
Bluehost also makes it very simple to install WordPress, but it doesn’t include a website builder by default. You can download the free version of BoldGrid, Elementor, Weebly, or any other similar tool from your WordPress dashboard, and the entire setup won’t take more than a few minutes. Nevertheless, you have to do this yourself, so you might say that as far as WordPress is concerned, DreamHost is a bit more user-friendly.
That said, if you want to use any other CMS to build your website, DreamHost is not a great choice. Unlike most other top hosts, DreamHost doesn’t have a one-click installer for other popular scripts like Drupal or Magento. If you want to use any of these, you have to set them up yourself using Linux command lines, and this is going to take both time and effort. It’s not impossible, but it’s not convenient, either.
Bluehost’s one-click installer includes hundreds of scripts, and not just CMS. You can add galleries, contact forms, forum boards, and tons of other widgets to your website with little to no effort.
Bluehost vs. DreamHost: Which Is More User-Friendly?
All in all, I’d say that Bluehost is easier to use, because no matter the CMS you choose, you don’t have to touch a line of code to make it work. Even if you opt for WordPress, DreamHost gives you no feature that you can’t quickly set up with Bluehost for free.
Want to learn more about Bluehost and its shared hosting plans? Jump over to our expert Bluehost rundown.
Bluehost and DreamHost have very similar features, but there are a few things that set them apart. When it comes to resources like storage space and bandwidth, you get pretty much the same amount with both hosts on equivalent plans. However, Bluehost gives you a few extra tools to work with, and most of them are included for free.
If you opt for a shared hosting or WP Pro plan with Bluehost, these are some of the features that you can expect:
- The ability to host more than one website (on most plans),
- A free domain for the first year (on all yearly plans),
- Free SSL certificates,
- Spam protection for your domain and email,
- Free access to a content delivery network (Cloudflare CDN) on all plans,
- A neat caching system that is integrated straight into your dashboard,
- A step-by-step checklist to launching your first website,
- A one-click installer for hundreds of CMS and scripts,
- Automatic website backups (on most plans),
- Marketing credits (on all plans except Basic).
- 30-Day money-back guarantee.
On the other hand, DreamHost is missing some of these essential features. Here’s what you get with a shared hosting or DreamPress plan:
- The ability to host a single website (on most plans apart from the Shared Unlimited),
- A free domain for the first year (on all yearly plans),
- Free SSL certificates,
- A one-click installer for WordPress,
- A website builder for WordPress,
- Free WordPress migrations (automated),
- Automatic website backups (on all DreamPress plans),
- Access to a content delivery network (only on DreamPress Plus and Pro),
- 97-Day money-back guarantee.
Aside from the preinstalled website builder and the generous money-back guarantee, DreamHost falls behind quickly when it comes to features. Most of the best tools – such as automatic backups, server-side caching, and a CDN – are locked behind the expensive DreamPress plans, which is not the case with Bluehost.
Customer support is an overlooked aspect of web hosting, but it’s as important as any other feature. When something goes wrong – and, trust me, something will eventually go wrong – will your host have your back? Will they be available for questions and able to provide assistance? That’s what I wanted to find out.
So, I’ve tested both Bluehost’s and DreamHost’s customer support on a number of different occasions while building my websites. The results were pretty surprising.
Bluehost Is Readily Available and Effective
Throughout my time with Bluehost, I was able to get in touch with a support agent at most times of the day. There’s 24/7 customer support through live chat, phone, and tickets, and it took no more than a few minutes for an agent to get back to me once I initiated a conversation.
The agents were all helpful and very polite, which I loved. Don’t expect extensive help with your WordPress setup or any other CMS, but if you have a basic issue regarding the platform or the one-click installer, customer support will quickly sort it out for you. In fact, one agent was even willing to install WordPress for me.
If you want advanced support, you can buy it as an add-on. BlueSky support – as Bluehost refers to it – includes further assistance with WordPress-related issues, as well as help with setting up your first website. It’s included for free in two of the more expensive WP Pro plans, but you can add it to any plan if you’re willing to pay extra. If you are, expect Bluehost to be one of the most beginner-friendly hosting services out there.
DreamHost Can Be Difficult to Reach in a Pinch
Unlike Bluehost, DreamHost doesn’t have 24/7 support for its shared hosting plans. There’s live chat and ticket support, but these are only available during working hours. If your website goes down in the middle of the night, you’ll have to wait for the next day before you can get in touch with an agent.
It’s also pretty difficult to get a hold of an agent from the control panel. There’s a Support button at the top of the screen, but instead of putting you in touch with a real person, the live chat feature will first make you talk to a rather annoying bot. Only if you provide the right answers will you then be transferred to a real support agent.
That said, customer support was very useful once they responded to my conversation. It’s just getting there that can be frustrating.
You want a web host that has your back, day and night, every day of the year. Bluehost has 24/7 customer support, so there will always be an agent to help you out in case you run into trouble. This is especially good when you're just starting your first website
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is mostly about the quality of the content you publish on your website, but there are two things that your web host can do for you in order to boost your ranking in SERPs. First, website loading speeds are a deciding factor for search engines like Google, so if your host is slow, this can end up having a detrimental effect on your SEO.
Luckily, as we’ve already seen in the Performance section above, neither Bluehost nor DreamHost will let you down when it comes to speed. DreamHost was a bit faster, but not by much, and both hosts achieved results that were well above the industry average.
Secondly, web hosts sometimes include SEO tools in their plans to help you optimize your websites. For instance, Bluehost has an SEO kit that is offered for free on its Grow and Scale WP Pro plans. For a modest fee, you can also get these tools on a shared hosting plan, and if SEO is important for you, they’re worth the investment.
DreamHost, on the other hand, doesn’t have any SEO tools. It’s fast, which is great news, but if you want to optimize your website, you have to install your own plugins. For instance, you can download Yoast for a WordPress website, and you’ll get many of the same features that are included in Bluehost’s kit.
Or you can go for DreamHost’s SEO Marketing add-on and let the experts take care of everything for you, but this will cost you hundreds of dollars per month. With that in mind, the victory goes to Bluehost in this category because it makes it easier for website owners to engage in SEO at a reasonable price.
If there’s one thing that both Bluehost and DreamHost could do better, it’s website security. The good news is that the two hosts give you a free SSL certificate on all plans, so your site will be padlock protected regardless of the package you choose. This is super important, because it means that your users’ data and connections are encrypted, while your website is overall safer.
Search engines like Google have recently begun to penalize websites without an SSL, which means that if you don’t have one, you might rank lower than your competition. You’ve put a lot of work into your site, so you don’t want something as silly as the lack of an SSL to hold it back. Luckily, this won’t be the case with either DreamHost or Bluehost, because the SSL certificates are very easy to turn on using both dashboards.
Aside from this, however, neither host includes a lot of security tools for free on shared hosting. There is 24/7 server monitoring and DDoS protection, but if you want proper automatic backups and malware scanning, you have to either upgrade to a more expensive plan or buy them separately.
You can set up your own backups using either cPanel or DreamHost’s proprietary control panel, but you have to remember to do it regularly, and you don’t get the peace of mind that comes with automatic backups. As for malware scanning and removal, your only real choice is to buy the SiteLock Essential add-on. It’s not expensive, but it is an extra cost.
If you expect your website to grow quickly, don’t worry. Whether you go with DreamHost or Bluehost, there’s plenty of room for upgrades. With Bluehost, for example, you can start on a shared hosting plan and later switch to a WP Pro plan for improved WordPress performance. If you have an online store, the managed WooCommerce plans are a great alternative.
And if you ever need even more power, there are VPS and dedicated server setups to consider. These are unmanaged hosting solutions, however, which means that you have to have some technical knowledge to run them yourself. Or you can hire someone to do it for you.
If you want to benefit from a powerful server, but don’t want to manage one yourself, you could consider a premium WordPress hosting service like WP Engine. It’s expensive, but if you can afford it, it’s the best WordPress hosting money can buy. Find out more in our Bluehost vs. WP Engine comparison.
DreamHost also has a wide range of hosting services, from low-cost options like shared hosting to premium WordPress plans with extra computing resources and VPS or dedicated servers. The advantage with DreamHost is that the latter two solutions are fully managed, so the tech team will take care of server maintenance tasks for you.
DreamHost’s VPS and dedicated server solutions are more expensive than Bluehost’s, but if you factor in the managed hosting features, DreamHost is actually pretty advantageous. You won’t have to worry about transitioning to a VPS until your website gets thousands of visitors per day, but it’s good to know that there are options. You don’t want to have to pay for a massive transfer to a different host just because your site is successful.
I’ve picked apart every aspect of this Bluehost vs. DreamHost comparison, but it’s easy to get lost in the details. At the end of the day, these are two very similar hosts, so let’s take a quick look at the bigger picture. What is it that truly sets Bluehost and DreamHost apart? Here’s how I see it:
- Flexibility. DreamHost is a great option for WordPress hosting (there’s even a preinstalled website builder), but if you want to use any other CMS to build your website, there are no tools to make this easier for you.
- Readily Available Support. DreamHost’s customer support is only available during working hours for shared hosting. It’s not as easy to talk to a real agent, and this can feel frustrating at a time of crisis (such as when your website is down, for example).
- Advanced Hosting Solutions. DreamHost has managed WordPress hosting in addition to fully managed VPS and dedicated servers. If you need a lot of power, but you don’t want to maintain the servers yourself, DreamHost is a better option.
- Bluehost, on the other hand, is more versatile. It’s still an excellent option for WordPress, but you also get a one-click installer for hundreds of other CMS and scripts. This allows you to build your website exactly the way you want.
- Bluehost has 24/7 customer support through live chat, phone, and tickets. It’s easy to get in touch with an agent and there’s advanced support for WordPress for an extra fee.
- Bluehost has managed WordPress and WooCommerce plans, as well as unmanaged VPS and dedicated servers. However, you might need to hire help if you want to explore the host’s more advanced plans.
The above pretty much sums up the major differences between Bluehost and DreamHost. There's not much that separates the two, but depending on what plans you have in mind for your website, these differences should not be overlooked.
Bluehost vs. DreamHost: Our Pick
It was difficult to choose a winner between these two hosts, but Bluehost had the upper hand in most categories. Yes, DreamHost has ever-so-slightly better speeds, but the difference is negligible, and Bluehost makes up for it with extra freebies and ease-of-use features:
- Performance: Both hosts have excellent performance and uptime, although DreamHost was marginally faster, while Bluehost did better under pressure.
- Pricing and Value: DreamHost looks cheaper than Bluehost at a glance, but you’ll be paying extra for features like email hosting that are included for free with Bluehost.
- Ease of Use: Both DreamHost and Bluehost have neat WordPress integrations, but if you also want to use other CMS, Bluehost makes it easier for you.
- Features: Bluehost has more free features included in its plans compared to DreamHost. That said, DreamHost does offer a very generous 97-day money-back guarantee.
- Customer support: It’s easier to get in touch with Bluehost and customer support is available 24/7. This is not the case with DreamHost unless you opt for a more expensive DreamPress plan.
- SEO: Neither host includes SEO tools for free (on shared hosting), but Bluehost gives you the option to buy an affordable kit.
- Security: Both Bluehost and DreamHost give you free SSL certificates on all plans. However, if you want automatic backups and malware scanning, you have to pay extra.
- Scalability: There’s plenty of room to grow with both hosts. That said, DreamHost’s VPS and dedicated servers are fully managed, whereas Bluehost’s are not.
Between the outstanding performance, the free website builder, and the managed VPS solutions, DreamHost certainly has a few aces up its sleeve. However, Bluehost is overall easier to use, has better customer support, and gives you more useful freebies on most plans.
Bluehost is overall a slightly better choice here in our opinion, but if you're still on the fence, we encourage you to check out some of our past comparisons to see how the two companies stack up against some of their other rivals.
It’s easier to use WordPress or a different CMS (not to mention hundreds of other scripts) with Bluehost. In addition, its plans are super affordable and packed with extra features that other hosts might make you pay for. Performance is well above the industry average, and you can try the service risk-free for 30 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the WordPress Foundation Recommend Bluehost or DreamHost?
Bluehost and DreamHost are both recommended by WordPress, so it’s not easy to choose between them. However, I tested the two providers and I did find some important differences. For one, while DreamHost seems cheaper than Bluehost, it actually makes you pay extra for certain features that Bluehost gives you for free. Email is just one example if you’re interested in an entry-level plan.
It’s also worth noting that DreamHost doesn’t have a one-click installer (or any optimizations) for other CMS. It’s great for WordPress, but if you want to use Joomla or Drupal, for example, it’s not as advantageous as Bluehost.
Can you use Bluehost or DreamHost with Other CMS?
You can, but it’ll be difficult to do it with DreamHost. If you want to use anything other than WordPress, you’ll have to manually install it using Linux command lines. There are a few tutorials in DreamHost’s knowledge base to help you do this, but most big names in hosting give you a free one-click installer that automates the entire process. It’s a pity that DreamHost doesn’t have this tool.
Which is Cheaper, DreamHost or Bluehost?
In terms of baseline costs, DreamHost is slightly cheaper than Bluehost. However, the difference is negligible in most cases, and Bluehost does give you a few extra features for your money. Aside from free email hosting, Bluehost also has a one-click installer for hundreds of CMS and scripts. DreamHost only has this service for WordPress.
Is Bluehost or DreamHost Better for Ecommerce?
Both Bluehost and DreamHost have managed WooCommerce plans that’ll help you make the most of your online store. If this is the CMS of your choice, you can’t go wrong with either provider. WooCommerce was built to integrate with WordPress, so you’ll get excellent performance in addition to ecommerce functionality.
On the other hand, if you want to use a different CMS – like PrestaShop or Magento, for example – Bluehost is a better option. You can use these with DreamHost too, but you have to install and optimize them yourself.
Do Bluehost and DreamHost have a Free Trial?
Neither Bluehost, nor DreamHost has a proper “free” trial, but you can try out their services for free. Both hosts have a solid money-back guarantee, which means that if you cancel your plan during the first month of your contract, you can apply for a full refund. I tested this myself, and I can vouch for the fact that the refund is guaranteed. You have to sign up for at least a year to benefit from it, but if the service doesn’t suit you, you don’t lose any money by cancelling.