Bluehost vs. DreamHost: A Head-to-Head Comparison of the Big Leagues


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Bluehost and DreamHost are two of the biggest hosting providers in the world, and their services are some of the best you can buy on a budget. Their plans are extremely affordable (for the most part) and easily scalable.

They also offer a bunch of freebies that no marketer on a budget will want to pass up. Depending on whether you’re a DreamHost or Bluehost user (or use a completely different hosting provider entirely) will influence your preferences between the two. But if you’re curious about each hosting provider’s advantages and disadvantages, we have broken down this review in terms of features, ease of use, customer support, and more.

But first, here’s a bird’s eye view of the most basic features that each company offers.

Bluehost DreamHost
Monthly price $2.95 $2.59
Sites One website One website
Bandwidth Unmetered Unmetered
SSL Certificate Free Free
Extra features Automatic WordPress updates, staging cites, easy-to-use cPanel Backups for everyday use, custom hosting, automatic WordPress backups
Free Domain Yes Yes
24/7 Support Yes Yes
Free CDN Cloudflare CDN, but you have to activate it manually No

 

Storage Space 50 GB to unlimited based on the plan you choose Unlimited for all plans

 

Features

Both Bluehost and DreamHost offer a great variety in terms of features, an extensive range of tools, and services. They offer similar plans, including shared and managed hosting, as well as more advanced and dedicated hosting options. In this section, we will focus on the shared hosting plans that both offer.

Bluehost Features

Bluehost is used by a whopping 2 million+ websites around the world. They offer a variety of plans to suit different styles and budget options for companies. Clients can choose from one of four basic hosting plans, with each plan including the following features:

  • Free SSL certificate
  • Automatic WordPress updates
  • Easy-to-use cPanel
  • 24/7 support
  • Free domainname for the first year
  • One-click install for WordPress (and a few other tools)
  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Apart from the basic plan, all Bluehost shared hosting packages let users host an unlimited number of websites as well as unlimited SSD storage, which is always a plus.

DreamHost Features

At the time of writing, DreamHost is currently used by over 1.5 million+ websites, 750,000 of which area WordPress installations. DreamHost makes for a convenient option if you’re a blogger, running a small business, or a designer. Their features vary from one plan to another, but their shared hosting packages are guaranteed to have the following features:

  • 1-click WordPress installs
  • Automatic WordPress updates
  • Free SSL certificate
  • 100% uptime
  • Automatic backups on a daily basis
  • Free domain name (only if you choose the annual plan and for only the first year)
  • Round the clock customer support

Their pricier Shared plans include unlimited websites, domains, email accounts, and storage. If you’re running an eCommerce business, you might want to check out their WooCommerce hosting plans, they are more geared towards online stores.

Ease of Use

Running a website should be as simple as plug and play and you shouldn’t be required to earn a computer engineering degree to be able to do so. In order to stay competitive, most hosting providers are making it extremely easy to use their features with drag-and-drop builders and extremely intuitive interfaces.

This is one area where both Bluehost and DreamHost are tied out. Both enable you to try easily access any features or tools you may need, and their support is right around the corner through live chat, phone support, and email.

Their control panel is extremely self-explanatory and doesn’t come with a steep learning curve.

Bluehost Ease of Use

Bluehost, in our opinion, is a lot more user-friendly than DreamHost with an interface that is geared towards the beginner. The dashboard is clean and doesn’t overburden you with too much information. Since you have fewer options to worry about, it’s much more straightforward to setup and configure your WordPress install.

You have a neat, clutter-free menu on the left of the screen which immediately lets you access any information or feature that you may need.

Like DreamHost, Bluehost also lets you install WordPress with a single click, automatically setting up and installing WordPress once you have decided which domain to use.

If you haven’t already, click here to get a Bluehost plan and receive awesome discounts!

Bluehost relies on the traditional cPanel that most webmasters will be familiar with. The cPanel gives you more control over your website’s databases, files, folders, and other functions. Furthermore, you can install WordPress via the cPanel or through Bluehost’s own menu.

DreamHost Ease of Use

DreamHost quickly pulls you in with its easy sign-up process which inspires a lot of confidence among beginners. Once your account has been created, you can log into the cPanel and get to work right away. The control panel on DreamHost is a customized dashboard, ditching the traditional cPanel that Bluehost uses. The idea is to make it easier to access all your domain, account, and hosting information.

The DreamHost dashboard also lets you configure website settings, access files, databases, create new websites, and a lot more. We are more used to Bluehost’s traditional use of cPanel, but it’s nothing that distracts from the overall experience.

DreamHost lets you install WordPress with a single click. That being said, we were a bit surprised to learn that the installation isn’t immediate and can take up to 10 minutes before you’ll receive an email that lets you know the new website is ready to use.

If you like DreamHost, make sure to use our affiliate link to buy their plans.

Uptime Guarantee

Uptime ties into customer satisfaction and frequent downtime issues can really do a number on the reputation of your online business. Downtimes can be disastrous if you’re processing payments online and the website suddenly stops working without any heads up and the client is stuck clicking on the “checkout” option.

This can be a problem if customers frequently access your website,  requiring high levels of uptime at all times so they can receive the information or service they need.

Bluehost: Uptime

Bluehost provides an uptime guarantee of 99.9%, which is good, but not as good as 100%. They do have a lot of redundancy plans as a backup should their servers fail. But this won’t be a problem and Bluehost can always hold their end of the bargain. It is worth noting that Bluehost doesn’t provide any information about possible credits or refunds if they don’t comply with their 99.9% guarantee.

However, if you decide to cancel your account because of uptime issues, you can do so without incurring any fees and penalties. You will be entitled to a refund for the unused portion of your plan.

DreamHost: Uptime

DreamHost takes things up a notch when it comes to uptime guarantees, going so far as 100%. If your website is down for even a single hour, you will receive a one day credit. This can go to a maximum of 10% of the total fee you paid. Do keep in mind that this doesn’t apply to scheduled maintenance days. DreamHost will alert you of any downtimes due to scheduled maintenance.

Customer Support

Sure everything is being done online these days, but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into issues every now and then. That’s when you’ll need an expert human to help you troubleshoot your problems. The good news is that both Bluehost and DreamHost provide amazing levels of customer support. You can also access their in-depth knowledge bases, jam-packed with useful information, step-by-step guides, how-to tutorials, forums, webinars, and a lot more.

Both Bluehost and DreamHost provide live chat, telephone support, and email support.

We compared the  quality of their support staff after reaching out to them, and here’s how we recommend them both:

DreamHost Bluehost
WordPress support – 4/5 WordPress support – 5/5
Live chat support  – 4/5 Live chat support – 4/5

It takes a few minutes for their chat teams to respond back to you. But when it comes to WordPress installations, Bluehost takes the cake thanks to their quick 1-click installations and straight-forward menus with instructions.

Security

Both Bluehost and DreamHost go above and beyond to protect your WordPress website from brute force attacks, DDoS (distributed denial of service), and malware. For the most part, you won’t need any add-ons to bolster the security of your website (unless you’ve got millions of users and have reason to worry).

If you’re paranoid and need more online security, Bluehost provides its SiteLock Lite add-on. It costs an extra premium and only checks five web pages on your website every month.

DreamHost also provides a similar malware scanner, called DreamShield. This is a paid add-on that is specially designed to detect malware without slowing down your website. Dreamhost provides a free web application firewall (WAP) to protect your website from cross-site scripting, malicious traffic, and a lot more. It also prevents your control panel from being compromised – all without costing an extra penny.

It is worth noting that both these scanners are easy on your hosting plan and won’t cost much in the way of resources. It sure beats using WordPress plugins like Sucuri and WordFence which can cause serious website slowdowns.

Wrapping Up: Who Wins?

Now that you’ve seen the head-to-head comparison of Bluehost and DreamHost, you might still be on the fence for either hosting provider.

If you need a final summary, check this out:

  • If ease of access and affordability concerns you, then Bluehost is a much better option with its user-friendly cPanel and budget prices.
  • If security and performance are important, then DreamHost is a perfect choice.
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