BlueHost vs DreamHost: Which Is Better For Newbie Bloggers?

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Dreamhost and Bluehost are two of the most recommended blog hosts when it comes to WordPress hosting. For a newbie, both are going to be about the same when it comes to plan comparisons, but I know how hard it can be to make a decision of which one to go with after seeing all the crazy reviews from the web hosting websites. You have to keep in mind, most of those websites are not really bloggers writing about their own experiences with the host themselves… but more of a generalized comparison, without real world experience. For a beginner blogger, it’s really really important to have good support in case you find yourself in a pinch, and Bluehost has just about the best phone support with Native English speaking support techs I’ve ever used.


Summary: Dreamhost VS Bluehost: Which Is Better?

  • Update – I would actually go with Siteground now in 2018 and beyond. I had to change my recommendations here after Siteground started offering their built in Super Cacher for every plan… It makes your website load faster than Bluehost for the same price, and you don’t have to know how to configure any plugins like W3 cache. They also added the ability to check a box at checkout, and have WordPress automatically installed and pre-configured for you… something that you still have to do manually with Fantastico at Bluehost.

Now, we’ve always said that choosing the right web host is of utmost importance, especially given the plethora of options available out there, all claiming to be the “best in the business”. A web host that is reliable, provides great security, customer support, is scalable, gives you great uptime and bandwidth, and gives you an amazing overall performance is the kind of host you’ll need if you’re serious about your website. Two mammoths in the web-hosting industry are BlueHost and DreamHost. They’ve been around for years, cementing their presence in the virtual world and building a reputation that’s quite honestly enviable! Well-known for their feature-rich hosting that comes with a price tag that your credit card will love, both hosts can probably give you all that you’re looking for in a good web-hosting company.

BlueHost and DreamHost are known to be stalwarts in the hosting industry with both of them having decades of experience in serving hundreds and thousands of customers over the years. Now, having all of this experience and having been in the industry for so long you’d expect the two to offer a great service, and they do. But, what really separates them? What makes BlueHost better than DreamHost or DreamHost better than BlueHost?

Trying to judge a “host-off” between these two web hosts might seem like an exercise in futility given their popularity, reputation and wide fan-following. However, nothing’s perfect, so it’s all a matter of finding the weak spots in the link! Besides, we’ve always liked to attempt difficult tasks, which is why in this article, we tell you which web host comes out slightly better off by reviewing their individual features, pros, cons and differences in our head-to-head comparison. We’re about to do a teardown of the two and help you pick the right host!

BlueHost vs DreamHost: An Introduction

BlueHost is one of the “old and experienced” web companies, having been around since 1996 as a result of Matt Heaton’s brainstorming. One of the 20 largest web hosts on the internet, BlueHost hosts over 2 million domains (along with HostMonster, FastDomain, and iPage, which are all sister companies of the web host) and is highly recommended by WordPress itself for its excellent hosting. Additionally, the web host’s popularity boosted in 2009 when it introduced its “CPU Throttling” feature. No wonder then that the company boasts a user-base of at least 2,000,000 bloggers.

When the world was still grappling to accept the wondrous possibilities of the World Wide Web back in 1997, a group of 4 undergraduate students at Harvard were busy setting up DreamHost. The California-based company offers web-hosting, WordPress hosting, domain registration and cloud-based solutions, and boasts of an impressive user-base of over 400,000 happy customers. In hosting numbers, that’s at least 1.5 million websites, applications and blogs globally!

BlueHost vs DreamHost: Hosting Features

The features of a service are some of the main defining factors when it comes to purchasing a service or generally evaluating its effectiveness. So, now that we know a little bit about both these companies, let’s get straight to our comparison!

Uptime and Speed

BlueHost does not guarantee any uptime percentage; however, the web host provides an approximate uptime percentage of 99.9%. DreamHost, on the other hand, guarantees an uptime of 100% but ends up approximately delivering the same uptime as BlueHost. Thus, both web hosts end up being the same with regard to their uptime. However, when it comes to page speed, though both web hosts offer really fast page load time and server responses, BlueHost takes an average of 2.4 seconds to load a web page, as opposed to 4.7 seconds with DreamHost. Having said that, DreamHost uses SSDs to better their website page speeds while BlueHost sticks with SATA disk drives that are less effective when compared to SSDs.

Additionally, when comparing first bytes (the time taken for the server to load the first byte of information while loading a web page), BlueHost loaded in 0.33 seconds, while DreamHost took a wee bit longer at 0.34 seconds. Thus, overall, BlueHost emerges the winner when it comes to uptime and speed!

Customer Support

Customer support is one of the indicators of how invested a company is in their clients and their satisfaction. Especially with a specialized field such as web-hosting, not every client may know how to work the ropes, with a lot of beginners and amateurs also increasingly using web-hosting services. Thus, customer support becomes crucial. Luckily, both web hosts are well-known for the excellent customer support that they provide. Both hosts offer 24/7 technical support through phone, email, and live chat, regardless of the plan you choose to buy. They also have forums that enable customers to discuss their opinions, feedback and issues. Both web hosts also offer you a speedy account setup, letting you literally start using their servers almost immediately.

The only difference lies in the fact that DreamHost offers a web-hosting manual that is a complete compendium on working the web host’s features, whereas BlueHost doesn’t; instead, the latter has an additional ticketing system which the former lacks. Since both web hosts offer pretty great customer support, they both stand on equal ground in this category!

Pricing and Plans

We’re pretty sure that we don’t need to elaborate on the importance of pricing and value-for-money. Luckily, both web hosts seem to realize this as well, offering flexible payment options. BlueHost offers customers the options of paying every 12, 24 or 36 months, whereas DreamHost only offers 12 or 24-month payment options.

When it comes to plans, BlueHost offers three tiers of shared hosting plans, starting at $2.95 per month for the Basic plan, $5.95 per month for the Plus plan, and $5.95 per month for the Prime plan. DreamHost, on the other hand, offers plans based on your frequency of payment, such as $13.95 if you choose to pay on a monthly basis, $9.95 per month if you choose an annual package, or $7.95 per month if you choose a 3-year package. The great thing, though, is that all plans of both web hosts come with a free domain name and backup features (BlueHost automatically backups on a weekly basis at no extra cost while DreamHost provides this feature only for their WordPress hosting; other plans require manual backup).

Additionally, both web-hosts offer 100% money-back guarantee, but DreamHost turns out to be the better option here as they offer a 97-day money-back guarantee as opposed to BlueHost’s 30 days. Having said that, BlueHost offers migration services at $149.99 (for transferring up to 5 sites), whereas DreamHost does not offer migration at all.

Technical Features

  • Bandwidth: Both web hosts offer unlimited bandwidth, which means your site can handle an unlimited amount of traffic.
  • Disk Storage: Both web hosts also offer unlimited disk storage space.
  • Multiple Websites: Both web hosts allow the hosting and management of several sites and domains through a single account.
  • Control Panel: BlueHost offers users an industry-standard cPanel that lets customers easily transfer and manage files, databases, backups, emails and program-installations. DreamHost, on the other hand, uses a custom-built cPanel which isn’t as user-friendly as the one BlueHost offers.
  • Databases: Both web hosts offer unlimited MySQL databases.
  • Single-Click WordPress Installation: Both web hosts offer the ability to install WordPress with a single click.
  • Email: Both web hosts offer unlimited email accounts, letting you manage as many email addresses as you wish. They also offer webmail features that allow you to access your email from any device and location as well as unlimited email forwarding features.
  • Applications: Both web hosts offer many options in terms of the applications and software you can install, such as WordPress, Joomla, Polls and Magento to enhance your site and its performance.

Security

With BlueHost, as mentioned earlier, users have to perform manual backups as automatic backups are done at the company’s discretion. These backups are stored for a maximum period of 30 days. However, malware scans are run on a daily basis. BlueHost also has a “failover” technology in place, where if you choose to use their cloud-hosting service, your site’s data is automatically copied across 3 different devices. The company also uses SiteLock security, diesel backup generators and round-the-clock network monitoring, as well as SSH features for secure browsing, IP blacklists, CloudFlare and spam protection applications such as SpamHammer.

DreamHost, on the other hand, has partnered with a third-party organization, StopTheHacker, to provide its security features. Like BlueHost, DreamHost also runs daily virus and malware scans. Their data centers are monitored round-the-clock through CCTV facilities and trained technicians to protect them from any damage.

Overall Performance

Though both web hosts offer brilliant features and deliver strong performances, BlueHost takes the cake for their innovative “CPU segregation” technology, as well as their overall speed, efficiency and features.

Pros and Cons

Pros of BlueHost

  • Highly reliable security
  • WordPress friendly (recommended by WordPress)
  • Great plan-options and pricing
  • User-friendly
  • Add-on integration options
  • Lots of extra features

Cons of BlueHost

  • Slow, when compared to newer competitors like SiteGround.
  • Customer support has sometimes been reported to be lacking.
  • Unlimited data is actually limited as exceeding 3 GB of server space can result in account deletion.

Pros of DreamHost

  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage space
  • Great customer support
  • Great uptime
  • $100 of Google advertising credits
  • Great pricing
  • Reliable security
  • A long money-back guarantee

Cons of DreamHost

  • Hard-to-use cPanel.
  • Has faced situations where website security was compromised, which is a black mark against the web host’s security features.
  • Power outage issues that resulted in the shutdown of sites.
  • Unreliable uptime despite claims of 100% uptime guarantee.

And the Winner Is!

Having been in the business for more than 15 years and serving over 375,000 customers, it’s no surprise that DreamHost is as popular as it is. Their great price, unlimited features, uptime guarantee and customer support are all the features of an ideal web host, equipped to handle both small as well as big sites.

DreamHost’s competitor, BlueHost, is every bit as popular (if not more), especially given its innovative features. Its wide array of hosting services support both Windows and Linux, a powerful cPanel, security features, good pricing and overall performance give it a slight edge over DreamHost, making it the winner in this host-off!

Having said that, if both web hosts haven’t managed to convince you of their efficiency and effectiveness, a great web-hosting option that you could explore is SiteGround. This Bulgarian web host, founded in 2004, has serviced more than 800,000 domains since its inception, providing different types of hosting such as shared, cloud and dedicated server hosting.

What makes SiteGround a great alternative is that it offers all the features that both DreamHost and BlueHost offer, but at half the price, starting at a really inexpensive rate that works out to $3.95 (when paid annually as a lump sum). This means great value-for-money without compromising on efficient web-hosting. Additionally, the company also offers great uptime (99.98%), speed (500 microseconds or less), and excellent customer support, as well as features such as free WordPress migrations, one-click WordPress installation, and a free-of-cost custom-built caching tool.

Pros of SiteGround

  • SiteGround offers a really high uptime of 99.98%.
  • SiteGround’s page load speed of 500 microseconds or less.
  • The customer support staff are efficient and knowledgeable.
  • All plans come with high-performing WordPress hosting.
  • Free security add-ons.
  • Free site migration.
  • SiteGround offers highly affordable plans with the following pricing: $3.95 for the StartUp plan, $7.95 for the GrowBig plan, and $14.95 for the GoGeek plan, all on a monthly basis.
  • The web host offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

Cons of SiteGround

  • Storage space is limited.
  • SiteGround charges an additional “setup fee” for billing on a monthly basis.

SiteGround is, thus, a great option for web-hosting for both beginners and experts alike. The web host’s great features, performance and most importantly, its pricing, are winning them fans all over the world.

So there you have it! If you still want to stick with the well-established DreamHost or BlueHost, you now know which one’s the better performer and why, enabling you to make a clear decision to fulfill all your hosting needs!

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