DreamHost and SiteGround are two premier Web hosts that both offer shared hosting along with a variety of other hosting types. When it comes to most reviews, one host easily dominates the other because it offers better overall services. However, the distinction is a little harder here because both companies seem to focus on different areas of hosting excellence.
SiteGround is completely dedicated to customer experience and fast loading times. They offer 24/7 customer support with the amazing reputation of returning messages and emails within minutes. There are no other hosting companies that are as fast as they are, plus the advice they give is incredibly helpful. SiteGround also focuses on adopting new technology as quickly as possible, ensuring that you get the fastest loading times.
DreamHost, on the other hand, provides a very unique 100% uptime guarantee that you don’t see with nearly any other shared host. They also have 24/7 customer support that usually receives good marks, though every now and then there is a complaint about them. They also limit the scope of their plans, which may or may not be a pro or con depending on your preference. However, DreamHost is also one of the more expensive shared hosts.
In general, SiteGround is the best if you’re looking for excellent customer support and superb technology. DreamHost is the best if you don’t mind paying extra for your hosting and having a unique uptime guarantee.
SiteGround (Grade: A+)
- There is no host that beats SiteGround when it comes to customer support. They offer 24/7 support, which sounds common enough amongst hosts, but how they do it makes them an elite service provider.
- Most emails and text chats are answered within a few minutes (10 minutes or less on average), and they also have a no-hold phone service to ensure that you get someone as soon as you call in.
- All of their customer support agents are located in the US. You won’t reach anyone outside the country, ensuring that both parties understand each other throughout the whole call.
- Another added bonus, their chat support is among one of the best. It will feel like the representative is talking exclusively to you, not 10 other people at the same time
Standard cPanel Installation
- SiteGround uses a standard loadout of the cPanel management software. While “standard” is usually a bad word, most people dislike homebrew versions of this software, so getting the real deal should be a sigh of relief.
- This version of cPanel uses the Softaculous script installer. Not only is this one of the easiest script installers to use, but it’s also one of the fastest and there are 400+ scripts available. From WordPress and Drupal to Magento and PrestaShop, these scripts will be ready for you when you need them.
- Their billing manager is also installed within cPanel, making it easy to see what and if you owe anything, and also making payments easy.
Uptime and Speed
- SiteGround is a new adopter of technology, they were one of the first to start using SSD servers (which are faster than previous hardware), and they use a specially made cache program that makes WordPress and other websites run faster than ever. Their programming languages, such as PHP, are consistently updated to provide the best speeds.
- Their uptime guarantee is 99.9%, which is standard, but they often surpass this. Commonly their uptime is within the 99.95-99.99%, and they are very transparent about this by showing you the uptime for the last month and the last 12 months.
- You are able to choose the location of the data center so that it’s as fast as possible. Currently, domestic clients are able to choose servers either on the east coast or west coast. Choosing the one closest to you will ensure the fastest speeds.
Bandwidth and Disk Space
- Server crowding is a plague amongst shared hosts, and it’s easy to see why. A crowded server might mean lower speeds for you, but it means more customers for the host. SiteGround respects your money and time, so they keep their servers properly distributed.
- You don’t get “unlimited” disk space and bandwidth, but that’s a good thing. This gives you a more specific limit on what resources are available specifically to you. Disk space ranges from 10GB to 30GB depending on your plan. This should be plenty for most users.
- Bandwidth isn’t given in GBs, but you are told about how many visitors you can receive per month. While this is a rough estimate, it gives you a good idea of how much traffic you can accept. The entry-level plan can accommodate 10,000 visitors while the biggest plan can accept 100,000 visitors.
- Students receive a major discount on hosting services. You can get hosting for just $1.99 a month as long as you have a .edu email address.
- Aside from free shopping cart and other script installation on your website, you also get a free SSL certificate.
- Their backup service automatically backs up your website on a daily basis. You can also manually perform a backup if you make any major changes.
- You get unlimited domains as long as you have the mid-tier plan or higher, plus website migration is free.
- There are developer-oriented services like WordPress staging and GIT installation. Regular customers may not use these features, but they are available to power users (without any additional fee).
- Pricing is a little more expensive than other shared hosts. You get a good discount on the initial period, with the entry-level plan costing $3.95 a month, but then it shoots up to $11.95 a month. You can take advantage of this discount by getting as much hosting as possible from the beginning.
- There are some setup costs for stronger plans. You won’t face these fees with shared hosting, but you will be charged if you upgrade to a VPS service or other premium plan. Unfortunately, they don’t show this until you’re ready to check out, so you won’t see it until the very end.
DreamHost (Grade: C-)
100% Uptime Guarantee:
- Very few hosts claim to provide 100% uptime because it’s impossible to keep your website up all the time. This guarantee isn’t so much about ensuring that your website is always up, it just ensures that the host does their best to provide amazing uptime.
- Your website will go down, it happens. However, unlike other hosts where they aren’t penalized, DreamHost promises to give you a free day of hosting for each hour your website is down.
- Their overall uptime rests around the 99.9-99.99% area, which is still very good by most uptime standards. Plus, it’s nice to get free hosting for what would otherwise be regular (but still unwelcome) periods of downtime.
- DreamHost only offers one type of plan for their shared hosting. This might seem bad, but It’s actually a good thing for most users.
- Most other shared hosts offer upgraded plans that provide “better/faster service,” but this is vague since you aren’t told what the baseline resources are. Everything is just said to be “unlimited.”
- The plans here are based on length, not service. You can choose between monthly, yearly or three-year plans. This changes the price, but the service is the same.
- The starter plan is just $3.95 a month. It’s the same as the other plans (except for domains, you can only have one).
- Provides 24/7 customer support that is available through email or online chat.
- Much like SiteGround, you will typically get a quick response. It’s usually a little longer of a wait, but not as long as some other hosts.
- For the most part, most customers find the support to be quite knowledgeable and helpful. They will usually be able to correct any issues that plague your website. However, there are others who find the support to be unhelpful at times, so it’s a mixed bag.
- SSD servers are among the best right now as they use hardware that is chip-based rather than disc-based. Chips are faster and have fewer moving parts, ensuring less mechanical failure.
- SSD has been rated to be about 200% faster than traditional hardware. This ensures that your pages load faster while also improving overall uptime. While this has become an industry standard, there are still a few that haven’t adopted this technology.
- Aside from the Starter plan, all allow you to have unlimited domains.
- You get a huge 97-day money back guarantee.
- There is a free SSL encryption on your domain.
- There are several CMSs that you can install in just one or two clicks.
- DreamHost doesn’t use cPanel, which is often considered the industry standard. They instead use their own homemade control panel.
- Many of the features commonly found in cPanel have been stripped down here since it is aimed more at beginners instead of advanced users.
- While some people find the control panel a little easier, most get confused since they are used to the cPanel interface. There is a good amount of documentation on the DreamHost website to help you along, but not nearly as much as cPanel.
No Improved Shared Hosting Plans:
- Keeping shared hosting down to one plan is a good idea in some ways because it reduces confusion and ensures that you get the benefit of shared hosting (affordability and ease). However, only having one plan means that you can’t upgrade to better shared hosting.
- When you need to upgrade, you’ll instead have to use a stronger service like VPS hosting. Depending on your needs, this can be significantly more expensive.
- This also means that people just starting with shared hosting will pay the same as those who are close to moving beyond shared hosting, which just isn’t fair to beginners.
- Aside from their Starter plan, which is quite affordable, all of their plans are pretty expensive.
- DreamHost’s reputation is being one of the more expensive shared hosts available. While some argue that they are worth it and that you get what you pay for, but you can typically find similar levels of service at a lower rate.
- You get discounts for signing up for either the one-year or three-year plan, but they aren’t that significant. The one-year is only $1 less a month, and the three-year is only $3 less a month, so you’ll end up spending quite a bit for this service.
- While not as slow as some other hosts, DreamHost takes a little while to upgrade their hardware.
- Unlike SiteGround, which really takes to new tech as quickly as possible to provide the best client experience, DreamHost takes their time with updating.
- Some also say that their servers are bloated, which leads to lower speeds that SiteGround, but they aren’t as bad as EIG companies, which are known for packing their servers as tightly as possible.
- DreamHost focuses on beginners, which means that they try to make things simpler, but this has created some unexpected problems for expert users.
- Many find that they have a hard time installing and using ecommerce programs like PrestaShop and Magento.
- Others find that the databases are difficult to access and use, which can impact some users.
DreamHost has a lot of good features and their uptime guarantee is truly tempting, but they emerge as the runner-up here. Their lack of plan diversity, the beginner focus to the detriment of users, failure to use cPanel and their slow adoption rate of new technology makes them less appealing that SiteGround.
If you’re looking for world-class customer support, fast servers and a ton of other benefits, then SiteGround is your best bet. Both hosts are a little more on the expensive side, but while you’re paying for great service with SiteGround, with DreamHost you’re just paying extra for regular service.
Stick with the clear winner here. SiteGround is one of the top shared hosts right now and it’s easy to see why. Give them a chance and you’ll see how they pull ahead of the pack.