BlueHost vs DreamHost – Who Should You Trust?

WordPress.org recommended hosting
Both DreamHost and BlueHost have the distinct feather-in-the-cap of being recommended by WordPress.org. This rare honor is only extended to three web hosts, out of literally hundreds of thousands that litter the web hosting landscape today. So who's better among the two? Read on to learn more.

BlueHost has often landed on my biased list since I am not overly fond of EIG-owned companies. But – there is no debating the fact that it has been around for a long time. In fact, both BlueHost and DreamHost are industry veterans having survived in this competitive environment for close to two decades.

Yet at the end of the day these two hosts are more closely matched than likely many will realize. Read on to discover the highlights of a head to head comparison.

Compare Essential Features & Our Ratings

Note: DreamHost does provide telephone support but do not provide a call-in telephone number. All phone support requests are handled as callbacks – which is chargeable at minimum $9.95 per call.

DreamHost – Cheaper & Longer Full Refund Period

TL;DR: DreamHost is better in…

  • 97 days full-refund trial period (vs BlueHost's 30 days)
  • Slightly cheaper shared hosting plans
  • 100% uptime guarantee

Host one site at $259/mo with DreamHost

Comparing plans side by side, BlueHost plans start at an impressive $2.95 per month on its lowest tier (provided you sign up for a 36-month plan). Against that is Dreamhost which comes with slightly lower price at $2.59 per month. Unfortunately, as is the norm, once you get past the promotional sign-up period, hosting prices with both providers go up significantly.

DreamHost Shared Hosting Prices
DreamHost shared hosting plans & pricing – signup for 3 years and you'll get to host one website at $2.59/mo (learn more).

100% uptime guarantees & 97-days full refund trial

DreamHost offer new customers 97-day full refund on shared hosting plans.
DreamHost shared hosting customers can enjoy 97-day money-back guarantee if they are not happy with the product.

DreamHost's 100% uptime guarantee is something that is unprecedented in the industry. Most web hosting service providers are very cautious about their uptime guarantees – after all, violating their Service Level Agreement (SLA) means that they will often have to compensate their users. As such, it is normal to see web hosts offer uptime assurances of between 99% to even 99.999%.

Dreamhost as far as I know is the only one who has dared step forward with a 100% uptime assurance.

If you combine this with their 97-day full refund trial period, I would venture that they are either foolhardy or steadfastly confident in their ability to stick to it. Either way, the customer wins!

Learn more, visit DreamHost online.

BlueHost – Super Popular & Great Performance

Tl;DR: BlueHost is great in term of:

  • Great server performance (for a budget shared hosting)
  • Impressive reputation among site owners and bloggers
  • Email hosting coverage in all accounts
  • User-friendly control panel (custom cPanel)

Great performance for a low-cost hosting

Our recent BlueHost speed test. Test site rated "A" by WebPageTest in Time-to-First-Byte (TTFB).
Our recent BlueHost speed test. Test site rated “A” by WebPageTest in Time-to-First-Byte (TTFB).

One thing that is clear with these two hosts is that BlueHost has somehow retained a strong lead in terms of performance. Time to First Byte (TTFB) is one of the key metrics which we look out for in a web host since that is a focus point that Google pays attention to as well.

Coming in strong with a TTFB of under 800ms, BlueHost can easily keep up with the best in the business – Dreamhost not excepted.

Great reputation among bloggers and freelancers

Both DreamHost and BlueHost are officially recommended by WordPress.org (source). That should tell you that you won’t really make a major misstep by going either way.

However, between them, BlueHost is one of the more prominent names recognized and has gained an impressive reputation among site owners and bloggers. In a survey carried out by us among 200 respondents, BlueHost came up number three on the list – not a small feat at all!

Some drawbacks in DreamHost made BlueHost looks good

Like everything else in life, either BlueHost nor DreamHost is perfect. Yet – some of DreamHost's imperfections are annoying and made BlueHost looks good in comparison.

Given how email is generally integrated into web hosting control panels, it boggles the mind that DreamHost occasionally makes it an optional extra. One example of this is their Shared Started plan, which has an introductory price of only $2.59 – but custom email costs an extra $1.67/mo.

Another area of contention for DreamHost is its custom hosting dashboard. Hosts that offer cPanel and Plesk are the norm. For some reason, DreamHost decided otherwise, which results in occasional frustration for some users.

Learn more, visit BlueHost online.

Final Thoughts

It is not often that we see two web hosts that compete so closely on so many levels. In terms of reputation, features, performance and even pricing, BlueHost and Dreamhost are both closely matched.

In fact, given their similarities they are even competing for the same market share and are uniquely suitable for both smaller, personal sites as well as being excellent choices for small businesses. Either way, if you’re considering between these two web hosting companies, I feel that you won’t really go far wrong either way.

Personally though, I would feel very much drawn by the 100% uptime and 97-day money back guarantee that Dreamhost offers – but that’s just me.

About DreamHost

DreamHost

Dreamhost started out small but today is a massively impressive player in the web hosting space. It offers a wide range of hosting services with a strong focus on open-source and Cloud technologies. The company is based out of Brea, California.

Learn more in our full DreamHost review

DreamHost Shared Hosting Plans

PlansStarterUnlimited
Websites1Unlimited
Storage50 GBUnlimited
Databases6Unlimited
Free WP MigrationYesYes
BandwidthUnmeteredUnmetered
Daily BackupsAutomatedAutomated
EmailsOptionalYes
Free SSLYesYes
SSL Let's Encrypt SSLStandard SSL
Price$2.59/mo$3.95/mo
OrderStarterUnlimited

More About BlueHost

BlueHost

BlueHost is a known brand in web hosting and recognized as one of only three officially WordPress-approved service providers. It’s one of a handful that provides truly helpful support agents along with an impressive quality of service.

Learn more in our full BlueHost review

BlueHost Shared Hosting Plans

FeaturesBasicPlus
Websites1Unlimited
Email Accounts5Unlimited
Website Space50 GBUnmetered
BandwidthUnmeteredUnmetered
Free DomainYesYes
SubDomains25Unlimited
Free MigrationNoNo
Free SSL CertificateAuto SSLAuto SSL
WordPress IntegrationYesYes
Git SupportNoNo
BackupNoNo
MySQL Databases20Unlimited*
Signup Price$2.95/mo$5.45/mo
Renewal Price$8.99/mo$11.99/mo
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Article by Jerry Low