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Bluehost Vs. DreamHost

Bluehost and DreamHost are the bigshots of the web hosting niche. While they both offer similar capabilities and an affordable price tag, each option has its own pros and cons you need to consider when determining the right choice for your needs. Based on our in-depth research, DreamHost edges forward over Bluehost because of its superior speed, uptime, and long-term pricing. Nevertheless, the latter remains unbeatable in terms of simplicity and customer support.

Bluehost Compared to DreamHost

Bluehost home page

Bluehost is a great choice if you’re looking for a way of creating your next website easier than ever. We tested the free website builder ourselves and found it easy to use and highly customizable.

The builder works seamlessly with cPanel to make navigation and maintenance simple. Plus, it scored above average in our customer support tests with quick, friendly reps ready to help you 24 hours a day. If you’re ready to try Bluehost, you can get started with plans as low as $2.95 per month.

DreamHost home page

If the thought of paying for three years in advance doesn’t jive well, DreamHost has the cheapest month-to-month pricing plans we’ve ever seen. It’s great if you want to test the waters of building websites without signing on for years at a time or avoid a massive hosting bill every few years. It also has industry-leading uptime, beating out all of the other shared hosts we tested (including Bluehost) over a 30-day period. Monthly plans start at just $1.99 per month for shared hosting.

More Top Web Hosting Services

Bluehost and DreamHost shine in their respective areas, but there are dozens of other affordable hosting options out there that may be a better fit. Our team of researchers spent six months testing every type of hosting (including dedicated, VPS, cloud, reseller, and shared) from 10 different hosting providers, comparing them across uptime, server response time, customer support, ease of use, and more.

To see the results, see all of our top picks. There you’ll learn about our scoring methodology for shared hosting, which one ended up being the fastest—it isn’t the one you think, which one’s the easiest to use, and an in-depth review of each of our favorites.

Where Bluehost Shines

User-friendly: Even beginners with no prior website building experience can use Bluehost’s intuitive and user-friendly cPanel platform. It completely lays out all options in front, plus it’s flexible and has necessary features like program installation, efficient backup management, and file organization. Contrarily, DreamHost’s customized control panel is likely to have a longer learning curve because of which users may have to spend more time trying to understand the platform.

Security: When it comes to security, DreamHost and Bluehost tie. Bluehost comes with SSL, SFTP, and SSH, which in itself doesn’t set it apart from DreamHost, but are all good to have for your site. You also get HTTP2 automatically. Bluehost also gives you automatic malware detection and Google blacklist monitoring if you want to spend $30 a year for its SiteLock protection.

Customer Support: Bluehost and DreamHost both offer 24/7/365 customer support, but when it comes to getting it, there are a few notable differences. Bluehost has more options for getting that help when you need it. You can contact them via chat or by phone, whereas DreamHost only gives you the option to contact them through their online form or chat. The chat is limited to business hours, making things difficult if you have a problem outside of those hours or if you live outside the United States in another time zone. Bluehost has high-quality, fast customer service, though you might have to wait a few minutes for them to verify your account. That said, they typically respond quickly and have knowledgeable representatives who know what they’re doing.

First-Year Base Price: Bluehost has a lower first-year price than DreamHost. Bluehost costs $2.95 per month for web hosting, while DreamHost comes in at $4.95 per month for the first three months and $7.99 for subsequent months. Now, when it’s time to renew in the second year and beyond, you will pay a little more with Bluehost for the base web hosting price ($9.99 per month versus $7.99 per month). Still, when you are just starting out with your website, having a low price in that first year is a nice way to determine whether you enjoy managing a website and whether you want to continue devoting time to it in year two and beyond.

Where Bluehost Falls Short

Extra Costs and Upsells: Bluehost has a lot of great features, but the company can be a little in your face about it. Their ads and marketing efforts clutter the platform. If all you want to do is make a few site updates, you might find that the upsells get in the way. Plus, with stuff like hosting plans and upgrades, Bluehost really wants you to buy more. Even if you’re happy with what you have, they’ll keep trying to get you to upgrade when you don’t need to. You might end up wasting money when those funds would be better spent on another area of your business’s growth.

One Server Location: Bluehost only has one server, and it’s in the US. That can be a downside for international users. However, you can rest assured knowing that Bluehost’s customer service will still be available to help you no matter the time of day. Other web hosts like SiteGround have more servers worldwide, which might be a better option if you need international service.

Backups: You’ve only got three backup options with Bluehost—daily, weekly, and monthly. That’s not much when you consider that many other hosts have about 20 backup options. If you do want more, Bluehost makes you pay for them. Essentially, you can get more backups, but not for free, which isn’t normal for most web hosting services. That said, if backing up your website is important to you—and it should be—you can find other web hosts that give you more without making you pay more, too.

Page Speed: Bluehost’s average page loading speed on shared hosting is 1107 milliseconds. That’s not terrible—it’s still well under the dreaded three-second mark—but it’s on the slow side compared to its peers. Other top shared hosting providers average load times of around 650 milliseconds. With the lower speed, Bluehost puts your site at risk of having visitors leave for your competitors with faster sites.

Where DreamHost Shines

Pricing: DreamHost’s pricing is lower than many hosting services, including Bluehost. Grab three years of hosting for just $2.59 per month or skip the long-term commitment and get it for a monthly rate that starts at just $1.99. You can only choose from two tiers—half as many as Bluehost offers—but both these tiers give you tons of features for a great price. DreamHost also gives you more unlimited features for the cost than most other hosting services, including unlimited storage.

Scalability: DreamHost has packages for WordPress, dedicated, VPS, and shared hosting. It also has cloud storage, which Bluehost doesn’t, giving you more options for hosting across multiple servers and improving your site’s security. Bluehost tries to upsell with many different types of hosting plans and features, but DreamHost offers them upfront so you won’t get overwhelmed as you’re working on your site. It also gives you plenty of ways to upgrade. If you start with shared hosting, you can easily move up to dedicated or VPS hosting as your business grows.

Storage: DreamHost offers unlimited storage with all its plans. You won’t find that with every web hosting service. Many, like Bluehost, have tiers where they’ll give you a certain amount of storage and only offer unlimited with higher tiers. For example, Bluehost has 50GB storage with its Basic plan and then moves up to unlimited with the higher packages. However, DreamHost gives you unlimited from the start, whether you opt for shared, dedicated, or VPS hosting, so you never run out of space on your server.

Uptime: DreamHost has some of the best uptime at 99.99%. It beats Bluehost, which hovers around 99.94%. That sounds like a lot until you realize it means several hours of downtime per year. DreamHost gets pretty close to perfect on this one, which means your site will almost never be down, and when it is, it will go back up fast. Performance and uptime are some of the more important things when you’re running a business website. It keeps your site working, which also keeps people on the page. It makes sure customers can find what they need fast, makes items available to them, and boosts your business’s reputation by creating a reliable online presence.

Bandwidth: DreamHost gives you unlimited bandwidth for all plans across all types of hosting. In contrast, Bluehost has unlimited bandwidth for shared hosting, but as you scale up—for example, to VPS hosting—it limits it. With DreamHost, you’ll never have to upgrade your plan based on bandwidth alone. That means that high traffic won’t shut down your site, so you won’t have to pay more for your business’s growing success.

Security: DreamHost’s security rivals Bluehost’s in that you get the same basic security features, like SSL, SFTP, and SSH. DreamHost gives you HTTPS2 and PHP7 support. It also lets you enable multi-factor authentication and has a built-in firewall. For $3 a month, you can get DreamShield, which gives you some added protection with malware removal service and keeps unwanted eyes away from your site at an affordable cost.

Backups: DreamHost gives you eight backups. It’s not the most you can find, but it’s almost triple what you get with Bluehost before you have to pay extra. DreamHost even has an on-demand backup feature. The only issue here is that DreamHost servers won’t hang onto your backups permanently as BlueHost will. You’ll have to download them to your hard drive to ensure you have access and can restore your site if necessary.

Page Loading Speed: DreamHost passes the three-second rule. Sometimes its pages load in about 1.5 seconds, making it more than twice as fast as Bluehost in the best-case scenario. It means people are more likely to stay on your site and get the product or information you’re offering instead of searching elsewhere. DreamHost’s average page loading speed is 2.35 seconds, almost a full second faster than Bluehost’s.

Where DreamHost Falls Short

Server Locations: DreamHost has two server locations in Virginia and Oregon, which doesn’t put it ahead of Bluehost, since both are still in the US. That might make it harder for international users, especially because DreamHost doesn’t have 24/7 chat support. In other words, having two servers doesn’t mean it necessarily offers more than Bluehost’s single server.

User-Friendliness: With a bespoke control panel, DreamHost’s platform might present some challenges at first. If you stick with it, you’ll find it has similar usability to Bluehost, but you have to work at it first. If you don’t mind that or if you’re tech-savvy, this might not be a disadvantage for you. But unless you’re already familiar with it, it won’t matter if it looks cleaner and has fewer ads—the interface will still take time to figure out.

The Final Verdict on Bluehost Compared to DreamHost

Bluehost and DreamHost are both solid options for websites of all different shapes and sizes. They each offer plans and packages to accommodate varying business needs, priorities, and budgets. Both web hosts are top contenders for a reason, and they’re pretty evenly matched when you compare them side-by-side.

In terms of pricing, Bluehost offers four tiers for shared hosting. The rates vary quite a bit, depending on what features you need and how long of an initial commitment you’re comfortable with.

Bluehost pricing plans

Like most web hosting providers, Bluehost offers its best deals if you commit for 36 months. 

Right now, they’re currently promoting the Plus and Choice Plus plans for the same rate of $5.45 per month. They’re very similar plans, but Choice Plus gives you free domain privacy and automated backups, among other benefits.

If you don’t need the extra storage space or the ability to host multiple websites, the Basic plan is a great option for beginners. Starting at $2.95 per month, it’s a great deal from such a reputable provider.

The Basic package gives you one website with 50GB storage, custom themes, a free domain for a year, and a free CDN and SSL certificate.

All packages above Basic offer unlimited websites and storage, and as you go up, you get other features like a free 30 days of Office365, a year of free automated backup, and a free dedicated IP.

DreamHost has fewer plans to choose from. While you have less of a selection, you’re getting similar features for the price point.

DreamHost pricing plans

Like Bluehost, the best rates are available when you sign up for a 36-month contract. 

DreamHost also offers pricing options for a one-year contract or month-to-month billing. The 12-month term lets you get either of the two plans for just $2.95 per month.

But DreamHost has long been known for offering the most attractive web hosting pricing without an annual commitment. That’s still true at the time of this writing, as the Shared Starter plan Unlimited plans start at $1.99 and $2.99 per month, respectively. 

The Shared Starter plan is very similar to Bluehost’s basic plan. It supports one website and comes with a free domain and a free SSL certificate. However, it sets itself apart from Bluehost with unlimited traffic and storage. When you upgrade to Shared Unlimited, you get unlimited websites and unlimited email addresses at your domain. 

All DreamHost plans have a 97-day money-back guarantee.

Comparing the Best Web Hosting Services

We did a deep dive into Bluehost and DreamHost using our experience and user reviews to determine the best option. Check out our complete web host comparison guide here.

  1. Hostinger — Best web hosting for most users
  2. SiteGround — Best for keeping uptime above 99.99%
  3. HostGator — Best for scaling your small business easily
  4. DreamHost — Best pay-as-you-go web hosting
  5. Bluehost — Best drag-and-drop page builder for beginners
  6. InMotion Hosting — Best price for hosting two websites on one plan
  7. Nexcess — Best for experienced WordPress users
  8. A2 Hosting — Most dependable web hosting for European and Asian audiences

Both Bluehost and DreamHost are solid web hosting options, whether you’re starting or scaling your business. DreamHost works best if you’re looking for quality performance without having to commit to a year or more upfront, whereas Bluehost gives you great customer support and an easy platform to use right from the start.

Ultimately, you know what your business needs most. You can decide whether that’s something Bluehost or DreamHost offers or if it’s something you’ll find in a different web hosting service.


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