Using Dreamhost for shared hosting

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Dreamhost Offerings

Dreamhost offers shared hosting with unlimited domains, unlimited disk usage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited e-mail accounts, unlimited FTP accounts, etc; you get the picture. You can read all of their offering on their Hosting:Feature Glossary page. All of this for just about the price point of $10/month. In addition, if you are a non-profit and send them your 501(c)3 IRS determination letter, they will give you free hosting.

For additional fees they will:  provide a unique IP address for your domain, sell and install an SSL Certificate, and even provide a Virtual Private Server.

Managing Your Account

Dreamhost has their unique DreamHost Control Panel. This is much more feature rich than cPanel that I’ve used on other hosting services. From this main interface, you can manage your domains, users, MySQL databases, and your account. I have found that this management interface it very clear and useful.

Installing Software

Dreamhost offers 32 Open Source software  packages in their “One-Click Install” tool. They offer WordPress, Joomla, MediaWiki, Drupal, dotProject, Gallery, MICO – Mantis Inbound Call Organizer, Open Web Analytics (OWA), OpenVBX, phpBB, and Zen Cartâ„¢ among others.

I found using the “One-Click Install” tool to be very simple to use. The tool always installed the most current stable version of the software. The software has always worked like it is supposed to.

They are also running very current versions of the web support languages, e.g. Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby on Rails. So you can download and install pretty much any open source package or even create your own and run it on their site.


Dreamhost has two free support mechanisms: 1), and 2) 24/7 Los Angeles-based Email Technical Support. For an additional monthly charge, you can purchase Premium Support and have a live callback. I have found that their wiki has had an answer for almost every question I have had. For the one or two times that I wasn’t satisfied with that, I’ve always received a great response e-mail within 24 hours. And usually the response was much quicker than that.

What they don’t offer is support of the actual software packages. They will support the “One-Click Install” tool’s installation but beyond that they point you to the packages support forums. This is a totally reasonable policy.

My Experience

I’ve been very happy as a Dreamhost customer. We’ve been able to setup some pretty sophisticated .htaccess permissions. We’ve setup all our domains to use Google Accounts hosting for e-mail, calendar, etc. We’ve secured access with SSL certificates and SSH-only shell accounts.

The only caveat I can offer is that we are running some low-volume web sites. We are using less than one GB of bandwidth per month. I can only imagine what would happen if we ever got slashdot listed <G>.


All in all, I have enjoyed being a Dreamhost customer and feel I’ve received the value for which I’ve paid.

[Disclaimer: I am not an employee nor an affiliate of Dreamhost. I’ve received no consideration or benefit for my opinions.]

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