It doesn’t take more than a quick online search to reveal hundreds of web hosting options, each making different promises and targeting a different market segment. While it might seem that your choice is virtually endless, the fact is that a small number of large corporations control a huge portion of the web hosting industry.
Take, for example, the infamous Endurance International Group (EIG), an IT services company specializing in web hosting that achieved its size by acquiring a large number of smaller companies. At the time of writing this article, EIG owns 83 web hosting companies, including iPage, HostGator, Bluehost, Domain.com, and PureHost.
While EIG grants its subsidiaries a certain degree of independence, it expects them to be as profitable as possible otherwise its shareholders wouldn’t be happy. Web hosting companies that get acquired by EIG almost always reduce the number of customer support staff, begin upselling additional services, and prioritize customer acquisition and retention over service quality.
The good news is that there are still quite a few web hosting companies that have retained their independence and march to the beat of their own drum. SiteGround and DreamHost are two independently owned hosting companies that don’t answer to any large profit-seeking corporation. Both are also officially recommended WordPress web hosting providers whose competitively priced WordPress hosting plans appeal not only to beginners but also to more experienced WordPress users.
In this SiteGround vs DreamHost comparison, we pit the two independently owned hosting companies against each other to reveal their strengths and weaknesses and help you decide which of them you should choose.
SiteGround’s journey began in 2004 in the city of Sofia, Bulgaria. Today, this independently owned web hosting company has servers in the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Singapore, serving more than 2,000,000 domains worldwide and employing 500 people.
Even though SiteGround has grown considerably since its launch, the company has never stopped trying to come up with ways how to offer its users more value for money. The ongoing commitment to excellence is something SiteGround customers love about the company, along with its ability to deliver high-quality, innovation, and top support expertise.
“People are what makes SiteGround unique. Every day, we put our passion, dedication, and expertise into taking care of our customers’ websites,” states SiteGround on its website. “We love what we do, and we are motivated to deliver an outstanding service. We overcome challenges that our competitors consider impossible and help our clients manage their websites easily.”
SiteGround’s web hosting platform is designed for easy website management and great flexibility. You can use its site building tools to create a feature-packed website without any coding knowledge, set up a WordPress site with a single click, or have SiteGround’s employees transfer an existing site for you.
BBB rating: B+
Recent BBB customer reviews:
- I’ve used many similar services, some higher end and some lower. The service Siteground provides is close to the higher end providers, and for the cost go check it out yourself… it’s great. Their service is amazing and helped me understand and resolve many issues. Their support staff knows what they’re talking about, unlike most budget providers. The wait is short too. I’ve had some minor bumps with them but I wouldn’t give anything lower than 4.6 stars our of 5. If they have customer appreciation programs, that would be 5 stars.
- I recently switched blog servers and had to switch a domain name over to Siteguard. I was incredibly overwhelmed with the process, but every obstacle I encountered, the online customer service rep in the chat box was able to solve. Everything I had trouble with was solved within minutes. It made the experience so much easier.
- We have been very pleased with performance and support since moving our 2 sites to Siteground almost 2 years ago. Both transfers went smoothly. Uptime has been excellent along with site speed.
Founded in 1996, DreamHost is a far older web hosting company than SiteGround, but it’s actually smaller, employing “only” around 200 employees (SiteGround has around 500). One reason why DreamHost is smaller than SiteGround despite being so much older is the fact that it competes primarily at the small-to-medium site level, trying to make web hosting as accessible as possible.
“We believe in a world where people have the freedom to choose how their digital content is shared, and we foster their success by providing an open web platform of choice,” explains DreamHost its vision and mission. “DreamHost’s open platform gives you the power to share your data and the freedom to control how it’s used.”
Unlike many other web hosting companies that compete at the small-to-medium site level, DreamHost doesn’t bombard its users with upsell offers. This, together with DreamHost’s affordable prices, is something that virtually all customers can appreciate, and it’s also an important reason why DreamHost has so many of them, around 400,000.
But just DreamHost targets a very specific market segment doesn’t mean that it isn’t able to satisfy the needs of larger customers. From VPS hosting for WordPress to dedicated hosting to cloud hosting, DreamHost offers a wide range of hosting plans, all of which are priced highly competitively.
BBB rating: A+
Recent BBB customer reviews:
- DreamHost used to be okay when they started, but the last three years we had the worst experience with their customer care support. They block the emails, website and try to sell other sites to make it work. After speaking with support several times regarding the same issue, it works for one or two days and then the same happens. What is going on with DreamHost? We never had any problems years ago?
- They make you sign up for automatic renewal and then make it impossible to cancel!! You can’t reach them by phone and the emails seem like they’re coming from a robot. DO NOT USE THEM!!!
- Horrible customer service… website stopped (they had a question from May, that they never asked and decided in August to just stop service); was told their error and 2-4 hour fix; then told 24-hour fix; now 24+ hours later, no feedback, no service, no website, no nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Frankly I would give ZERO stars for their lack of service. If they had a phone number or responded to email or their so called ’24/7′ service “HA!!!”, that would be one thing, but nothing, nothing, nothing.
SiteGround vs DreamHost Hosting Plan Comparison
Both SiteGround and DreamHost offer multiple web hosting plans, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble selecting one that suits your needs.
SiteGround offers the following hosting options: shared web hosting, WordPress hosting, WooCommerce hosting, Cloud hosting, reseller hosting, enterprise hosting, and dedicated server hosting.
Similar web hosting options are also available to DreamHost customers, and they include shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated server hosting, cloud hosting, WordPress hosting, and WooCommerce hosting.
Let’s compare SiteGround’s and DreamHost’s shared hosting plans to see which of these two web hosting companies is a better choice for those who want a basic, dependable web hosting service that doesn’t cost too much money.
SiteGround shared hosting plans:
- StartUp: $6.99/mo. (renews at $14.99/mo.) with a 12-month commitment. The StartUp plan includes 1 website, 10 GB of web space, 10,000 visits a month, free SiteBuilder, free SSL and HTTPS, free email accounts, free Cloudflare CDN, free daily backups, 24/7 support, 30-day money-back guarantee, unmetered traffic, unlimited MySQL, and SSH.
- GrowBig: $9.99/mo. (regular $24.99/mo.) with a 12-month commitment. The GrowBig plan includes unlimited websites, 20 GB of web space, 25,000 visits a month, and all features includes in the StartUp plan + free professional site transfer, SuperCacher, advanced on-demand backup, and WordPress staging.
- GoGeek: $14.99/mo. (regular $39.99/mo.) with a 12-month commitment. The GoGeek plan includes unlimited websites, 30 GB of web space, 100,000 visits a month, all features included in the StartUp plan, all features included in the GrowBig plan + advanced priority support, more server power, PCI-compliant servers, and one-click Git repo creation.
DreamHost shared hosting plans:
- Shared Starter: $3.95/mo. (same renewal price) with a 12-month commitment. The Shared Starter plan includes 1 website, free domain name, unlimited traffic, pre-installed WordPress, fast and SSD storage.
- Shared Unlimited: $6.95/mo. (same renewal price) with a 12-month commitment. The Shared Unlimited plan includes unlimited websites, free domain name, unlimited traffic, pre-installed WordPress, fast SSD storage, free SSL certificate, and unlimited email.
As you can see, SiteGround shared hosting plans are far more feature-packed, but they also cost considerably more. You really need to think long and hard whether you need features like SuperCacher, on-demand backups, or WordPress staging because you’ll be paying $8 a month for them if you choose SiteGround’s most affordable shared hosting plan and stick with it for more than a year.
In fact, you could purchase all optional add-ons offered by DreamHost, which include DreamShield Protection ($3.00 a month) and Professional Email ($19.99 a year), you’ll still end up paying less money than if you selected SiteGround’s StartUp plan.
DreamHost is far more affordable than SiteGround when it comes to shared web hosting, but this SiteGround vs DreamHost comparison isn’t just about shared web hosting, so what about other hosting options, such as managed WordPress hosting? Let’s see:
SiteGround managed WordPress hosting plans:
- $6.99/mo. (renews at $14.99/mo.) with a 12-month commitment. Includes 1 website, 10 GB of web space, 10,000 monthly visits, free WP installation, free WP site migration, free SSL and HTTPS, free email, free Cloudflare CDN, free daily backups, WP auto-updates, WP CLI and SSH, 24/7 WP support, 30-day money-back guarantee, unmetered traffic, and unlimited MySQL DB.
- GrowBig: $9.99/mo. (regular $24.99/mo.) with a 12-month commitment. Includes unlimited websites, 20 GB of web space, 25,000 monthly visits, all features included in the StartUp plan + free expert WP transfer, WordPress SuperCacher, advanced on-demand backup, 1-click WordPress staging.
- GoGeek: $14.99/mo. (regular $39.99/mo.) with a 12-month commitment. Includes unlimited websites, 30 GB of web space, 100,000 monthly visits, all features included in the StartUP plan, all features included in the GrowBig plan + advanced priority WP support, more server power, PCI-compliant servers, and pre-installed Git for WordPress.
DreamHost managed WordPress hosting plans:
- DreamPress: $16.95/mo. (same renewal price) with a 12-month commitment. The DreamPress plan includes 100,000 monthly visits, 30 GB of SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, pre-installed SSL certificate, daily backups with 1-click restore, 24/7 WordPress support, Jetpack free pre-installed, 1-click staging.
- DreamPress Plus: $24.95/mo. (same renewal price) with a 12-month commitment. The DreamPress Plus plan includes 300,000 monthly visits, 60 GB of SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, all features included in the DreamPress plan + unlimited CDN.
- DreamPress Pro: $71.95/mo. (same renewal price) with a 12-month commitment. The DreamPress Pro plan includes 1,000,000 monthly visits, 120 GB of SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, all features included in the DreamPress Plus plan, all features included in the DreamPress Pro plan + DreamCare, which is DreamHost’s elite squad of WordPress experts who can perform even more advanced troubleshooting.
There’s a good reason why SiteGround managed WordPress hosting plans seem so similar to the company’s shared hosting plans: they’re basically the same thing. That also explains why they cost the same amount of money.
DreamHost managed WordPress hosting plans are intended even for very large sites that demand extreme performance, but that performance comes with a steep price tag. In fact, even the most affordable DreamHost managed WordPress hosting plan is more expensive than the most affordable managed WordPress hosting plan from SiteGround.
Overall, we can say that DreamHost stands out with its budget shared hosting plans but falls behind when it comes to more advanced hosting options. SiteGround plans are packed with value-added features that are guaranteed to improve your web hosting experience and make your WordPress site management easier.
Which Web Host Offers More Features? SiteGround or DreamHost?
SiteGround has always been an early adopter of advanced web hosting technologies, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that it owns this chapter of this SiteGround vs DreamHost comparison.
Sometimes, not reinventing the wheel and using the same solution as everyone else is a good thing. If you have some past web hosting experience, you’ve probably used cPanel to perform a variety of administrative tasks. cPanel is an online Linux-based web hosting control panel that provides a graphical interface and automation tools to simplify the process of hosting a website, and it’s used by most web hosting companies, with a few notable exceptions.
One such exception is DreamHost, which has its own custom control panel that has been designed to be as intuitive as possible. While great for new users who have never administered any website before, DreamHost’s custom control panel is a common source of headaches for seasoned web administrators who are used to cPanel. Another problem is that there is a wealth of cPanel tutorials and learning resources online but not much about DreamHost’s custom control panel except for what DreamHost has on its website.
With both SiteGround and DreamHost, you can be sure that your website is protected, and your data are in good hands. Both web hosting companies fully support free and open SSL/TLS certificates from Let’s Encrypt, a non-profit certificate authority run by Internet Security Research Group. They also support domain privacy, preventing your personal details from being publicly available in the Whois database.
Because any web hosting service is only as secure as the technologies behind it, it’s paramount to avoid web hosting services with outdated versions of PHP and other core technologies that make the internet what it is today. The good news is that SiteGround and DreamHost support only PHP 7 and higher and can serve content over HTTP/2, a major revision of the HTTP network protocol that introduced many additional security mechanisms.
Should anything still happen with your website, both SiteGround and DreamHost make it easy to restore everything from backups, which happen automatically, so your website and everything on it is always protected.
SiteGround developed a fantastic WordPress caching plugin, called SuperCacher, which increases the number of hits a site can handle and boosts the website loading speed. This plugin is available free of charge to all SiteGround customers who are paying either for the GrowBig or GoGeek plan, and it can be activated straight from cPanel.
The plugin has three main options: Static Cache, Dynamic Cache, Memcached. Each of these three options gives the best results with a certain type of website, and SiteGround explains everything on its website. DreamHost doesn’t have its own WordPress caching plugin, so its customers have to use one of many third-party WordPress caching plugins that are available on the internet.
Content Delivery Network
To improve the performance of its web hosting service, SiteGround partnered with Cloudflare and enabled its content delivery network services with all plans. Cloudflare is a US company that is considered to be a leader in the CDN market, and it has around 155 data centers around the world. Together, these data centers are able to withstand even the largest DDoS attacks, which is why some of the largest companies in the world deliver content via Cloudflare.
DreamHost went a step further and created its own content delivery network service, called DreamSpeed CDN. In reality, DreamSpeed CDN is actually just a rebranded version of Fastly, an American CDN, and DreamHost even says so on its website:
“DreamSpeed CDN is powered by Fastly, the smartest CDN on the planet. Fastly makes quick work of serving static content, dynamic content, and APIs to users worldwide as easy as possible. Fastly built their CDN platform using state-of-the-art software and hardware including Varnish Control Language (VCL) and features all-SSD storage, multi-core CPUs, as well as 10 Gb Ethernet.”
Thanks to DreamSpeed CDN, DreamHost is now one of the fastest web hosting providers in the world, as you’ll see in our SiteGround vs DreamHost performance comparison.
A staging environment lets you maintain multiple development copies of your website, which you can modify without any risk of downtime. SiteGround has an easy-to-use staging feature for its WordPress and Joomla users, and it can be accessed through cPanel. All WordPress and Joomla installations made using SiteGround’s auto-installer tool should be listed in the staging tool and work right out of the box.
DreamHost also supports staging and offers it as part of its s DreamHost’s managed WordPress hosting, a premium WordPress hosting service with an assortment of extra features. To use staging on DreamPress, users must first copy their live DreamPress site to a staging website and then publish changes from staging to the live DreamPress site.
You might be surprised just how many people use a web hosting service they’re not satisfied with just because they don’t want to deal with the stress associated with migrating a different web host. SiteGround understands this, which is why the company offers one free professional site migration to all new customers. All you need to do is provide the correct login credential and kick back while someone else takes care of everything for you. Most migrations take around 24 hours, and they all end successfully.
If you have a WordPress that you would like to transfer to SiteGround, simply install the SiteGround Migrator plugin for WordPress and get a transfer token from your SiteGround account. Then, paste the token in the plugin and initiate the transfer. If everything goes according to plan, your WordPress site should be transferred in just a few minutes.
DreamHost recommends its users to use any popular third-party migration plugin for WordPress, and it doesn’t offer a free professional migration like SiteGround. That’s probably because DreamHost targets primarily beginners who don’t have a website, so introducing a free professional migration service or even developing its own WordPress migration plugin wouldn’t help it attract more customers.
All SiteGround customers can enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee on all shared hosting plans and 15 days money-back guarantee on cloud hosting plans. Customers can apply for a refund right thought the User Area, and all refunds are processed quickly and without any questions asked.
DreamHost clearly wants to win some prize because it offers a full refund on shared hosting fees to all customers who cancel within the first 97 days of opening the account. Even though DreamHost doesn’t offer refunds for DreamPress, dedicated server, or VPS (private server) hosting fees, we still think that its refund policy is pretty great.
Why Is My Site Loading Slow? Speed and Performance Comparison
All web hosting companies claim that their servers are the fastest, but anyone with at least some web hosting experience knows better than to take such claims at face value. We decided to test the promises made by SiteGround and DreamHost to see if there’s some substance behind them.
Our tests were performed using HRank, Bitcatcha, and Pickuphost, and here are the results.
HRank is the web hosting rating system that analyzes over 300 web hosting providers and rates them based on their uptime, response time, the level of support, history and experience, as well as other factors.
According to HRank, SiteGround achieves uptime of 99.991%, which is slightly better than the company’s 99.99% uptime guarantee. DreamHost makes bolder promises than SiteGround, guaranteeing uptime of 100%. “A failure to provide 100% uptime will result in customer compensation pursuant to guidelines established herein,” state its terms of service.
In reality, DreamHost has uptime of 99.948%, making it significantly less reliable than SiteGround. Yes, you could theoretically receive compensation for every single minute of downtime, but you would have to actually monitor your website and manually report each and every instance of downtime to DreamHost. Even if you have nothing better to do, you would most likely get tired of sending emails to DreamHost very quickly and give up.
DreamHost is well-aware of this, which is why they continue to promise 100% availability even though they are one of the less reliable web hosting companies out there.
SiteGround Bitcatcha test results:
DreamHost Bitcatcha test results:
After losing the first round of this SiteGround vs DreamHost performance comparison, DreamHost has made a surprise comeback, proving once and for all that even budget hosting can perform well. The response times we measured using Bitcatcha, a proprietary server performance checker that makes it easy to test server response times around the globe, were truly astonishing, and they can be attributed largely to DreamHost’s high-speed content delivery network, called DreamSpeed CDN.
“DreamSpeed CDN is the perfect way to speed up a website or application. Whether it’s a small blog serving up cat pictures and infrequent musings on life, or a large media-heavy site loaded with 4K videos of your backyard wrestling federation’s greatest hits, DreamSpeed CDN can accelerate all web content indiscriminately and without prejudice,” described DreamHost the content delivery network in a press release.
SiteGround didn’t do bad at all, especially when it comes to the response times of its US servers, which is why Bitcatcha rated it A+.
Finally, we compared SiteGround vs DreamHost in terms of raw speed and found something surprising: DreamHost is much faster than SiteGround both in Europe and in the United States. Just take a look at these results:
While SiteGround has performed well in the test, its performance was nowhere as good as the performance of DreamHost. If you’re looking for an affordable web hosting service with great performance, DreamHost might be the right option, but you should remember that performance isn’t everything. Features, prices, security, and customers support are all just as important, and that’s where SiteGround earns the most points.
Can Someone Help Me? SiteGround vs DreamHost Customer Support Comparison
SiteGround is known for being 100% dedicated to customer support service, which it provides via phone, chat, and tickets. The web hosting company provides assistance to its customers 24/7, and even customer support tickets, which are assigned the lowest priority by most other web hosting companies, are typically answered in just a few minutes.
The reason why SiteGround responds to customer questions so quickly is that it overstaffs all shifts so that there is always someone to pick up the phone or online chat. Because SiteGround employs only highly-trained customer support professionals who actually know something about web hosting and related technologies, you won’t ever have to wait to be transferred to someone who can help you.
In addition to being knowledgeable and experienced, SiteGround customer support agents are always kind, friendly, and understanding. They really know how to make customers feel appreciated and understood, which goes a long way when solving complex, and potentially costly, problems.
DreamHost provides customer support only via tickets and chat. Live chat is available 5:30 AM–9:30 PM Pacific time, 7 days a week, while customer support tickets are answered throughout the day. The biggest gripe we have with DreamHost live chat is that the agents who are on the other side are not trained to solve more complex web hosting problems.
As long as you need help with your user account, billing, or basic site setup, they’re great, but ask them to help you with anything technical, and they’ll ask you to open a ticket so that support can investigate your issue further. With SiteGround, the first person you chat with is always the person who knows the answer, saving you a lot of time and frustration.
That said, we appreciate that DreamHost live chat is also available in Spanish, from 7 AM–4 PM Pacific Time, 7 days a week. Hopefully, both SiteGround and DreamHost will include other languages as well because it’s always much easier to talk about complex technical problems in one’s native language.
SiteGround is a clear winner of this SiteGround vs DreamHost comparison. While DreamHost does have its fair share of advantages, such as its impressive performance and ultra-affordable shared web hosting plans, SiteGround offers so many premium features and such excellent customer support that it’s difficult not to fall in love with it. We also like that SiteGround covers a much wider gamut of web hosting solutions, instead of focusing mainly on small and medium websites.
Who Should Choose SiteGround?
- Premium features
- First-class customer support
- Standard control panel
- Robust uptime
- Easy to use
Who Should Choose DreamHost?
- Affordable shared web hosting plans
- Solid performance
- Easy to use