SiteGround Vs. DreamHost (2020) – WordPress Hosting
Both DreamHost and SiteGround are two of the best hosting solutions available right now. Shared and dedicated hosting are two of the different services they offer, but that doesn’t mean they’re exactly the same platform with 2 different names.
Today, I’ll help you decide which one is the best option for your own needs and goals. We’ll evaluate their speed, stability, support, technology, and pricing to give you a full idea of what you’ll get with whatever you choose.
Before starting, let me clarify that I use shared hosting for these evaluations. It’s simply the most accessible option, and it still offers a very accurate depiction of how the standard experience is. Do note that some features might be different with the other plans, but it won’t make a big impact in my final verdict.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into each solution.
SiteGround comes with 3 hosting options for your subscription: web, WordPress and WooCommerce. Each one is further divided into 3 versions of the same solution: StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek.
They’re mostly different in size. StartUp is the basic experience, with fairly limited storage and only 1 domain. The other 2 plans remove the domain limit altogether, and each one adds more storage capacity and advanced features.
Other than the standard hosting, you can also keep your site in a cloud or dedicated servers. Larger companies can order a custom plan with the Enterprise offer.
DreamHost also comes with several solutions for your hosting needs; they basically offer the same hosting options as SiteGround. Shared hosting is divided into 2 choices: Starter and Unlimited.
The Starter subscription is somewhat similar to SiteGround’s StartUp: a single website and 50GB for storage, but you’re also limited to 5 subdomains. On the other hand, the Unlimited plan does exactly what it suggests: it removes all of these limitations, with the added benefit of creating email accounts.
For Managed WordPress, you have 3 different options: DreamPress Basic, Plus, and Pro. Al plans grant you an SSL certificate for free and a single click staging area. You can also order dedicated and email hosting, domain registration, and a virtual private server (VPS).
A nice addition to DreamHost is its site builder with drag-and-drop functionality. You have access to both a general and a dedicated WordPress builder. The latter is offered for free with any of the shared plans.
Taking a look at Google Trends, we can see that SiteGround is more popular than DreamHost. However, both platforms are quite popular; SiteGround is the largest with 2 million hosted domains, but DreamHost isn’t too far behind, with 1.5 million.
While popularity isn’t too useful when measuring actual performance, it does provide interesting insight. Hosting requires resources, and this demand increases with the amount of domains hosted; services like Bluehost often suffer because of this, particularly with shared plans.
Luckily, neither DreamHost nor SiteGround have performance issues related to heavy demand.
When I mention technology, I’m referring to structure solutions like data centers and web protocols. When reviewing hosting solutions, this is easily one of the most important metrics—if not the most important one.
Thankfully, both companies offer plenty of information about their hosting technology in their website. You can head over to SiteGround’s section or DreamHost’s help center to find out more.
Let’s take a look at what they offer exactly.
Data centers are vital for website loading speed. In layman’s terms, your website will load faster the closer it is to a data center. That’s why many services indicate the location of their data centers around the globe; it’s also why they’re often spread around different countries and even continents.
SiteGround has 5 different centers; you can check out their exact location on their website. Summarized, they have 2 in North America (both in the US), 2 in Western Europe (the UK and Netherlands), and 1 in Asia (Singapore).
DreamHost has 3 data centers, and they’re all in the US. According to their site, they’re located in Virginia, Oregon, and California.
As you might realize, this means SiteGround is an overall better choice if you’re not in—or near—the US.
SSD refers to solit-state drives, and they’re basically an evolution for the traditional hard drives. While they have the same functionality, they’re significantly faster; SSD provide much better performance overall.
Luckily, both services make SSD part of their shared hosting solutions.
NGINX is a type of HTTP server that acts as a reverse proxy and performs a lot better than your average server. It’s specialized in loading static content a lot faster.
While both platforms implement this technology, SiteGround is more accessible. That’s because you have access to their NGINX setup right from the shared hosting. On the other hand, DreamHost only uses NGINX for VPS users.
Web protocols also play an important role when it comes to hosting, and structures like PHP 7 and CDN are currently industry standards for high speed.
Keep in mind I’m not using the literal definition for “web protocol”; by this, I mean I’m using the term to describe different languages and structures used by hosting companies to provide a better experience.
Thankfully, SiteGround offers both, along with HTTP/2, in all the available plans—including shared hosting. You get free CDN from CloudFlare, too. It also supports Linux containers for stronger uptime.
Interestingly, DreamHost offered a CDN called DreamSpeed in the past, yet it’s been discontinued. Now, you can only get HTTP/2 and PHP7. Likewise, there’s no Linux containers support, at least for the shared plans.
As such, SiteGround is the best option for a technologically advanced solution. It translates directly into better speed, stability, and overall performance right from the shared plans.
Storage basically refers to how much space you can occupy with your websites in the servers.
SiteGround increases this space with every plan: from 10 GB for StartUp users to 30GB for GoGeek.
On the other hand, DreamHost gives you 50GB with your Starter plan—already surpassing SiteGround’s offer. Furthermore, the unlimited plan fully removes the restriction. Therefore, DreamHost is the clear winner in this regard.
Luckily, that doesn’t mean you’ll run out of space quickly with SiteGround; it’s just that DreamHost is quite outside the norm in this sense. 10GB is often enough for many entrepreneurs; high resolution visuals are the main issue with storage space, so as long as you don’t overdo it with them, you’ll be fine.
Hosting companies often backup your website automatically or let you do it manually. This means you can keep a recent version of your website; it enables you to restore it instead of losing your entire site if anything goes wrong.
SiteGround offers a great backup service. They back up your site every day, and each backup lasts either 30 or 7 days depending on whether you use shared or cloud hosting. You can recover your backups whenever you need through the dedicated tool in your cPanel.
Outside the StartUp plan, you can also back up your website on-demand; you can create a maximum of 5 at a time. You can still do it with the StartUp plan, but you’ll have to pay extra.
DreamHost also a great backup service, and it’s somewhat similar to SiteGround in frequency. They’ll back up your website every day automatically with the shared plans; the difference is that these backups last for 2 weeks instead of 30 days.
You can also back up your website manually. Your account comes with a tool to do so with a single click.
Therefore, SiteGround’s approach is the best between the two. While it’s a bit more limited with on-demand backups, your automatic backups last over twice as much as DreamHost’s. The latter still has a great policy, though.
Sites and subdomains
Hosting multiple website with a single plan is one of the most important conditions for webmasters. Businesses with different domains also tend to look for this feature.
When it comes to websites, both platforms are virtually the same. You can only host 1 website with their basic plans, but you remove the limit completely once you upgrade to the next tier.
That being said, SiteGround does have the advantage for the second half of this metric. You can only keep 5 subdomains on DreamHost’s basic plan, whereas SiteGround lets you have as many as you want with all of its shared plans.
Data transfer can also be referred to as bandwidth; it’s basically how much traffic your website can handle. When limited, it can hinder your growth significantly.
Luckily, both platforms have unlimited bandwidth with all available subscriptions. They’ll expect you keep a stable amount related to your site’s regular performance, but you don’t have to worry about hard limitations.
SiteGround lets you create all the email accounts you want with all of your plans. The limit comes in how much space you have: from 2GB to 6GB depending on which plan you’re using.
Regarding clients, you can choose between SquirrelMail, Roundcube, and Horde. Other than that, it’s fairly standard.
DreamHost has a different policy when it comes to email services.
Naturally, the Unlimited plan lets you create all the email accounts you want, but the Starter plan will have you paying extra. For every mailbox, you’ll have to pay at least $1.99 every month.
While DreamHost advises you to keep your email storage below 1GB, the real limit is 25GB. If you want to keep different email accounts for your website, then you might as well get the Unlimited plan.
The winner here depends on your needs somewhat, but I’ll give the overall edge to SiteGround. It’s simply better to have unlimited email accounts than lots of space, and its StartUp plan is still cheaper than DreamHost’s Unlimited.
Since WordPress is one of the most common platforms for creating websites, an optimized hosting option is a huge advantage. Thankfully, managed hosting for WordPress is available with both DreamHost and SiteGround, but they’re both similar and different.
The first different comes with the amount of websites. SiteGround limits you to a single website with the StartUp plan, but all other plans support all the sites you want. Unlike the shared plans, DreamHost’s WordPress options limit you to a single site with all plans.
That’s definitely an advantage for SiteGround. You won’t need to create a hosting account for every website you want to run.
However, DreamHost comes back with its bandwidth; you can keep between 100,000 and a million visits every month. SiteGround limits you between 10,000 and 100,000.
It’s also a balanced match for most WordPress-specific features, with only 2 differences. First, DreamHost offers a better automatic update functionality for your system. Second, you can update your plugins automatically (with a bit of work) with SiteGround, but not with DreamHost.
Therefore, this one is a tie. People who have multiple websites are better off getting SiteGround, but people with huge amounts of traffic will benefit more from DreamHost.
Naturally, speed is one of the most important features you can have in your website. It works wonders for both user experience and your SEO. That’s because search engines value loading speeds over a lot of other metrics.
Thankfully, both services are quite fast.
DreamHost ranks consistently over some of the largest competitors like GoDaddy, and I found it quite fast as well. It’s the same for SiteGround, but it did feel a bit faster now and then.
Luckily, there are many tools around the internet that let you test your sites. It frees you from leaving it to your own “feel”, so I used a couple. They confirmed my suspicions.
For all my tests, SiteGround consistently stayed below the 2-second mark; it even dipped below 1 second a few times. However, DreamHost consistently ranked slower than SiteGround with the same tests; it even broke the 2-second mark several times.
Of course, there are several factors at play here, including my own location. Therefore, I can’t say my results will be 100% accurate for everyone, but they were always consistent, so I have to name SiteGround as the winner here.
Just keep in mind that SiteGround has come a long way in recent years in terms of speed. Therefore, DreamHost might focus more on speed in the future.
Uptime refers to the time in which your website is live and available for everyone to access. If this is interrupted, your website “shuts down” and cuts off all your traffic. Naturally, this is quite relevant for SEO. It’s often caused by maintenance, but it can also stem from system or hardware problems.
Of course, not all businesses are equally dependent on uptime, but it’s still a critical metric. The closest to 100% uptime, the better—in all regards.
Thankfully, SiteGround guarantees over 99.9% uptime, and DreamHost takes it a step further: 100%. Of course, claims aren’t enough, but just like with speed: you can test the platforms.
For shared plans, both platforms rank quite higher for uptime tests. SiteGround meets its guarantee, at 99.99%. However, DreamHost does seem to fall at a 99.95% minimum, but that’s still quite stable.
Continuing with the topic of uptime, most hosting services offer compensation in case their uptime falls below what’s guaranteed.
SiteGround has a fairly simple—but quite generous—compensation policy. If your uptime dives under their guaranteed minimum, you’ll get a free hosting month. Depending on how bad the dip was, you’ll also get additional months for free.
DreamHost is more standard, but also more complex. Outside maintenance or any action you’re guilty of, you get 1 service day. This maxes out at 10% of your monthly subscription as long as you remember to contact customer support.
While it’s not a bad policy, DreamHost’s compensation is average at best. Therefore, SiteGround is the clear winner in this round.
Customer support isn’t a technical feature with hosting companies, but it’s very important in my eyes. I’ve seen my fair share of lousy customer support, and it can ruin the entire experience if it gets too bad.
Luckily, that’s not a problem with SiteGround. They have a strong focus on making customer experience as pleasant as possible, and this extends to support. You can reach out to them via all standard channels: tickets, live chat, and phone.
The support itself is also very good. You can check your support agent’s profile, with their own information and profile picture. SiteGround even implements overstaffing to ensure all customers receive help quickly.
From my own experience, customer support is excellent with SiteGround. Agents are very knowledgeable and nice. The technical team offers nothing but experts, and I’m yet to run into any issue they haven’t solved.
DreamHost also offers different support channels, but they’re quite more limited. For starters, you have access to 24/7 customer support but only via email. You can reach out to them via phone, but you’ll have to request callbacks. Live chat is also available, but only for paying customers.
Other channels include their knowledge base, which is basically a wiki. You can find guides and tips discussing different features and common issues; it’s a good first step before requesting support. There’s also a discussion forum, and the community is very helpful
However, when it comes strictly to their customer support system and personnel, SiteGround is the winner here.
GrowBig and GoGeek users can transfer one website without any additional payment. StartUp users can do the same, but it comes with an additional $30 fee. However, it seems to support as many transfers as you need—also for emails.
You’re also free to transfer your website alone or the entire cPanel, even with multiple websites. You’re free to do it from your hosting account.
Moving a website from a different host into DreamHost can be done in 3 ways. You can do it manually following a guide they provide. They can take care of your migration, but you either need to migrate into a DreamPress subscription or pay $99.
The winner here also depends on your needs.
If you’re fine with migrating the entire website yourself, then DreamHost might be more cost-efficient. SiteGround is simply better for people who don’t want to put too much effort into it. You get a free transfer with most plans, and the transfer fee is 3 times cheaper than DreamHost.
SiteGround offer both SSH and SFTP access with all plans, and the same goes for the free SSL you get. Their PHP7 servers also make it a lot easier to update and fix the platform. They also block different types of attacks with different systems, like ModSecurity.
They also provide Sucuri’s site scanner for barely over $1 monthly.
DreamHost also comes with free SSL and SFTP access with all plans. ModSecurity is also available here, and they implement some of the most modern security practices. Similar to SiteGround, they also come with a DreamShield site scanner, and it’s also a few monthly dollars.
However, it’s harder to learn about DreamHost’s measures. I give this round to SiteGround because it’s simply easier to assess their methods, and what I did find seemed more comprehensive.
This is another tied metric. In general, DreamHost is cheaper for dedicated and shared plans, but WordPress hosting is more expensive than SiteGround’s.
DreamHost’s plans range from $3.95 to $9.95 (or $6.95 discounted). SiteGround is a lot more expensive without a discount: from $11.95 to $39.95 without discounts, and $3.95 to $11.95 with discounts.
However, SiteGround makes up for it with less upsells and cheaper WordPress plans.
In the end, it boils down to what you need.
DreamHost is the best platform if you want higher storage space in general, and you’re willing to sacrifice performance for a much cheaper rate.
On the other hand, SiteGround is a more considerable investment for much better speed, unlimited email addresses, and better technology overall.
I hope you found this review useful and if you have any questions, please comment down below. I’ll be more than happy to assist you.
Once again, thanks for reading my SiteGround Vs DreamHost and I wish you the best of luck.