SiteGround vs DreamHost: Who Offers a Hosting Advantage?

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It's possible that simply choosing a host can, ultimately, decide the degree of success your website achieves. The right host will be there for you when you have questions, and they'll make it easy to build and maintain your website. They'll keep it secure and help keep you in business.

The wrong host, by contrast, won't pay attention to suspicious activity on their servers or will charge you more to look for it. They won't be easy to reach.

Worse still, they may even let their hardware become out-of-date or charge you for features you don't use or didn't request.

To ensure you end up choosing the best host possible for you, I've gone ahead with thorough reviews two of the top hosting companies: SiteGround and DreamHost.

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The 5 hosting company evaluation criteria

Below are the 5 categories used to evaluate both SiteGround and DreamHost and a brief definition of them. If any definition seems a little incomplete, please note that more explanation may be given during that part of the review. Caching and SSD vs HDD, for example.

Monthly price and plans

In this category, we take a look at the monthly price and plans available from both hosts. Plan prices and limits will be compared for all main types of hosting, as well as if they do or do not offer cloud, VPS, shared, managed WordPress, or dedicated servers.

WordPress hosting, setup, and customization

First, whether or not the host has a managed WordPress plan will be noted. Then the ease of installation will be evaluated, alongside any WordPress specific features or bonuses.

Customer support and usability

How easy is it to manage your web space and websites once you have committed to either DreamHost or SiteGround? If you have questions, where can you get them answered, and how long will that take? Questions like those will be answered in this section.

Security

What makes a web host secure? Backups, network monitoring, SSL, and DDoS prevention, as well as alerts or customer education. Further, how and where is the encryption coming from for your website? What if you don't know how to set something up or have shared hosting, and your “roommate” is infected?

SSD offers, uptime, and load speeds

While it's less important for a personal project, if you plan to use your website for business or need it to rank well over time, then these things are very important. Solid State Drives (SSD) are one of the best ways to improve hosting speed, from a hardware perspective.

Caching is another important thing to mention, and something no review of SiteGround should ever leave out. They've invested quite a bit in this technology, and it's paying off for their current customers. Could this be something you would like to have, too?

The main SiteGround vs DreamHost review

Below I've taken both SiteGround and DreamHost and broken down the features they offer by the categories listed above. This should make it easy to see who offers the most advantages overall, especially for the type of hosting that you need.

Each “category” or section will have the criteria under review explained first, then how this breaks down for DreamHost. SiteGround is up next for review. After both mini-reviews, a winner will be chosen. However, in some cases, there may be a tie or a close call.

If there is a tie or close call, suggestions for how to choose which would work better for your unique situation are given. Without further delay, here is the full DreamHost vs SiteGround comparison.

Pricing and plans

How much will hosting cost you, and will you be able to upgrade to another plan in reasonable increments if necessary?

Dream Host

Shared hosting at DreamHost starts at $2.59 a month. That's considerably cheaper than SiteGround. They also offer unlimited bandwidth. The only limit is one website. Higher tiers lead to more hosted websites.

Their basic VPS options are also cheaper, starting at only $13.75 per month and offering the same perks you get for shared hosting but with more resources to back them up. Additional tiers will get you even more resources.

SiteGround

SiteGround offers quite a few plans. These include shared hosting and Cloud Hosting (which they also call VPS hosting). They also offer dedicated server options, managed plans for WordPress and WooCommerce, and even Enterprise and Reseller solutions.

The most basic plan you can get will run you $11.95 per month.

However, if you're just signing up for hosting with them, this plan will be much cheaper for your first year. As will most plans, due to deep discounts and promotions when you first sign up.

SiteGround
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For that low price, you get 1 hosted website, 10GB of storage, and unlimited parked domains and data transfers. There are two more tiers of shared hosting, capping at $34.95 for unlimited hosted domains, as well as several features aimed at developers like a dedicated staging environment.

However good this may sound, keep in mind they also limit traffic to 10,000 visitors for the smallest plan and 100,000 for the largest. The managed WordPress plans are virtually the same, just with automatically installed updates for WordPress or WooCommerce.

Cloud Hosting is a better business solution. It starts at $80 per month with 40GB of SSD-powered space and respectable specs otherwise. There are three higher tiers. Traffic and databases are unlimited.

SiteGround vs DreamHost category winner

Dreamhost offers better value for less. Fewer limits, hardware that's just as good (if not better), and prices that are as much as 1/5 what SiteGround asks.

WordPress hosting, setup, and customization

The SiteGround vs DreamHost WordPress comparison holds no contest. SiteGrounds managed WordPress plans are tacked on while DreamHost offers “DreamPress.” Want to guess who wins?

Dream Host

For only $16.95 per month, you get SSL and JetPack pre-installed. Unlimited bandwidth. Up to 100k monthly visitors, 30GB SSD storage, and all the support you could ask for. This is WordPress at its best, without being bulky. It's not loaded up with “vendor” plugins but has industry-leading plugins instead.

Backups and managed updates are standard as well. They are also free on-demand or automatic.

SiteGround

SiteGround will install your WordPress and manage the updates and backups. It's bare-bones, but it gets the job done.

What SiteGround does offer in addition to this, however, is “Softaculous”. If you're unfamiliar with this, it makes it easy to install any CMS and as many as 300 other web apps, builder, and shopping carts. Though it doesn't earn them any points in this category, it's worth noting as half of the web is powered by these types of systems.

DreamHost vs SiteGround category winner

DreamHost offers DreamPress. It has impressive, included plugins on top of the same basic service SiteGround offers. Their prices are also about half those of SiteGround.

Customer support and usability

How fast will your questions be answered, and will they be answered well by DreamHost or SiteGround support agents?

Dream Host

Submit a ticket, wait a few minutes for a reply. Chat and messages only. Support channels are a bit limited but responses are swift and even escalated tickets only take about a day to resolve.

SiteGround

Something SiteGround has going for it is its support: if you like phone support, they have that. Prefer chat, email, or a ticket-based system? They have those, too.

If you prefer to learn things on your own or want to be ahead of the curve on issues like security and what you should be doing to manage your own websites and domains, they offer extensive easy-to-comprehend resources. These are available to everyone at all times, even if you're not a customer yet.

All agents, no matter who you talk to, seem to be incredibly helpful and well-informed. Responses are short, to the point, and easy to read.

SiteGround versus DreamHost category winner

SiteGround offers great support. No wonder they have such high third-party ratings. This is a company filled with people who want to help you. All responses, even for the low-tier shared hosting, are fast. They also, however, offer “priority” support to higher tiers.

Security

When SiteGround versus DreamHost is weighed up for security, one of them is plainly the winner, while the other is just “adequate”.

Dream Host

Dreamhost
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DreamHost offers free SSL certificates and pays a lot of attention to whether your site is encrypted or not, helping you to get it to be so. They also work to ensure that your website will not be harmed by malware, viruses, or DDoS attacks.

Server monitoring is also regular, though not quite to the level that SiteGround provides. They also don't seem to separate accounts as fully.

SiteGround

First, SiteGround offers hardware redundancy that is way more than you find with most other hosts, even the best. This means your site stays up more often, even if hardware fails.

For shared hosting, they offer a unique set of solutions for automated rule enforcement, firewalls, and isolating each account to make sure if one is infected, the entire server isn't at risk. For higher-tier plans, free automatic backups and restoration also help keep your websites and assets safe and secure.

They also offer that knowledge base I mentioned earlier and encourage their customers to learn about basic safety when it comes to securing their own domains.

And they offer encryption from “Let's Encrypt” and free SSL certificates to match.

SiteGround vs DreamHost category winner

SiteGround offers more safety features for all, especially at the “lower levels”. This is especially good, because those new to website building may make mistakes or leave things vulnerable. SiteGround takes steps to minimize this and to help you out if anything does go wrong.

SSD offers, uptime, and load speeds

When it comes to speed, there are a few things that can add up to make a big difference. This starts with hardware, like SSD instead of HDD. An SSD is a solid state drive whereas HDD is a hard disc drive. HDDs are slower because the disc has to be physically read. It also incorporates things like the ability to use extensive server-side caching, which is becoming more useful and important.

If you're not sure what caching is or how much of a difference it can make, the video below can clear a few of those things up.

Dream Host

Dreamhost offers SSD storage for all and basic caching services if you can find and set them up (and yes, support will help you along if you ask). Their page load speeds are under a second, as they should be.

If you have a managed WordPress hosting plan, you may find that these load faster than other hosting plans do for WordPress, even on SiteGround.

As for uptime, DreamHost will keep your website up over 99.9% of the time, guaranteed.

SiteGround

Similarly, SiteGround will also keep your website up for 99.9% of the time, guaranteed. Loading times are generally around .5 to .8 seconds, in line with what DreamHost offers in most cases. They also offer SSD in all cases and for all plans.

However, SiteGround has superior caching. It's set up for nearly all of their websites and comes standard with all but their cheapest plans. Even with those plans, you still get some caching capabilities, just not the best.

DreamHost vs SiteGround category winner

SiteGround makes load speeds a priority, and they're consistent. They easily win this category.

Which hosting company ultimately offers more?

What do you want from SiteGround or DreamHost? Value or Performance? If you want greater value and average performance for an industry leader, then you can go with DreamHost. It will cost you a lot less and perform adequately.

If you need high performance, the greatest speeds you can get, and in-depth knowledge and security, SiteGround wins this “DreamHost vs SiteGround” comparison. They're safer, too.

Both companies offer great support and uptime, though SiteGround's attitude is to always take things just a little bit further in the best ways. If you're choosing between these two and can afford it, the clear choice is SiteGround. (Unless you need a managed WordPress hosting solution.)

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