SiteGround vs. DreamHost

Choosing a hosting company to fulfill your business’s unique requirements is difficult even when you’ve narrowed your options to two or three because, on the face of it, most hosting companies offer similar features. Let’s get under the hood of two budget hosting companies: DreamHost and SiteGround that both claim to offer low prices and premium feature.

DreamHost and SiteGround are both award winners in the hosting industry. DreamHost hosts over 1,500,000 websites, applications and blogs, and SiteGround around 450,000. Is bigger better, and how do these two hosting companies really compare? Let’s first look at a snapshot of both companies.

When launched in 1997, DreamHost’s mission was to harness the power of open-source to assist anyone who wanted an internet presence, simply and inexpensively. Founded in 2004, SiteGround opted to focus on custom software solutions and speed-optimization of its servers.

Both hosts have good reputations in the industry. Alexa Ranking, which can give you a very broad indication of a company’s popularity, gives SiteGround a global ranking of 3,642 and DreamHost one of 5,318.

Compare the performance of DreamHost and SiteGround

Uptime and Reliability

Uptime monitor

Reliable uptime and fast page loading are non-negotiable because these features directly affect your customers’ perception of your business every time they visit your site.

Uptime.DreamHost guarantees 100% uptime and SiteGround guarantees 99.9% uptime. HowsHost.com tested both hosts over a 30-day period and found DreamHost had an uptime average of 99.92% and SiteGround 99.91%. These figures are good.

Page loading. According to testing done by codeinwp.com, the response time for a SiteGround website was between .4 and 3.76 seconds, and for DreamHost between 0.93 and 2.74 seconds. Tests by howshost.com showed the average response time for SiteGround websites to be .6 seconds and for DreamHost .5 seconds. Both speeds are only just adequate compared to a host like InMotion which is on average 100% faster.

Backup and redundancy. Regarding backup and redundancy options, both hosts do daily backups, but SiteGround offers 30 copies a day with its GrowBig and GoGeek plans. Premium backup and restore plans are an added cost for both hosts.

Reliability.SiteGround has data centers in Chicago, London, Amsterdam, and Singapore. SiteGround manages its servers, writes its own software patches when necessary and stores entire spare servers on-site. It utilizes the latest advanced Apache web servers. Customers can choose the closest location to their clients to get the best page loading speeds.

In 2015 DreamHost shifted its data center strategy from operating its own servers to colocation services. ViaWest in Oregon now manages its two California data centers, and RagingWire operates its Virginia Center. The benefit is that data center management is outsourced to professionals. DreamHost has robust DELL servers using solid state drives that increase hosting speeds by 200%.

Opinion on DreamHost and SiteGround Performance

Uptime and reliability can be argumentative issues and test results misleading. If user reviews are anything to go by, both hosts are extremely reliable despite different data center strategies.
Features of DreamHost and SiteGround

Compare Key Features

Key features compared

Note: Both hosts offer the latest version of MySQL, PHP, Perl and Python, numerous security measures like daily backup, SPAM protection and hotlink, and multiple domains and email accounts.

Domain Registration. With both DreamHost and SiteGround Shared hosting accounts you can register a domain name with one of the most popular extensions (e.g. .com, .net, .org, .info, etc.) free for the life of your account. At DreamHost domain registration prices come with free domain privacy.

Website Builder. Only SiteGround has a website builder. Weebly is an easy-to- use, popular drag-and-drop website builder that allows you to create a professional website even if you’ve never created a website before. You can add text, photos, maps, audio and videos to your site simply by dragging and dropping elements into place. Weebly includes storefront themes so you can create a functional eCommerce site with as little effort as creating a blog.

For DreamHost fans, learning WordPress might be a good alternative as there are multiple forums out there to help you get started and since WordPress powers 17% of the world’s websites, it’s a useful skill to learn. Also, there are some WordPress plugins and templates to help you create a customized website using the same drag-and- drop functionality as Weebly.

MySQL database. Both SiteGround and DreamHost offer unlimited MySQL databases, and unlimited emails and auto-responders.

WordPress hosting.All SiteGround’s WordPress hosting plans offer similar features to that of its Shared hosting plans. Its StartUp plan ($3.95/ mo) is feature-poor, but its GoGeek plan ($14.94/ mo) is highly recommended. The GoGeek plan offers a free domain name for the life of the plan, free site transfer, 30GB web space, free PCI-compliance, a 1-year free SSL certificate, unlimited SQL databases and multiple websites. SiteGround says it hosts fewer accounts on the WordPress server which lessens the competition for resources.

DreamHost’s WordPress hosting plan ($19.95 if you sign up for an annual plan) offers one site per plan, 30GB of storage, Hip Hop Virtual Machine (HHVM) which is Facebook’s alternative to PHP, Varnish caching, CDN integration, auto-scaling RAM and isolated MySQL database servers. WordPress accounts are hosted on isolated VPSs.

Both hosts provide a WordPress 1-click installer, an auto-updater, Supercacher, WordPress Staging (which makes it easier to test and implement changes without building a separate test server), pre-installed Git (allowing you make changes locally and then push these changes to your live site after testing) and Command Line Management.

eCommerce Solution. SiteGround’s Shared hosting StartUp plan is not recommended for eCommerce sites. To host an eCommerce site, you need to sign up for the GoGeek plan ($14.95/ mo) which offers free PCI-compliance (a legal requirement for credit card transactions) and a dedicated IP address. Free eCommerce software includes SSL, Zen Cart, Magento, Agora, and CubeCart. If your customers are outside of the US, you may benefit from having a server near your target audience’s geographical area (which SiteGround can offer you). If your customers are in the US, this doesn’t matter.

DreamHost’s Shared hosting (from $7.95/ mo) offers free PCI-compliance. Free eCommerce software includes SLL, Zen Cart, and CubeCart.

To support your eCommerce site: both DreamHost and SiteGround’s GoGeek plan offer SSL certificates (to authenticate your site), FTP access, staging environments for testing site changes, daily backups, and dedicated IP addresses.

Backups. DreamHost performs automatic “snapshots” of your data at various regular intervals (two hourly, two daily, and two weekly). You can manually backup your websites, databases, and account data from the control panel (only one manual backup for each per month).

SiteGround’s Softaculous 1-click installer gives you the ability to backup and restores your sites with a single click. SiteGround keeps backups of customers’ shared and semi-dedicated hosting accounts for up to 30 days.

Hosting Security. SiteGround claims to have been the first host to implement account isolation, a mechanism that prevents any account from affecting another’s performance and preventing possible security breaches. SiteGround proactively monitors and detects security exploits and writes its own patches to fix vulnerabilities immediately instead of waiting for official software updates. It implements daily backups, CloudFlare CDN, SSH access, regular hardware upgrades and SSL certificates.

DreamHost has a comprehensive Wiki article to guide you through the processes necessary to set up secure email, file transfer, user accounts, etc. It offers CloudFlare integration, SSL/ TLK certificates, daily backups and domain privacy protection.

Control Panel. Both DreamHost and SiteGround have backend interfaces you’ll use to manage your account, domains, emails, backups, files, databases, billing, etc., view site statistics and install software. Both hosts offer tools to increase the speed of page loading, protect your site from hacking and SPAM, fine-tune resource allocation and test changes to your site before you make them live.

SiteGround uses the popular, easy-to- use, cPanel control panel. It features Softaculous for 1-click installs of software scripts, SPAM-free email, Cloudflare CDN, AutoUpdates for Joomla and WordPress, SuperCacher and a Staging environment for when you want to test changes to your site.

DreamHost has a proprietary control panel which deviates from the industry standard cPanel in that it feels more like a traditional dashboard with a left navigation panel. You can drag-and- drop navigation items to customize various areas of the panel. You can also use the Control Panel to install WordPress (and other applications and add-ons) using the One Click Installer.

Affiliate and Reseller Programs. You can make $65 per referral, with no monthly caps, with the BlueHost affiliate program. With Network Solutions’ affiliate program, it is possible to make up to $150 per month. Network Solutions’ reseller program is through a third-party, SRSplus.

Extras.BlueHost has $150 in ad credits; Network Solutions has $50 worth of credits to Network Solutions Marketing programs. BlueHost will migrate an established website if you have one elsewhere, though it charges a premium for the service. Network Solutions has some marketing, SEO, and eCommerce options available for monthly fees.

Opinion on DreamHost and SiteGround Key Features

Both hosts are feature-rich and while DreamHost is clearly a reliable and efficient host, SiteGround, the new kid on the block, has a more proactive and innovative approach. However, SiteGround has a tendency to hide some of its costs.
Compare the web hosting plans and pricing of DreamHost and SiteGround

Hosting Plans & Pricing

Pricing plans compared

Note: Hosting package details are written by marketing and sales people. They are designed to confuse you. To keep it simple, let’s take a look at some of the minimum and maximum prices you can expect to pay for similar packages offered by these two hosts. Bear in mind that the concept of “unlimited” should be taken with a pinch of salt. For instance, so-called unlimited traffic for a SiteGround Startup plan effectively translates to 10,000 visitors a month. So-called unlimited bandwidth and storage from DreamHost are in fact limited by its “normal usage” policy.

Shared hosting.

  • SiteGround – StartUp plan ($3.95/mo) with 10GB web space; GrowBig plan ($7.95/mo) with 20GB web space, and GoGeek plan ($14.95/mo) with 30GB web space (when signing up for a minimum of one year.)
  • DreamHost – From $7.95/mo to $9.95/ mo (when signing up for a minimum of 36 and 12 months respectively) and offering unlimited email addresses, bandwidth and storage.

WordPress hosting

  • SiteGround – StartUp plan ($3.95/mo) with 10GB web space; GrowBig plan ($7.95/mo) with 20GB web space, and GoGeek plan ($14.95/mo) with 30GB web space (when signing up for a minimum of one year.)
  • DreamHost – Annually ($19.95/mo); Monthly ($24.95/ mo).

Virtual Private Servers (DreamHost) and Cloud (SiteGround) hosting The primary advantage of SSD drives is that they can retrieve data quicker than traditional drives.

  • SiteGround
    • Entry plan with 2GB DDR RAM & 20GB disk space ($60/ mo).
    • Enterprise plan with 4GB DDR RAM & 80GB disk space ($140/ mo).
  • DreamHost
    • 2GB RAM & 60GB SSD ($30/ mo).
    • 8GB RAM & 120GB SSD ($120/ mo).

Dedicated hosting The primary advantage of SATA drives is that so-called ‘lost’ data can almost always be retrieved.

  • SiteGround
    • Entry Server plan with 4GB RAM & 500GB SATA II HDD ($229/ mo).
    • Enterprise Server plan with 16GB RAM & 4 x 500GB SATA III HDD ($429/ mo).
  • DreamHost
    • Starter CORE 4 plan with 4GB RAM & 1TB HDD ($149/ mo).
    • Premium CORE 12 plan with 32B RAM & 240GB SDD ($329/ mo)($329/ mo).

Best for beginners. DreamHost’s Shared hosting plan is ideal for a new business and provides enough resources for a blog, startup business or small eCommerce site. SiteGround’s Startup plan is for personal use and businesses who know that ultimately they will have to upgrade but would like to “test the waters” by creating a basic web presence.

Money-Back Guarantee: In both instances, there are no setup fees or fees for domain name registration. Both offer money-back guarantees (97 days for DreamHost and 30 days for SiteGround). While DreamHost’s guarantee sounds impressive, bear in mind it is only valid for Shared hosting.

Opinion on Hosting Plans Pricing

Side by side, the plans and pricing for these two hosts seems a bit confusing but is comparable, feature for feature. The more RAM you can afford, the better. The amount of storage you need depends on what you plan on storing, e.g. videos and pictures take up a lot of space so if you’re a photographer your requirements regarding storage will be greater. It’s recommended you a comprehensive list of your requirements and the functionality of your site and contact both hosts’ support departments with questions. This is also a deviously clever way to assess the quality of their support and get free advice about what you need.
How easy to use DreamHost and SiteGround

Ease of Use

How ease to use interface

Control Panel. As we saw earlier, DreamHost and SiteGround have different backend interfaces. If you are used to cPanel, DreamHost’s control panel may frustrate you; if you’re a beginner, you’re in for a similar learning curve whichever host you choose, so it doesn’t matter.

One-click Installer. Most control panels offer 1-click installation for popular software and scripts like WordPress, ZenCart, and calendar and photo gallery utilities. 1-click installers are also used to enable page optimization, make your site live, activate security software and create email accounts. There are very few hosting companies that don’t offer 1-click software installation for most application add-ons and both SiteGround and DreamHost do.

Opinion on Ease of Use

DreamHost and SiteGround have simple easy-to- use interfaces. DreamHost tips SiteGround with its Wiki tutorials that include screenshots and step-by- step instructions to perform most tasks in the control panel.
Support of DreamHost and SiteGround

Technical and Customer Support

User support compared

DreamHost has an official blog including 96 tutorials at last count, a user forum and a comprehensive Wiki.

SiteGround has a large FAQ knowledge base and in-depth tutorials for WordPress, Joomla, and Magento.

Both have spawned a lot of unofficial web pages to help new users get started.

Contact DreamHost:

Twitter: @DreamHost and @DreamHostCare

Telephone: 7147064182

Contact SiteGround:

Twitter: @SiteGround and

Telephone: 1.866.605.2484

Opinion on User Support

While both hosts guarantee 24/7 support – live chat and support tickets (email) – only SiteGround offers free telephonic support. This is possibly DreamHost’s greatest failing, mentioned by most reviewers and in half the complaints posted on the internet.
User reviews of DreamHost and SiteGround

User Reviews

User reviews compared

Note: Bear in mind that user reviews are subjective and sometimes users, mainly if not technical, misunderstand the terms of their agreement with a host. This is a common bone of contention between hosts and customers when it comes to websites being shut down on shared servers because they’re overusing resources.

Positive reviews.

Both DreamHost and SiteGround receive accolades from the majority of customers on their young, enthusiastic and energetic support. SiteGround gets additional points for superior, albeit pricey, Cloud hosting.

Negative reviews.

DreamHost elicits three main complaints on the internet from its customers. First, that there is no telephonic support; second, that their non-standard, controversial control panel is not intuitive; and third, that for non-US users, access to support can be inconvenient and delay the resolution of issues.

SiteGround gets the thumbs-down in three areas, primarily revolving around extra costs. Many users resent having to pay extra for domain name protection and having to pay for site transfers. The third major complaint is “connection problems” either with 500 errors or CloudFlare; some of these errors users attribute to limited resources in the Shared hosting plans.

Opinion on User Reviews

Above average support is essential if you have an eCommerce business or are a beginner. It appears both hosts are committed to service excellence and take their clients seriously. Judging by the reviews, both sites have bravely implemented unique, even unpopular, features or chosen not- standard business models that, on the whole, have proven successful in their own way.
Conclusion on comparison of DreamHost and SiteGround

Which Web Host is Right for You?

Choosing the Best platform

Reasons to choose Dreamhost:

  • More experience and more awards
  • Superlative money-back guarantee
  • Outsourced data centers to professionals
  • Transparent pricing structure

Reasons to choose SiteGround:

  • Traditional, easy-to- use cPanel control panel
  • Global server network
  • Innovative approach to security
  • Super-budget entry-level offering

DreamHost is best for businesses and eCommerce sites that require reliability, flexibility and the option to upgrade their plans. It’s probably overkilling for someone writing a blog or whose business just needs a web presence.

SiteGround is ideal for home use, for entrepreneurs and small businesses on a budget but also for bigger companies that value the innovative entrepreneurship that has SiteGround competing with larger hosts than itself.

If this review hasn’t swayed you, either way, take a look at some competitive websites in a similar league.

WebHostingHub has an entry-level Shared hosting plan called SPARK that rivals SiteGround’s Startup plan. A member of the Endurance International Group (EIG), WebHosting Hub’s support model, is first class and backed up by its sisters and brothers under the EIG umbrella.

To rival DreamHost, BlueHost, born in 1996, is one of the largest hosting companies in the world, home to more than 1.9-million domains. It features at the top of almost all “Top 10 hosting companies” lists.


Drop us a line if you have questions, comments or an enjoyable experience with the web hosting that you’d like to share. We’d love to hear from you.