SiteGround Vs. DreamHost (2020) – A Comprehensive Comparison

SiteGround and DreamHost are both established web hosting companies that offer a suite of hosting solutions.

They both offer shared hosting, managed WordPress hosting, dedicated hosting, and other solutions, but which is better?

In this SiteGround vs. DreamHost article, I’m going to compare the two web hosts in all of the important metrics, including speed, uptime, and customer support.

I will say that based on my extensive analysis and tests, I believe one of them is superior to the other.

Note that these tests and comparisons were made on the shared hosting plans, and I can’t make any definitive conclusions on other solutions like dedicated hosting. However, it’s fairly safe to extend many of the conclusions of this comparison to other plans.


The handy table below will give you a quick overview of the conclusions of my comparison. Click the entries on the left column to be taken to their corresponding sections.

SiteGroundDreamHostWinner
PopularityMore popularLess popularSiteGround
TechnologiesExcellentAverage (on shared plans)SiteGround
FeaturesExcellentExcellentUnclear
SpeedExcellentGreatSiteGround
UptimeExcellentExcellentUnclear
SupportExcellentGreatSiteGround
Site TransferFirst is freeNot free on shared plansSiteGround
SecurityGreatOKSiteGround
PricesCheaper WPCheaper sharedTie

What solutions do they offer?

Now I’ll go over the various hosting solutions that both web hosts offer. I’ll compare price and storage later in the review.

SiteGround

SiteGround Home Page

SiteGround offers shared hosting plans under three types: web hosting, WordPress hosting, and WooCommerce hosting.

Each of these hosting types has three plan levels: StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek. StartUp allows for one domain and has the least amount of storage space, while GrowBig and GoGeek allow for unlimited domains, have more storage space, and offer additional features.

SiteGround also offers cloud hosting (hosting in the cloud with dedicated resources), dedicated servers, and enterprise hosting (custom infrastructure).

DreamHost

DreamHost Hosting Solutions

DreamHost has many hosting solutions, including shared (WordPress and standard), managed WordPress, WooCommerce, and cloud.

For the standard shared hosting, there are two plans: Starter and Unlimited.

The Starter Plan only allows one website, 50GB of storage, and has other limitations such as five subdomains. The Unlimited Plan, as the name implies, supports unlimited websites, unlimited storage, and includes email accounts.

The managed WordPress plans are DreamPress Basic, DreamPress Plus, and DreamPress Pro. Each plan includes a free SSL certificate and 1-click staging area.

Another interesting feature is DreamHost’s drag-and-drop website builder. They offer both a general site builder and a WordPress site builder, and the WordPress site builder is included in all shared plans at no extra cost.

DreamHost also offers VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting, dedicated hosting, email hosting, and domain registration.


Popularity

It turns out that SiteGround is slightly more popular than DreamHost; this contrasts with other web host comparisons I’ve done in the past involving SiteGround.

The evidence can be found in the following Google Trends graph:

SiteGround Vs. DreamHost - Interest Graph

As you can see, SiteGround is consistently above DreamHost by about 20 interest points.

In addition, SiteGround claims to host over 2,000,000 domains, while DreamHost hosts over 1,500,000 domains.

Normally, a larger base of customers makes it more of a challenge for a host to manage their resources, especially on shared plans, and this often results in worse performance overall. Bluehost is a good example. But at these numbers, it turns out that this isn’t much of a factor.

Winner: SiteGround


Technologies

SiteGround has an entire section on their website dedicated to the technologies they use. They divide them into 3 categories: data centers, speed, and uptime.

DreamHost, for the most part, has thorough documentation on their web hosting technologies and which plans support them in their Knowledge Base (Help Center).

Here’s a summary of what is available:

TechnologySiteGroundDreamHost
Data CentersFive in 3 continentsTwo in USA
Solid-State StorageYesYes
NGINXYesOn VPS hosting
CDNYesNo
HTTP/2YesOnly on DreamPress
PHP 7YesYes

Let’s start with data centers.

Data Centers

The speed and stability of your website depend a lot on the location and characteristics of the closest data center. This is why it’s important to have multiple high-quality data centers in different locations, preferably in different countries and continents.

SiteGround Data Center Locations

SiteGround has five data centers and provides a map with the exact locations of each (see image above). They have data centers in the USA, UK, the Netherlands, and Singapore.

DreamHost has two data centers in Ashburn, Virginia and Hillsboro, Oregon. They also have a DreamObjects server in Irvine, California. I can’t find any information about the hardware and characteristics of these facilities.

Solid-State Drives (SSDs)

SSDs (solid-state drives) are much faster than regular hard drives. They can make a big difference in hosting performance.

Both DreamHost and SiteGround use SSDs for all of their shared hosting plans. This is a great thing.

NGINX

SiteGround NGINX Speed

NGINX is a high-performance HTTP server and reverse proxy that speeds up loading of static content on websites.

SiteGround uses an NGINX setup on all of their shared and cloud plans.

DreamHost only supports NGINX on their VPS hosting. Apparently, it’s only beneficial in certain circumstances.

PHP 7, HTTP/2 & CDN

SiteGround HTTP/2 Protocol

These technologies all result in faster loading in any part of the world.

SiteGround offers all three on shared plans (free CDN with CloudFlare).

DreamHost used to offer the DreamSpeed CDN, but it has since been discontinued. They support PHP 7, but HTTP/2 is currently only supported on DreamPress plans.

SiteGround also offers uptime technologies such as Linux containers (LXC) and anti-bot artificial intelligence. It doesn’t appear that DreamHost uses LXC.

Winner: SiteGround. They support many of the latest technologies designed to boost your website’s speed and performance on their shared plans, while support on DreamHost shared plans is limited.


Features

When you’re considering a web host, there are many important features that you should look at.

Here are what I think are the most important features of shared plans:

Storage

This is the amount of space your websites are allowed to take up. SiteGround offers 10GB SSD on StartUp, 20GB SSD on GrowBig, and 30GB SSD on GoGeek.

DreamHost offers 50 GB of SSD storage on their Starter Plan, and unlimited SSD storage on their Unlimited Plan.

SiteGround Vs. DreamHost - Storage Comparison

Now, chances are you won’t hit SiteGround’s limits. Space may only become an issue if you upload a lot of high-res videos and images or store files, but you shouldn’t be doing this anyway.

Winner: DreamHost

Backups

It’s important to keep recent backups of your site in case something goes wrong.

SiteGround

SiteGround does a great job here. They keep daily backups of your site for 30 days on shared hosting and 7 days on cloud hosting. The backups can be easily recovered by going to the Backup Tool in the cPanel.

SiteGround Backup Restore Tool

SiteGround also offers premium on-demand backups on the GrowBig and GoGeek plans; up to 5 of these can be created at any one time. On the StartUp plan, on-demand backups can be created for a fee.

DreamHost

DreamHost’s backup policy also seems to be quite good. They provide automatic daily backups on their shared web hosting plans and managed WordPress hosting plans.

Up to two weeks of these backups are stored with managed WordPress hosting, and it may be the same for regular hosting.

To create a backup, you can use their one-click backup tool from within your account.

Winner: SiteGround, although DreamHost has one of the better backup policies that I’ve seen.

Websites & Subdomains

The ability to host multiple websites under a hosting plan can be critical to many webmasters.

Both DreamHost and SiteGround allow for unlimited websites on all shared plans except the Starter and StartUp plans (which only allow 1 website).

However, DreamHost only supports 5 subdomains on their Starter Plan, while SiteGround supports unlimited subdomains and parked domains on all shared plans.

Winner: SiteGround

Data Transfer

All shared plans on SiteGround and DreamHost offer unmetered bandwidth.

This means that there’s no hard cap for the amount of traffic you can receive, but you’re expected to use a reasonable amount that’s in line with the normal operation of your website.

Go ahead and grow your sites as much as you want!

Email Accounts

SiteGround

SiteGround allows you to create unlimited email accounts. However, each email account is limited to 2GB, 4GB, and 6GB quotas for the StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek plans respectively.

SiteGround Email Webmail Applications

You can choose from 3 email clients: Horde, Roundcube, and SquirrelMail. I use Roundcube and I’ve had no problems with it.

DreamHost

DreamHost’s email policy is a little different.

With the Shared Unlimited plan, you can create unlimited email accounts for your domain. With the Shared Starter Plan, you have to purchase email at a minimum of $1.99/mo (for monthly billing) for each mailbox.

Each email has a storage limit of 25GB, but DreamHost recommend that you keep it under 1GB.

This can be a pretty expensive proposition if you want multiple email accounts for your domain. If you do want this, then there’s no reason to choose the Starter Plan over the Unlimited Plan.

Winner: SiteGround. This is because they allow you to create unlimited email accounts on all shared plans, and although DreamHost’s 25GB quota is much larger, who needs this much space?

WordPress

Because a large portion of webmasters use WordPress, having hosting that is optimized for the platform can be a really great thing.

SiteGround and DreamHost both offer managed WordPress hosting to customers. The hosting solutions have similarities, but there are also some big differences.

DreamHost Managed WordPress Hosting
DreamHost WordPress hosting

The first is websites. SiteGround allows one website on the StartUp plan and unlimited websites on the other two plans. DreamHost allows only one website on all three plans, which is a pretty stark contrast.

This means that if you want WordPress hosting with DreamHost but want to run more than one site, you’re out of luck unless you purchase multiple hosting accounts, which is impractical.

With that said, SiteGround’s plans are meant to accommodate 10,000-100,000 monthly visits, while DreamHost’s plans are meant to accommodate 100,000-1,000,000 monthly visits, which is a win for DreamHost.

Here is a comparison of some key features in tabular form:

WordPress FeatureSiteGroundDreamHost
Quick installYesYes
Automatic system updatesPossibleYes
Automatic plugin updatesPossibleNo
Staging areaYesYes
In-house cachingYesYes

Winner: Tie. Both are pretty equal in terms of features, and while SiteGround allows for more websites, DreamHost offers more bandwidth.

To summarize features:

  1. Dreamhost supports a limited number of subdomains on the Starter Plan.
  2. DreamHost offers more storage space.
  3. SiteGround has a slightly better backup policy.
  4. Both managed WordPress hosting solutions are very good.
  5. DreamHost offers more email storage space, but mailboxes need to be purchased on the Starter Plan.
  6. SiteGround offers unlimited email accounts on the entry-level plan.

Overall winner: SiteGround, but DreamHost comes in a close second.


Speed

Speed is a very important aspect of your website. Not only does a fast website give a better experience to your visitors, but in general, search engines like Google and Bing will like you more and rank you better.

From my limited experience with DreamHost, and based on tests performed in the recent past, DreamHost has fairly good speed and load time that ranks in the top 25% of web hosts. They soundly beat web hosts like Bluehost, HostGator and GoDaddy.

As for SiteGround, it has always been very quick for me on the shared plan. This makes it much easier for me to do work on my sites.

GTmetrix Speed Test

In terms of actual numbers, I performed a test using the GT Metrix and Webtestpage.org tools on equivalent tier shared plans. Here are the results for a particular test website:

TestSiteGroundDreamHost
GT Metrix (London, UK)1.08 seconds1.97 seconds
GT Metrix (Dallas, USA)1.54 seconds1.84 seconds
GT Metrix (Vancouver, Canada)0.95 seconds1.32 seconds
Webtestpage.org (Phoenix, USA)1.69 seconds2.70 seconds
Webtestpage.org (Orlando, USA)1.72 seconds2.55 seconds
Webtestpage.org (Los Angeles, USA)1.13 seconds2.50 seconds

Keep in mind that the exact speed of a site will depend on many factors apart from just the hosting infrastructure.

Keeping as many things constant as reasonably possible, you can see from the data above that SiteGround beats DreamHost by about 0.5-2 seconds each time, which is a modest difference.

My tests seem to be in line with others. For example, a Pingdom test scored SiteGround at 96/100 and DreamHost at 90/100. In any case, speed doesn’t seem to be a huge focus of DreamHost.

From what I’ve heard, SiteGround’s speed was considerably worse as far back as 2016, but since then, they’ve become one of the fastest web hosts out there.

Winner: SiteGround


Uptime

Periods of downtime not only completely cut off your traffic, but they can also hurt your search engine rankings. Downtime can be caused by power downs, hardware failures, server maintenance, and other factors.

Downtime is less of a problem for some types of businesses for others (for example, a small website for a brick-and-mortar business), but it’s not a good thing in any case.

Anything under 99% uptime is unacceptable in my view.

SiteGround guarantees a minimum uptime of 99.9%, while DreamHost actually guarantees a minimum uptime of 100%. This doesn’t say much about the actual uptime of of these hosts, though — tests are needed for that.

I don’t recall ever having downtime problems since I’ve been with SiteGround, and it has been many years. You can learn about what they do to minimize their downtime here.

SiteGround Uptime Information
SiteGround uptime info

In practice, tests have shown that SiteGround has an uptime consistently above 99.99%. Similarly, most tests have indicated that DreamHost has uptimes on shared plans of at least 99.95%, which is very good.

Compensation

Hosting companies will typically compensate you in some form if your uptime dips below their guaranteed minimum.

If uptime dips below the guarantee in a particular month, SiteGround will give you a minimum of 1 month’s free hosting, with additional free months the worse the uptime is.

DreamHost’s downtime compensation policy is a little more complex. For every hour of downtime that doesn’t include previously scheduled maintenance or actions of the part of the customer, they will credit you one day of service up to a maximum of 10% of the hosting renewal cost. And it looks like you have to contact support for them to apply the credit.

DreamHost’s policy definitely isn’t as good as SiteGround’s, but I’ve seen worse. Fortunately, you should have little to no issue with downtime.

Winner: SiteGround


Support

Customer support makes a big difference in a web host. If support is unfriendly, unhelpful, or both, it can really leave a sour taste in your mouth.

SiteGround Support

SiteGround really puts effort into making their customer support great, and it’s something that deserves praise. They offer 24/7 live chat, ticket, and phone support – you can’t get any better than that.

They also do various things like display the personal profile of the agent you’re talking to, overstaff shifts for even quicker service, and in-house load balancing. They explain how their customer support works here.

When it comes to actual experience, I’ve contacted SiteGround support many times, and it has always been great.

SiteGround Live Chat Support

The agents know their stuff, are professional and friendly. And their technical specialists are extremely skilled.

I’ve never reached out to support and not gotten my issue resolved. I talk more about SiteGround’s support in my review here.

DreamHost Support

With DreamHost, there are a few options for support:

  • the Knowledge Base, where you can get information, tutorials, tips, and more. You’ll often find that the KB can answer your questions.
  • the Discussion Forums, where you can get input from the community. This is a great feature that most web hosts don’t have.
  • contacting support directly.

DreamHost offers 24/7 support, and what’s great is that it’s in-house, not outsourced. You can get specialized technical support from within your hosting account, and you can also talk with support through email.

DreamHost Support Ticket Sample Email

In my experience, email support is quick, and agents usually respond within 18 hours. Agents are friendly and helpful.

DreamHost also has phone support and live chat options, but it’s not so obvious how to access these. Live chat is only available for paying customers, and you can only chat on the phone through requesting a callback.

Winner: SiteGround. DreamHost support is pretty good, but SiteGround live chat is available 24/7.


Website Transfer

SiteGround

SiteGround offers a free professional website transfer on their GrowBig and GoGeek plans. For the StartUp plan and for additional transfers, the fee is $30.

I don’t believe there are limits on how many email accounts and websites you can transfer.

You can transfer one website or an entire cPanel that consists of multiple websites. It’s easy to request a transfer from within your hosting account.

DreamHost

To move your live website from another host to DreamHost hosting, you have three options:

  1. Do it yourself manually. DreamHost has a guide on how to do this.
  2. Pay a fee of $99 for their site migration service.
  3. Get a free website transfer if you’re migrating to a DreamPress plan.
DreamHost Site Transfer Info

Note that when it comes to migrating to a DreamPress account or migrating from one DreamHost account to another, the professional migration service is free.

For more details, you can view the DreamHost TOS and contact support directly. You should create your hosting account before starting with the migration.

Winner: SiteGround. DreamHost doesn’t offer complementary website transfers on the standard plans, and their migration fee is more than triple the cost of SiteGround’s.


Security

Security features that protect against hacking, bots, and other attacks are extremely important. Let’s explore the security features of both web hosts:

SiteGround

SiteGround takes server security seriously. For starters, they have SFTP and SSH access and offer a free SSL certificate for websites. In addition, they do the following:

  • set all servers to PHP 7 with the latest updates and fixes.
  • run Apache in a chrooted environment with suExec.
  • block malicious attackers and bots with complex IDS/IPS systems.
  • protect customers from the most common attacks with ModSecurity.

Their SG Site Scanner tool is powered by Sucuri and can be used to scan for malware on a daily basis. This service costs just over $1 per month. For more information on the SG Site Scanner, go here.

DreamHost

DreamHost includes free SSL certificates (Let’s Encrypt) with all of their hosting plans, and they support SFTP.

Regarding the security measures they take:

  • they use ModSecurity, an industry-standard web application firewall for apache. They have hundreds of their own custom rules.
  • they guard your WHOIS data for domains registered through them.
  • they use the high-performance lua-resty-waf firewall on their NGINX-supported hosting plans.

DreamHost also has a malware removal called DreamShield, which scans your website every week for malware. If there are any issues, you get notified through email.

DreamHost DreamShield Scan
DreamShield scan example

The service costs a few dollars a month, and it needs to be purchased and enabled for each domain you want protected.

Winner: SiteGround. They are a bit more open about their security measures, and their malware tool is cheaper.


Prices

Price is an important consideration for many people looking to get web hosting. In general, it’s best to pay a little bit more for better performance and reliability — this is your website we’re talking about, after all!

SiteGround is more expensive than DreamHost on shared and dedicated plans, but their managed WordPress plans are cheaper.

See the table below for a comparison of SiteGround and DreamHost pricing on shared plans. Note that these prices are correct only at the time of writing and are subject to change.

Shared PlansEntry-LevelMid-LevelUpper-Level
SiteGround – Discounted$3.95/mo$5.95/mo$11.95/mo
SiteGround – Normal$11.95/mo$19.95/mo$34.95/mo
DreamHost – Discounted$3.95/moN/A (2 tiers)$6.95/mo
DreamHost – Normal$3.95/moN/A (2 tiers)$9.95/mo

As you can see, the rates of DreamHost are quite a bit lower, both discounted and normal. However, it’s worth noting that DreamHost’s added services and upsells tend to be substantially more expensive.

For the list of features you get with each plan, you can see the pricing pages of each web host (SiteGround prices and DreamHost prices) or the previous sections of this comparison.

Winner: Tie. SiteGround has cheaper managed WP hosting and add-on services.


The Verdict

SiteGround Vs. DreamHost Logos

DreamHost is definitely one of the better performers that I’ve reviewed, but when all is said and done, SiteGround outperforms it.

They they use the top technologies, they have better speed, a better uptime compensation policy, and a better professional site transfer policy, among other things.

However, DreamHost has a leg up on SiteGround in a couple respects: they offer much more SSD storage space on their shared plans, and their prices for these plans are cheaper.

I recommend SiteGround if:

  • you want top speed and practically 100% uptime.
  • you want a free professional site transfer to a shared hosting plan.
  • you don’t mind paying a bit more per month for better hosting.
  • 10GB-30GB of SSD storage space is enough for you on shared plans (it should be).
  • you want hosting that uses the most cutting-edge technologies.

Use DreamHost if:

  • you want high or unlimited SSD storage space.
  • a cheaper price is more important to you than better performance.
  • you want to pay less for dedicated hosting.

All in all, I definitely recommend SiteGround – I’ve been using them for years and I’m more than pleased. But if you want to give DreamHost a try, feel free to do so.


Thanks for reading this comparison. This comparison contains affiliate links for SiteGround and DreamHost that I may receive a commission from. Note that the views expressed here are my own and are not official statements from either web host.

Have you used SiteGround or DreamHost? What has your experience been? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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