Unlimited seems to be Dreamhost’s watchword. For less than £6 per month you get unlimited space on the web server, unlimited monthly bandwidth, an unlimited number of subdomains plus unlimited email accounts and SQL databases. One-click installs, of which there are 12, include the usual suspects WordPress and Joomla as well as a selection of wikis, shopping carts, and other interactive features. Support for programming languages includes PHP5, Perl, Ruby on Rails and Python, making this one of the better packages for serious web developers.
Another welcome goody is a free backup, allowing you to easily restore your site if you accidentally delete it. Strangely, while it’s generous with everything else, Dreamhost is tight-fisted with its backup space, allowing you only one backup per month: fine if you site is static, but not great if it’s constantly updated.
Dreamhost’s control panel is one of the least attractive we’ve seen. Rather than a clean, well-organised interface, almost everything is crammed into the left-hand navigation pane in a simple text list – no icons. This makes it far more difficult to quickly find what you’re looking for. Dreamhost should take a look at 123reg and 1&1’s control panels, and make notes in the process.
Bear in mind, too, that you don’t get any kind of online web-design software. This isn’t a problem if you plan to create your site using your own software – or using HTML and CSS.
The only real snag about signing up with Dreamhost is that it’s a US provider so there’s no UK phone support. However, many UK-based companies don’t provide this either, so it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Plus, Dreamhost provides a very responsive 24/7 live chat service. We used it on several occasions and found the tech-support guys to be on the ball and quick to respond.
When you really get down to brass tacks, the aesthetic beauty of the control panel and the location of the hosting servers doesn’t matter. What matters is what you actually get for your money. That’s where the Dreamhost’s ‘unlimited’ policy comes in: overall, it’s great value.