DreamHost vs DreamPress (Shared and Managed WordPress Hosting Compared)

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DreamHost offers two main flavors for WordPress hosting.

You can choose a regular shared hosting with an entry level price or you can opt for a high-performance solution specifically designed for WordPress.

I bought both of them to find out whether it makes sense to pay almost 3 times more for managed WordPress hosting.

Here’s what I will be comparing in this article:

  • Shared Starter for $4.95/mo: 1 Website, Unlimited Traffic, Unmetered Bandwidth, Fast Unlimited SSD Storage, WordPress Pre-installed, Free SSL Certificate, 24/7 Support, WP Website Builder, Free Automated WordPress Migrations
  • DreamPress for $12.00/mo: 1 WordPress Website, 100k Monthly Visitors, Unmetered Bandwidth, 30 GB SSD Storage, WordPress Pre-installed, SSL Certificate Pre-installed, Unlimited Email, 24/7 WordPress Support, WP Website Builder, Free Automated WordPress Migrations

Shared Starter versus DreamPress

If you’re just starting and don’t have your blog yet, stop right here and read How to Start a Blog where I explain exactly what to do to get you up and running. Don’t worry, this article will wait here for you 🙂

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links for products I use and love. This means if you click on such a link and take action (like subscribe, or make a purchase), I may receive some coffee money at no extra cost to you. This helps me create more content free of charge for you. And, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for your support!

Pricing

At first glance, it seems strange that cheaper shared plan offers unlimited traffic and storage while more expensive managed plan offers only 100k monthly visitors and 30 GB storage.

Something don’t add up here…

DreamHost Shared Starter Plan DreamPress Plan
Price $4.95/mo $12.00/mo
Storage Unlimited 30 GB
Traffic Unlimited 100K Montly Visitors

On the other hand, nothing is actually unlimited so you need to take these figures with a grain of salt as fair usage policy will be applied if you overdo what’s considered normal usage.

Performance

To compare performance of shared and managed hosting, I exported the current version of this website with All-in-One WP Migration and imported it to both plans.

Importing website with All-in-One WP Migration

Consider that the full backup of this website including all images has only 223 MB, so you’ll probably have plenty of storage space even with 30 GB plan.

Then I ran series of tests to find out if there’s any reasonable difference between the plans.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights

Here’s mobile performance comparison:

DreamHost Shared Starter Plan DreamPress Plan
Mobile Performance 99 97
First Contentful Paint 1.3 s 1.4 s
Speed Index 2.2 s 3.9 s
Total Blocking Time 0 ms 10 ms
Mobile Performance Results
DreamHost Shared Starter Mobile Performance
DreamPress Mobile Performance

I know what you are thinking. This is strange.

Cheaper shared hosting plan shows better performance than much more expensive managed hosting plan. But numbers just don’t lie.

Here’s desktop performance comparison:

DreamHost Shared Starter Plan DreamPress Plan
Desktop Performance 100 99
First Contentful Paint 0.3 s 0.4 s
Speed Index 0.7 s 1.2 s
Total Blocking Time 0 ms 0 ms
Desktop Performance Results
DreamHost Shared Starter Desktop Performance
DreamPress Desktop Performance

Once again, Shared Starter plan is the winner.

GTmetrix

DreamHost Shared Starter Plan DreamPress Plan
Performance 99% 100%
Structure 95% 98%
Largest Contenful Paint 781 ms 311 ms
GTmetrix Performance Results
DreamHost Shared Starter Performance
DreamPress Performance

In GTmetrix, DreamPress managed hosting wins over DreamHost shared hosting, but not by any meaningful margin.

Yes, the largest contentful pain was more than 2 times faster on managed hosting, but the rest of metrics were very similar.

Pingdom Speed Test

DreamHost Shared Starter Plan DreamPress Plan
Performance 91 91
Page Size 438.6 KB 451.5 KB
Load Time 1.28 s 2.10 s
Requests 29 29
GTmetrix Performance Results
DreamHost Shared Starter Speed Test
DreamPress Speed Test

Pingdom Website Speed Test was another surprise.

I would expect the identical website to have the same page size, yet Shared Starter somehow delivered smaller page.

What’s more shocking, though, DreamPress was once again slower with load time of 2.10 seconds which is almost a second slower than much cheaper Shared Starter plan.

Load Test

Finally, I set 50 virtual users to simulate how both plans perform under heavy load when traffic spikes.

I let this test run for 15 minutes with concurrent users growing gradually from 1 to 50.

Here’s what I found out:

DreamHost Shared Starter Plan DreamPress Plan
Total Requests 4 738 27 076
HTTP Failures 2 4
Peak RPS 8.33 73.5
Average Response Time 3 364 ms 166 ms
GTmetrix Performance Results
DreamHost Shared Starter K6 Results
DreamPress K6 Results

This test finally shows the real strength of dedicated resources that you get with DreamPress plan.

As the number of users grew over time, shared hosting had a hard time to keep up with growing number of requests.

As a result, Shared Starter plan was able to manage only 4 738 requests compared to 27 076 requests managed with DreamPress plan. That’s almost six times more!

Also, the peak requests per second was only 8.33 on Shared Starter while DreamPress delivered 73.5, which is almost nine times better performance.

And with the average response time, DreamPress put the proverbial final nail in the Shared Starter’s coffin. 3 364 ms versus 166 ms translates to more than twenty times better performance of DreamPress dedicated resources.

Conclusion

Both Shared Starter and DreamPress are very capable hosting plans. Shared Starter is available for $4.95/mo while DreamPress starts at $12.00/mo.

While the basic speed and performance tests showed slightly better results of Shared Starter, the real load test with 50 virtual users demonstrated where is the strength and power.

DreamPress delivered up to 20 times better performance than Shared Starter while it’s only 2.5 times more expensive.

If you plan to serve multiple users at the same time, DreamPress is no brainer.

Upgrade to Managed WordPress

If you’re just starting a blog, you might be fine with cheaper Shared Starter plan and upgrade later when you ready to welcome your first readers.

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Jan Zavrel

Jan Zavrel is an author, teacher, online entrepreneur and Evernote Certified Consultant who runs multiple projects focused on productivity, fitness, web development and passive income. He is also active as an instructor on Udemy and Skillshare. His books are available via Amazon.