Testing Dreamhost, my brand new hosting provider

I’ve just launched a brand new blog at Searchfindings.com where I share anything relevant I come across during my long search sessions. So it feels quite natural to share with you that I’m testing a new web host for this blog: Dreamhost.

I’ve been a regular customer at Gandi for the past 10 years. Most of my own sites and my clients’ sites are hosted on a Gandi Simple Hosting instance, which is great. I just experienced one or two period(s) of downtime over the last 3 years.

But I’m a curious geek and I wanted to experiment another provider for my new blog.

Onboarding

I bought my new domain directly from Dreamhost, to make it easier to connect it to the web hosting they’re providing. The process was very smooth. I like the way they’re introducing the payment step as “The money part”, nice copy.

dreamhost domain creation

Then I purchased the basic WordPress shared hosting pack, for 2 years (which makes sense since I registered my domain for 2 years). The price was $8.95 per month, prepaid. My next bill will come in October 2018.

Unlimited websites per hosting plan

The cool feature offered by Dreamhost (and also by Gandi Simple Hosting) is that you can add as many websites as you want to your instance. Moreover, on Dreamhost, you get unlimited storage space and bandwidth. Whereas you have to buy extra storage on Gandi if you need more than 10GB (enough for a blog).

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-13-46-49

WordPress one-click install

Gandi has recently added one-click install to their simple hosting plan. Before that, I used to upload for each project an updated WordPress pack via ftp and install it manually. At least I learned how it’s working behind-the-scenes. It’s always handy if you need to perform a manual installation for a client when a hosting company doesn’t offer one-click installs.

Dreamhost lists that feature in its Goodies section. You simply select the domain, hit “install” and voilà. After 10 minutes you’ll receive an email to change your password. You might have to clear the cache of your browser and/or router to get access to the installation, depending on how fast the DNS info spreads over the internet. You can start using WordPress straight away, uploading your preferred theme and plugins. It’s a seamless experience. FYI, this website uses the latest Blog Theme by MyThemeShop. I recommend their themes, which load pretty fast and are easy to customize, with a series of nice widgets (e.g. their newsletter subscription plugin).

WP Super Cache

Dreamhost offers you by default a plugin called “WP Super Cache” to optimize your website’s loading speed, a critical feature to get a good treatment by Google’s algorithm. You can check your website’s speed at anytime using Google Pagespeed Insights, right here. Since I’m still tweaking the design of my site, WP Super Cache is currently disabled (otherwise I can’t see my changes in real time). I will give it a try in a few days and see how it improves my average speed.

To conclude, I would say that my initial experience with Dreamhost has been pretty good so far. I will monitor the performance of my site. And I’ll see how easy it is to manage multiple websites on their shared hosting.

There are actually a few side benefits to the fact of having multiple hosting partners. Firstly you spread the risks of downtime for your services. If all my sites were hosted on Gandi.net, a failure on their platform means that all my properties would be down. Secondly, with another host, I add another legit source of backlinks – on a fully different stack – for my personal and professional projects. A small advantage for now since this blog doesn’t have a lot of authority but potentially a nice asset when it will gain traction.

 

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