Interview With Brett Dunst, Vice President Brand & Community at DreamHost

We’ve always emphasize the importance of a great website – How it impacts your online marketing or how it can help reach your target consumers and etc.

But we seldom look over the things that comes before the glory.

To have a successful website you’ve got to have a reliable web hosting service on your side.

Our guest for today is no stranger to that!

Ladies and gents, help me welcome Brett Dunst, Vice President of Brand & Community, at DreamHost!

Happy to have you with us Brett, and I’m sure our readers are excited to know more about you and your company!

We want to know more about you and your services and it’s not as legit as getting it straight from you!

To start with…

This company had been around for nearly two decades, am I correct? Surely there is a story behind all of this, Brett. How did the idea of a web hosting company begin and who laid out the foundations?

Great question! DreamHost started in 1997. Our four co-founders were classmates at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. They were friends who happened to know a handful of people and small businesses who needed web hosting for one reason or another, so they set up a small web server in a dorm room. Over time they gained more users and realized that there was the potential here for growing a business.

It’s amazing how things came to be! And this company has been around since–wow! 1997!

Just by looking at the date already made me feel old. And for almost two decades of providing web hosting services to the people of the virtual community, you’ve done a pretty good job. May we ask how do you maintain the high ratings despite the many competitions throughout DreamHost’s years of existence?

Our first point of human contact with many customers is our technical support team. We’ve worked hard to train that team to the point where they might be considered junior-level systems administrators at any of our competitors. Our technical support team is composed entirely of in-house employees – we don’t outsource any roles at DreamHost.

DreamHost has also been able to retain a fair number of employees from “the early days,” so we’re able to carry forward our original vision for making the internet easier to use, and to have fun while doing it!

We would like to see how the company manages its services, a company as big as DreamHost surely has a lot of human resources. How many departments does the company have and how is the workload divided?

Today we’ve got just over 200 employees worldwide. We’ve divided the company into three core product groups, each of which is very strongly focused on improvements and enhancements to a series of products. This enables our internal product owners to make quick changes to our product lineup in-line with what our customers (and the market) are asking for.

Alright! Thank you for sharing to us about the company, Brett. Now that we know a few things about DreamHost, let’s take a look on what services it provides. We see that your company’s main product is Website hosting, please tell us more on your different hosting services and the other services you offer!

When we started in 1997 we were focused primarily on managed shared web hosting. We expanded our managed hosting offerings to include virtual private servers and dedicated hosting based on customer demand. To meet the demands of a growing WordPress user base, we’ve also got DreamPress, a WordPress-optimized hosting option for users looking for an advanced “set it and forget it” solution.


In 2012 we launched “DreamObjects,” an object storage system for software developers based on an open-source distributed file storage system we’d created called Ceph. DreamObjects, powered by Ceph, allows us to use off-the-shelf hardware to store many petabytes of data across many thousands of servers at end-user rates that are extremely aggressive with the likes of AWS’ S3.

In fact, DreamObjects is API-compatible with both Amazon S3 and with OpenStack Swift. If you’re storing data on either of these two platforms, you literally need only change a single hostname in your code to begin reaping the benefits of a platform that’s every bit as capable – though much more affordable – than our competition.

More recently we launched DreamCompute, our public cloud computing resource. It’s based on OpenStack, the immensely popular open-source cloud computing stack, which we’ve supported since its early days. Users can spin up unmanaged virtual machines on DreamCompute in as little as 20 seconds and billing is based on actual usage with a maximum payment cap per month. DreamCompute is the most predictably-priced elastic cloud computing resource on the Internet!

Under the WordPress hosting plan, you seem to have two products which were Shared hosting and DreamPress. What’s the difference between the two? Which product would be the more practical and beneficial purchase?

Shared hosting at DreamHost is a great platform for most of our users. We’ve worked hard to ensure that it’s a capable, welcoming environment for WordPress and other popular web apps. It’s also our most affordable hosting option, so most of our users tend to start there and upgrade to other DreamHost services as their needs grow.

One of those services is DreamPress, our managed WordPress hosting package. DreamPress was something that we’ve built and designed from the ground-up to provide users with the absolute best WordPress experience we can offer. DreamPress splits your app content and database content across specially-tuned servers to distribute the load. We also install a web caching system called Varnish, which negates the need to deal with any of WordPress’ caching plugins. The end result is a powerful WordPress platform that automatically scales its usable server resources to handle traffic spikes with no bandwidth caps.

Thank you for clarifying that Brett! Also, can you tell us about your Add-On Services? What Add- on services took the market by storm?

This year we added fully integrated support for secure website certificates generated by the Let’s Encrypt project and, as you might expect, our customers have adopted these certs in huge numbers. Let’s Encrypt generates these certificates free of charge to help foster and promote a secure web where all traffic is encrypted en-route to its destination.

The last few years have also seen an explosion in the number of new global Top Level Domains (gTLDs) available to users. The “.com, .net, .org” namespaces have been crowded for years with squatters and speculators buying up nearly all remaining usable inventory. Today users can choose among literally hundreds of different domain extensions to house their online projects. New gTLD options like “.io, .website, and .xyz” have been extremely popular with our users.

Alright! Now, to give general knowledge to the public, what is a cloud server? And how does your DreamHost cloud server any different from other cloud servers?

DreamCompute is our public cloud implementation of OpenStack, the powerful, open-source cloud computing software stack. We’ve worked hard to make this a best-in-class, unmanaged solution to allow our users to extract the maximum value out of the hardware that runs it all behind the scenes. Users are asked to select their hardware requirements, select an OS (or upload an image of their own), and they’re able to login to a freshly provisioned virtual server less than 30 seconds later.

Cloud computing resources are infamous for having obtuse, cryptic billing terms. With DreamCompute, we created something called “Predictable Bill” that greatly simplifies how users are billed and completely eliminates runaway expenses at the end of every month. Cloud services from DreamHost are available for as little as $4.50 per month.

In your hosting, you also have this “Unlimited” benefit. What are the things that are considered unlimited once using your web hosting services?

It’s true! Many of our services come with unlimited storage, bandwidth, domains hosted, mailing lists, and a host of other features depending on the service. We only ask that our users be mindful of their disk usage and not use their web space as a storage space for personal backups or for other needs not directly related to running a web site. Another of our cloud services, DreamObjects, is much better suited to that task!


Wow! That’s generous of DreamHost! Now with all these, how do you think did DreamHost create an impact to the virtual community?

DreamHost is committed to open source software! The foundations of DreamHost are firmly rooted in open source software projects, and we see them as the free and open web’s best hope for growth into the future.

Nowhere has this been more evident than in our support of the WordPress and OpenStack projects. WordPress alone today powers over a quarter of all sites on the web. Over 25%! That’s huge!

We contribute code back to these projects, are active in their respective communities, and work to ensure they perform well on the DreamHost platform. We believe that it’s in our best interests, in our users’ best interests, and in the web’s best interests to help these types of apps grow and flourish.

As a parting question, are there any new installments that we should be excited for or promos and discounts you want to share to our readers?

We’ve got great new features in the works across all of our services, and can’t wait to unveil them to the world. Be sure to check our homepage at and follow our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for any new product announcements!

Thanks Brett, it was a pleasure having you as our guest!

We know you’ve done enough… and you’ve done enough to prove nothing else. But we wish you all the best with your future ventures!

For all you readers, how did you find the interview?

Let us know your opinions and your insights on the comments below!

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